[200q20v] Soft brakes ... master cylinder?

Phil Rose pjrose at frontiernet.net
Tue Aug 15 19:17:19 EDT 2000

At 3:24 PM -0400 8/15/00, Arun Rao wrote:
>I had today what was probably the scariest experience I've ever had in a
>car.  At 39, I should know better, but here I was chasing after this
>beautiful ur-S4 on my way in to work. Traffic was stopped dead a bit
>further down, and I hit the brakes well in time to slow down ... or so I
>thought. The car slowed down just fine at first, but then it seemed like
>I lost pressure and the car wasn't decelerating any more.  Luckily for
>me, there was a shoulder on the left, and I was able to stop the car
>after much frantic pumping.
>My mechanic thinks it's the master cylinder.  Pedal pressure has been
>inconsistent for a couple of months now, but I didn't realize how bad
>things were.  Bomb is about a year and a half old (I think I'm getting
>at least 15-20 pumps before the light comes on) and front pads are brand
>new. I have the non-UFO G-60's. Hydraulic pump is less than a year old:
>no leaks of any kind in the engine compartment. The only suspicious
>thing is that the brake fluid level was well over the "MAX" mark.
>Any ideas, folks?  Thanks!

And one _other_ thing: Were the front pads really *brand* new? Brand new as
in perhaps not yet being properly "bedded"? If that's your first really
hard braking with them, maybe the pads were outgassing, which can reduce
your stopping power.

The reason I can sound so expert about this is that we just (today) picked
up my wife's car from the shop that replaced rotors and pads. On the way
out, the mechanic told me: "Now be aware that the pads are not bedded in
yet...." He then proceeded to tell me the procedure I should use. I've been
ignorant of that (his) procedure, which is to apply brakes excessively at
moderate speeds until they heat enough to emit an odor;  then do an all-out
high-speed panic-type stop).

Do many of you do that? All these years I've just followed manufacturers
warnings to "Avoid hard braking during the initial 150-200 kilometers."


*  Phil & Judy Rose           Rochester, NY  *
*        mailto:pjrose at frontiernet.net       *


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