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Adjusting Brake Pedal Freeplay

By Adam Kim

You can adjust the amount of freeplay in the brake pedal so that there is less play before the brakes start grabbing. The actuator rod for the master cylinder attaches near the top of the brake pedal right next to the firewall. It is also under the stoplamp switch (turns on the brake lights when you use the brakes). This is all really simple, you just have to take a look under the dash to see what I’m talking about.

  1. Loosen the locknut on this rod (17mm open-end wrench). Adjust the pedal free height by turning the actuator rod with pliers, then tighten the locknut.
  2. Make sure that the stop lamps go off when the pedal is released. If they don't, this means you need to go back and adjust it again because you took out too much freeplay.
  3. If you want, you can measure the free height between the top of the brake pedal and the floor panel. It should be around 148-158mm according to the shop manual, but I was too lazy to measure it when I did it.
  4. Check that the brake pads are not dragging on the rotors. Also, be aware of any abnormal sounds or vibrations from the brakes that may indicate that the pads are dragging.

After I adjusted the freeplay, it felt like the brakes were not as mushy. Of course it doesn’t actually do anything like that, but it improves pedal feel and helps to get rid of that lame feeling that there is a bunch of freeplay before the brakes actually start working!