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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hello everyone! I seem to be having a slight brake problem. When I bought a brand new Toyota 2005 RAV4 the brakes were good because I didn't have to press down it on that hard. However having it for 5 years, when I press down on the brakes it almost goes all the way down to actually stop the car. It feels like the brakes have been "loosen". So here are the steps I took to diagnose the problem: 1. When the engine is off, I press down on it and it's really hard. (So that's a good thing right?) 2. When the engine is on, the problem persists as described above. 3. I checked and there weren't any leaks whatsoever. 4. I replaced the brake fluid and it still has problems 5. I replaced my rear brake pads, I'll be replacing my front pads soon. Is there any things that would solve this problem and not make my brakes spongy? Thank you!



****** SOLVED ******

Okay after wasting about 200 dollars replacing the master cylinder, bleeding, etc... I found out the problem!

It seems that the brake pin (or whatever it's called) was rusted, and after just cleaning it away, the brake pedal was not spongy anymore!
 

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when did you start noticing the problem? did you properly bleed the brake system when you did the fluid flush? air in the brake lines create the spongy brake feel. how good are you at brake bleeding? if you did properly bleed your system, that means the master brake cylinder has a leak there. you'll need to replace that. 99% of your problem should be to properly bleed your brakes to remove air from the system.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thank you so much for the reply! Well this is the first time I've done brake bleeding. I usually watched the youtube videos where you need a turkey baster to siphon out the brake fluid from the tank however for some reason my master cylinder has a bent neck so I can't stick it in there. So what I do is my partner opens one of the valves and I basically start pumping on the brakes so all of it spits out. Am I to pump out ALL of the old brake fluid or pump it out when it reaches the min then refill accordingly when I do the bleeding process? I made sure there was no air in the brakes. Could it be because I'm using the wrong brake fluid? I put in DOT3. How would I know my master cylinder is bad? Don't I just press down on the brake when the engine is off and it's really stiff to press down? Doesn't that mean its good?
 

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if your brakes are still spongy then you did not bleed right. the master cylinder should still be good. they last 10+ years on toyotas. you may not be doing it correctly. you cannot just loosen the bleeder and pump the brake back and forth and close the bleeder whenever you feel like it. whenever you let the brake pedal up and the bleeder is open, you are drawing in air. when you bleed brakes, is your car on? it's supposed to be on.

the proper way to do it is to start at the brakes farthest from the master cylinder. so rear passenger, rear driver, front passenger, front driver.

start at the rear passenger. do a couple pumps and HOLD the pedal down with your feet. then tell your friend to unscrew the bleeder for 1-2 seconds to let the fluid out. then close it. when he does this you should feel the pedal go more down. keep the brake pedal down with your feet. once he closes the bleeder, you can pump the brake again. repeat the process on the next brake.
 

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you should also never empty the brake fluid tank. keep on adding fluid while you bleed. old fluid is black/brown. bleed your brakes until you see new fluid coming out the line, then move on. keep on adding fluid and don't let it get below the min or you will start sucking air into the system and you would have to start all over again. brake bleeding is easy. it just involves a lot of work. also don't be hard on the bleeder screw, you don't want it to strip on you.
 

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If the problem in the very beginning before you touched it was the way it is now, then check the front brake caliper slide pins for seizing.
Hopefully now, you have the art of brake bleeding down. These guys are giving real good advice on that.
 

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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
Thank you so much for the guidance! However it still didn't work. I'll just list step by step on how I bled the brakes this time and you can tell me if I did it wrong:

1. Started on the rear passenger wheel. Turned on engine.
2. Started to pump the brake and then held it down
3. Told partner to open valve and leave it open until there was no more brake fluid coming out (while my foot was still holding down brake pedal, I felt it going down even more than he opened the valve).
4. Partner closed valve when there was no more brake fluid coming out. (Also had someone make sure there was brake fluid above min line)
5. Then I took my foot off of the brake pedal.
6. Repeated process for rear drive wheel, front passenger wheel, then front driver wheel.


Did I do anything wrong?
 

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Thank you so much for the guidance! However it still didn't work. I'll just list step by step on how I bled the brakes this time and you can tell me if I did it wrong:

Did I do anything wrong?
No need to run the engine. I always attach a tight fitting piece of clear tubing over the bleed valve in order to direct the flow to a waste container. Plus it makes a small exit resevoir to minimize the chance of sucking in air. After all you have done I would do the following. Have your helper pump and hold the brake pedal. Then slightly crack the bleed valve. If you see air bubbles in the brake fluid drain line, repeat until no more bubbles. Then go to the next wheel and repeat. Keep an eye on the master cylinder. Been doing it this way for 50 years.

