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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I recently bought a 2012 that I am having trouble with the brakes on. I stepped on the brake pedal and it almost went to the floor. Then everything went back to normal. I tested the master cylinder and it passed so I changed the fluid and bled the brakes. All was well and then a few weeks later I hit a bump on the road and it happened again. This time I had to pump the brakes several times to get the pedal firm again, but everything went back to normal. What could it be? I retested the master cylinder and it was fine. Never heard of an intermittent master cylinder failure.
 

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Glorificatus Oleum Mutante
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I'd replace the master cylinder anyway.
 
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I recently bought a 2012 that I am having trouble with the brakes on. I stepped on the brake pedal and it almost went to the floor. Then everything went back to normal. I tested the master cylinder and it passed so I changed the fluid and bled the brakes. All was well and then a few weeks later I hit a bump on the road and it happened again. This time I had to pump the brakes several times to get the pedal firm again, but everything went back to normal. What could it be? I retested the master cylinder and it was fine. Never heard of an intermittent master cylinder failure.
I don't have an explanation for intermittent master cylinder failure. I just know if the pedal is almost going to the floor, it will get a whole lot worse if it's not replaced.
I replaced the master cylinder on my 2012 Crosstour at around 160k.
 

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For grins, it might be worthwhile looking at your brake pad assembly in the calipers. Specifically, make sure all the holding hardware is there and properly installed. Since the problem seems to happen when you hit a bump, I'd suspect that pads are moving away from the rotor too far, and it takes an extra stab at the pedal to take up the new clearance. Look also at wheel bearings, and make sure all the wheel nuts are properly torqued. Something is moving the pads back, and it's likely the rotor. My too sense...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
How did you determine that the brake rotors are "warped", as opposed to, for example, having uneven deposits of pad material?
Pedal vibration and steering wheel shake at high speeds that I did not experience before the past several thousand miles. Did not appear to have any kind of material on the rotors.

I don't have an explanation for intermittent master cylinder failure. I just know if the pedal is almost going to the floor, it will get a whole lot worse if it's not replaced.
I replaced the master cylinder on my 2012 Crosstour at around 160k.
I haven't been able to find anything else so its looking like this is what I will have to do.

For grins, it might be worthwhile looking at your brake pad assembly in the calipers. Specifically, make sure all the holding hardware is there and properly installed. Since the problem seems to happen when you hit a bump, I'd suspect that pads are moving away from the rotor too far, and it takes an extra stab at the pedal to take up the new clearance. Look also at wheel bearings, and make sure all the wheel nuts are properly torqued. Something is moving the pads back, and it's likely the rotor. My too sense...
I will verify all these things one last time before I replace the master cylinder.
 

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The pad buildup on the rotor isn't something you'll pick up easily by looking through a wheel. After having early-life pedal pulsing, I did a few rapid-sequence hard freeway-speed to almost-stopped slowdowns. That scrubbed off the uneven pad material and solved the pedal pulsing for the moment. Longer-term solution was a little method modification, avoiding coming to a full stop with foot hard on the brake pedal. A little more anticipation, letting up on the pedal as it rolls the last car length to a stop. I think it's hard pedal pressure on a stationary hot rotor that's the culprit. 50k later, still no issues. Give it a try -- painless, no cost, nothing to lose so long as nobody is on your butt when you toss out the anchor.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
The pad buildup on the rotor isn't something you'll pick up easily by looking through a wheel. After having early-life pedal pulsing, I did a few rapid-sequence hard freeway-speed to almost-stopped slowdowns. That scrubbed off the uneven pad material and solved the pedal pulsing for the moment. Longer-term solution was a little method modification, avoiding coming to a full stop with foot hard on the brake pedal. A little more anticipation, letting up on the pedal as it rolls the last car length to a stop. I think it's hard pedal pressure on a stationary hot rotor that's the culprit. 50k later, still no issues. Give it a try -- painless, no cost, nothing to lose so long as nobody is on your butt when you toss out the anchor.
I will try this out, although I have to say it is unfortunate that I have to do this. I used to own a 1999 civic that I put around 250k miles and never had to worry about that.
 

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I will try this out, although I have to say it is unfortunate that I have to do this. I used to own a 1999 civic that I put around 250k miles and never had to worry about that.
Yeah, I struggle with the same. Brakes on these things are just poorly designed. At this point I just expect to replace pads and rotors every 20k miles even though they are far from worn out. I’d also look for any signs of brake fluid leakage around the rotors, hoses, master cylinder, etc.
 

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I drive with a gentle foot anyway, so saying that my original pads are still around 8mm thickness at 50k+ miles may or may not mean anything. Mostly in-town driving miles, FWIW. After the first experience at ~~3k with pulsing pedal and the almost panic-stops recovery method, the revised driving technique has done the job.

In the meanwhile, a friend who trailers his HPDE/track car behind his Pilot went through the pedal-pulsing, and solved it with a pad change to some Porterfields. He has a sponsor deal with them so it was a painless swap. Per his description, much better braking and no pulsing pedal ever. I'll also share that he's not at all timid on the wide pedal, pretty much the exact opposite of my road-driving method. Based on his experience, I'll probably try a set of the Porterfields when mine get more worn. Unless I can squeeze a free set out of his supplier a little sooner. Disclaimer: I've driven with race pads on a drive-to-sessions car before, and it can be really exciting the first few stops especially when weather isn't hot. And while race pads do a lot better when hot, at least as far as pad material transfer, they also tend to glaze and squeal a lot if they aren't driven aggressively. Porterfield makes some good crossover pads, PB4 is the designation IIRC. I'd go with them as my first test option. My last HPDE car had Performance Friction pads, great dual-purpose pads, but they don't make pads for our cars unfortunately. Reality is that I've grown so used to feathering the pedal the last feet before final stop that I'd have to relearn braking if I had those different pads. 🙄
 

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I will try this out, although I have to say it is unfortunate that I have to do this. I used to own a 1999 civic that I put around 250k miles and never had to worry about that.
When you bought the vehicle did you seat the brakes? A 2000 lb civic is a far cry from a 4000 lb+ midsized SUV. Brake pad materials have changed over the years. New materials, new procedures, new issues.

As suggested above if you are having vibrations in the pedal it is probably uneven brake pad buildup. Rotors are cast at around 2500 degrees F. Even the most aggressive braking will not get the rotors anywhere near the temp it takes to warp the rotors.

These days it is just as easy and cost effective to declare warped rotors than it is to pull the rotors spec and turn them and put them back on doing a proper brake job. That's the way of the world, these days. Everything is throwaway.
 
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