Brake pedal soft after rear caliper replacement. Brake light now on! - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 04-10-2011, 07:21 PM Thread Starter
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Brake pedal soft. Looking for trouble shooting advise/suggestions...

This is a long story, but I am trying to give all the facts so everyone understands my problem.

I had the right rear caliper stick on me and so I purchased all new rear rotors, pads, and calipers. I have 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. I did the install and couldn’t get air out of one of the calipers. After reading here on powerstroke I figured out that the auto parts store sold me a left and a right caliper. Well on my truck I need two right calipers so that the bleeder is on top of the caliper. The left caliper they told me I needed had the bleeder on the bottom and there was no way to get the air out.

Ok so I put the new correct caliper on and the brake pedal is still soft, but better than before. I bleed them again with the same results. The brakes work ok, but I don’t have that hard confident feeling pedal like I did before. If I push real hard on the brakes the pedal goes down ½ way down and then I can continue to apply pressure and the pedal goes to the floor. So I drove the truck for a couple of days and re-bleed the system 2 times to try and get the air out. I even bleed the front brake calipers too. So I have now gone through 2 huge cans of brake fluid and now the brake light is on. Not the ABS light, but the brake light. The brake light came on a week after I did the brakes. Now the light is always on and the reservoir is full.

Can someone please help me figure this out? I have done the old style pump the pedal and hold down and release the bleeder and just opened the bleeders and let them drain for an hour. I have even tried to lock up the wheels and get the ABS working and still no luck. How do you get the air out of the system? This is driving me crazy! Thanks

I want my firm brakes back and the brake warning light off what am I doing wrong?

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post #2 of 14 Old 04-10-2011, 08:01 PM
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You opened the bleeders and let them drain?? That probably let a whole bunch of air in the system... You need to get a friend to help you bleed the brakes. Have them pump the brakes, while you work the bleeder valves. Start with the wheel furthest from the master cylinder (right rear) and work your way closer. I don't want to sound like a dick, but it sounds like you don't know how to properly bleed brakes. Might want to ask somebody who knows what they're doing...

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post #3 of 14 Old 04-10-2011, 08:05 PM
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Get a glass jar . Fill it with brake fluid . Run a piece of rubber hose from the bleeder into the glass jar . Open the bleeder (make sure the master cyl. is full and capped . Pump the brakes slowly until no more air bubbles appear . Do the other side too .

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post #4 of 14 Old 04-11-2011, 06:32 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah I did the buddie system pumping the brakes 3 differnent times and the gravity drain by just loosening the bleeders. The gravity drain process works great (most of the time) no pumping, but just keep the resoviour full. Anyways, both didn't work. I think I have an air bubble trapped up stream.

After doing some more internet research I am going to go out and buy a vacumm bleeder and try and pull the fluid out and tap the calipers with a hammer to break loose any air bubbles trapped inside. If I ask my wife to bleed these brakes one more time she's going to lock me out of the house. She says her legs hurt from pumping so hard. Ha Ha

I have bleed brakes before several times, rebuilt motors, swapped motors, fuel pumps, etc... Very capable of wrenching... This one is just giving me a real hard time for some reason and I thought there might be a trick to do it properly other than the normal pump the brakes or the gravity drain.

Thanks for the feedback I will let you guys know what happens. I need to go out and buy some more brake fluid.
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post #5 of 14 Old 04-11-2011, 07:29 PM
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Use the bottle and hose reutine.. those damn vacuum bleeders are garabge! we have 2 good ones at work and cause nothing but issues, the bottle and hose work 100% and ive never had an issues with it. you can also gravity bleed with the bottle.

The object of the bottle is to let the air and fluid exit the hose into brake fluid in the bottom of the bottle, the air rises and when you let the pedal go back to rest position if it draws in through the bleeder its fluid and not air, thus making it bullet proof for bleeding. It seriously works amazing, this is what id be doing!

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post #6 of 14 Old 04-12-2011, 05:35 PM Thread Starter
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Well I did the hose and jar trick and no luck. Went through 2 quarts of brake fluid with no pedal softness change and the brake light is still on.

