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Brake light clarification (archive)

[ Follow Ups ] [ 5-series (E28) Message Board ] [ Msg. Board FAQ ]

Posted by Wayne on February 03, 2001 at 05:14:05:

In Reply to: 535i Brake Problem - Looking for Help (Long) posted by Wayne on February 02, 2001 at 19:42:39:

The brake light that flashes is NOT the one that indicates when the pads are worn. It is also NOT the one that indicates when the parking brake is applied. It is the one that just says "brake".

Many thanks for all of your responses and helpful words of advice.

Recently, I hit a deer while driving my '86 535i, so it's in the body shop for repairs. Meanwhile, a good deal came my way on a '85 535i (with an automatic transmission ... not as fun as the '86 with a 5 speed), so I bought it to use while the '86 was being slowly repaired (fill-in work for a local body shop). Taking the newly aquired car through the state inspection process went well except for the brake test. The test consists of driving the car onto a section of the garage floor that has four moveable metal plates. Each plate reacts to the braking effect and through a computer, determines if the system is well-balanced (front-to-back and side-to-side).

The braking was good at both front wheels and the left, rear wheel, but pretty poor at the right rear. As a result, the car did not pass the safety inspection, because the rear wheel braking was imbalanced.

Here are some other symptoms that may help with diagnosis:

1. Almost every time the brakes are applied, the brake warning light in the cluster flashes.

2. With the engine running, pressing the brake pedal hard results in a firm feel, but VERY slowly moves down about an inch and then gets firm again. The pedal never "bottoms out".

3. Car pulls very slightly to the right when brakes are applied.

Using a pressure bleeder, I bled the brakes and noticed some small bubbles being removed from the system, along with fairly dark brake fluid.

I also greased the caliper pins.

Things are now a little better, but the semi-squishy pedal and flashing "brake" light still persists.

Based on what I know about brake systems, it seems to be a problem in the master cylinder. Does this make sense to y'all ???

Looking through the Bavarian Auto catalog, I noticed that the master cylinder for a 535i varies, depending on whether or not the car has ABS brakes. My car has ABS, but I have access to a free master cylinder from a non-ABS car. Does anyone know what is different and whether or not it will work on ABS cars?

Thanks in advance for any help you can provide. This site is a great source of help and I enjoy it very much. I look forward to the day when I can be of assistance to someone else.

Thank you,


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