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Ihave a 2001 beetle 2.0 engine. Must use lots of muscle to push brake pedal to stop. Bought a few months ago from back road carlot. He put new pads and rotors on but it seems there is no wear on the front rotors, there is on the rears. Could be the booster I guess but no apparent vacuum leak. Seems like only bac brakes are stopping it. Any ideas???
 

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The calipers may be frozen. Did it sit for a long time?

You could take the calipers off and see if you are able to retract the pistons.
 

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The calipers may be frozen. Did it sit for a long time?

You could take the calipers off and see if you are able to retract the pistons.
It probably sat for a few months over the winter, could the master cylinder be done
 

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The master cylinder operates the brakes in diagonally opposite pairs, so you would have one front and one rear if that were the problem. I think the place to start is the calipers and then work up from there.

Another thing to try would be bleeding the front brakes. That would confirm that hydraulics are at least somewhat functional. Chances are old brake fluid is what has led to the problem anyway.
 

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Well I checked the calipers and they are not seized, took them off the rotors and slowly applied brakes and they moved fine. By the looks of the new rotors they are only riding and exerting little to no pressure. Fluid seems ok , actually looks new. Master cylinder next???
 

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I'd make sure there is actually a problem before tearing into the master cylinder. The front rotors may not have enough miles on them to show wear yet.

Check the brake booster by turning off the engine, wait a couple of minutes and pump the brakes a few times. The pedal should press easily the first couple of times and then get progressively firmer as the vacuum is used up.

You could see if the front brakes are in fact working by jacking up one front wheel and have an assistant apply the brakes. Try tightening a lug bolt. If you can torque a lug bolt against the force of the brakes that will show they are working at least to some degree.
 
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