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Bled brakes remain spongy


Vinjy
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Hi All, 

I just bought a Ford Fiesta Titanium 2010 and I have noticed that the brakes were spongy. Let me describe in greater detail. On pressing the brake pedal, there is about 5cm of travel that starts the braking but does very little to reduce your speed and then it feels like the brakes engage properly, stiffen up and stop the car. So, about 75% "spongy travel" and then it bites and you get 25% actual proper braking. The pedal does not go to the floor. The brakes do stop the car but it's that long initial travel that annoys me because when driving slow in trafic it takes time to get used to where the brake "bite point" in and it shouldn't be like that.

So what's been done so far? The system has been bled by the mechanic twice, the rear drums adjusted (and the handbrake cables changed whilst there) and then bled again. This did nothing to solve the problem. Then the master cylinder was replaced and the system pressure bled at the mechanics about 3 more times. Nothing changed. The whole system was checked for any leaks and nothing was found, the fluid level does not change, always on full.  

Engine off, pumping the brake stiffens it right up after a few pumps and when the engine is switched on it goes soft again. 

The car has ESP and ABS and I have read that these systems must be bled with a diagnostic tool that Ford has or perhaps the ABS unit is faulty (I get no error codes or lights though)? 

Does anyone have experience similar to this or perhaps some troubleshooting tips that would help me home in on the problem?

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I had similar issues, replaced a corroded brake pipe that ran into the ABS pump. Air got into the system and is impossible to get rid of when the engine is switched off. You either need diagnostic equipment (such as Forscan) to carry out the procedure or with the engine running carry out the brake bleeding procedure. I did the latter with no access to Forscan at the time which resolved the issue.   

That is if there is air in the ABS system... 

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I had a spongy brake pedal after changing the calipers and although the car would stop the amount of travel was very off putting I ended up buying a USB to diagnostic cable and got- https://forscan.org/ which allowed me to do a proper brake bleed  now the pedal feels great and the car really pulls up nice.

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Thanks guys, I'm going to look in to the Forscan option and read more into this particular option on the other post on the forum and come back. 

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Worth checking the flexible brake hoses.

I had a car once that had a slightly soft brake pedal, but it also pulled a little when applying the brakes.

Turned out that a flexible hose was damaged and the initial brake pressure on one side just caused hose the expand, so pressure on this side was wasted until hose could expand no more, then finally pressure would operate the pistons in the calliper.

Replaced both front hoses, and it cured my issue. No idea if this could be your issue, but worth looking to see if there is any signs of hose expanding whilst someone presses brake pedal.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi guys, been a while since I played with the fiesta but I did try the service bleed function with Forscan and fully bled the brakes. Unfortunately that has not solved anything. I have double, triple and quadruple-checked for any leaks anywhere and nothing, the fluid level doesn't chance, there are no error codes, no warning lights but the pedal is still spongy. I have convinced myself that the ABS module is the next to be changed and wondered if anyone has done this before and if there is a guide that they know of for a 2010 Fiesta ABS Replacement or a youtube video, maybe haynes has it? I have searched and not found anything comprehensive. I also saw that it may be necessary to code the replacement ABS module to the car, is that true? Can it be done in ForScan?

Look forward to any suggestions, thanks 🙂

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Before you change the ABS module, are you absolutely sure it's not a design characteristic of the car?

Don't mean to sound patronising, but when I first bought my Fiesta I noticed that there was a fair bit of travel in the brake pedal. I was about to start bleeding the system, but as the car was less than three years old and low mileage I thought I'd look around online to see if it was an issue. I didn't find a cure, but I saw a few posts that suggested some travel isn't uncommon. After a while I got used to it, and it's passed two MOTs no problem.

It's subjective of course, and you have to be happy in your own mind that it's safe, but you could try getting a third opinion. Is an MOT due any time soon?

 

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Don't worry about sounding patronising, I have no desire to do any work to the car to be honest unless I absolutely have to. I keep trying to convince myself that I am worrying about nothing and it's just designed to be the way it is but I compare it to my 2014 Golf where you need what feels like 5cm of travel to go from nothing to wheels locking up as you progressively push down on the pedal. Whereas in the Fiesta you apply the brake and you get nothing for about 5cm then you get about 75% of braking action instantly and the brake "bites" hard and after that nothing more as you continue to push the pedal further. I have slammed the brakes hard on it before as someone braked in front of me and almost pooed myself as the car just kept going. I have also tried to get the wheels to lock up (and ABS kick in) by pushing the pedal hard to the floor the other day but they never locked up and just slowed me down from 40 to 0. We just had some snow so I'll see if I can take it to an empty car park and at least try to get the ABS on that way. 

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OK, sorry, more to it than I realised! ABS problems seem to have been an issue in the past, and I'm a relative newcomer to Ford ownership. Good luck getting it sorted.

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Don't worry fleamoo 🙂 I apreciate all help and feedback. Does anyone know if the haynes manual has the ABS replacement procedure in it? Any other guides that anyone knows, I've never done ABS replacement. 

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1 hour ago, Vinjy said:

Don't worry fleamoo 🙂 I apreciate all help and feedback. Does anyone know if the haynes manual has the ABS replacement procedure in it? Any other guides that anyone knows, I've never done ABS replacement. 

Yes it does, just checked my manual and it's all there. Sections  Braking system 9.17  and 9.18  This is for years 2013-2017 i see your car is 2010, no idea if that makes any difference.

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  • 3 years later...

I have a 2012 Ford Fiesta in which the brake pedal is spongy and not enough pressure. I have bleeded the brakes twice, replace master cylinder and brake booster. Since I replace the brake booster my brake pedal didn't want stop my car. I had to put it in park right away. No ABS light showing on dadhboard. I called Ford Dealership and they replace the ABS module in 2009. Someone please help!

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Having read through this thread I can't see that you've checked the slave cylinder.  I had a similar problem years ago and it proved to be the slave cylinder.

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On 9/17/2022 at 9:59 PM, Bethg0203 said:

I called Ford Dealership and they replace the ABS module in 2009

I don't understand, you have a 2012 car.

What country are you in ? What engine and gearbox do you have ?

Edit: 26th September. - Clearly your lack of brakes is not an urgent problem since you have not been back to the forum todate since your original post

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