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Mushy brake pedal, sticking calipers -- fixed by replacing brake hoses

98 Corolla, 346K original miles
Notice uneven hot rotors and mushy brake pedal. No problem – time for a brake overhaul. Replaced rotors, pads, calipers (front original), drums + shoes in the rear, bled all lines with fresh DOT3-- still sticky calipers (esp on driver side) and mushy pedal. Thinking defective new calipers, replace again – same. What could this be?

Front rubber brake hoses look fine (never clamped during all DIY brake work), but decided to swap these before considering replacing the master cylinder. Messy job. Bled the front lines. What a difference!

Solid pedal, firm easy stops. The low brake pedal is also fixed – the degradation over 19 years has been so subtle that I did not even notice that the pedal was low. Apparently internal rubber deterioration was closing the ID of the rubber hose and restricting flow, especially in the unloaded low pressure direction (released pedal). Dragging pads gone – can actually feel better off the line acceleration. Slight increase in gas mileage.

Lesson: replace the caliper brake hoses regularly


20 yr old car. 346k miles? you got your money out of this thing. i agree that replacing a hose to fix a problem is good. i did it. but replacing them regularly? i think replacing them ONCE will get you thru life. are you saying that you might have to replace them again?

Had to replace all 5 of the rubber hoses on my Chevy truck by 100K and 9 years. 3 of 5 became check valves and I can take a hint with the other 2.

A car this old with that many miles… check the metal brake pipes, as well, for rust. That was the next failure point on my truck at 120K.

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Thinking perhaps every 5 years or so. Hopefully this Corolla will make it another five! Original engine, original tranny – still gets 33 on the highway.

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You got your money’s worth! Corolla are extremely reliable

Kudos for driving that far without major problems! The longest lasting Corolla I ever rode in was a taxi in Malaysia which had gone 1.4 MILLION kilometers without an overhaul of its diesel engine and no transmission work.

The work you did was warranted, but that repair should be done on an AS NEEDED basis rather than a mileage.

As a maintenance consultant to industry I advocate Time- based maintenance based on know history of deterioration, such as oil changes, Other work is called “condition-based maintenance” which is based on inspection of that component. Brakes are a typical example since driving style and environment largely determine the interval.

Other types of maintenance are “condition monitoring” where the health of the equipment such as expensive turbines and aircraft engines is monitored on an ongoing basis.

If all airline maintenance was time and mileage based, the maintenance costs would likely be double. The airline industry uses Reliability centered maintenance and has extended the maintenance intervals considerably since the days of piston engined aircraft.


For a Corolla, this is hardly getting started, it’s still in the break-in phase … :wink:

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Correct me if I’m wrong, but OP has way more miles on his Corolla than you do

So I’d say he really did get his money’s worth

You’ll need to drive like Irv Gordon, if you want to catch up to OP’s 346k miles :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

You say po-tay-to, I say po-tah-to … :wink:

Get going, you have some catching up to do :smiley_cat:

Irv Gorden?? Is that Jeff or Robbie Gordon’s cousin?

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He’s not related to either, as far as I know

He’s a guy who’s been driving a Volvo P1800 for just over 50 years, racking up over 3 million miles so far

Oh, yeah, I’ve read about that guy. didn’t know his name though.

Mustangman - Maybe I am just being dense (not the first time ) but where is the 5th rubber brake hose on your truck?

Could this be it . . . ?

left front brake hose
right front brake hose
brake hose going to the “splitter” which sits just above the rear diff
left rear brake hose
right rear brake hose

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Many times it is not the caliper that is sticking, but the sliders.
I did a set recently that I had to use the impact hammer to drive the sliders out. The grease in them just got so sticky and dry that they were not sliding anymore.


I think I’ve only replaced a couple of brake hoses in my life. Maybe that’s been the cause of some braking degradation over the years though. Sure something to keep in mind, I suppose especially if you have everything opened up to replace a caliper.

Years ago I had a 1988 Olds Ciera. It started pulling to the left. When I stopped the front left caliper was very hot. The pads were wearing too fast. Replaced the hose and the problem disappeared. A couple of years ago I was planning a brake job on my '99 Monte Carlo (220,000 mi). I decided to replace all 4 hoses before symptoms showed up. So it does happen, something that many mechanics don’t think about when they’re diagnosing a brake problem.

And @db4690 is the winner! Solid axle rear with a center hose and one on each corner. The center one is a BEAR to get to because it was installed from above before the body went on.

The truck has a 3 channel ABS unit that makes that possible.

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had a front line break while going through an intersection the lord was with me I slowed the 69 dodge dart down with the emergency brake and going into neutral had both front line and rear one line replaced no trouble until sold car with 200K on it. Lord with me again on a 2001 Hyundai sonata backing out of driveway , the meatal line let go right in the driveway , replaced the line the other side went a week later , junked car with 148K on it…
and a lesson to be learned have those lines checked at 100K even if the mechanic fibs to you and says you need to replace them he’s not knowing he is doing you a big favor.Thank God.figureli twin  look alike