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2002 Camry, Brake booster pump or Master brake Cylinder problem?? Please help

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  • Aug 16th, 2011 6:29 pm
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2002 Camry, Brake booster pump or Master brake Cylinder problem?? Please help

Story:

My 2002 camry has a vibration feel while pumping the brake pedal (no other vibration from car). It happens, when you drive slow or fast and stop. Happens when the engine is not even turned on and the brake pedal is just pumped. Its hard to describe the feeling other than zig zaggy on the way down, pulsating, etc. It starts to feel this way on the way down and halfway through the press ends smooth.

I took it to a auto mechanic two days ago and he stated the car had zero brake issues. Rotors and pads are in good condition (sometimes these are the cause for the vibration, but only when driving and stopping), fluid level are good etc. I asked him to test it out and pump it slowly or adruptly, at standstill or while driving, but he still couldn't understand what i was talking about. Researched on the net and found out the likely problem has to do with either Brake booster pump or Master brake cylinder. From a tsb (like a recall note from toyota) , it seemed certain it had to do with the master brake cylinder. I took it to Toyota today and they stated it had to do with the brake booster pump instead , its not worth fixing bc it cost an arm and a leg. Just now i stopped by Active Green + Ross at 110 Gerrard and he stated that its most likely the Master Brake Cylinder, since if you were to pump on the brake while the car was off, turn on the ignition, and if the pedal goes down smoothly , the booster pump should be ok. (it does go down smoothly)

He also stated that for a refurb master cylinder (non toyota) + labour it would come out to 250 bucks. The dealership was going to charge me 1500 for the booster pump and labour. They also advised not to used non toyota parts.

This issue does not hamper safety issues with the car. Its more of an annoyance that i'd like to take care of. I also don't want to pay 1500 for a car with 150k on it.
Please help. Also can active green + ross be trusted to do this delicate procedure? Is Midas or Speedy or Canadian Tire better option??
18 replies
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rocketdan9 wrote:
Aug 12th, 2011 9:07 pm
Story:

My 2002 camry has a vibration feel while pumping the brake pedal (no other vibration from car). It happens, when you drive slow or fast and stop. Happens when the engine is not even turned on and the brake pedal is just pumped. Its hard to describe the feeling other than zig zaggy on the way down, pulsating, etc. It starts to feel this way on the way down and halfway through the press ends smooth.

I took it to a auto mechanic two days ago and he stated the car had zero brake issues. Rotors and pads are in good condition (sometimes these are the cause for the vibration, but only when driving and stopping), fluid level are good etc. I asked him to test it out and pump it slowly or adruptly, at standstill or while driving, but he still couldn't understand what i was talking about. Researched on the net and found out the likely problem has to do with either Brake booster pump or Master brake cylinder. From a tsb (like a recall note from toyota) , it seemed certain it had to do with the master brake cylinder. I took it to Toyota today and they stated it had to do with the brake booster pump instead , its not worth fixing bc it cost an arm and a leg. Just now i stopped by Active Green + Ross at 110 Gerrard and he stated that its most likely the Master Brake Cylinder, since if you were to pump on the brake while the car was off, turn on the ignition, and if the pedal goes down smoothly , the booster pump should be ok. (it does go down smoothly)

He also stated that for a refurb master cylinder (non toyota) + labour it would come out to 250 bucks. The dealership was going to charge me 1500 for the booster pump and labour. They also advised not to used non toyota parts.

This issue does not hamper safety issues with the car. Its more of an annoyance that i'd like to take care of. I also don't want to pay 1500 for a car with 150k on it.
Please help. Also can active green + ross be trusted to do this delicate procedure? Is Midas or Speedy or Canadian Tire better option??

I'm not a mechanic, but are you driving and then pumping the brakes till the wheels lock and engaging the ABS? that also can cause some vibration. Also, if your tires are losing grip the ABS is turning on and that is the vibration you are feeling.

Not sure where you are located, but if you are in the Markham area, check out T-Lex Auto and have Basil check things out. 150K on a camry is not much (mine has more) and if it makes the car run better and safer I say go for it.
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packardbell wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 3:40 am
i say your problem is msater cylinder related.

thanks for your replies. I got a few that also say is this issue. Not sure how Toyota dealer is stating it has to do with the booster.

