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Thread: Long (ish) Brake Pedal Feel.....?????

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    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Default Long (ish) Brake Pedal Feel.....?????

    After some advice.

    I have recently had a blitz on my wife's car and sorted out a number of problems (some of you may have seen the threads). I thought I had everything sorted on it (Vectra SRi 2.2 Direct - 2004).

    One of the things I looked at was the brakes, as the handbrake wasn't the best and there was some squealing coming from the rear. I basically stripped each brake cleaned the pads & disc surface's and re-installed each, coating the rear of the pads with Copper Grease. All the pads & discs are genuine VX and are in very good condition (rears only done 9k miles - fronts approx 15k miles). The Rear pistons twisted in perfectly (using a caliper rewind tool). The result was that there are now no squeals, the brakes definitely feel better and the handbrake (after a few days) is excellent.

    However.....my dad has a Vectra Design 2.2 DTi Automatic, also 2004. The other day I briefly drove this and the brakes on that are amazing!!!! Very keen and perfectly weighted. In comparison, my wife's car feels like it has a very 'long' brake pedal. They work fine, but just a lot of initial pedal travel compared with my dad's.

    Questions:
    1. Are the brakes on an automatic / diesel a higher spec than on a manual / petrol?
    2. If not, what could be causing the long brake pedal - everything seems in excellent condition in the braking system?

    A few years ago I have had several Vectra C company cars (2.0 DTi's) from new. I noticed on these, and once on a loan car through the fleet workshop, that there was noticeable difference in pedal feel between them - all were LS model's & manual. The supervisor told me that some of the Vectra C's simply didn't have 'as good a pedal feel as other's, and that they never got to the bottom of why - although the brakes always worked very well'. What are other's experiences - is this true and simply the luck of the draw or is there something wrong?

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    The most obvious possibility is that the brake fluid needs changing in your wife's car - old fluid would certainly cause the symptom you describe, although it's not the only possible cause. Changing it every 2 years is what is recommended, although it can deteriorate quicker than that depending on circumstances. Vx dealers generally charge only £25 for the job, a rare case of good value from them, so certainly worth doing.

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    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas1 View Post
    The most obvious possibility is that the brake fluid needs changing in your wife's car - old fluid would certainly cause the symptom you describe, although it's not the only possible cause. Changing it every 2 years is what is recommended, although it can deteriorate quicker than that depending on circumstances. Vx dealers generally charge only £25 for the job, a rare case of good value from them, so certainly worth doing.

    We've had the car just over a year. The fluid had been changed just prior to that by a Vauxhall Dealer, so wouldn't have thought it was that, but could be wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Palmo View Post
    We've had the car just over a year. The fluid had been changed just prior to that by a Vauxhall Dealer, so wouldn't have thought it was that, but could be wrong?
    Well, I'll tell you an experience I once had - bought a used car and even on the test drive I could tell the brake fluid needed replacing, as there was insufficient pedal pressure and even though the owner had a full Vx service history I couldn't see any mention of the fluid being replaced - many garages don't do it during a service unless specifically asked to. So, had it replaced by a high street fast-fitters, watched (from a distance) as the mechanic held the fluid gun up to the underside of the car at each corner. Afterwards, it still didn't feel right, but I put up with it for a couple of months before taking it to a Vx dealer who renewed the fluid, and commented that the fluid they took out was so deteriorated it was black. Which makes it fairly obvious the fast-fit place didn't do anything, just pretended to change it as they couldn't bothered to undo the bleed nipples etc. The bottom line is that for £25 there's an easy try/fix, so well worth getting it done (again).

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    Regular Member Palmo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas1 View Post
    Well, I'll tell you an experience I once had - bought a used car and even on the test drive I could tell the brake fluid needed replacing, as there was insufficient pedal pressure and even though the owner had a full Vx service history I couldn't see any mention of the fluid being replaced - many garages don't do it during a service unless specifically asked to. So, had it replaced by a high street fast-fitters, watched (from a distance) as the mechanic held the fluid gun up to the underside of the car at each corner. Afterwards, it still didn't feel right, but I put up with it for a couple of months before taking it to a Vx dealer who renewed the fluid, and commented that the fluid they took out was so deteriorated it was black. Which makes it fairly obvious the fast-fit place didn't do anything, just pretended to change it as they couldn't bothered to undo the bleed nipples etc. The bottom line is that for £25 there's an easy try/fix, so well worth getting it done (again).
    In my service history there is evidence that the brake fluid was changed just over 12 months ago by VX. However, taking your advice Thomas1, I have today changed the brake fluid - flushed fresh fluid through the whole brake system whilst making sure I bled the brakes methodically.

    The result is that the brake pedal feeling is considerably improved - this has definitely made a difference - so thanks Thomas1. However, these brakes are still not as keen in terms of initial pedal feel as on my dad's Vectra Design 2.2 DTi. The brakes however, do work very well when push a little harder - it's just the initial pedal feel that isn't as good - although somewhat improved over the feeling prior to the fluid change!
    Last edited by Palmo; 2nd October 2008 at 14:48. Reason: Spelling

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    It sounds like you've got a sticking piston or the back brakes are not adjusting up properly I had this on my Bora.

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    Default Long (ish) Brake Pedal Feel.....?????

    Hi all

    After previously owned a 2004 1.8 and changing to a 2007 1.9cdti, I can only describe the brakes on the latter as sub standard. I always had my doubts about the stopping distance, but having road tested an Octavia 1.9 Diesel with smaller brake discs, I nearly over shot a t junction soon after, in the Vectra.

    On the subject of bleedding brakes, when I used to change brake pads I always bleed the brakes to get rid of the contaminated fluid in the lines at the calipers etc, i.e. not a full bleed.

    CS

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