Spongy brakes.

26 Jun 2004
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United Kingdom
Standard car disc front and drum rear.

On one car I had to replace the rear piston as it was leaking. I bled the brakes until no further air was seen plus a bit more. It was still rather spongy on the pedal and I was not looking forward to having to bleed all the brake circuits. However after several more days the sponginess disappeared and its been fine since.

On another car which has no been used for several months the brake reservoir was very low and even after this was refilled the brakes were still quite spongy.

I suspect some of the problem is connected with the rear drums as they clearly need new linings and partially putting on the handbrake removes much of the problem however this may not completely cure it.

Can anyone suggest any other cause of spongy brakes apart from air in the system?

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i think if you put new shoes in and adjust them up correctly then your problem will solved, how worn are the rear linings?
Since they are grinding when applied then I can only assume they are worn down to the metal backing.

There is also excessive play in the handbrake.

Although in surprisingly good condition generally, the car has done 213,000 miles! When driving you would never imagine that and the engine has very low emission levels on the MOT test. It does have one noisy tappet though.

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Many brake shoes have a bonded lining material, which breaks away from the shoe.
You'll also find that the shoe self adjusters rarely work, and its best to wind them up by hand. This often cures the excessive travel on the handbrake.
John :)