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Old 01-28-2010, 09:17   #1 (permalink)
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'03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

I would like to know what acceptable brake pedal travel is. Ignition off is a firm 1", booster on it travels about 3", seems excessive to me.
Car has always stopped poorly, since new, don't remember the travel then.
Ours wagon has 82k miles on it.
It is 4-wheel disc w/ ABS.

Brakes look great, pads & rotors are Premium ceramic ProStop from Pep boys.
I bled all the way around (again), but no help.

If I knew the travel was excessive, I would just put on a new master.

Thanks
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Old 01-28-2010, 14:57   #2 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

How do you know it's 3 inch ? Did you measure it ? I've seen them go 5 inch. 3 inch, if it
is 3 inch, is normal. " Car has always stopped poorly since new ". as compared to what ?
Ceramic pads are incredibaly HARD and requier a PROPER brake in period. You will cut a cheap $40.00 rotor in half before the ceramic pad wares in. I don't like them for regular
home use because you usually need a $100.00 rotor to match the pad. Were your new
rotors turned first before they were installed ? I'll bet my last beer on sunday that your
" Pads and rotors Premium ceramic Pro Stop from Pep Boys" are made in China.
Prime exp. My cost for tie rod ends for my 95 Taurus are $8.45 each. China. or $43.18
each from Ford. Guess which ones i bought ?
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Old 01-28-2010, 18:14   #3 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

The specifics of 1" & 3" stated have been measured.

Someone would have to have been drinking too many beers if driving with a brake pedal travel approaching 1/2 foot!

If I recall correctly, the rotors were Peps best of (3) options, a brand name, although I can't attest to country of origin.
The cheap made in China come in a plain white box.

New pads were mated with new rotors, neither have much wear after 25k miles (cause they aren't working very hard). These rotors weren't from China, so they don't need a turning out of the box, just a good cleaning.

Diminishing returns on increasing pedal pressure is what I base my evaluation on.

Looking for responses from people with similar application and model.
I have read these Taurus' have more than their share of brake woes.

Thanks
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Old 01-28-2010, 19:36   #4 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

Having 3 inch travel is normal with the engine running. That's from the upper stop. Depending on the type of material in the pads, the pedal can feel like you need more pressure to apply. We haven't had any great amount of problems with the Taurus from 91 up. We didn't have the older ones in our fleet.
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Old 01-29-2010, 08:46   #5 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

I don't think I can get my foot between the pedal and the floor when its fully depressed, so I will re-measure the travel. We have the adjustable pedal option, however, which need to be adjusted all the way down to the floor. That aside,the car does not stop adequately, and its not just my opinion.

Are there compatible pads that will respond better on this application?
I agree with the above post that the ceramics are hard, and also perhaps don't generate enough heat to stop.

Thanks
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Old 01-29-2010, 09:27   #6 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

With the car running, stopped, and in park, the pedal will push down against the booster. You can push pretty hard and the pedal will go down quite far. We've had some pickups that you could push the pedal almost to the floor when stopped and when driving, they stop good. With the engine off, the pedal will be hard after a couple of pumps and be up near the top. If you can find another 01-05 Taurus, it doesn't have to be a station wagon, see if the brakes are the same. Not so much pedal travel, but stopping feel. The brake pad material has a lot ot do with stopping feel. The oganic pads wear faster and feel better unless the brakes get hot. Mountain roads, hard braking etc. Some times trying different pads can makes great improvement in the feel of th brakes. The pedal travel doesn't have much to do with stopping the vehicle as long as the system is working properly.
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Old 01-29-2010, 10:37   #7 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

I believe the organic pads are the cheap ones, but may improve the (normal) stopping we are complaining about. I may have to try them. I got semi-metallic to replace with this time if needed, thinking the ceramic wasn't working well, but maybe I'll try the "cheap" ones to compare. There isn't any mountain driving or racing for us.

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Old 01-29-2010, 11:02   #8 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

Let us know how it turns out.
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Old 01-29-2010, 11:46   #9 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

Unless you have a lot of time and know what your looking for i'd suggest you send your car out to a QUAILFIED brake tech. You are describing seized wheel cylinders. If the cylinder doesn't move your brakes don't work properly. They are no problems with the
Taurus brake systems. The only problem is the caliper slide pins and that is not the cars fault. That happens because the brake tech. doesn't clean and lube the assembly. If there is so much as a notch or flat spot in the pin it will turn the caliper sideways and jam up. The pins shoud always be replace in a brake job. They are only $7.00 a pair. They have been known to seize in 6 months. Mine did from sitting. If there are flat spots and grooves cut in the caliper slid surfaces they also should be replaced. If the inside pad is worn more the piston is seized. If the outside pad is worn more the caliper slide is seized. If the wheel is installed with an impact gun there is a very good chance of warping the rotor. I've seen them bend a rim during an install. The GOOD brake parts are made in Mexico. When we did brakes, and the parts were made in the good old U.S.A., we HAD to turn the rotors and drums from new. They were ALWAYS OUT. About 1 to 5 thousands. Parts made in Mexico are perfect ? I don't think so. T.R.W. is made in Mexico. I'm not saying that a D.I.Y.er shouldn't do their own brakes but 80 percent of them will have trouble of some kind after their work. They don't do it all day 5 days a week and don't know what to look for. If they did see it they wouldn't recognize it. Take your time and go very carefully over your entire brake system. There is something wrong. The car didn't come from the factory with bad brakes. How did you bleed your brakes ? that car has to be pressure bleed. If you just changed brake material why did
you bleed the system ? I'm sure you will get it sorted. Just take your time. Good luck.
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Old 01-29-2010, 13:37   #10 (permalink)
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Re: '03 SEL wagon mushy brake?

As I have stated above, this is a (4) wheel disc set-up, so there are no wheel cylinders. They are found on older design drum brakes.

I will check the parts you've outlined when I get the car back and take them apart. I can't recall if I changed the pins or just cleaned them.

The pads did appear even in wear from what I could see, inboard and out, all the way around.

I bled the system trying to get a firmer pedal, but usually do anyway with a brake job to change out the old fluid.
I see I can't bleed the ABS portion without the special computer.

Thanks for the good info.
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