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Old 03-11-2021, 05:49 PM   #1
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Default Chevrolet Express 3500 Roadtrek P190 brakes

Hi,
I have a 2002 Roadtrek P190 on Chevvy 3500 platform. It's here in the UK having been imported from new!
2 questions if I may:
1. Brake pedal travel - how hard should the pedal feel - its seems to go quiet a way down before anything reassuring brake-wise starts happening? And feels spongy.
2. Temperature gauge on dashboard - never seems to go beyond the 1/4 warm point and rarely reaches the mid-point on the gauge that I assume is where "normal" would be?

Looking for help from the US Forum where there's loads more Roadtreks similar to mine out there!

Cheers from the UK.
Chris
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:15 PM   #2
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My brake pedal is not that firm or short, but I wouldn't go so far as to call it long & spongy. And I attribute that to the added weight of the rv conversion.

My brakes still have 75% of original pad depth. If your brake pads are worn down or your brake fluid has moisture or air, it will affect brakes negatively.

A good thing would be to have pads checked and brake fluid flushed with new DOT4 fluid. Not that big a deal.

Good luck, and you have a rare caravan indeed as not many made it that far across the pond.
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Old 03-11-2021, 06:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris K View Post
Hi,
I have a 2002 Roadtrek P190 on Chevvy 3500 platform. It's here in the UK having been imported from new!
2 questions if I may:
1. Brake pedal travel - how hard should the pedal feel - its seems to go quiet a way down before anything reassuring brake-wise starts happening? And feels spongy.
2. Temperature gauge on dashboard - never seems to go beyond the 1/4 warm point and rarely reaches the mid-point on the gauge that I assume is where "normal" would be?

Looking for help from the US Forum where there's loads more Roadtreks similar to mine out there!

Cheers from the UK.
Chris
Definitely flush and replace brake fluid. I do mine every 2-3 years. Like rowie mine is not super firm but it is not spongy.

Recommend getting a scangauge to keep track of key items like coolant temp and transmission temp.
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Old 03-11-2021, 07:14 PM   #4
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The OP is probably dealing with the previous generation Express van, so it would have a 5.7, different front suspension and other stuff so the brakes may also be different. If it is a 5.7, it is a previous gen.


The brake pedal in our van always seemed to feel like it had too much travel, but I checked the pedal travel per the factory service measurement method and it was right in the range. Ours is an 07.
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Old 03-19-2021, 03:12 PM   #5
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Thumbs up Brake pedal travel on 2002 Chevrolet Roadtrek P190

Thanks everyone for the valuable feedback. Had the front pads replaced 1000miles ago, so I'm going to give the brake fluid a flush through as I have no idea how old it is and see if that inspires more confidence in the pedal action! Cheers. Chris
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Old 03-19-2021, 05:11 PM   #6
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If you have a can of brake fluid just sitting around that has been opened, you should probably throw it out. Once opened, even if the cap is replaced, brake fluid starts to absorb water. It loves water. The following link is a really good read on brake fluid.
https://blog.amsoil.com/does-brake-fluid-go-bad/
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Old 03-20-2021, 02:41 AM   #7
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Hello Chris,

I have had an '07/08 RT 190 Popular (Chev Express 3500) since new and have experienced the same "spongy" braking as you describe when I compare it to other vehicles that I have owned. I asked the mechanic that I have used for business and pleasure, for over thirty years, to check it out as it almost feels that it isn't power braking at all! You really have to push down, but in the end it works just fine. (thank god)!

He said that it is working as it should for that van, and since then (several years later), I had the brakes re-done (by him) with heavy duty rotors, and the braking is exactly the same with a complete brake overhaul. It's certainly not like driving my little SUV, especially when the RT is fully loaded, but it's doing it's job. I don't know if it's unique to this vintage of Chev Express, but you are not alone. I have had no problems once you get used to using more manual pressure on that brake pedal. Just a little more exercise while braking than we're used to!

Happy trails,

Arvie
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Old 04-23-2021, 05:46 AM   #8
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Hi Everyone. Final update on this. Had the brakes serviced, changed out the brake fluid for new Dot 4, suspect the old stuff was some 20 years old! Rear park brakes adjusted. Everything now so much better and resassuring! ��
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Old 04-23-2021, 06:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris K View Post
Hi Everyone. Final update on this. Had the brakes serviced, changed out the brake fluid for new Dot 4, suspect the old stuff was some 20 years old! Rear park brakes adjusted. Everything now so much better and resassuring! ��
Congratulations and thanks for the update!

When I had my brake fluid flushed to DOT4 recently (along with transmission & coolant), it was just for routine service as my van was getting 10 years old. I had tunnel-vision on my upcoming suspension lift (since completed) and didn't pay any attention to whether there was any difference in brake feel before & after. I wasn't having the same degree of brake symptoms as you and obviously it wasn't a huge difference in the mere 50 miles I've driven since. But I plan to look for any signs of improvements, realizing it won't be a great difference.
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Old 04-24-2021, 08:53 PM   #10
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Adjusting drum brakes properly makes a big difference. Also adjusters rust and stop adjusting. The system works much better when it operates as designed lol.
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Old 04-26-2021, 05:58 PM   #11
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Something no one has mentioned: the Express van (at least the 2008 3500) does not use a vacuum booster like almost all cars and non diesel trucks: power for the brake booster comes from hydraulic pressure supplied by the power steering pump. Because of this it has a different pedal feel from most cars and SUVs. Despite this it works just fine once you get used to it.
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