2006 Camry LE -- Soft Brake Petal - Toyota Nation Forum : Toyota Car and Truck Forums
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post #1 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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2006 Camry LE -- Soft Brake Petal

2006 Camry LE
46k miles


New owner of an old Camry here. The brake petal is soft--there seems to be significant travel before I feel any positive pressure feedback.

Fluid level is fine. Color is normal. I haven't tried bleeding the system yet. I've found no TSB's specific to a soft brake petal, though there are plenty of "soft brake petal" posts in this forum and others but with seemingly zero solutions.

All of this concerns me. This is my first Toyota. I'm worried that what I perceive as distractingly abnormal petal feel may be a characteristic of this year/make/model and a common complaint with a no remedy.

Anyone have experience with a known-good repair?

Last edited by lothian; 05-21-2019 at 06:55 PM.
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post #2 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:21 PM
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2006 Camry LE -- Soft Brake Petal

If my memory serves me correctly 02-06 LE 4 cylinders all have rear drum brakes. Good possibility the rear drums need a good cleaning and adjustment. Jack up the rear of the car and spin the back wheels. You should hear the shoes just contacting the inside of the drums. Also, check your parking brake. My bet is it doesn’t engage until the top of its travel. To adjust you simply remove the drum and turn the adjuster a few turns and put the drum back on. Repeat that process until your shoes just begin to contact the drums when spinning them


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post #3 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:32 PM
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I think these Camrys just have soft brakes... I've driven my friend's cars and rental cars of other brands before and none have had brakes as soft as my Camrys. Adjusting the rear drums probably will help a little bit, as well a brake fluid flush, but I think you'll find that your brakes are still softer than what you're used to. I borrowed a friend's 2014 ES350 for a few months while he was out of the country, and I found the brakes on the ES (essentially the same car as the Camry) to be a little less soft than the Camry but still softer than most other cars. But, very soon you'll get used to it!
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2001 Camry LE 2.2L, Black, 146K as of 6/19
Bought 10/16 with 131K

2001 Camry LE 2.2L, Lunar Mist Metallic, 96K as of 6/19
Bought 6/01 brand new

Last edited by jiantao; 05-21-2019 at 06:34 PM.
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post #4 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:34 PM
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Or just back the car up and forward and use the parking brake to stop, which many never use. As the adjustment occurs the travel of the parking brake lever will become less and less, looking for 6-7 clicks before full engagement. Last time I fixed one that way it would not even stop with the parking brake alone, easily stopped with it after getting the adjustment done, using the brake lever, I just held the button in and kept pulling that sucker over a hundred times. Many people never use the parking brake which is the cause of the problem.
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post #5 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:42 PM Thread Starter
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Your memory is dead on, jiantao.
A 2006 sedan... with drum brakes. Unbelievable.

<plaintive sigh>

h'welp...
That'd definitely be one cause for a soft petal. The upshot, of course, is that adjusting drum brakes isn't terribly difficult.
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post #6 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by lothian View Post
Your memory is dead on.

A 2006 sedan... with drum brakes. Unbelievable.



<plaintive sigh>



h'welp...

That'd definitely be one cause for a soft petal. The upshot, of course, is that adjusting drum brakes isn't terribly difficult.


If I were you, I’d pull the drums and inspect the linings and give everything a nice cleaning with a shot of brake clean, and a good manual adjustment. As mentioned above, once you’ve adjusted them as long as you brake in reverse or use the parking brake often the self adjusters should do their job and keep everything in order


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post #7 of 19 Old 05-21-2019, 06:46 PM Thread Starter
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e'yup.. I intend to do that.

