Spongy brakes, bleeding doesn't work

2013 Mazda 5 Sport 110,000 miles. No warning lights no codes thrown.

Wife let the brakes get pretty low on fluid, barely any (but a little) visible in the reservoir. Brakes got spongey, lots of travel, loud brake booster. I topped it off and the situation got about 50% better.

Front pads were low, just about 2 MM left so I replaced them. I've done them once before without complications. Did the same steps, and did not bleed at this time.

Took the car out, brakes were really nice and firm and responsive, almost like when new. Gave a couple firm stops from 40 to 0 (not panic stops, just firm, no ABS shudder felt) and the brake instantly became very spongey and unresponsive. They still kinda-work and bottom after 2.5-3 inches travel.

Brought it home and up on the stands, bled from back to front and then bled zig-zag some people on a few forums suggested. At right rear I got a bit of foamy bubbles the first bleed, but that's all I ever got. Bleeding gave maybe a 20% improvement.

I am stumped. Air in the ABS module or a valve stuck open in there? Maybe I just need a power bleed? I know many mechanics would be glad to sell me all the relevant parts, needed or not.
 
Dirt road, 45 mph, hard brake. Don't know what it did but the brakes are about 50% better. They still sink a bit more than I would like under sustained pressure but they're functional.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT

There are a few past threads on this. All resolved with replacement ABS module.

Been a while since I've seen the video and it seems Ford has issued a recall. Why hasn't Mazda?!?!
Forzda 5 uses the same part.
 
Last edited:

icspots

Paramagic
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2012 Mazda 5
Dirt road, 45 mph, hard brake. Don't know what it did but the brakes are about 50% better. They still sink a bit more than I would like under sustained pressure but they're functional.

Having some of the same issue myself. Pads have a bit more life than the 2mm you described on yours. I noted the brakes worked but felt weak. Bled all four and lubed the slider pins…… then apparently didn’t get one of the bleeder valves all the way tight because it pissed away most of the new fluid in that line and the reservoir (luckily a rear bleeder). Refilled and rebled. After some driving and hard stops they are better than before than before I started, but the pedal has a lot of travel.

Driving fast on the dirt road and braking hard probably engaged the ABS and may have moved any air out of the ABS module when it engaged.

I talked to one of my mechanics at work who suggested it’s possible one of my calipers is binding up and not sliding. Told him I’d removed and greased all of the pins, but he suggested I still go wheel by wheel and make sure the calipers are moving vs. just the piston trying to do all of the travel itself. Haven’t had time to do that yet.
 
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2013 Mazda 5 Sport
Have a mechanic bleed the ABS module. OR you can buy find an Autel unit that works on the Mazda on Amazon that has free returns ;)
I actually just pulled the trigger on Autel AP200C tool that is capable of performing ABS auto bleed. However, I could not make it work on my 2013 Mazda 5 Sport. I contacted Autel and they informed me that my car does not support ABS auto bleed in the first place.
 
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2008 Mazda5 GT
I actually just pulled the trigger on Autel AP200C tool that is capable of performing ABS auto bleed. However, I could not make it work on my 2013 Mazda 5 Sport. I contacted Autel and they informed me that my car does not support ABS auto bleed in the first place.
Very surprised none of their products support Mazda5 (perhaps limit on Mazda's end?). Call a local Mazda dealer, describe your situation, and ask if they offer ABS bleeding and cost. If they do, this confirms the limit is on Autel (would not be surprised b/c Mazdas, in general, has very poor aftermarket support). You can try a local mom-and-pop shop to see if they do the service for cheaper (pro Snap-on units are very expensive but can do more) or keep searching Google for alternatives. If the dealer confirms they can't bleed ABS, then you're SOL -or makes the decision easier to go pull a used unit from a more recent wrecker b/c apparently you cannot interface with it.

You can investigate more into Mazda IDS but it'll be expensive (*BitTorrent*). This is the software dealer uses so you'll need a laptop and interface hardware. You can also reach out to a YT owner demoing IDS and ask them to confirm if this supports ABS bleeding for Mz5.

Mazda IDS Compatible Hardware:
VXDIAG VCX NANO Ford/Mazda
VCM II
wiScan T6
FVDI J2534

Good luck.