Weak brakes on Maxima

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I have given this car to my son who lives in DC. When he came here to visit yesterday, he complained about brake judder. I had driven this car about three month ago and brakes were fine. When I drove it yesterday, I realized:- 1) Brakes are very weak and feels mushy 2) The parking brake almost reaches to the end of the travel and is not grabbing hard (rear disc caliper has rotating mechanism for parking brake). It holds the car but can not really stop it if it is moving. 3) I can feel the thumping all around in the car and not only while braking but also driving alhough there is no objectional feel in the pedal or in the steering wheel 4) The brake judder is there all the time even at the slow speed 5) I can not get ABS to engage at all at any panic stops. It does feel as if left front is locking up based upon the typical rubber sliding on the road noise but no ABS action whatsoever. The ABS self-test passes and the ABS light comes on and goes off as expected during the ignition. 6) brake fluid condition and level is fine I am thinking that this looks like multiple issues. - a bad tire or at least no longer round or out of balance tire - fully frozen caliper? - one of the disk has "uneven thickness" - at the last service, wheel were installed by the gorilla - the problem more likely at the rear wheel than at the front? I re-torqued the front wheels before driving. I have yet to do the same on the rear. My son is driving back tomorrow, so I really don't have much time to thoroughly and logically investigate this as I would have if I had the car for longer time. I also have to get another car inspected this weekend. Please provide some guidance. 2000 Maxima with 187K. Thanks, - Vikas
 
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Retorque ALL the wheels and test. If no better then a complete brake check and repare is recomended. It this point I go +1 with 63Maruder
 
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Originally Posted By: Danno
He's trying to save his son a few $. Not everyone has a money tree in the backyard.
+1 What is wrong with helping out your kids? I would pull the wheels and inspect.
 

Vikas

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Originally Posted By: 63Marauder
He is an adult, have him take it to a shop.
This is probably is the correct answer but if you are married you would understand the difficulty of implementing it!
 
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Originally Posted By: Vikas
Originally Posted By: 63Marauder
He is an adult, have him take it to a shop.
This is probably is the correct answer but if you are married you would understand the difficulty of implementing it!
LOL....soooooooo true LOL
 
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2000 maxima with 187k. Sometimes its better to replace everthing for piece of mind.With that age and mileage, I would replace the calipers/wheelcyl, flexible brake lines, put good pads/shoes with new fluid flushed through. Or have a shop do this.
 
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Originally Posted By: spasm3
2000 maxima with 187k. Sometimes its better to replace everthing for piece of mind.With that age and mileage, I would replace the calipers/wheelcyl, flexible brake lines, put good pads/shoes with new fluid flushed through. Or have a shop do this.
Woahhh woahh. On a car with 187k miles I wouldnt be replacing everything. Take off one wheel at a time and take a look and inspect pads and rotors. Have someone press brake pedal and see if it looks right. I think the fact of you taking the time to at least check things out will show you care, and if issue persists advise to have it looked at and get an estimate for what needs to be done.
 
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I'll vote frozen rear caliper. Nissans are notorious for this. Happened on my G after a pad change, and on my Altima out of the blue after about 103k. Nissan uses the same piston/bore/boot design on nonvented/vented calipers from what i can tell, and something in there allows them to sieze frequently. It's a common story on the G boards, from what I've read. Flush the whole system while you are at - caliper bad or not. My G had what I am sure was water coming out of the front calipers during the first second of flushing.
 
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Its 13-14 years old with 187k. I'd replace everything, but thats just me. The seals in the calipers and the rubber brake hoses only last so long.
 
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Sounds like the brakes have had a hard life over the last few months. I would go through the whole system, checking calipers, pads, discs and repair anything that is not up to scratch, then bleed. BUT if he doesn't want to give you the time with the car to fix it, he is on his own and needs to take it to a shop. Been there, done that. Give an offspring a car, and they expect you to keep it running. It's like "It's your car, fix it, I just drive it, nothing to do with me. But it shouldn't take any time or cost me any money." You haven't just given him a car, you've put yourself in a headache type of situation. I've solved this problem several times in the past by signing over ownership and making it quite clear that repairing and maintaining the car is their responsibility. Takes a bit of mental strength to disconnect emotionally from the car, but at least it is a clean break.
 
