544 brakes

Asked by Sep 18, 2011 at 07:12 AM

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Hi ,
Can anybody let me know if its normal for the brake pedal to be really hard when you press it, hardly moves down and the braking action is not 100% but cant really say its bad????

21 Answers


If the master cylinder has been replaced, the link rod is not adjusted properly. When I changed my master cylinder the link rod had to be readjusted to provide a little free pedal. If this is not the case you may be seeing the begining of a master cylinder problem. One other thing, jack the car up and make sure all 4 wheels turn freely. If not , the brake shoes are adjusted too tight. Back off on the adjusters. Good luck with it, post the results , we're interested!!

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Daniel, how can low brake fluid level cause a hard pedal? My experience shows low fluid equals long pedal travel.

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JOMAI where are you located? I will try to help you with this problem, I like 544's , I have 2 of them.

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Thanks Zoneman for the very kind offer but it might be out of the way for you as i live in Malaga, SPAIN...But you are more the welcome anytime. The problem as you say must be the adjustement of the rod as i have replaced the master cylinder and almost all of the brake system, i have been very seriously thinking of converting it to disks with a booster??? found a place in Holland that as all the bits in a kit. I will let you know how the results.


I had my first 544 when I was stationed in Rota, Spain. I drove that old car to Malaga many times, but that was in the very early 1970's. Good luck with it and keep me posted.

That brake fluid must be pretty old. Put new fluid in the system to start with. Brake fluid is absorbs water. Brakes lines are probably full of rusty fluid. With brakes in good working condition, the pedal should travel a short distance and be firm if the braking system is working correctly. Learned that in auto tech training.


Jomal, have you fixed your brake problem yet?


does your 544 have the hydraulic brake booster,mounted on inner fender? if its manual brakes,high pedal effort is normal


I have had 3 544's, and I have never seen a booster of any type in the braking system, what year and type of vehicle are you refering to??

I dont have a brake booster in mine but i have sem some 544s with them, (maybe moded). the convertion kit that they sell in Holland to convert to disk brakes comes with a booster. The brake pedal on mine still is hard with almost no movement but the brakes seem to work ok when standing on the pedal. I will go for the convertion kit sooner or later.


I'm sure any booster was part of a modification, probably a disc brake conversion.


Jomal, Check the brake lines and the hose that connects the brake lines to the tubing feeding on the rear axle. You may very well have a restriction in the hydraulics. You would still have brakes, but the braking power would be reduced AND, you would have a very hard pedal. If not the hose, check the steel brake lines for any crushing or crimping. All of these things can and will cause reduced braking and hard pedal. Good luck with it and ENJOY Malaga!!

Best Answer

zone man is right,if you have original rubber lines then they tend to baloon or collapse,or get clogged,I put 244 brake hoses on my 71 P1800e,they were a little longer,but they were in stock,and available after market now,if your rear wheel cyls are frozen,this will cause very high pedal effort,good luck.

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Thanks for all your help. At the moment the car is off the road i have been trying to register the car here in Spain but it seems a endless efort... i see the light at the end of the tunel...??? once i get all that sorted i will concentrate back in doing all the bits and pieces needed to get the car back on the road. thanks again and i will let you know i got on.


I remember the registration hassle there, and because I was in the US military I had to have Madrid regional plates. Stay with it, eventually they get tired of messing around and then IF you have your insurance papers in order they will register the car and get you plates. Good luck and keep me informed.


Jomal, have you been able to wade through the Spanish car registration yet?? BTW, how is the weather in Malaga this time of year?

Hi Zoneman, just last week got all the paper work approved to get it resgisted as an historical vehicle, being more than 25 years old road tax and insurance becomes cheaper this way. This morning i put it up on jacks to start doing the brakes and steering as i still have to pass the technical inspection before i can get the number plates..... The weather here is OK??? we have had very litlle rain this winter and now that sping started, has started to rain ( nowhere near enough to make up for the winter) but the temperatures are in around 20C. Good enough to seat outside and enjoy an ICECREAM???? or two if you dont have to drive.


I'm happy to hear that the registration is coming along. In Rota we always called winter he monsoon season because of the high winds and the blowing rain. As far as the ICE CREAM goes, we called it cerveza and my favorite flavors were San Miguel and El Aguila. Good luck with the car and keep me informed.


I hope the ICE CREAM was refreshing!! What is going on with your 544? What is the cost of gasoline over there now?

I have experienced the exact problem in one of my old 445 Duets as well as on my '63 544. After all of the above I removed the master cylinder to overhaul it. During the clean up I notice the fluid relief channel (in the piston slide, lower) was blocked off with rust and dirt. I simply and carefully drilled out the obstruction and finished the rebuild... Never had the problem again... I wish I had discovered it on the Duett... I regretfully sold that problem


I haven't heard from Jomal in a few months, I hope he will see this posting and it will help him. Thanks for the additional info.

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