MrBill5
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Ugh maybe I should buy a brake bleeder kit so I know that it isn't the air in the brake system that is causing the spongy brakes.
 

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sorry i think i forgot to mention that you need to pump, brake, release fluid a couple of times before moving to the next brake. did you do it just once? repeat your steps 2-5 a couple of times before moving to the next brake. once no air bubbles come out then you are good. did you feel an improvement though?
 

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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Unfortunately it still feels the same. This weekend I'll just buy a brake bleeding kit and hope to God it will fix it. If not then I'll have to bring it to a mechanic... :facepalm:

Do you think I need to fix the pedal? Maybe readjust it because a screw is loose or something??
 

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Discussion Starter #12
So sad, I bought a kit and found out there wasn't any air in the brake system at all. So it must be something else....
 

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You probably should have replaced your front brake pads first since the back are mainly for your parking brake. The front brakes are what stops your car and the pads are probably worn. When I get new pads, I notice the pedal is firmer and I don't have to push down as far.

As for the pedal being hard when the car is off...that's the pressure buildup since the car isn't on for the hydraulics to run.


I bet all you need are new front brake pads...especially after 5 years.

Good luck.
 

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Hope you figured it out but if not your rear drums brakes are out of adjustment . Get them adjusted so the wheel spins about 3-4 time before stopping. Hope that helps
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Haha omg guys I'm still having this problem.. don't know how long I'll last.

Okay here's what I know so far:

- I have four disc brakes, so no drum brakes. So I don't need to do any adjustments or anything. The disc brakes seem fine, they are smooth and no gaps or rough edges or anything.
- I have bled the brakes
- Replaced the rear brake pads

So here is what I'm going to do now:

- Replace the front brake pads (but my dad is saying that should be the problem cause no matter how thinned out the pads are, the pedal should still be firm, is he right?)

- Check if the master cylinder is working correctly


If you have any tips or suggestions please dont hesitate to post something I might try it :p
 

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Take the front calipers off again. (small bolts) Don't disconnect the brake lines. See if the slide pins move in and out freely.
Grease them while they're out. Reinstall, and check that the rubber hoses are not twisted when the calipers are remounted.
Just one seized pin can cause spongy brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
So it turns out it was my master cylinder (after paying 40 bucks for the guy to do a diagnostic on my brakes from Midas). The guy was willing to do it for an estimated 600 bucks and he even said to do the brake flushing in which you have to use a special vacuum that he has for ABS systems :thumbsdow

Is he bsing me about the whole special vacuum for ABS systems to bleed the brakes?

And also I'll just buy the master cylinder and install it myself :cool:
 

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darklunar, how did you make out. I'm having the same problem on my 07. Slider pins are free, plenty of pad, if the car sits afew days, you have to pump the pedal for brake action, then its OK, except it fades when holding it down. Looking at master cylinder also. Special bleeding for ABS system?? or is it BS?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
I just ordered a refurbished master cylinder for 170 bucks, gonna be getting it on Tuesday. And this is going to be a long process because I have never replaced a master cylinder before. I'll let you know what happens!
 

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Hello everyone! I seem to be having a slight brake problem. When I bought a brand new Toyota 2005 RAV4 the brakes were good because I didn't have to press down it on that hard. However having it for 5 years, when I press down on the brakes it almost goes all the way down to actually stop the car. It feels like the brakes have been "loosen". So here are the steps I took to diagnose the problem: 1. When the engine is off, I press down on it and it's really hard. (So that's a good thing right?) 2. When the engine is on, the problem persists as described above. 3. I checked and there weren't any leaks whatsoever. 4. I replaced the brake fluid and it still has problems 5. I replaced my rear brake pads, I'll be replacing my front pads soon. Is there any things that would solve this problem and not make my brakes spongy? Thank you!

Ok go to dealer and replace caliper pins in the front. Also get Aluminum hoses. I'm saving to buy some Aluminum hoses. Changing the back to disc brakes is a good chose also. I had a dealer at Geico shop (Had a accident) put trans. fluid in brake line. :headbang:
I have had problems with brakes ever since. Just got my car back today after checking fluids and I asked them to check brakes because I know that something is always wrong with them.
Fix that and it is a lot more touchy. But it's not rock solid like my mothers 4Runner. Still "spongie" to me. She says, " It stops faster" lol. Rav4 2003. Love the car. Hate how it stops.

So 1. Replace caliper pins get brakes re-calibrated at dealer
2. Aluminum hoses [Google aluminum brake lines]
Thats all I got...
 
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