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Old 12-27-2018, 07:29 PM   #1
armenh7
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Join Date: Dec 2016
Location: California
Posts: 8,567
My Ride: 325i (Turbo M54B30)
Your brakes don't feel right? Read me.

I've been unsatisfied with my brakes ever since I started driving my car. It is a 2002 325i. Here's what I did hoping I would find the solution:
Replaced the original BMW rotors and crappy unbranded pads from the front and back with Zimmerman rotors and Jurid pads in the front and Textar pads in the rear. They definitely made no more noise however it still didn't feel good. I followed that up with bleeding the brakes as the fluid was original. There was a very minor change but still wasn't good. Next up came the brake booster, it made a minuscule change as well but that's because my pedal wasn't hard and my booster held vacuum even with the engine off. I decided to inspect my brakes and thought one pad was more worn than the other however it wasn't what I thought it was. That pushed me to buy 330i brakes in the front as an upgrade along with stainless steel lines. With those I bought paint and rebuilt the fronts and rears. The brakes seemed to have felt better but there was still a dead spot in the pedal. I'd have to push it about 10% before it actually engaged the brakes. The final thing left was the master cylinder. That fixed it.

One way to feel if your master cylinder needs replacement is by pumping the pedal with the car off. Pump very slowly and you should feel when the brake booster rod starts to actually push the master cylinder rod. If there's a dead spot before you feel it engage, your master cylinder needs replacing. . Go to 27:30. 50skid demonstrates what I'm talking about. Some tips for the replacement: Although you don't have to bench bleed, I'd recommend it if you can. I didn't have a vise so I didn't bench bleed. What I did end up doing was button everything up and loosen one of the brake lines at a time (that go into the master cylinder) and pump until all the bubbles came out. I then proceeded to bleed my brakes and there were a lot of bubbles (no surprise). I didn't bleed my ABS module and my pedal is hard as a rock. It got to a point where I had to use both of my legs to push the pedal down all the way. Also, when I was trying to bleed my brakes initially there was no fluid coming out. I did the "bench bleeding" in the car and then proceeded to pump the brake pedal down all the way. Yes, you pump it all the way slowly until you can't push it anymore. That's when my fluid started flowing.

My brakes also felt greasy. What I mean by that is I'd hold the pedal at let's say 50% but the brakes were just sliding over each other without actually slowing the car down quickly. That is a result of improperly bedded brakes. There are many ways to do it (as found online) but whatever you do, don't go too crazy. You don't want to cook (glaze) any parts of your brake system. I need to drive another 500 miles to see if mine feels any better. When you drive a new car, you can feel the brakes "bite" pretty good with even minimal pressure. That's what I was trying to achieve. A new master cylinder and properly bedded brakes will give you that feel.

Finally, you don't need two people to bleed your brakes. All you need a plastic bottle with some hose to stick onto the bleed screw. Fill the bottle 1/4 with brake fluid and make sure the end of the hose is in the brake fluid. After that, open the bleeder and start pumping. Make sure to keep an eye on the brake fluid.

I just remembered one more thing. With my old master cylinder, whenever I would be coming to a stop it'd feel like the entire drivetrain would spin one revolution then the car would come to a stop. With the new one it no longer does that
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Last edited by armenh7; 12-27-2018 at 07:44 PM.
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