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Thread: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

  1. #1
    Junior Member Dkdrmr is a jewel in the rough Dkdrmr's Avatar
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    Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    I did a search and didn't find anything that fit these symptoms.

    82 diesel 5 speed

    When I start the car the brakes seem fine. They stiffen up about 1/3 to 1/2 down as you brake harder.

    Then I will cruise to the next stop and they go to the floor... I let up for a sec or two and then they will go back to "normal". Sometimes they will go to the floor a few times and then stiffen back up.

    I want to teach the wife how to drive a stick, but can't really rely on the brakes as they are.

    I checked the brake fluid level and it is full. (maybe too full.... it was at the top of the neck of the brake reservoir)

    I won't be able to fix it for about a month. So I am just wanting to know what should I look at first, or should I just start to save money to replace the master cylinder and booster.

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  3. #2
    Super Moderator briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    Do you r center vents move from full frontal to defrost on their own without having to move a lever. Place the slide lever in full front as you drive. If it dosen't divert or doesn't go full frontal that is what we want to know.

    If you answered yes then you have a vacuum pump issue or a vac leak on the brake booster.
    If the vent can divert and stays, then you have a master cylinder problem.
    What do Divorces, Great Coffee and Cars all have in common?
    They all Start with good GROUNDS.
    Replace all of them that you can, 99 percent of flakiness will disappear.


    92, 93 Cabriolet.... 89, and 90 are Deceased.


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    Senior Member CarlosA has a brilliant future CarlosA has a brilliant future CarlosA's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    Do the brakes vanish or get harder? If they get harder and seem like they aren`t working, the diaphragm style (if you have this) vacuum pump needs a rebuild, or replaced with a vane style pump.

    I had an issue with my brakes vanishing completely, and eventually died without returning, I found a broken brake line under the drivers side carpet, it had rusted through.

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    Junior Member Dkdrmr is a jewel in the rough Dkdrmr's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    I'm sorry Brian but I am a bit lost on what you are asking.

    I did experiment with the car tonight. When I press on the brakes hard, like in an emergency, the brakes work just fine.

    When I slowly press the brakes they go almost all the way to the floor and when I get to a stop it goes all the way to the floor. hope this helps.

  6. #5
    Super Moderator briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234 has a reputation beyond repute briano1234's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    It may be that your booster isn't getting vacuum.
    To verify that your vacuum pump is working
    Start the car, and move the heat selector to full front. Does the air flow out the front?
    no, bad vacuum pump.
    rev the car does it still stay full front (center vent)? No, bad vacuum pump.
    If it does stay full front, then bad master cylinder.
    What do Divorces, Great Coffee and Cars all have in common?
    They all Start with good GROUNDS.
    Replace all of them that you can, 99 percent of flakiness will disappear.


    92, 93 Cabriolet.... 89, and 90 are Deceased.


  7. #6
    Junior Member thequicksilver03 is a jewel in the rough thequicksilver03's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    My brake peddle is overly firm. And my brakes are weak. I've been told I may need to rebuild my vacuum pump. Let us know what you find out.

  8. #7
    Junior Member Dkdrmr is a jewel in the rough Dkdrmr's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    Quote Originally Posted by briano1234 View Post
    It may be that your booster isn't getting vacuum.
    To verify that your vacuum pump is working
    Start the car, and move the heat selector to full front. Does the air flow out the front?
    no, bad vacuum pump.
    rev the car does it still stay full front (center vent)? No, bad vacuum pump.
    If it does stay full front, then bad master cylinder.
    Yeah... I need to replace my whole heat console... it is stuck.... but I can get the heat to turn on and it blows out really descent around town... on the highway... it cools off.

    My poor car needs a total overhaul.... They need a show called pimp my vw... I vote that brian be the head of the team. :D

    where would I go to get these parts and are they difficult to replace?
    Last edited by Dkdrmr; 06-11-2012 at 10:53 AM.

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    Junior Member Dkdrmr is a jewel in the rough Dkdrmr's Avatar
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    Re: Brakes, then no brakes, then brakes again

    So trying what Brian suggested I found out that it stays full front on the heater... so I guess it is a master cylinder... oh joy

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