Hey there I have a 2004 4.0 Ford Ranger and I recently changed the front brake pads, and now the pedal is spongy and the brakes feel week, almost as if the new pads aren't even engaging. I bled the brakes in the correct order with a kit that had a very small container for the old fluid to go into so I only pumped the brakes a few times for each wheel, so maybe there's still air in them?? When I press the pedal it goes down a lot further and takes more pressure to stop, and when I start the truck with the brake pedal down it falls an inch or so as it should so no issues there. The only thing I can think of is when I compressed the pistons I didn't remove the cap from the brake fluid tank. Any ideas would be appreciated, thanks! :)

  • Did you machine the rotors?
    – Moab
    Jul 22, 2020 at 17:55
  • When you bled the brakes did you refill the reservoir periodically? If you miss this it empties and you get air in the lines. I suspect this is what happened to you.
    – GdD
    Jul 22, 2020 at 18:54
  • Thanks for the responses, I did not machine the rotors but I did refill the reservoir after each time and it never went below half. My guess is the one man version of bleeding didn't work as well as I wanted.
    – chase
    Jul 22, 2020 at 19:15
  • Are the rotors vented with a channel in the middle? If the internal supports have rusted away you get spongy brakes and poor braking.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 22, 2020 at 20:55

1 Answer 1


The symptoms you describe are consistent with air in the lines. I suspect your bleeding was inadequate. It's almost always a 2 person job with one pressing on the pedal while the other bleeds the air out and keeps an eye on the reservoir.

For a one person job, use speed bleeders or a vacuum bleeder.

I believe that once your system is properly purged of air the brake sponginess will stop.

  • thanks for the response, and my guess is that you're correct. I tried using one of those 1 man vacuum bleeder kits that was very cheaply made so I guess I'll have my dad help me do it the 2 man way and see if that works.
    – chase
    Jul 22, 2020 at 19:17

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