My 2002 camry has spongie breaks. The front pads are new. The mechanic adjusted rear shoes and bled the system and said everything looked good. The car just doesn't feel right to me. I can lock up the breaks if I need to but I don't get a hard peddle. These are NOT ABS breaks. What should I do?
Take off brake caliper, take off your brake pads. check the sliders. sliders are on the side of the bracket. see if they are moving freely in and out. im pretty sure they are seized. that's why your pedal is soft and sinks down really fast when applied.
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On these old manual brake systems without automatic adjusters you have to set the shoe clearance by turning the adjuster on each shoe out so the shoe is very close to the drum. If there is too much clearance between the shoe and drum the shoe will move as far as it can and never touch the drum, this will make a low or no pedal pressure.
Did you also bleed the rear brakes? Also try the gravity bleed method working from the right rear wheel, then left rear, right front, then left front. Be SURE to keep the master cylinder full at all times while bleeding.
loosen of the hand-brake adjustment and press the brake pedal a few times to self adjust the rear brakes. Re-tighten the handbrake adj last. Front brake sounds like a seized caliper,If possible remove caliper and clean and lubricate the piston. This may work but replacement caliper may be the only other solution.Make sure the caliper slides are also clean and lubricated and the brake pads are in good order.(TRY THIS FIRST) Also new brake shoes can make the pedal feel spongy for a couple of hundred miles until they have been run in.
Did you adjust the rear shoes out? If the rear drum brakes are out of adjustment they will give you a lot of pedal travel. If the pads are worn have no fear of that U-CLIP brake spring, just change one shoe at a time. Take the spring off one side, change the shoe, put the spring back on the post and do the same to the other shoe, no problem.
You can adjust the shoes outward on the rear by removing the wheels and drums, then above the axle but below the wheel cylinder you will see an arm that is horizontal, pushing both of the shoes outwards. There should be an adjustment nut that you can turn to extend the arm to push the shoes out.
You need to see if you have fluid in the master cylinder's resivoir.. low fluid or no fluid could be a low break pads or out of adjustment problem ....if fluid is low add dot3 break fluid..and step on the pedal a few times...if the level seems to hold it could be out of adjustment or low pads . If the fluid leaks out then you have a leak and must attempt to find it yourself or with a mechanic. It is possible you may have air traped in the system and it may need to be bled out by a mechanic. I say a mechanic because this is a crittical safety system needed to stop the car !! If you are not sure of how to repair a leaking brake line or caliper or master cylinder leave it to a pro . At least you may be able to find out what is leaking with this help .