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Re: 1990 200TQW Brakes Feel Weird

Dave Lawson wrote:

>About a week ago, I noticed a change in the feeling of the brakes
>in my 1990 200 TQ wagon. Before, the brakes felt what I considered
>"normal". Now as the pedal is depressed, you can feel the brakes
>grab slightly, then nothing for a while, then the brakes start to have
>some effect a ways down in pedal travel. A friend with a 1991 200
>took the car out for a spin and said that the braking "does not instill
>confidence". The hydraulic system brake light does not come on
>during braking and it does not stay on for an extended period of
>time at startup. The light is on for maybe 1 second.

My brake light comes on ALL the time....like almost every time I hit the
brake and my brakes are perfectly fine.  This is the brake light that is the
idiot gauge though.  If the one you are seeing is the one in the LCD display
in your instrument cluster you may have something to be worried about
though.  If I am correct, there is a symbol that comes up that can mean low
hydraulic brake pressure and a few other things....so it may still not
neccessaraly be hydraulic.

>I am trying to decide if the problem is the brake master cylinder
>or the hydraulic brake booster or ???. I don't think it is the bomb
>as it doesn't have the symptoms that others have reported. If it is
>the master cylinder, I remember from Igor's posts that a new one
>is the way to go. If it is the booster, has anyone rebuilt one of
>these or is a new one the way to go?

OK, I now have an '89.5 200.  The brakes are great.  Well, not great, but no
problems to speak of besides rotors getting slightly warped.  Still, if I
slam on the brakes....the car stops!  First car I've ever owned that I was
satisfied with the brake feel and performance!

But, if you remember, before this I had a 5KCSTQ and had brake problems that
would give you nightmares.  Based on my experiences and what I have heard
from others.....My guess would be that you are in need of a new brake MC.
>From what my mechanic tells me, the brake boosters rarely fail, although it
is possible, but always start with the MC first.  That is the most likely

The MC on the '89.5 and newer cars is an ATE unit and better than the
previous (Girling???) unit on the 5KT/TQ cars IMHO.  They are also not too
expensive....maybee $125 for a new one.  Also, make sure either you install
it properly or have someone who is competent replace it.  There is a
specific procedure to installing them and if done incorectly...air can get
in the system and/or the seals can be destroyed!!!!  I'd let someone who
really knows what they are doing replace it.  BTDT!!!!!!!

But, to give you an idea....I think you are supposed to bleed the MC
seperately before it is hooked up to the brake lines, and then bleed out the
entire system after it's all hooked up.  Or, something like that!  So, this
procedure is apparently important.

With a new brake MC and a good bleed out (BTW, must use either use a vaccuum
or pressure bleeder!!!!!....BTDT!!!!!!), your brakes should be good as new.
Providing your pads and rotors are in good shape.

Good luck and may the force be with you.


BTW, Do not even bother to attempt the regular pump method to bleed out the
brakes.  Gets air in it every time and with ABS brakes it's very noticeable.
Get them either vaccuum or pressure bled.  Pressure bleeding (at about
10-15psi, I think?) is prefered.