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Unusual Brake Failure!


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Several weeks ago I experienced a very unusual brake failure - luckily, without any damages. I have a 99 Carrera 4 which was driven as a daily driver for 5 years in New York state. In 2005 I purchased the car and moved it to Florida. The car has 60K miles on it. There is some rust on the exhaust, but due to the fact that the car was driven during the winter in NY, I consider this to be normal. Light rust can also be spotted on some bolts on the undercarriage - also perfectly normal. However, what was not normal was that my brake failure was caused by rust, yes.... rust. I had a brake line which rusted through.

Each of the four brake calipers on the car has a small line that connects the inner to the outer side of the caliper. This line is located at the very bottom of the calipers. The mid section of this line has a protective rubber hose fitted on top of it (the rubber is painted with the color of the caliper), and fits tightly in a groove at the bottom of the caliper. One of those lines (my rear right caliper) failed. Brake fluid started to leak out from between the line and the protective rubber. I removed the line, peeled back the rubber, and was surprised to discover the the line was completely rusted through. It seamed that water got in between the metal line and rubber protector, and corroded the line. This line is painted along with the caliper, and there is no rust protection (paint) on the section covered by the rubber. Also, the rubber hose is just fitted on without any adhesive to prevent water from entering between the two. I noticed that three of the four lines had developed small bulges/swells in the rubber. There is no doubt in my mind that dose swells indicate rust activity underneath. I replaced all four lines, bled my brakes, and I am back in the race:)

If you drive your car in the snow, and your car is older than 5 years, it might not be a bad idea to run your finger on the bottom side of your calipers and look for small swells on the protective rubber of those lines. Obviously this is not a common defect, but it happens... Those lines are not very expensive, buy none of the US dealers have them in stock. I had to wait to have them shipped from Europe. Take a look at the pics, and if you have any questions or comments let me know.

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Just for kicks you should try to get it covered under the 10 year rust warrenty!

Then when they say no, threaten with a lawsuit.

Looks like a factory design failure to me. Glad you didn't get hurt!

I thought about it, but I figured it was easier to replace the lines myself than argue with the dealer. Parts were $100 shipped, so no big deal... Besides, I don't think that my local Florida dealer even knows what rust is...

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Interesting. That is a new one for me.

I would ask the mechanics I know but I think the last time it snowed in San Jose was during the ice age.

Now watch Porsche do the right thing and issue a voluntary recall for all cars driven in the snow so the crossover tubes can be inspected for corrosion....

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Interesting. That is a new one for me.

I would ask the mechanics I know but I think the last time it snowed in San Jose was during the ice age.

Now watch Porsche do the right thing and issue a voluntary recall for all cars driven in the snow so the crossover tubes can be inspected for corrosion....

Excellent "Tongue in Cheek" I'll wait patiently for the "Voluntary Recall". A great post however, giving everyone a head's up to a problem that could be extremely dangerous. I had a similar problem with my '61 356 in '74.

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I have had fuel lines and suspension springs fail in exactly this manner on at least five different vehicles (Fords, Audis, VWs) over the years and am not surprised to see this failure on the brake line. Every time I see rubber-wrapped steel I cringe. Take a look at the fuel lines where the rubber isolators hold them to the chassis, you might see some more rust and incipient failure.

Eric

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I sent the pics to the general e-mail on porsche.com. They asked me for the VIN of my car, and I gave it to them, but I think they might want to get my old lines and analyze them. If anyone knows what the proper way would be to send them to Porsche, please let me know.

Edited by ivass
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