156 Braking problem - Alfa Romeo Forum
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Mike D
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156 Braking problem

[img]smilies/smile.gif[/img] Hi people,
I'm new to this list so I'm not sure if this has been raised before.

I have a 2000 156 Selespeed which has had a problem with the brakes since new. Currently the brakes are completely standard. The problem is thus: On a long journey - 250+ km the brake pedal travel gradually increases and gets a spongy "feel". The pedal can't be pumped and there is no evidence of leaks or brake fluid loss. After leaving the car overnight (so it cools down) the brake pedal travel has returned to normal. This problem has the local Alfa workshop scratching their heads as 1. the problem doesn't manifest itself until 250+ km of continuous driving and they aren't going to do this themselves and 2. there is no brake fluid loss of signs of leakage.

The service dept has now bled the brakes twice and this always returns the brake pedal "feel" and travel to how it should be but after a long trip they are back to their normal soft spongy feel. The performance of the brakes themselves doesn't change i.e. pretty darn good for a 2 litre sedan but the way the pedal "feel" changes doesn't instill much confidence if I want to use the cars performance.

I might add that I don't generally drive the car hard i.e. no demon late braking and I have never experienced brake fade due to overuse of the brakes.

Has anyone got any suggestions as to the cause and cure of this problem?
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It sounds like the Brake fluid is getting v.hot and is causing the brake hoses to expand.
....thus the brake pedal has to be pushed further to gain the same amount of pressure on the cylinder in the calipers.

Changing the fluid to dot 5.1 should stop this from happening as much, as it has a higher boiling point.
Or you could fit braided brake hoses which should not expand as much.

I would raise the first one with the Alfa engineers and see what they think.
HWExtreme is offline  
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Hi Mike, sounds like your rear brakes are binding causing the brake fluid to get too hot. This is sometimes due to adjusting the h/brake too tight, and sometimes to rear pads siezing in the calipers. Ask the dealer to check the rear pads and also check that the h/brake levers on the calipers are returning to their stops, if not they are over adjusted.
Mike D
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An update on this problem. Recently I did a long trip in the car and the brakes would have to be the worst I had experienced. I deliberately arranged to be back in town before the Alfa service dept closed so I could pop in straight off the motorway.

Finally I got the service foreman to agree that yes the brakes do feel spongy with more travel than would be normal. So it was booked in to have the brakes bled - again.

Drop the car in the following week. Spoke to a different technician about the problem and why the car was in the workshop. First thing he does is hop in the car and try the brake pedal - feels normal he says. No wonder I'm going bald, ripping my hair out in frustration. But he humoured me by agreeing to bleed the brakes.

Pick the car up, spoke to the service foreman again. Seems that while bleeding the brakes some air had come out. This was unexpected as there are no signs of leaks or fluid loss. And the brakes now felt wonderful. Still, we'll see what happens after the next long trip. This was done a couple of weeks ago and the brakes have not deteriorated - they still feel good. I'm now keeping my fingers crossed that this problem has finally been resolved. After all it's a wonderful car.

Mike [img]smilies/smile.gif[/img]
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We are glad that you have solved the problem.
If there was air in the system, it would be there all the time, not just on long journeys. I hope that you dont have the problem again, but if I was you, I would be expect it to show its self again soon.
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