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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
(From Volkswagen Driver magazine reader Vic pilka)

I would like to share with the readers a very frightening incident I had with my 1999 Golf 1.8T, when I suffered a total brake failure we're talking brake pedal all the way to the floor !!!!

Last September I noticed a brake fluid leak coming from the rear passenger side-wheel area. Initial suspicion was a problem with the brake calliper, but after further investigation it turned out to be the metal washer which creates the seal between the brake pipe and calliper had corroded enough to cause a leak. When I went to the local VW dealer to buy some washers, I was told you had to buy a complete brake pipe assembly, of which the washer is a part. It was available from stock ?because we are selling loads of them? was his quote. The assembly was reasonably priced at approx ?12.

Because the brake fluid loss was not too great, the brakes continued to work well enough, and it was not too difficult to bleed the brakes when the new pipe was fitted

In hindsight, I should have replaced the other side at the same time, when I got the bottom of what caused the fluid loss

Over the xmas holidays, I did not use the car for over a week, and because of the damp weather I did not notice any fluid lying on the drive under the car. When I eventually took the car out, and reached the junction at the end of the street that I live in, I pushed the brake pedal, and suffered the before-mentioned failure ? how much worse it could have been had it been the next junction at the main road !!!

Two things worth mentioning:-

The low fluid warning light only came on after I pumped the brake pedal

If the MK IV Golf is fitted with dual circuit brakes, why did I suffer a total brake failure ???

Anyway, exactly the same problem again, which required another new brake pipe assembly to be fitted to the drivers side. This time, however, bleeding the brakes using the ?pumping the brake pedal technique? proved to be useless, presumably because of how low the brake fluid level had dropped to in the system. In the end, I had to take the car to a local non-franchised workshop, who bled the brakes using power bleeding equipment ? my advice to anyone is not to try bleeding the brakes on a Mark IV Golf unless you have such equipment !!!

My Golf is 6 years come the end of February, and there are some older Mark IVs than mine going around. Given that brake fluid loss caused by corrosion of this washer appears to be a weak spot on Mark IV Golfs of this age, I would urge all owners to examine the rear brake pipes on their vehicle very carefully, and given the relatively low cost involved, consider replacing the rear brake pipe assemblies completely. This it least should prevent a nasty shock similar to what I experienced

Vic Pilka
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Getting some more info on this, after an independent specialist tells me he has had three cases in the last week. The original washer between the metal banjo and the calliper is aluminium and so corrodes,

Apparently the replacement hose comes with a copper washer

Seems to be affecting early ? 1999, 2000, 2001 ? cars, but will soon spread

Anyone else already suffered this?

WELL WORTH AN URGENT CHECK
 

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This could well be a very serious problem, thanks for highlighting it Neil. I'll post a link to this topic the MK4 forum for better coverage as this is something that is going to affect a lot of owners on uk-mkivs.

I think a front page announcement could also be posted to make people aware of this!

I wonder if this problem extends to the A3 and other MK4 platform models??
 

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There is a way that you can use the ABS pump to bleed the brakes, but as the official way in the Bentleys manual is to use a pressure bleed tool, I think that the VAGCOM procedure is just if you have had to completely drain the system or replace the ABS pump.
 

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Quote: posted by craigGSI on 21/02/2005 14:11:44

my car was in for a re-call for a brake pipe but i am not sure if it is the one that you were on about

it was VW them self that sent the re-call letter

That'll probably be the vacume asist pipe as there was a recall on that.
 

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Quote: posted by Gti Jazz Blue on 21/02/2005 12:51:48

Surely this should be a recall issue then as it is a safety issue.

Leaking brakes at that age aren't really acceptable are they !.

This must is an issue that must be brought to VW's attension, how long before somebody is killed !!! [V]
 

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This happened to me just before xmas and I had forgotten about it till now. going off to work in the morninig and noticed that I had a spongey feel to the brake pedal, took the car strat down to my mates garage after work and found that the washer had corroded away on the passenger side rear calliper.

Thank god I was on my own going to work and not out some where with the wife & kids. could of been really nasty.
 

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The brakes on my golf used to be awesome until i booked it in for its 80k service, on this service i asked them to change the cambelt.

The dealer called me during the day to let me know that the cambelt looked in very good condition and why not leave it until the next service which i agreed to,at this point they said the brake fliud needed to be changed so i gave them the go ahead to do so,about 1 week after this service the pedal started to feel spongey and was traveling further to the floor than it used to.

The car had to go back into the dealer's not long after this as they left the gear oil level very low and i asked them to check out the brakes for me,they called later that day and said the master cylinder and failed and needed to be replaced and poss the servo unit!

They ordered the parts overnight and ?350 later it was ready to pick up,they asked me to take the car for a test drive and i only got to the end of the customer car park and got out as the brakes were even worse.

They had the car for 2 more days trying to bleed the brakes and in the end got a vw master tech in to do the job.

1, After all this my brakes have never been the same and feel crap at times.

2,On talking to the manager about the fact i didn't need a new master cylinder and that they never replaced the fluid correctly the first time i got a whole ?12 off the final bill.
 

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Quote: posted by Jace on 21/02/2005 14:25:00

Quote: posted by Gti Jazz Blue on 21/02/2005 12:51:48

Surely this should be a recall issue then as it is a safety issue.

Leaking brakes at that age aren't really acceptable are they !.

This must is an issue that must be brought to VW's attension, how long before somebody is killed !!! [V] here, here!

c'mon top brass apply that pressure. (can anybody say watchdog)

[:(!][:(!][:(!][:(!]
 

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IIRC Chris had a problem like this on his 1.6. Now nearly 2 years ago.

Not intending to dumb down the seriousness of this (which clearly it is - and more so if VW agree they are selling lots of pipes) but I could imagine problems of this kind on a 6 year old car, given 8-10 years is a car's designed lifespan?

However, if its a known problem then surely the dealers would be keeping an eye on those weaker parts? I for one would be happy to pay for the peace of mind (if its done properly that is!)
 

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Its Crazy - Suzuki have recently recalled a load of old R reg to T reg old shape Wagon R`s because the gear cable might snap, yet VW wont recall a car were the brakes might fail because of a known issue!! slightly more reason for a recall than gear cables me thinks!!
 
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