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Old 09-10-2013, 10:47 PM   #1
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Brake pedal travel

I have only had my Interstate a little over a couple weeks now with only around 1,000 miles on it, it seems to me that it has excessive brake pedal travel, it seems to go to within an inch or so of the floor, if I pump the pedal it does come up some, being a new unit I would expect the pedal to be near the top. I would like to hear from some other owners regarding your vehicles.

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Jeff
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:15 AM   #2
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Sounds like you have a serious brake issue (either air in the brake lines, a fluid leak or seriously low fluid ... though the later should turn on a warning light). I'd find a sprinter service center and have them take a look. If the pedal is really going that low before you stop I would not want to drive it. Not safe!
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Old 09-11-2013, 10:01 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Jeff64 View Post
I have only had my Interstate a little over a couple weeks now with only around 1,000 miles on it, it seems to me that it has excessive brake pedal travel, it seems to go to within an inch or so of the floor, if I pump the pedal it does come up some, being a new unit I would expect the pedal to be near the top. I would like to hear from some other owners regarding your vehicles.

Thanks,

Jeff
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(Sigh!) That's one of the countless things I had on my list after I bought mine earlier this year from a Mercedes dealer. Their service department told me they could find no problems with the brakes.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:09 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Jeff64 View Post
I have only had my Interstate a little over a couple weeks now with only around 1,000 miles on it, it seems to me that it has excessive brake pedal travel, it seems to go to within an inch or so of the floor, if I pump the pedal it does come up some, being a new unit I would expect the pedal to be near the top. I would like to hear from some other owners regarding your vehicles.
Shortly after taking delivery on my 2013 AI earlier this year I took it to the dealer with the same complaint. I was told that was actually pretty normal, but that if I wanted them to, the service department had had some luck flushing and refilling the brake fluid, which they did free of charge. Apparently it helped because I did not notice or think about the condition since then ó at least until last evening.

There was nothing on television I wanted to watch so I entertained myself reading the Mercedes Benz Sprinter manual ó an effective soporific by the way ó and came across the following on page 50 under the heading

Quote:
BAS (Brake Assist System)

BAS operates in emergency braking situations. If you depress the brake pedal quickly, BAS automatically boosts the braking force, potentially reducing the stopping distance.
  • Keep the brake pedal firmly depressed until the emergency situation is over. ABS prevents the wheels from locking.
The brakes will functions usual once you release the brake pedal. BAS is deactivated.
After reading that as well as the subsequent information on EBD, ASR, and ESP on the rest of pages 50 and 51 I decided to test it out. It was late and the traffic on nearby I30 was light at that time of day so I had a decent test site. I am now satisfied what I had previously experienced was the result of BAS kicking in. I am also convinced that since the dealer flushed and refilled the brake system the pedal does not go quite as low as it seemed before the drain and flush.
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Old 09-11-2013, 12:15 PM   #5
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How "hard" is the pedal when the engine is not running? Feel normal? Is the ABS working?
If so the system is most likely working as designed.

The newer abs power brake systems add a LOT of assist which can bring the pedal way down.

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Old 09-11-2013, 03:01 PM   #6
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I had the same impression of the brake when I got mine in March. Got it to MB Sprinter and they told me it is normal. Now after 10k miles it really feels normal, and never had a brake problem.
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Old 09-11-2013, 03:14 PM   #7
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The brakes actually work fine, I just dont like what I consider to be excessive brake pedal travel, most newer model vehicles that I have owned the pedal is hard and at the top, several inches of travel seems a bit to much. I'm going to take it to the MB service department and complain a little and see if i can get them to improve it any. I'll post the results.

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Old 09-11-2013, 03:28 PM   #8
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From a human factors POV the long pedal travel is not the best engineering solution, since in our experience with most vehicles, long pedal travel indicates a fault. Brakes should be designed to feel the same when they are working normally regardless of underlying technnology, I think.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:50 PM   #9
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From a human factors POV the long pedal travel is not the best engineering solution, since in our experience with most vehicles, long pedal travel indicates a fault. Brakes should be designed to feel the same when they are working normally regardless of underlying technnology, I think.
Due to computer control the brakes are actually fly-by-wire to a large extent; brake pedal pressure doesn't necessarily directly translate to stopping power. How FAST you press the brake also has a lot to do with it. If you've got to stop in a hurry, STOMP on the brake and you'll stop. If you're easing up to a red light, press slowly.
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Old 09-12-2013, 07:28 AM   #10
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My assessment is that the pedal moves from it's resting position just above the accelerator pedal to just below the accelerator when the brakes are on for most stops I make. Perhaps and inch or free travel, no different than any of my other vehicles.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:02 AM   #11
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My brake pedal is a little soft on initial application but firms up after release and reapplication and stays that way until the next time. But it's not what I'd consider excessive.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:15 PM   #12
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My brake pedal is a little soft on initial application but firms up after release and reapplication and stays that way until the next time.
That sounds like a classic case of air or old brake fluid that has soaked up too much moisture to me. I bet a complete flush of the brake system (with at least a few manual pumps at each wheel the old fashioned way with a guy stepping on the brake pedal to compress the fluid, not some fancy pump or vacuum doing the job) would make your pedal consistent every time. Of course getting that last bit of air out of a brake system can be aggravating and I've been frustrated before when I let someone else do it. This may sound backwards but a brake flush is one of the few jobs that I really don't trust to a professional, I'd rather do it myself.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:37 PM   #13
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That sounds like a classic case of air or old brake fluid that has soaked up too much moisture to me.
Nope. When I had my Interstate at my local Sprinter dealer for its Schedule A 10,000-mile maintenance, I asked about the brake pedal travel, and after pulling the tires to check the brakes, bleeding the system, etc. the pedal had exactly the same feel.

There are no less than FIVE computer programs that affect the brakes:
1 - Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
2 - Brake Assist System (BAS)
3 - Acceleration Skid Reduction (ASR)
4 - Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
5 - Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)

All described in pages 47-50 of the Sprinter Operators Manual. According to the dealer, when you press the brake pedal, you're not really applying the brakes. You're telling the computer to apply the brakes, and the computer decides how much braking force to apply to each corner.

As I said in my previous post on this thread, the brakes are "fly-by-wire."

By the way, the manual specifically say, on page 47:
Quote:
Do not pump the brake pedal. Use firm, steady brake pressure instead. Pumping the brakes reduces the braking effect.
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Old 09-12-2013, 06:46 PM   #14
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Nope. When I had my Interstate at my local Sprinter dealer for its Schedule A 10,000-mile maintenance, I asked about the brake pedal travel, and after pulling the tires to check the brakes, bleeding the system, etc. the pedal had exactly the same feel.

There are no less than FIVE computer programs that affect the brakes:
1 - Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS)
2 - Brake Assist System (BAS)
3 - Acceleration Skid Reduction (ASR)
4 - Electronic Stability Program (ESP)
5 - Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD)

All described in pages 47-50 of the Sprinter Operators Manual. According to the dealer, when you press the brake pedal, you're not really applying the brakes. You're telling the computer to apply the brakes, and the computer decides how much braking force to apply to each corner.

As I said in my previous post on this thread, the brakes are "fly-by-wire."

By the way, the manual specifically say, on page 47:
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