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2005 Nismo Frontier
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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 2005 2wd Nismo edition Frontier with only 70k that I just purchased and love the truck. The only problem is it tries to kill me on occasion. By that I mean the brakes will give out when they are needed most... almost like the brake booster randomly decides to give out. The problem is intermittent. I did not notice this issue when I purchased the truck but it seems to be happening more frequently. There are no leaks at the master cylinder, fluid is all there and the booster hoses look fine.

Any ideas?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'll give that a shot and see how it goes. Crazy there isn't a recall that I can find for this. Seems a few others have had similar issues. I wonder how many accidents were a direct result of this... I almost hit someone earlier when it caught me by surprise!
 

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When it happens, are you completely losing all ability to brake, or is it just MUCH harder to press the pedal enough to get some braking?
 

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What are the symptoms?
On mine the brake pedal will give a little after a few seconds of light braking. Feels like something just leaked out and let the pedal push in farther. Not a feeling of confidence....
 

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I had that previously on my 325e. I put a new master cylinder and it went away. that is a horrible feeling when you come over a hill and everyone is front of you is at a dead stop.
 

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Man be safe - if you are just losing assist you can provide drive it to a shop. But if they are actually going out, please don't drive it, get it towed. Save your life as well as that of others
 

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If that is the original brake fluid I am sure there is water in the system. Brake fluid has hygroscopic properties - meaning that it absorbs moisture during its life in your car through the pipes, hoses and joints that it lubricates. As the water content in the brake fluid increases, the temperature the liquid boils at decreases.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
When it happens, are you completely losing all ability to brake, or is it just MUCH harder to press the pedal enough to get some braking?
It feels like the pedal gets soft, depresses on it's own a little and the power booster just stops working...as I'm careening towards stopped cars or pedestrians crossing the street, I'm putting ALL MY WEIGHT on that brake pedal trying to get SOMETHING to happen. I can feel the pads trying to engage and grip the rotors but it feels like two pieces of ice trying to grip and stop each other... there's just no friction at all. After I somehow maneuver past the middle fingers and honking vehicles I try the brakes again and whadya know... they're fine.

What are the symptoms?
On mine the brake pedal will give a little after a few seconds of light braking. Feels like something just leaked out and let the pedal push in farther. Not a feeling of confidence....
My symptoms are a bit more extreme I think.... the pedal depresses and I get no brakes right off the bat. I try pressing harder and I'm still coasting like I'm not even hitting the brakes. If I REALLY MASH on them I might be able to slow down slightly.

Have the brakes been worked on lately.. maybe excess air in the lines??
I have no idea as I just purchased the truck. I drove it from San Diego to Phoenix without a single problem. I'd suspect air in the lines would have more consistent symptoms but maybe these trucks are different somehow?

Man be safe - if you are just losing assist you can provide drive it to a shop. But if they are actually going out, please don't drive it, get it towed. Save your life as well as that of others
Problem is I just purchased this truck before losing my job due to COVID-19. This is my only vehicle at the moment and don't have money to take it to a shop right now.
 

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It feels like the pedal gets soft, depresses on it's own a little and the power booster just stops working...as I'm careening towards stopped cars or pedestrians crossing the street, I'm putting ALL MY WEIGHT on that brake pedal trying to get SOMETHING to happen. I can feel the pads trying to engage and grip the rotors but it feels like two pieces of ice trying to grip and stop each other... there's just no friction at all.
That sounds like the brakes are working, but the booster isn't assisting them.

You could try temporarily disconnecting and plugging the engine vacuum source hose from the booster, to see if that immediately duplicates the problem when you drive the truck. (Naturally, you'll only want to be driving the truck slowly, and only somewhere where partial loss of brakes wouldn't cause an accident).

If doing that duplicates the problem, then you know that either the booster is failing (has an internal vacuum leak), or the vacuum hose that feeds it is leaking.
 

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It feels like the pedal gets soft, depresses on it's own a little and the power booster just stops working...as I'm careening towards stopped cars or pedestrians crossing the street, I'm putting ALL MY WEIGHT on that brake pedal trying to get SOMETHING to happen. I can feel the pads trying to engage and grip the rotors but it feels like two pieces of ice trying to grip and stop each other... there's just no friction at all. After I somehow maneuver past the middle fingers and honking vehicles I try the brakes again and whadya know... they're fine.



My symptoms are a bit more extreme I think.... the pedal depresses and I get no brakes right off the bat. I try pressing harder and I'm still coasting like I'm not even hitting the brakes. If I REALLY MASH on them I might be able to slow down slightly.



I have no idea as I just purchased the truck. I drove it from San Diego to Phoenix without a single problem. I'd suspect air in the lines would have more consistent symptoms but maybe these trucks are different somehow?



Problem is I just purchased this truck before losing my job due to COVID-19. This is my only vehicle at the moment and don't have money to take it to a shop right now.
I understand money is tight but you can’t afford a wreck either. It’s not just the truck it’s what happens to you or the unwitting people in front of you? If it can be determined that you let this slide, you’ll do jail time. A bad booster just means more foot pressure needed, a bad master cylinder doesn’t stop the vehicle.

