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Discussion Starter #1
I tried to flush out the brake lines on for the first time in my two years owning the car. When I open the reservoir I notived some green goop on the diaphram, the filter, and the top of the reservoir. I took it off the diaphram and filter, it was sticky. After seeing the new brake fluid, I realized that mine was old, it was a brown/honey color. Car is an 03 so maybe the previous owner never changed it.

First time using a vacuum pump and my first and second attemp just let air into the lines. I went to the old two person method. First try I got air, second I got some fluid. I tried about 3-4 times and just got air.

At that point my brakes were spongy and there was an obvious difference. I got an exerience guy to help me and he told me I needed a new master cylinder. Only one of the brake circuits was working leaving me with no brakes on the front left and rear right. He also told me that I may have had some fluid contamination bacause the diaphram on the reservoir seems to be expanded (I don't know what a new one looks like so it might be normal, I'll try to get a new one on Monday).

Could anyone tell me what caused the failure. Was it the air I let I the system? Could some of that green goop have gotten in? Did I pump the pedal too deep killing the seal in the MC (would that kill all brakes or just two)? I got the MC replaced and it now works better than before (pedal doesn't have to travel so much to stop the car). I wanted to bring this up to prevent this from happening to others! <-- ie it killed my weekend and left me $150 poorer.

Any input helps!
 

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Well, I am not sure were to start.
My feeling is that if you would have left your brakes alone that they would have been fine for a awhile. I would feel better if you took it in to a garage, and have them look at it. Just want to state that. first.

Sounds like you blew out the master changing the fluid, maybe to much vacuum, maybe too much movement in the pedal and you caught a burr or rough spot in the master. Its hard say for sure, the master has two seals inside for the two circuits which cross the wheels as you have experienced. Front to opposite side rear, so you lost one circuit. My advice to others if you think you need to change your brake fluid, just because, you might reconsider.
My personal feeling with brake fluid is that leave well enough alone, don't add it unless the light comes on, and don't flush it out. If you add it its hard to tell the wear on your brakes, I realy hate places that add fluid as a service only screws you when change the pads out, and it makes a mess too.
I am sure there are others that think other wise but I have had enough years working with cars to say that. If you loose a caliper or the master and have to bleed the system then only do the circuit you are working on. Keep the cap clean and only open the cap when you need to add fluid, the less you open the cap the better you are. Bench bleed calipers and master if you need to replace them and let as little fluid out as possible, the fluid does not normally flow through the brake system, unless you find your anti lock kicking in alot. Bleeders very rarely seal after cracking(assuming they don't break) them on old calipers, even sometimes on new calipers.

In nutshell if you are not familiar with brakes, don't try and work on them. I hope you don't take it the wrong way, and maybe you are familiar enough with them but I feel better saying as much.
Chris
 

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had a similiar thing happen to me and changed the master only to have the same or a touch better pedal feel.still not happy and i bled the fluid 3 times.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I agree with Chris, think about it twice if you're chagning it just because. Looking back, it sucks that I had to replace the master cylinder but at least I got clean fluid in there now and won't let it get dirty again.

So if you're brake fluid has been neglected for many year (probably 4 years late in my case) don't expect to get away with it with maintenance you should have done years ago.

Oh and my brakes did improve a tiny bit, probably due to the bleeding and not the new MC.
 

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Anti-lock?

I know before you can bleed the brakes on some cars, you have to hook a scanner up, and tell the ABS system you are doing so. Not sure if it opens valves or runs the pump motor to purge air. Does anyone (with a service manual) know if this is the case for the Element?

GF
 

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i heard about purging the abs also but never had a problem with any other honda or any other make.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I know before you can bleed the brakes on some cars, you have to hook a scanner up, and tell the ABS system you are doing so. Not sure if it opens valves or runs the pump motor to purge air. Does anyone (with a service manual) know if this is the case for the Element?

GF
I read my manual and the section on replacing the master cylinder only mentions bleeding the brakes (usual brake bleed job) and nothing in there about bleeding the abs.

I've heard that with a scantool one can activate the abs. You can re-bleed the brakes after that. You can also activate the abs while braking but I can't find a safe place were I can do that.
 

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I am having this same problem right now. Driver side front and passenger left won't bleed. The pedal felt bad before I touched anything. Changed pads. Still bad. Then tried to bleed. Could there be something that messed up the master cylinder before I touched it. Or did I blow it when I didn't pinch the line when I changed the brake pads.
 
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