Do you think Brake flushing could be a cheaper alternative fix?
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Sep 22, 2008
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the brake booster is to use the engines vacuum to assist you to apply the brake, hence the term power brakes. if the brake booster fails or there is no booster then the brake pedal when applied is hard and requires more foot effort. it will not explain the problem of un smoothness when the brakes gets applied.
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I do not know if you ever had this done or not but, If I was your mechanic,and before I would sell you an expensive brake booster package or even a master cylinder, I would suggest you get a brake system flush and bleed. It should cost you less than 100 bucks and will ensure you have fresh fluid that has not been contaminated by condensation and become "squishy" and, that there is no air in the system, also affecting the pedal "feel".
As there is no safety issue with what is happening now, there is no rush to replace something that may not work anyway. I always start with the cheapest possible solution first.
Just a suggestion. :)
It’s not how far you fall that counts. It’s how high you bounce that counts! General G Patton
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To me the TSB indicates the master cylinder has been revised in some way. This is probably why they say "don't use non-Toyota parts" because you want to make sure you have the revised part. Well either that or they want you to pay them $1500, lol. However most aftermarket companies do indeed have the information on revisions and being a 2002 I'd imagine this TSB was issued a long time ago so the aftermarket rebuilders/remanufacturers should have this data and be incorporating it into reman masters. However it's possible the entire master has changed so you may want to at least have a look at the Toyota OEM part and then compare it to the one in your car. If it looks identical then you know the differences are internal (bore, valving/proportioning, etc.). If this is the case then you won't be able to tell if the 3rd party master is revised (but most likely it will be as per my above statement). If it looks different than your existing one then you know the whole part has changed. In this case make sure that if you get a 3rd party reman, it looks like the revised Toyota part, otherwise don't buy it.

As for the booster it's not likely it is the problem as the mechanic told you. The vacuum booster is a very simple device, it's just a tank that "stores" vacuum (i.e. it's under negative pressure). There's valving in there and what not but typically all that goes wrong with it is that it leaks and the result is a lot of pedal effort and long stopping distances. Since this isn't part of your problem it should be ok.

Given brakes are a pretty critical safety component I would say to fix this problem. I'm not saying pay $1500 to fix it but yes do have it fixed.
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ES_Revenge wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 8:48 pm
To me the TSB indicates the master cylinder has been revised in some way. This is probably why they say "don't use non-Toyota parts" because you want to make sure you have the revised part. Well either that or they want you to pay them $1500, lol. However most aftermarket companies do indeed have the information on revisions and being a 2002 I'd imagine this TSB was issued a long time ago so the aftermarket rebuilders/remanufacturers should have this data and be incorporating it into reman masters. However it's possible the entire master has changed so you may want to at least have a look at the Toyota OEM part and then compare it to the one in your car. If it looks identical then you know the differences are internal (bore, valving/proportioning, etc.). If this is the case then you won't be able to tell if the 3rd party master is revised (but most likely it will be as per my above statement). If it looks different than your existing one then you know the whole part has changed. In this case make sure that if you get a 3rd party reman, it looks like the revised Toyota part, otherwise don't buy it.

As for the booster it's not likely it is the problem as the mechanic told you. The vacuum booster is a very simple device, it's just a tank that "stores" vacuum (i.e. it's under negative pressure). There's valving in there and what not but typically all that goes wrong with it is that it leaks and the result is a lot of pedal effort and long stopping distances. Since this isn't part of your problem it should be ok.

Given brakes are a pretty critical safety component I would say to fix this problem. I'm not saying pay $1500 to fix it but yes do have it fixed.

thanks for the advice. One more detail to let you know that helps solving my issue is, my car idles sort of rough. Example, when i come to a red light stop, the car starts to idle a little rough, the brake takes a second or two longer than usual before the brakes depresses further down (booster function). I been told , this issue most likely has to do with a faulty vacuum/booster.

Maybe the best thing to do is to get both Master Cylinder and Booster replaced. Maybe i should just do a bleed/flush and forget about it (since its not a safety issue)

I been to one toyota dealer and toyota/lexus mechanic that both have said its the booster. The tsb i printed out to read was non relevant to them.

All in all a total headache. Not sure i will buy Toyota again.
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rocketdan9,

can you send me the TSB via private message that says the Brake Booster or Master Cylinder is the problem please as I own a 2002 Camry LE V6 and this is of interest to me.

The only info I find about this is the following which deals with brake pad/rotor issues:

TOYOTA TSB Number BR006-02 for Front Brake Vibration
Models: '02 - '03 Camry (V6 XLE & V6 SE)
Issued on December 24, 2002

Introduction:
Under cretin usage conditions, some 2002 - 2003 model year Camry vehicles may exhibit front brake vibration. The rotor and pad have been improved to correct this condition. The new rotor and pad must be installed as a set. The revised parts have been introduced into production.

Applicable Vehicles:
2002 - 2003 model year Camry V6 XLE and V6 SE vehicles produced before the VINs shown below.

Production Change Information:
Starting VIN: 4T1BF3#K#3U037796, 4T1BF3#K#3U544996, JTDBF3#K#30103561

Parts Information:
04002-18133 Repair Kt, Pad & Disc (Kit contains 2 brake rotors and brake pads for both front calipers)

Repair Procedure:
1. R&R the brake pads and rotors following the procedures outlined in the applicable Camry Repair Manual.
2. Road test the vehicle.

Warranty Information:
OP Code: BR2006; Description: Replace Front Rotors, Pads and Shims (if Needed) for Vibration (Both Sides); Time:0.7; OFP:43512-33100, T1:21; T2:44

Applicable Warranty*:
This repair is covered under the Toyota Comprehensive Warranty. This warranty is in effect for 36 months or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first, from the vehicles in-service date.