Clint
 

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Disconnect the ABS pump before you kill someone.
Stop vucking around, you've been on here for a few days, you got the advice you need.
Bring it to a shop and get it fixed.
 

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It does sound like the booster is going out somehow. If you stand on it hard and can get it to brake then that seems to eliminate the fluid, pads and everything except the booster. If you can go to a remote safe place and play... with the engine off and rolling down hill (towards a safe place), with key in ign but engine off, you have brakes but no brake booster, you have to stand on the brakes, but they work. Is this the feeling?
You will not be able to stand on the brakes hard enough to stop in traffic if the booster is not helping.
As others said, this is not a truck you can drive safely.
Vacuum leak is something that is free to fix so start there.
If it is ABS related then check that too.
Otherwise you need to pay a mechanic.
 

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It feels like the pedal gets soft, depresses on it's own a little and the power booster just stops working...as I'm careening towards stopped cars or pedestrians crossing the street, I'm putting ALL MY WEIGHT on that brake pedal trying to get SOMETHING to happen.
Does the brake pedal stay soft? Loss of vacuum boost will make the brake pedal feel hard as a rock and barely move. With the truck off and in park, just press the brake pedal several times. Does the pedal firm up? Is it the same feeling as when you have to put all your weight on the pedal to stop?

That's false.
Your brake hydraulics work perfectly fine without the brake booster. It just takes a little more effort.
I agree with both you and 0truck0. Yes the hydraulic braking system is fully-functional without vacuum assist. However, realistically, I wouldn't expect anyone to be able to safely brake a vehicle with a non-operational booster with just "a little more effort". It takes over 1000psi to operate disc brakes.

I had a '69 Mustang with front disc non-power brakes. Pretty sure that's not original, but that's aside from the point. Thing is, vehicles with non-power brakes have master cylinder bores that are smaller in order to get enough line pressure. I could stop that thing with a strong right foot. Wasn't nowhere near as easy as a modern boosted system, but it worked.

Now flip that to my Mazda3. I lost vac boost once while pulling off the freeway. It's a modern car with large disc brakes on all four corners. That car weighs not even 3000lbs and it was substantially more difficult to stop than the Mustang. I used both feet and the parking brake (cable-operated, manually actuates the rear brakes). Even though I could probably brake okay from 45mph city streets, I didn't want to risk endangering the motoring public, so I got the car towed.

I'd wager that the Frontier without a functional booster would get maybe 200psi of line pressure. That's not to mention, the OP is playing roulette with having functional brakes. In other words, if I consistently knew that the brakes wouldn't be boosted, I could brace myself for each stop. Imagine closing in on stopped traffic, expecting the brakes to work with just the weight of your foot, and suddenly needing to two-foot brake while pulling against the wheel.
 

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I think its going to be the master cylinder. fluid is passing from the front to the rear as its being pushed and its releasing pressure.

with the booster though, you might be able to just loosen the master and look inside, or pull the vacuum line and look inside with a light. if its got brake fluid inside, you know the booster is sucking fluid from the master. the fluid will probably cause it to go bad over time so if its got fluid in it, you might as well plan on replacing that while you are doing the master cylinder. just buy the assembly so you don't have to screw around with the actuating rod being set at the wrong length
 

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I think its going to be the master cylinder. fluid is passing from the front to the rear as its being pushed and its releasing pressure.

with the booster though, you might be able to just loosen the master and look inside, or pull the vacuum line and look inside with a light. if its got brake fluid inside, you know the booster is sucking fluid from the master. the fluid will probably cause it to go bad over time so if its got fluid in it, you might as well plan on replacing that while you are doing the master cylinder. just buy the assembly so you don't have to screw around with the actuating rod being set at the wrong length
If it's the master, it's not going to be intermittent. At that point, if it is bypassing, you got nothing and will have nothing. I'll put my money on @RamTest being right...….
 

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that's how it was in my little bmw. it wasn't all the time. it would only do it if you really had to jump on it, like an emergency situation. that led to the master being changed and some of the soft lines in the rear because one of the rear calipers got stuck, too.

I would have never thought to check the master but the guy who lives across the street from me has been a mechanic since before I was born. I ask him when I get stuck on stuff. he has been correct every time I have ever had to ask him something. even though he is retired from the air force, civil service, and contracting at the base, he still works on small engines and sometimes, cars or trucks for people. but, he is a wealth of knowledge on everything
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Tried disconnecting/plugging the vacuum line going to the booster and the symptoms are identical. Put it back together and it's doing it 100% of the time now so I'm going to change both the booster and the master. I have to double check it's not leaking under the intake manifold as I could heard something but I'm not sure a leak there would cause this...

-Is the Nismo booster/master different from ordinary Frontier models?

-Is there a good aftermarket brand to buy or should I stick with OEM? I found a few used ones on ebay... do these really go out that often? I'm thinking someone just messed up the install honestly but could be wrong.
 
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