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E36 M3 (1992-1999) {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999


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Old Wed, Mar-08-2017, 06:15:58 PM   #1
nholmes
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Question OEM Brake Engagement Point

Ran the car at the track last weekend and two of the three other people that drove the car felt the brakes were engaging a bit low. One even suggested that the master cylinder might be on its way out.

Right now the brakes begin to start biting at about 50% of the pedal travel becoming progressively more aggressive.

The car stops very well, but I'm concerned there might be a problem here that I'm not aware of due to me lacking experience with the platform.

I have no way to know where it should be, so I need some help.

Where in the pedal travel should the brakes start to bite when pressed?

Here's the set-up:

OEM Calipers refreshed couple months ago with two track days and ~200 street miles on them
G-Loc compound R10 front/R8 rear
Bimmerworld guide pins
Bimmerworld stainless lines
Hard Brakes Ti shims
ATE Blue fluid

Tips, help and advice greatly appreciated.

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Old Wed, Mar-08-2017, 09:05:25 PM   #2
BlackHawkRacing
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

Is it consistently low or only after repeated braking? Have you tried giving it a tap similar to what you would do to prevent knock back? I assume the pads are as fresh as the calipers?

The E36 has a known issue where the pedal travel gets very long, especially with pads that have 50% or less on them. It only seems to be fixed with a front BBK or fresh pads.

Here is a great thread describing what I am talking about. LMK if this sounds like what you are experiencing.

http://www.bimmerforums.com/forum/sh...dal-Feel-Issue
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Old Wed, Mar-08-2017, 09:50:09 PM   #3
nholmes
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

Hey thanks for the post, really appreciate it.

It's consistently low. It didn't change on track at all. Hot or cold, the braking was consistent and firm, just with low engagement. I have no tried tapping the brakes, but I can try that. Pads were brand new and recently bedded prior to the first track day last weekend.

Looking through that thread, my issue sounds similar.

My pedal is very firm when the ignition is off, so maybe it's the booster? Looks like another person fixed it by replacing the master.

Still reading all 12 pages of that thread...
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Old Thu, Mar-09-2017, 12:16:26 AM   #4
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

Haha yeah it's a bit of a novel, especially considering it's 25 posts a page vs the 10 here.

If you're experiencing a lot of the same issues there might not be a lot you can do ex-BBK. With my car my pedal travel sucks if I'm not on the first day of fresh pads. Braking power is 100% there and they work amazingly well, but going into any big corner at the end of a straight, my foot is close to the floor. Makes heal-toe a real *****. Only thing I've found that works it a quick tap to set the pistons and build a bit a pressure in the system.
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Old Thu, Mar-09-2017, 01:18:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

It could be air trapped in the system or ABS unit. The OE master cylinders on e36's rarely fail. If air gets trapped in the ABS unit it can be difficult to remove. You may need a scan tool to open and close the ABS ports while bleeding.
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Old Thu, Mar-09-2017, 02:18:01 PM   #6
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

If there is excessive travel in the pedal it is either air or the master cylinder. I honestly don't think folks spend enough quality time properly bleeding their brake hydraulic systems.

I have the same setup (BW guide pins and bushings, rebuilt calipers, Carbotech XP10 F/R, Rogue stainless lines, Castrol SRF, 140K mile original master cylinder) and I have fantastic braking with nearly instant pressure in the pedal, hot or cold, in all situations, at the beginning and end of a track session. I have 0 complaints about my brake system.

I would start with a re-bleed of the entire system with a pressure bleeder and be sure to cycle the ABS as well. I ran a full quart/litre through the system just to be sure. I've found it can take up to 10-15 seconds to bleed each caliper properly.

If that doesn't help replace the master.

Now is a perfect time to get rid of that blue crap and step up to Motul 600 or Castrol SRF. SRF is the bomb and you'll only have to flush once a year even if you cook the fluid. It really is remarkable stuff.

I hope you get it sorted.
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Last edited by mpwrcpe; Thu, Mar-09-2017 at 02:22:01 PM.
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Old Thu, Mar-09-2017, 04:04:55 PM   #7
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

FWIW - I've chased this problem for a year now and have personally put two liters though it in one bleeding session and had a prominent race shop work on the car extensively. I can assure you there is no air in my system.

Not saying it's not the issue here but just my experience.
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Old Thu, Mar-09-2017, 06:55:22 PM   #8
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by BlackHawkRacing View Post
FWIW - I've chased this problem for a year now and have personally put two liters though it in one bleeding session and had a prominent race shop work on the car extensively. I can assure you there is no air in my system.

Not saying it's not the issue here but just my experience.
Did they swap out the master? I'm sure they did but it's the most obvious culprit if 2 liters of flushing didn't do it.
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Old Thu, Mar-09-2017, 11:48:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

Quote:
Originally Posted by mpwrcpe View Post
Did they swap out the master? I'm sure they did but it's the most obvious culprit if 2 liters of flushing didn't do it.
That they did. It's weird, the only thing that fixes it is fresh pads.
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Old Fri, Mar-10-2017, 03:18:07 PM   #10
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Default Re: OEM Brake Engagement Point

What does air in the ABS feel like?

My brakes are rock solid, I don't have any of that spongy feel you get when air is being compressed in the lines. The issue is just that they start to bite very low in the pedal travel.

This was even true with the brand new pads I put on the car.

I think I'm too slow to cook my ATE to be honest, but I'm open to moving to more aggressive/expensive fluid when I start boiling my brakes.

I'm open to trying to cycle the ABS. I'm being lazy, anyone have a link to do this? Do I have to buy a specialty tool/device?

I am going to try bleeding the brakes first and of course the ABS since that's the easiest/cheapest first variable to eliminate.
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Discussing OEM Brake Engagement Point in the E36 M3 (1992-1999) Forum - {Euro - S50 B32 321hp @ 7400 rpm} {U.S. - S52 B32 240 hp @ 6000 rpm}
Total Produced: 71,212 - Years Produced: 1992 to 1999 at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)