I give up and am going to take it to a shop. They can do an ABS brake bleed with a computer and will charge me $100 bucks. The ABS bleed opens all the valves in the ABS manifold and will allow any trapped air inside to be released.

What I believe happened is when the auto parts store sold me the wrong caliper in the beginning and I tried to bleed the system I got no air bubbles from the left side. I then drove the truck for a little while with a soft pedal and I think that trapped air got up to the ABS mainfold. I did get the right "right" caliper on the next day, but during that time the air must of worked it way up to a spot where the normal bleeding process won't work.

This sucks... I'll let you guys know what happens.
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post #7 of 14 Old 04-12-2011, 05:40 PM
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Our trucks have ABS bleed...hmm.. ill have to check that out, it doesnt usually open them the ABS acutator actually actuates and flushed fluid through the lines its self, on our toyotas the computer doesn each line at a time and you just follow the directions..im suprised ours have it..im hooking my computer up to my truck tomorrow lol

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post #8 of 14 Old 04-19-2011, 12:47 AM
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I replaced my right rear caliper and hooked it up to my Solus Scanner to auto bleed brakes..(If u have hydroboost this is how to do it).
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-09-2012, 06:57 PM
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"I had the right rear caliper stick on me and so I purchased all new rear rotors, pads, and calipers. I have 4 wheel disc brakes with ABS. I did the install and couldn’t get air out of one of the calipers. After reading here on powerstroke I figured out that the auto parts store sold me a left and a right caliper. Well on my truck I need two right calipers so that the bleeder is on top of the caliper. The left caliper they told me I needed had the bleeder on the bottom and there was no way to get the air out."



I had the same problem. I know this is an old post, but I just wanted to tell my story if it helps someone seeing this in the future. I have a 2002 F-250. The right rear caliper started hanging up a month ago and I changed it, bled it and no problem. Last week the left rear caliper started to hang up. I was given another right side caliper to put on the left side........by accident. This is wrong. The right and left side are two different part numbers. The bleeder MUST be on top for both sides. You will never be able to bleed it if it's on the bottom. I went back and got the correct left caliper. Bled it as usual. No more brake fade due to the air pocket stuck in the caliper. Hope this helps somebody some day. I wasted a week trying to figure it out. Don't always trust the parts guys. Most are pretty good, but I found one that was pretty green. I actually should have caught it myself. Oh well, live and learn.
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post #10 of 14 Old 01-13-2016, 07:20 PM Thread Starter
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I wrote this original post about 5 years ago… Since I wrote this I have simply just accepted that my brakes just don’t work like they used to. I tried bleeding the brakes with the bottle and hose trick (my favorite by the way), buddy system, gravity bleed, etc…

Well I have had some emergency panic brake stops in the past couple of weeks where I thought some people were going to die including myself.
My brakes suck bigtime… Pedal goes to the floor in a panic stop… They used to work wonderful before I swapped out the rear brake caliper due to it locking up. Since then I replaced all the rubber hoses, calipers, and rotors (front & rear). I’ve tried to bleed them again with no luck and still have the soft spongy pedal.

Well I have taken the truck to 2 different service shops and the ford dealer and $450 later I still have the same soft spongy brakes with no difference what so ever.

I am at a loss here and don’t know what to do next. The Ford dealer said I have to replace all 4 calipers, brake hoses, & rotors and I all ready know that is a bunch of BS. I asked the Ford dealer to bleed the brakes using the ABS computer bleed that opens the valves on the ABS manifold as someone else on the forum suggested… No difference…

I thought by taking the truck to the auto service shops and Ford dealer they would at least fix the truck. Throwing money at it isn’t fixing anything… Please does anyone have any other suggestions, experience, or professional advise on how to trouble shoot this issue? I am getting ready to put a for sale sign on her cause I don’t feel comfortable driving it anymore. Need Help!!

Hydroboost, Power Steering Pump, Brake Manifold… Where do I start?

Thanks in advance.
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