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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
08 4 door si 95000 miles

Maybe you guys can help me figure out what I'm missing. The brake pedal has gradually gotten softer and softer as I've owned the car, but never has gotten to the point where I couldn't lock up the wheels.

Anyways I decided I wanted a firmed 'catchy' pedal again so I bled my brakes thinking there was air in the lines. That didn't do the trick so I replaced the master cylinder. After bleeding the brakes for 2 hours today the pedal feel is back to what is was before more or less.

Something that occurred to me a few minutes ago is that I could have a frozen caliper pin somewhere, I've heard of that causing soft pedal.

What is causing my soft pedal? It's driving me nuts!
 

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are you brake pads evenly worn? if you think its a stuck caliper, the pad should be the largest pad, and the other ones should be worn down.

clean off the pins, and apply some silicone paste. pop off the pads, sand off the ears, and apply some anti seize and reassemble.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
are you brake pads evenly worn? if you think its a stuck caliper, the pad should be the largest pad, and the other ones should be worn down.

clean off the pins, and apply some silicone paste. pop off the pads, sand off the ears, and apply some anti seize and reassemble.
I will check the pads, I replaced them not long ago and I do remember one of the pins being a little stuck but not absolutely jammed that's what made me think of that, but the pads in that caliper weren't worn unevenly
 

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From what you said it sounds like the brake cylinder. If the firm pedal feel came back from installing a new cylinder, after bleeding the brakes it has to be the cylinder in my opinion. The only other thing I could think of is a leak in your brake system. Frozen caliper pins should not cause a change in pedal feel, but it would definitely cause premature brake pad wear.
 

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are you brake pads evenly worn? if you think its a stuck caliper, the pad should be the largest pad, and the other ones should be worn down.

clean off the pins, and apply some silicone paste. pop off the pads, sand off the ears, and apply some anti seize and reassemble.
I didn't notice this problem until I started reading about it, my brakes are wearing off unevenly. The outside breaks are thinner than the inside ones. Is this what you meant by stuck caliper?
 

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If you have a sticking caliper or pins. Your vehicle should pull to one side while braking.... Anytime I take the brakes apart I usually relube the slide pins. Keeping those moving freely is easy. Fixing a frozen one is a pain sometimes.

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I'm breaking fine, its not leaning to one side, but one side of the brakes are more worn than the other. I'm not sure if this is an issue?
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Update:

I finally gave up and took it to a Honda dealership, tried to explain the situation to them.

They told me that the mechanic said there was for sure just air in there and that he could get it out no prob. So I tell them to go for it, I'll gladly pay the dealership if they can actually fix the problem.

They say it's all good, I check the car and the brake pedal is literally the exact same as I brought it...unbelievable

So in summary here's where I'm at:

I've bled the brakes relentlessly (using "speed bleeders" as well as old fashioned method using order in Honda factory service manual)

I've replaced the factory master cylinder (pedal feel was exact same before and after)

I've performed tests and leak tests on the booster as per service manual

I've inspected and freed a frozen caliper pin (greased the other three)

I've visually inspected boots around caliper pistons, no gunk buildup, leaks, cracks to speak of

Visually inspected brake lines, no ballooning, cracks, damage etc.

There are no leaks in the brake system anywhere

To give an idea of how soft the pedal is:

It almost goes to the floor with normal effort at idle, 0 mph
Brake pedal pumps up after car turned off and gets hard
the pedal doesn't sink with constant pressure (ie leak-by in master)
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Get your brake master cylinder checked. Got my car in the shop after doing a simple brake job and they were concerned about the soft pedal. They looked into and found out my brake master cylinder was shot.


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From what you said it sounds like the brake cylinder. If the firm pedal feel came back from installing a new cylinder, after bleeding the brakes it has to be the cylinder in my opinion. The only other thing I could think of is a leak in your brake system. Frozen caliper pins should not cause a change in pedal feel, but it would definitely cause premature brake pad wear.
I'm confused are you guys suggesting my oem and replacement master cylinders are at equal levels of failure?

I replaced the master cylinder and my pedal feel is the exact same before and after
 

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do you have oem pads on there? If not thats prob your problem. Also you might want to measure the brake rotors. Those get worn down after awhile. Did the dealer say the brakes are working normal? some cars brake pedals grab earlier than others, make sure its not in your head. You can measure the brake pedal free play and see if its within factory spec for the specific vehicle. I don't know if 8th gens have it but my old prizm had an adjustment rod under the pedad to adjust when the brakes engaged.

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
do you have oem pads on there? If not thats prob your problem. Also you might want to measure the brake rotors. Those get worn down after awhile. Did the dealer say the brakes are working normal? some cars brake pedals grab earlier than others, make sure its not in your head. You can measure the brake pedal free play and see if its within factory spec for the specific vehicle. I don't know if 8th gens have it but my old prizm had an adjustment rod under the pedad to adjust when the brakes engaged.

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Oem pads in front, non-oem in the rear. I wouldn't have thought that would cause a soft pedal though, can you elaborate a little please?

Brake rotors are actually in surprisingly good shape for the mileage, I could see how this would effect braking feel when driving but I'm just talking about when the car is at a stand still how low the pedal goes with little resistance (a soft pedal)

Mechanic at dealership said it's fine, I've shown it to several people I know including folks that are accustomed to really ****ty pickup truck brakes and they've all agreed that it's much softer than it should be

Adjusting the brake pedal free-play is something that I have not tried because the pedal is the proper distance from the floor as per the service manual, but I should maybe try that regardless
 

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I always have better luck with oem pads on motorcycles and cars. I have had aftermarket pads that squeal or make click noises or dont work good wet or cold or feel soft. Oem pads off the internet arn't too costly. If you can adjust the pedal free play be carefull. It is easy to go too much and get brake drag. My geo front brakes heat seized on me from not enough free play after messing with em. btw that diagram is wrong. You dont adjust the brake light switch. You loosen that locknut on the threaded rod behind the pedal then turn the rod.

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Its possible they are not as thick as oem pads or dont come with the shims. You said the pedals are the proper distance to the floor but that doesn't matter here. Your problem is too much free play before the brakes start slowing the car. I would see if you could adjust that and if not you said they bleed the brakes already. How old is the fluid? im not sure if its the same on cars but when i changed the fluid on my ninja the brakes bite earlier and stronger after.


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Well? Did anyone find the reason for the long travel? I too have a slowly longer brake pedal travel that has been getting more obvious lately. Car brakes fine. Did an inspection and also noticed that the parking brake handle has slowly been getting a longer travel to apply. I found that the right rear parking brake cable moves more than the left rear hence the longer handle travel. I also noticed a slight twitch on the caliper parking brake “crank” at end of full release. I will be replacing both rear calipers today and will give an update. As far as I can tell the car still has original brake pads as I bought the 2008 civic five years old and about 30,000 miles. The car has now 100,000 miles and I have replace the front pads and replace the complete brake fluid about 60,000.
 
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