1999 Honda Accord Coupe - excessive brake travel


I have a 1999 Honda Accord Coupe (V6) with 180,000 miles on it. I noticed that my brake was travelling a bit too far when I pressed on it. When I pumped it once, it would be OK, but then again the next time, it travelled too far.

I took it to a mechanic, and so far they have:

1. Changed the tie-rods.

2. Changed the front rotor and pads.

3. Changed the rear pads.

The problem still remains. Now they are suggesting that it might be a problem with the Master Cylinder. I have already spent close to $1000 on this and am at my wit’s end.

Help please!!

Now change shops. Yours is a classic symptom of air in the system, a simple need-to-bleed. Pumping compresses the air and the pedal firms up. These guys are playing at your expense.

You may have really needed the other stuff. But they’re not the cause of your symptoms.

Well, this is not air in the system as mountianbike posted since air does not get in unless there is a leak and if there were a leak bleeding it out would be impossible since air would come right back in. What you do have (most likely) is a master cylinder that is leaking past the seals internally. It’s a leak but internal so you cannot see it and not air is involved, it’s leaking past the seals internally. Press the pedal and it falls, press again and it pumps up. Hold down on the pedal firm but not real hard. It should slowly begin to fall to the floor. That is the way to tell if it is a m/cyl. Also look under the m/cyl where it meetes the booster. Do see a little moisture? if so that is also a leaking m/cyl. but external.
Mountianbike is correct, change shops now!!! After you confront them about there non repair. They were either playing you or there head is up there butt and should be employed as the clean up crew at the shop.

“Well, this is not air in the system as mountianbike posted since air does not get in unless there is a leak…”

There are other ways air can get into the system. However I would also guess the master cylinder.

BTW I hope the mechanic did not suggest the tie rods were going to fix the brakes!

Please post your reasoning how air can be introduced into a brake system without a leak.

Usually it gets there from improper brake work. When the caliper piston is pushed back the pee bottle and bleeder tube isn’t properly used, some don’t put fluid in the bottle…they think it’s only purpose is to catch bled fluid…and air gets drawn back in.

I suggested air rather than the MC because normally pumping won’t firm up a bad MC. Normally the pedal will sink if pressure is held on it, exactly as you described.

Anyway, he needs to get to a good shop and have it looked at. His current shop clearly isn’t doing the job.

Unfortunetly this problem has nothing to do with your tie-rod ends. If you had all three things done at the same shop, I would never go back to that shop. It is just as easy for a mechanic to drive the car after he works on it and finds out (As you have) that the brakes are still bad after his work. I disagree with the “Air in the system” diagnoses. If the mechanic only changed the rotors and pads he had no reason to disrupt the brake lines. The mechanic didn’t have to open the brake lines, so air could not have gotten into the system unless it was purposely done. The original symptoms incidate that the master cylinder was the only problem and remains the problem. After this master cylinder is replaced - then the mechanic will have introduced air into the sealed brake system. Do yourself a favor and never use corner/convenience, chain shops. Their overhead will always be high and they will always adjust the overhead by wages: they’ll hire anyone who can turn a wrench.

Did not know that, I have never used the bottle to bleed brakes. I normally remove the m/cyl lid and compress the piston w/o opening any bleeders. No air is introduced and, no, it is not harmful to the m/cyl seals. That’s ok. Different techniques for different folks.

For those reading along, it’s important to put brake fluid in the bottle and hang the bottle near the bleeder valve such that the outside end of the tube is immersed in the fluid. When the piston is pushed back, the air in the tube burps out of the fluid in the bottle. Any contraction of the piston then pulls pure fluid back into the cylinder rather than allowing air to enter.

Bleeding is recommended on ABS systems to prevent the possibility of any contamination from being forced back into the system, and preferred by some to blow out any contamination in the wheel cylinder and draw some fresh fluid back in.

I used to work at the small chain repair stores as Beefy has described. Thier idea of training often is a factory rep or most often a sales rep talking about the product for 45 minutes, buying pizza and soda and then leaving. But not before he gives everyone a cardboard plaque that states he complted training on this. If he has any left over that will go to the vendor that services the Pepsi machine.