I have a ’98 Villager that I bought used w/ 95K miles on it. It now has 165K miles and has been a great van. Ever since I’ve had it, I’ve noticed that the brakes seem to be weak compared to other vehicles. There also seems to be excessive pedal travel. I took the van to “Just Brakes” to have the brake fluid changed and they tried to do a $600 up-sell saying that I had all kinds of problems that I didn’t have. I then had the brakes looked at by a Ford dealer who disputed what “Just Brakes” told me, and they said the brakes are fine. So I’ve replaced the fluid, front calipers, pads and rotors. Nothing has improved brake performance. I have to press the pedal hard with both feet in order to get enough power to activate the anti-lock system. The pedal travels pretty far on the first press, but not as far on subsequent presses, and brake power is severely reduced on the subsequent presses. It’s as if the system needs to have air bled from it, but that has been done a few times. Do these vans have bad brakes, or do I have a problem with a master cylinder or something? Any help is appreciated. Thanks.
Have you considered it might be the brake booster? On my 95 Quest, booster is behind the master cylinder and its purpose is to multiply your pedal effort. If booster is losing vacuum, you get brakes that need a lot of muscle. My service manual says to test booster as follows: With engine running, press down on brake pedal and hold it down. While continuing to hold brake down, shut off engine and continue to hold brake down for 30 seconds. If pedal sinks, booster is losing vacuum.
Thank you for the information. I tried that test and did not feel the pedal sinking with steady foot pressure. Don’t get me wrong – the brakes stop the car ok, but not nearly as well as my Sienna of equal age, or my F-150. Both of the other vehicles require much less pedal effort compared to the Villager. Maybe it’s just the way it’s made.
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