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Sounds like stealership mechanics in here. "It's old, just replace everything..." lol... Inspect, and inspect some more. You may end up replacing more than 1 part, but it's better than unnecessarily replacing everything on the rear axle. Like others have mentioned those rear calipers were somewhat of a joke on those cars. And just as a guess, your son may do a little more "spirited" driving than you did, causing some premature wear/failure. If you have the car for a day you will have plenty of time to check it out and replace parts if necessary.
 

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The rear calipers have already been replaced couple years back. They get frozen on this generation maxima. But when they do get frozen, they get hot and the car then does not roll easily in neutral. This is not the case here. Since I lost two caliper at two different times, I know exactly the symptoms of the failing rear caliper and it is not exhibiting them. Bottom line:- multiple things were wrong with it, I took it to the shop. One of the rotor was shot. Since this was the 2nd front brake job on this (the first was done at about 70K miles), I decided to opt for full front. There was still plenty of pad but decided to do fully monty on the front. During the job, we found that all four slides were frozen and needed to be freeed in the vise. New NAPA premium pads and rotor later no more shudder and smooth braking but still pedal did not have good feeling. I insisted on further diagnosis at 4:30 on Saturday. The old fashioned diagnostics (on the lift and shop owner in the car applying the brakes) revealed that rear wheels were not grabbing enough. The owner was reluctant to tackle it at that time as the shop was going to be closing soon and we wont have any parts. But I wanted at least the slides to see if they were free or not. Well, the slides were free but the one pad on each side was jammed solid in the caliper bracket. Another half an hour and little bit of air grinder, and those were free again. Now it was almost time for the shop closing. The brakes were lot better but still not great. The parking brake travel is still too much but since none of the calipers are frozen, I am not sure what the culprit is. The brakes become nice and firm when I turn off the car which implies there is NO hydraulic leak. I would have them bleed but the time was running out besides the mechanics argument was that since system has not been opened, where would air enter in the system? I could not readily refute him. But he is the guy who kept the calipers hanging off the brake hose and when I put the calipers up myself and told him that it was bad practice. He tells me those hoses are strong. Besides, if the hose can go bad while just carrying the weight of the caliper, he asks me "won't you rather have it fail at that time rather than fail during the braking on the road?" Man the guy is smart!! Now I am thinking if there is a proportional valve in the system and if that is not working correctly and one circuit is not getting the full pressure? So after 3 hours of one engineer, one mechanic and one shop owner on that car, few hundred dollar bills were exchanged and today the car is safely back in Virginia. All my three cars have 185K or more miles (13 years or more) on them. I have not replaced brake hoses on any of them.
 
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Originally Posted By: Vikas
All my three cars have 185K or more miles (13 years or more) on them. I have not replaced brake hoses on any of them.
I had a 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix when I was 19 (almost 20 years ago) have a front brake hose fail when I was approaching an intersection that had a brand new Cadillac about to enter it. I replaced the brake lines on that car later that day. I've replaced the brake lines on every used vehicle I have purchased since. They are usually fairly cheap, in comparison to replacing a car, and paying out deductibles, and lawsuits. BC.
 
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Jeez man, I don't know where to start. But instead of criticizing parenting, I'll try and help. Basic diagnostic skills are needed here. Any car that old probably could use a hose or two, a close inspection will reveal cracks and aging stuff that indicates replacement. Why hasn't anyone mentioned the Master Cylinder? It's the same age as the rest of the car. But the simple fact is that until you know what's broke you can't fix it. I try and help my kids, but they won't let me work on their cars, the best they let me do is help them understand what's wrong before they head in for service. That way they don't get ripped off.
 
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