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Discussion Starter #1
I have just returned home from picking the wife up. During the journey I had to make an emergency stop as a dog ran out into the road. I managed to stop, but following this the brake pedal never responded in its normal manner, it is nearly at the floor, but still functioning (barely).

I tried to cut engine and restart thinking it may have reset the pedal, but no. I tried pumping the pedal with the engine on, this makes little or no difference, just a spongy feeling in the pedal and an (airy!) noise coming from the footwell.

Any ideas on what could be the problem and what is needed to retify the problem would be appreciated.

Thanks
 

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Have you checked the brake fluid?

and when was it last replaced?
 

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Maybe half of the dual circuit has stopped working. Perhaps the hard braking has burst a flexi pipe. Like David said, check the fluid level.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Put some fluid in, about 250-300ml. So far no great difference to the pedal, will check the fluid level again in the morning to acertain if I have a leak.
 

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Adding more fluid won't make it better. The fact that you needed to put so much in indicates (to me anyhow)you have a huge leak somwehere.
 

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Yes I expect you have a failed brake line. The emergency stop pushed it over the edge.
 

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Check the brake pipes just where they connect to the calipers.. You'll have to take the wheels off, peer through the spokes or get your head under the wheel arch to get a good look.

Alfa brake pipes (maybe not all..) have a plastic sheath to help protect the pipes but at the caliper it stops a few cm short (so that they can slide the pipe nut away from the end of the pipe before they flare the end).

That bit of exposed pipe gets shot-blasted to buggeration (inside the wheel arch, as it is) so whatever protection it has gets worn off and the pipe corrodes. If it gets too bad, it could burst (if the MoT man doesn't spot it first).

Also... check where the pipes to the front brakes pass from the engine bay into wheel-arch.. They're clipped in around here but if they pop out of the clip, they could touch the lower edge of the inner wheel arch and rub.. again eventually wearing through the metal of the pipe.

Also... at the same place.. if the pipe has been popped out of the clip for any reason, quite often the paint/plastic coating covering the pipe becomes chipped, as the clip is a one-way job and matey mechanic probably uses a screwdriver to force the pipe out rather than pressing the clip tangs out the way.. That exposed metal, sits back in the clip and water/spray sits in there between the clip and the pipe... causing the pipe to corrode. I've heard of one other '56 with pipe corrosion around the inner wing.

But any leak should be visible.


The good news is that your brake fluid level could have just been low (it drops as the pads wear) and you just pushed a load of air into the brakes.

If you can't find a leak and your pads are looking a bit shabby... stick new pads on there and get the brakes fully bled.. Job done.

Also have a peek at the clutch slave.. If that's weeping fluid (it uses the brake fluid reservoir) then that might explain why the brake fluid level dropped... In this case you need to put a new clutch slave cylinder on there .. but then you also still need to bleed the brakes.

Ralf S.
 

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Also have a peek at the clutch slave.. If that's weeping fluid (it uses the brake fluid reservoir) then that might explain why the brake fluid level dropped... In this case you need to put a new clutch slave cylinder on there .. but then you also still need to bleed the brakes.
Unfortunately changing the clutch slave is a big job on a 156 TS because it is part of the release bearing, so a gearbox off job.

As for a pipe failing, a common area is when looking from the wheelarch the pipe curves up behind the chassis rail to an area you can't see at all. There is a retaining clip there and it seems the protective coating of the pipe is removed so it can fit in the clip...... so the pipe rusts there. Unlikely to get noticed during an MOT, because you can't see it!!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Just inspected and all fluid put in last night all but gone, took front passenger side wheel off, no evidence of leak, just about to take drivers front wheel off and noticed large pool of fluid and staining on the inside of the wheel arch. Took to local garage and they have quoted me about £50 for replacement pipe and or hose if required. Its getting to bother me now have had to spend quite a bit in the last year and the cars value doesn't match up with what I have spent, but I bloody love this car. Thanks again for all the advice and tactics, if there is any further problems, you may not hear about it as the car will be scrapped and I will be heartbroken.
 
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