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Hi I'm new to the forum. I have an 84' 308 GTSi and the only real problem I have with it is that the brakes are extremely soft. To put it midly I need to keep more than the double the standard following distance to maybe stop the car in time before hitting something. Just basically need to know what i need to look at to get the brakes back up in proper order. Thanks in advance for any help.
 

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Do they make any sounds when you press it. Like a squeak or rubbing sound? If you have them full pressed and they are catching but not stopping you sounds like you need new brake pads. If the brake pads and rotars are in order then you could try to flush the brakelines. Get new fluid and bleed them. If you can get us a photo of the calipers and pads that would be great.
 

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Yes, it sounds to me also that the fluid needs changing.
 

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The pads and rotors are in good shape and there's no noise. As I said, they are just soft. I'll try replacing the fluid and hopefully, that'll do the trick. Unfortunately, I can't get a really good photo of the calipers until I remove the wheel due to the fact that the rim obstructs the view of it. Thanks
 

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If i may make a suggesting, replace the stock brake lines with Goodridge steel braided lines (about $120 USD). They are said by those who have made the change to firm things up to a good degree. The Euro spec 1985 308GTS QV came with them so can not personally attest to the difference.
 

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Hi Yoko,
Changing the fluid is always a good idea but the softness in the pedal sounds a little more (a lot more) serious than that.

I would take a close look at the fluid level in your master cylinder and check for leaks there and at all of fittings enroute to and at each brake caliper. Fluid can be lost and air can be drawn in through loose or cracked fittings or hoses.

A mushy pedal is usually a dead give away that the brakes need bleeding due to air in the lines OR the the master cylinder piston seals are toast and the fluid is 'blowing by' the piston instead of creating pressure.

If it is the piston seals in the master cylinder then you are setting yourself up for a collision. Once they let go the brake pedal simply drops to the floor.

I strongly suggest that you DO NOT DRIVE the car except to your garage or a trusted shop. Call for a tow if you must.
 

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Spasso said:
A mushy pedal is usually a dead give away that the brakes need bleeding due to air in the lines OR the the master cylinder piston seals are toast and the fluid is 'blowing by' the piston instead of creating pressure.
An easy way to check if it is air in the brake system is to (in the driveway or garage) press the brake pedal down, release it and then press it again. Is it higher the second time? Try pumping the pedal. Does the pedal get higher? This compresses the air in the system and all you would need is a simple brake bleed. To tell if a piston is leaking by, press the brake pedal hard and hold it. If a seal is leaking by the pedal will slowly sink. This is a problem that requires immediate attention like Spasso suggests. If it is master cylinders seals, it leaks internally and you would not be able to see it. For a caliper seal, it will leak by the dust boot and will notice a consumption of brake fluid and probably evidence of fliud leakage on the inboard side of the tire.

For a general soft pedal it can be just contaminated brake fluid, but I would take a good look at the hoses like Steven suggests. If the hoses have become soft due to being oil soaked or just from age they can swell when you step on the brake. Not all your pedal pressure is getting to the calipers, some of it is being used to swell the hoses. The system doesn't have a large capacity so it would not take much hose swell to be felt in the pedal.

At any rate, the ability to stop is more important that the ability to go. Where you have enough concern that you double your following distance for fear of not being able to stop, it is time to get them fixed without delay.
 
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