01 Camry spongy / low brake pedal

01 Camry, LE 4cyl, 77,000 miles. Brake pedal spongy/low. Never opened / bleed brakes prior to this situation. Only brake maintenance done was replacing front pads & rotors earlier this year. Thought the Master Cyl had gone bad, so I replaced it. Bench bleed it and then bleed the entire system and adjusted rear brakes (driver side only). Pedal still spongy / low. Manual says if basic bleeding doesn’t resolve situation, I need to bleed secondary system (ABS). Is there a way to manually bleed seconday system? I don’t have a scan tool and pressurized bleeding tool as the manual calls for. Thanks…

Check the condition of the rubber hoses at the wheels to make sure they are in good condition. Sometimes a bulging rubber hose will cause a soft pedal.

Going out to the garage now to check that, thanks so much!!

If normal bleeding of the brakes results in a low or spongy brake pedal, the ABS Brake Pressure Modulator Valve requires bleeding. Unfortunately, it requires an ABS scanner and pressurized brake bleeder to perform this task.


Check around on the internet. You’ll find a fair number of complaints about the brakes on Toyotas. As near as I can figure this is due to a braking scheme that causes Camry brakes to have an odd feel that some customers and mechanics don’t like one bit. As a result Toyota dealers get a lot of brake complaints and perhaps don’t take them as seriously as they should. Here’s a typical thread http://www.topix.com/forum/autos/toyota-camry/TG15KL8FTFJUOVPP6

Also the carpeting in the Camrys is pretty thick and stiff. If you ever had to pull the carpeting up for any reason, the top is likely to be riding higher above the floorboards in a Camry than in most cars making the pedal look lower than it really is.

I have to say that I am not thrilled with the feel of the brakes in our 1999 Camry, but they stop the car and are within spec.

I was afraid that would be the answer. I get ill thinking about taking into the dealer, but if I can’t rent the tools or find a mechanic on the side with the tools, that might be my only resort. Thank you for the info!