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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:45 AM   #1
joe979xx
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Just replaced brakes and pedal is spongy?

I just replaced the front brakes which were well worn, but working fine. I installed Zimmerman rotors and Akebono ceramic brake pads.

I then took my car for a test spin and the brakes were very spongy. I then bled the brakes starting on the back right side and working around to the front right side. I took car for another test drive and the brakes were still spongy.

What could it be?

2005 330i 52K miles

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Joe
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:51 AM   #2
Llink78
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Keep bleeding them. Put a small hose on the nipple to.ensure your not letting any air back into the line when bleeding.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:25 AM   #3
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If the pedal feels better after the first application then there is air in the system. The first pump compresses the air. If there is not difference there is no air in the system. It is probable the brake pads. Wait until the pads are broken in and see if it improves. Some of the ceramic pads have a really different feel than stock and some need to be heated up a bit before they really work well.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:41 AM   #4
joe979xx
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If I tap the brake a few times it grows stiff and nice.

I think the problem is my mom is at the wheel, helping me to bleed the brakes. I think we're not perfectly in sync. She's 85. I'll have to yell at her to get with the program. Lol...

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Old 07-26-2014, 11:43 AM   #5
Dirtybrd
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If you didn't open the system, there's no reason the bleed them. Did you clean the oil off the rotors before installing them? Sometimes brakes will feel a little soft until the pads bed. Did you do a good bedding process?
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:51 AM   #6
erickonphoenix
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Jay from bullshitkorner has a nice DIY on gravity bleeding his e46. He's single lives alone so all this DIYs are solo.



I had some correspondence with him and I think he said it took him two hours to gravity bleed, or 8 beers. You can't reach him for comments now since he's taking his jeep up to the Arctic. He has some great vids on prepping his YJ for this trip as Jeep as well.
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Old 07-26-2014, 12:14 PM   #7
joe979xx
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My bedding might be at question. The clips on the pads are not perfectly flat.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirtybrd View Post
If you didn't open the system, there's no reason the bleed them. Did you clean the oil off the rotors before installing them? Sometimes brakes will feel a little soft until the pads bed. Did you do a good bedding process?
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:14 PM   #8
Dirtybrd
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Try that. Until you get some pad burned onto the rotor you won't have a lot if bite, especially with performance pads. I like to drive around normally, stopping lightly a few times just to let the two surfaces introduce themselves. Then I'll go out somewhere I can do 60-0 without causing issues and I can drive without using the brakes until they've cooled. Do a panic stop ABS engaged and all. You'll see smoke and smell the pads. Now drive normally for about 5-7 mins to let them cool a little. Repeat 2 more times. Then drive home and let fully cool. Pedal should be better every time but 100% the next time you drive.


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Old 07-26-2014, 01:40 PM   #9
joe979xx
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I bled them again. Saw a few bubbles pop out of rear right caliper. All others were fine. On test ride it was notably better, though a bit soft. My neighbor drove, who has a 2013 328i, and he said they felt "ok".

I think I will have to break in. The Zimmerman rotors had a gray coating that has worn away, though part is caught up in pads. I hope that is it.

Thanks all,
Joe
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:49 PM   #10
Dave1027
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You may want to get a "Motive" brake bleeder to do the best job of bleeding.
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Old 07-26-2014, 01:51 PM   #11
Dirtybrd
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As long as it wasn't oily you'll be ok
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:28 PM   #12
Sedan Hussein
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Bed them? A couple hard stops from 60-10mph should put some material on the rotors and help them catch better.
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Old 07-26-2014, 04:35 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sedan Hussein View Post
Bed them? A couple hard stops from 60-10mph should put some material on the rotors and help them catch better.
+1

my new brakes always felt significantly better after bedding them.
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Old 07-26-2014, 09:55 PM   #14
joe979xx
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How does the clip look? It's not sitting flat.


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Old 07-26-2014, 09:59 PM   #15
eneka
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Originally Posted by joe979xx View Post
How does the clip look? It's not sitting flat.

The two outer hooks are supposed to be "outside"
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:08 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe979xx View Post
How does the clip look? It's not sitting flat.

you need new clips
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Old 07-26-2014, 10:12 PM   #17
joe979xx
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With computers, especially laptops, when connecting wires or inserting the processor, you have to use zero insertion force. I was thinking about that and German engineering, when trying to connect those clips. And I knew something was wrong. Now I know!

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Old 07-26-2014, 10:24 PM   #18
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OP If you have never had Akebono brake pads before you will find that the pedal feel will be different than OEM brake pads. It takes more pressure on the brake pedal than the OEM pads for the brakes to start to stop your car. This will make your brakes feel spongy compared to OEM pads. I like the Akebono pedal feel better than OEM myself, not so sensitive to the touch. I have had Akebono pads on my BMW's for the last seven years and would never go back to OEM pads. I like to have the clean wheels that you get from the Akebono pads. Now my cars get dirty before my wheels not the other way around as with OEM pads.
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Old 07-26-2014, 11:09 PM   #19
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OP, yeah, the clip is on wrong...the clip should fit fully into the holes and the other clips should be outside as noted...but that's not why they're spongy. You probably still have air in them...and it is probably your mom's fault...nothing personal. Get her to help you again...she'll pump five or six times and then 'hold' which means she'll keep pressure on the pedal and not lift up until you tell her. While she's holding, you open up the nipple, drain fluid...she'll have the pedal drop down to the floor, and as long as she doesn't lift up, you won't let air into the system.

Actually, don't let your mom do this...get a guy with some strength in his leg. Repeat this at least 3-4 times per corner, then go to the next corner. You know the order, I'm sure. Too much air in the system or if the reservoir goes dry, and you'll need to use a computer or got to BMW dealer to get the abs system bled too. Hopefully you don't have that issue.

And, OEM are BMW pads...made for the BMW...and BMW sort of knows what the hell it's doing when it sources a brake pad. You won't find better imho. And, if you read the post above, although he doesn't use OE, note that that's because they're too sensitive. For me, I sort of want a pad that's sensitive, since I like them to be able to stop the car quickly. You shouldn't care about dust on the wheel...it shouldn't be on your radar map of what makes a good pad...a good pad stops the car as quickly as possible. That'd be OE, made by Textar.
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Old 07-27-2014, 02:35 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joe979xx View Post
How does the clip look? It's not sitting flat.

Yea your clips are wrong. I found these images on the net hope they help. Also when bleeding the brakes make sure mom is not pumping them to fast. Sometime I've seen when pumping too fast can cause the fluid to foam or make bubbles...and before someone says anything I read that she 85 but she can still pump to fast!! No pun intended!! Lol
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