* Warranty application is limited to correction of a problem based on a customer's specific complaint.
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if i decide to get the booster replaced by the dealer as per their advice. Can they guarantee that the pedal won't have this problem after?
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rocketdan9 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 9:59 pm
if i decide to get the booster replaced by the dealer as per their advice. Can they guarantee that the pedal won't have this problem after?
At $1500 they probably should, but I'll bet they won't actually say that to you lol.

Rough idle does point towards a leaking booster/vacuum leak but it could be something else entirely. If the booster is leaking though it would probably take a pretty short time after the engine is off for the pedal to go "hard"--because the vacuum would have "leaked" (rather air pressure goes into the tank but you get what a I mean--"vacuum leak"). Is that the case?

You don't have to do both at once. The booster is probably a cheaper repair and is much easier since it doesn't involve fooling with brake fluid and bleeding things. You can probably change the booster yourself if you're competent with hand tools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leW0weGJGjc ;)
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ES_Revenge wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 10:10 pm
At $1500 they probably should, but I'll bet they won't actually say that to you lol.

Rough idle does point towards a leaking booster/vacuum leak but it could be something else entirely. If the booster is leaking though it would probably take a pretty short time after the engine is off for the pedal to go "hard"--because the vacuum would have "leaked" (rather air pressure goes into the tank but you get what a I mean--"vacuum leak"). Is that the case?

You don't have to do both at once. The booster is probably a cheaper repair and is much easier since it doesn't involve fooling with brake fluid and bleeding things. You can probably change the booster yourself if you're competent with hand tools.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=leW0weGJGjc ;)

Your talking about acceleration or brake pedal? You mean after i stop the engine (i still have my feet depressed on the brake pedal). As soon as i turn off the car , and let go of the brake pedal and try to press it down in a second or two, if it is "firm"??

Btw the dealer stated they will have to bleed/flush first before replacing the Booster. Your right about being it easiest to replace (1.5 hrs vs master cylinder which could take 3 hours). But the part itself cost an arm and leg at 1000 bucks. I'm considering of trying to get it from a auto yard and going to a toyota mechanic instead. Cost alot cheaper

Hard to know what is actually wrong. The booster and mc itself can't be fixed by an mechanic. Unlike pads or rotors its hard to eyeball if they are faulty or not.
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rocketdan9 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 10:39 pm
Your talking about acceleration or brake pedal? You mean after i stop the engine (i still have my feet depressed on the brake pedal). As soon as i turn off the car , and let go of the brake pedal and try to press it down in a second or two, if it is "firm"??
Brake pedal and yes that's the idea. The brake booster should retain some vacuum probably enough for 5-10 pedal presses before it's depleted (and the pedal becomes firm and hard to depress). That vacuum should pretty much be "stored" for a long time. Say you park the car in the evening get up in the morning, there should still be vacuum reserve left and the pedal should not be firm. If the tank seems to be leaking don't forget there's also that little check valve which may have failed--this is a much cheaper fix than replacing the entire booster!
rocketdan9 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 10:39 pm
Btw the dealer stated they will have to bleed/flush first before replacing the Booster.
LOL or in other words charge you a lot of money first before charging you more hahaha.
rocketdan9 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 10:39 pm
Your right about being it easiest to replace (1.5 hrs vs master cylinder which could take 3 hours). But the part itself cost an arm and leg at 1000 bucks. I'm considering of trying to get it from a auto yard and going to a toyota mechanic instead. Cost alot cheaper
$1000? For what the booster or the master cylinder? Either way, way too much money.
rocketdan9 wrote:
Aug 13th, 2011 10:39 pm
Hard to know what is actually wrong. The booster and mc itself can't be fixed by an mechanic. Unlike pads or rotors its hard to eyeball if they are faulty or not.
Right but it's not hard to see if the vacuum tank holds vacuum. They have tools that do that easily. As I said the booster, it pretty much holds vacuum or it doesn't. I'm not sure what else could really go wrong with it?
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Update

The vibration is sporadic. I would say the initial 10 brake pedal strokes down while driving, it is smooth. No jittery feeling through the pedal, no snorting sound.

After the 10 strokes, sporadically the pulsating feeling and sound happen. All of this is through the pedal. When the car is stopped after driving, the pulsating feeling and sound while pumping the pedal still result inconsistently. (testing purposes)

After seeing a few dealers, regular mechanic, etc. Its a split between the master cylinder and Booster. Traditional thinking is that, it can't be the master cylinder. Because this feeling and sound happens 1/4 pressing the pedal down (the brakes are still not engaged at this point). the rest of 3/4 it ends smooth. Also i don't have to floor the pedal to come to a solid stop.

Had the brakes flushed and bled today, and it didn't change the problem. The dealer who saw the car stated it could have something to do with the brake pedal bushings/springs, instead of the MC (reasons above) and Booster.

The biggest mystery for him was how inconsistent this was happening, and only after the engine heated up a bit.
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