Drum brakes. yeesh.
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post #8 of 19 Old 05-22-2019, 11:07 AM
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Originally Posted by Old Mechanic View Post
Or just back the car up and forward and use the parking brake to stop, which many never use. As the adjustment occurs the travel of the parking brake lever will become less and less, looking for 6-7 clicks before full engagement. Last time I fixed one that way it would not even stop with the parking brake alone, easily stopped with it after getting the adjustment done, using the brake lever, I just held the button in and kept pulling that sucker over a hundred times. Many people never use the parking brake which is the cause of the problem.
This trick, unfortunately, does not work on my 2004 Camry. Once a year, or so, I remove the drums and manually turn the star will.



This even shortens the brake lever travel as well.



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2004 Toyota Camry LE
1999 Honda Accord LX
1992 Subaru Loyale
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post #9 of 19 Old 05-22-2019, 11:11 AM
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It's just the nature of the beast.

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post #10 of 19 Old 05-22-2019, 02:26 PM
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Personally, I'd bleed the brakes. Brake fluid is cheap and you can do this yourself with a glass jar to catch the fluid and a piece of clear tubing. I do this by topping off the reservoir, placing the jar on the ground next to the brake that is being bled, run the hose from the nipple down to the jar and opening the valve. Then, while crouching next to the driver's door, I press the brake pedal while looking at the tube/jar. If there are bubbles, I press again until all the bubbles are gone. Then refill the reservoir.

You can do this as much as you want and do a complete flush this way too. Just make sure you don't drain the reservoir and get air back into the system.

The previous owner may have let air into the system during a brake job but that should never happen if you simply compress the caliper piston slowly and replace the pads (on the front). The brake fluid is a closed system and in most cases there is no reason to let air get into it.
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post #11 of 19 Old 05-22-2019, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
Personally, I'd bleed the brakes. Brake fluid is cheap and you can do this yourself with a glass jar to catch the fluid and a piece of clear tubing. I do this by topping off the reservoir, placing the jar on the ground next to the brake that is being bled, run the hose from the nipple down to the jar and opening the valve. Then, while crouching next to the driver's door, I press the brake pedal while looking at the tube/jar. If there are bubbles, I press again until all the bubbles are gone. Then refill the reservoir.

You can do this as much as you want and do a complete flush this way too. Just make sure you don't drain the reservoir and get air back into the system.

The previous owner may have let air into the system during a brake job but that should never happen if you simply compress the caliper piston slowly and replace the pads (on the front). The brake fluid is a closed system and in most cases there is no reason to let air get into it.
I will always prefer to two person method as that I believe is the safest way. One person pushes while the other can make sure there are no bubbles and that only good fluid is pushed out and nothing goes in.
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post #12 of 19 Old 05-22-2019, 04:51 PM
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That is how the brakes are on this model of Camry. I have tried everything I know to do to improve brakes on my 04 V6 and still consider the brake system marginal. The later model Camrys I have driven seem to have better brakes. Avalons too. Live with it.
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post #13 of 19 Old 05-22-2019, 09:45 PM
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my 2002 camry has a spongy break pedal also, i did a complete service yesterday and replaced the pads with akebono ceramic pads, centric e coat rotors and i replaced the calipers (cardone calipers) as some of the guide pins were stuck. and then bled all the brakes. this solved my spongy brake pedal feel, my pedal is now nice and firm with good stoping power.

if you are willing to spend $150, then i highly recommend you do it.
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post #14 of 19 Old 05-23-2019, 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by Vangm25 View Post
I will always prefer to two person method as that I believe is the safest way. One person pushes while the other can make sure there are no bubbles and that only good fluid is pushed out and nothing goes in.
^^^
Clearly the best way to do it. I simply did it solo because I didn't want to bother the rest of the family and I was more interested in exchanging the fluid in a flush rather than looking for bubbles.
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post #15 of 19 Old 05-23-2019, 06:30 PM
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Originally Posted by rsrocket1 View Post
^^^
Clearly the best way to do it. I simply did it solo because I didn't want to bother the rest of the family and I was more interested in exchanging the fluid in a flush rather than looking for bubbles.
I prefer fluid in one way, fluid out one way.

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