P205 Brake master cylinder issue?
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Thread: P205 Brake master cylinder issue?

  1. #1
    Fellow Frogger! rtsnoz's Avatar
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    Default P205 Brake master cylinder issue?

    Arriving somewhere this morning I noticed the brakes on my 205 seemed to be dragging but was in a rush so left the car without looking at it. When I came back, the car was rolling fine, so drove home (15ish minute drive), and as I was getting close to home the brakes started to definitely dragging again. By the time I was home I could still drive easily enough, but they were definitely holding back.

    When I got home, I jacked it up at the front, and I couldn't turn either wheel by hand. I didn't check the rear, but given that the two fronts were both showing the same issue, I think that shows the master cylinder is at fault, rather than an individual calliper?

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    specs are: 306 callipers and disks w 22.2mm 306 master cylinder (fitted new in 2013).

    I'm assuming a replacement master cylinder is the solution? Seems like a pain in the ass to swap over, so thought I'd ask if anyone thought there's anything else I should check first? Any tips? Last time I did this was with all new components and no engine in the way.

    Agree? Disagree? Thanks!

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    1000+ Posts BIGRR's Avatar
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    Over filled reservoir?, brakes require bleeding?, strip master cylinder?. Just thoughts
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    Default P205 Brake master cylinder issue?

    Quote Originally Posted by BIGRR View Post
    Over filled reservoir?, brakes require bleeding?, strip master cylinder?. Just thoughts
    Level fine.

    I think air in the system would cause spongyness rather than an extra hard pedal (sorry, should have mentioned the hard pedal)?

    Stripping master cylinder is definitely an option, I just donít really know what is involved...

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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    Do you drive the car regularly?

    A new master cylinder 4 years old shouldn't have any problems.

    Sounds like your car is fine until the rotors warm up enough to expand at which point the front callipers should open up a bit to compensate, but they don't.

    That can be because of stuck callipers or internally collapsed hoses.

    To check the hoses, try to open up the bleed screws and let the fluid drain out (use hoses on the bleed screws and a receiver jar with fluid above the hoses so you don't get air in the system). If fluid doesn't come out on its own by gravity alone (take the MC reservoir cap off), your hoses might be blocked. The test is not 100% sure, though. If your brakes work fine though for the first 15 minutes, it is not very likely there is anything wrong with the hoses.

    If the hoses are okay, to check the callipers try this. Take a front wheel off and try to push the calliper back beyond the service position to see if there is any problem. I suspect there may be something that prevents them going back past a certain point (where they spend most of their time) especially if the car is not regularly driven. Then put something in the calliper to simulate the disc and step on the brake. If the calliper clamps well and retracts fine, it is not the callipers or the hoses.

    If you find problems, try flushing the front circuit maybe there is some crud that needs to come out. Use fresh fluid and some pressure above the fluid in the reservoir (I use a sacrificed cap with a hose connected to the front wheel). Fluid should come out very quickly, so keep an eye on the reservoir level (I crack open the bleed screw a bit, check flow, if it's good, I close it after a couple of seconds and replenish the reservoir, do that a few times per side until clean fluid is coming out). If after that problems persist, I would take the callipers off and give them a proper wash and inspect seals and pistons.


    All these tests are done cold, and the disc is out of the equation, so heat is not a factor. You will need to test the car after each step to see if the symptoms still exist in normal driving conditions when things heat up.

    If that still doesn't cure the problem, then you might have a dodgy MC. That is a nasty thing and the main problem is to bleed the MC properly, but worry about that when you get there. From memory, when I converted my car to 306 front brakes, I looked at the new MC and it didn't look like you could take it apart that easily. It was a bastard to bleed as well, I had to do it on the bench after a few failed attempts to do it in the car.
    Last edited by schlitzaugen; 6th October 2017 at 02:49 PM.
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    Ten to one you have a blocked M/C compensating port. There's two ports in a M/C visible after reservoir removal. Back one is the compensating, a blocked port will give exact symptoms you describe. Sometimes using care, the small hole can be successfully cleaned out in situ. Stay lucky.
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    1000+ Posts schlitzaugen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by shanadoo View Post
    Ten to one you have a blocked M/C compensating port. There's two ports in a M/C visible after reservoir removal. Back one is the compensating, a blocked port will give exact symptoms you describe. Sometimes using care, the small hole can be successfully cleaned out in situ. Stay lucky.

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    PDJ
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    Sounds like a good excuse to fit a 406 Master for extra feel.
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    Thanks for all the suggestions. I like the sound of your thought Shanadoo.

    I was thinking I'd try bleeding the system a bunch to move some fluid through and create some movement within the master cylinder. Now, I think I'll start by removing the reservoir and seeing if I can clean out the port you have mentioned and then give the whole lot a good bleed.

    PDJ - Pretty happy with the feel from the 22.2 master cylinder - so don't have any desire to swap to a larger one.

    Schlitz - I agree the master cylinder shouldn't be having any issues, but it seems very unlikely the two front callipers/hoses would fail together. I'll let you know how I go.

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    A pretty decent bleed seems to have freed something up - so for the moment, is braking perfectly. Hopefully it doesnít return. 🤞

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