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Discussion Starter #1
I just replaced the front brake pads on our '96 Concorde. Before taking the test drive, I pumped the pedal a few times to establish pressure to the caliper's pistons. Hmmmm, never felt the pressure build. Things are worse than prior to the new pads. Soft pedal ... way, way soft.

Would I now have a bleeding issue? Will this be my next chore? Just curious. I don't understand how this could have occurred ... but, it appears air may now be in the brake lines.

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. I thank you in advance for any replies.
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Peva...thank you for responding. Sorry for the delay, actually I wasn't 100% positive. My wife had to encourage me to look at the dash warning lights [like it said in the manual, duh!]. Anyway, the amber light appears for about a second when turning the key to on. I bet this is going to complicate things, isn't it? The answer to your question is YES!
 

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Seal in the Master Cylinder crapped out? Leaking into the Brake Booster now?

Try bleeding the Brakes first.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Ronbo...thank you!

Can't imagine how either of those would have crapped out... when all I did was pull off the calibers and replace new pads...but??? I'm always reminded of the old saying, "no good deed goes unpunished." After Peva's reply I was a bit leery about proceeding with a normal brake bleed...having ABS brakes. This whole silly thing started after we took it to our local auto shop for a front end alignment, prior to purchasing new tires. He mentioned that the pads needed replacing and quoted me a ridiculous price [at the time I thought it was a bit steep, now I may be regretting my decision.]

I've replaced pads on other non-ABS vehicles and was not expecting any loss of pressure [after first pumping the brakes several times after new pads. Anyway, is it your opinion that I can proceed with bleeding the brakes as if it was not ABS equipped? Eeeek!
 

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Did you check the Brake Fluid level in the Master Cylinder before the pad change? What's the fluid level now?

You really don't have much choice on bleeding the brakes. The ABS pump needs to be activated and cycled to supposedly do it as the Factory recommends. Seeing as you have a 1st gen LH car you would have to go to the dealer for that or a shop that has a scan tool that can do it.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Ronbo....thanks again.

Could it be possible, while pushing the piston in with a c-clamp to enable space for the new pad, damage resulted? So confused? I thought the only reason to bleed brakes was after a leak was fixed or just replacing fluid. I never let the caliber hang during the process...I was careful beyond words. Okay...now I'm just typing in frustration. Can you tell I hate to pay mechanics to do something that I "might" be able to do?

I did not check any fluid levels prior to replacing the pads. After, and prior to starting car, I did check the level in the reservoir...it was full. Once the pads are replaced, shouldn't pressure be back to normal [or actually greater] after just a few pumps? Hmmmm...what is a "few" pumps? Would it be greater due to having an ABS system? I felt pumping the pedal maybe 10 times should have done the trick. I actually took it for a short drive around our property...lots of pumping and lots of sloshy pedal to the floor feeling.

Sorry for the ranting...but, I am sure any "part time home mechanic" has felt an equal amount of frustration.

Thanks again Ronbo for your reply. Jim
 

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If one of the seals in the Master Cylinder has deteriorated then that may be the source of your issue. Not saying it is but it's a possibility. Blow by on one of the piston seals or even a leak at the back seal into the Brake Booster.

If there's no loss of fluid it could still be a bad seal. Again it won't hurt to try bleeding the brake lines.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thank you Ronbo...so nice to have this forum available. I won't be able to work on it again for a couple weeks...but, upon our return we'll give bleeding a try. Sure would be nice to have a shop hydraulic hoist to get the whole thing up in the air. But, if we had that kind of money I wouldn't be in this predicament...I would have told the mechanic to go ahead and replace "everything!"

Thanks again for all of your replies,
Jim
 

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I did my brakes pretty much same as you, OP. Just compressed the caliper piston with a brake tool and put the new pads in. Though I did unscrew the cap on master cylinder reservoir before compressing them. My pedal firmed up fine. My car also has ABS but the ABS light has been on for 12 years, never cared about it.

Air shouldn't have got into the system just by compressing the pistons. Bleeding brakes is pretty easy so I'd start there. If that doesn't fix it and there are no leaks, I'd look at the master cylinder.
 

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I remember from the past some discussions about this happening frequently when pads were replaced. Didn’t make sense to me because all you’re doing is pushing fluid backwards in the system into the master cylinder. But if memory serves, Bob (FireM) explained that over time, moisture accumulates in the system, and with it being heavier than brake fluid, water and any rust or other trash sinks to the lowest part of the system - IOW, the calipers. When you push the pistons in with new pads, all that moisture and crap gets blown back up the system and can cause problems (how I’m not exactly sure - maybe in the master cylinder). And that’s why Bob always said to open the bleeders when pushing the caliper pistons back in - to get the junk out *there* rather than push it back up the system where it can cause problems.

Also, sometimes you can “fix” things like that by activating the ABS system to get any trapped air out of the ABS loop. I had read of that, and dang if one time I replaced my pads and had squishy brakes afterwards, and normal bleeding didn’t help. The next morning, on the way to work, I had to do an ABS-activating panic stop when I was late seeing a school bus stopped in front of me. For whatever reason, my brakes were solid after that.

You can activate the ABS less drastically by slamming on the brakes on ice/snow or gravel. Might be worth a try. I know some people have tried that and it worked, and others tried it and it didn’t accomplish anything. Might depend on exactly what the cause of the soft pedal is. If it’s a bolus of air trapped somewhere, it could be simply that the induced shock to the system dislodged the air and it bubbled up into the master cylinder reservoir.

Sorry for the rambling. Just some things that might help.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Cody...thank you for the reply. Afterward, while I checked the level in the reservoir, I was pissed that I didn't open the cap prior to pushing the piston in. Not sure if that would have helped, but next time for sure. Thanks again for sharing your experience. I can't work on it for a couple weeks now, RV trip. However, I will definitely post the results when I get it fixed...one way, or another!
Jim
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Peva...thank you. AND...thanks for rambling. This forum is a great place for sharing issues with these cars...and boy, does it help. I will share what I find to be the culprit...but it will have to wait for us to return from an RV trip. Thank you again. Jim
 

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You’re welcome. Have a good trip.

You may inadvertently fix it in messing around with it and never be sure what the exact problem was.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Returned from our little RV trip today...and quickly returned to troubleshooting [it was driving me nuts all week]. Anyway, grabbed the jack and impact wrench and bled all the brakes in the proper order. Yikes...air bubbles in all calipers...lots and lots in both passenger side wheels.

Once completed, I hopped in the car [pumped the brakes a few times with great response] and drove away. Brakes working great. No clue why replacing the pads introduced air in the lines...but, it did. All is good again.

Thank you all for your support.
 

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Possibly blew a seal in the master cylinder due to not removing the cap when compressing the calipers? Glad they're working good now but always remove the cap.
 
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