Ask the Mechanic

Soft Brake

(Steve Thompson)

READER: I have a John Deere 2240 that has a brake problem. When I push down either brake pedal, it is soft and bleeds down. I got all air out of the brake line, but it still has a soft pedal that goes down. I took the axle housings off and replaced the brake discs. After this repair, I still have the same problem. Can you tell me what could be causing my brake problem?

STEVE: Sounds to me like you need a break. Your brake problem will most likely be the master brake cylinder leaking or the brake cylinders need repair. You can check the master cylinder by plugging the outlets and pushing on the brake pedal. The brake pedal should get hard and stay hard. If it does, then it is holding, and bar any line leaks, the problem will be with the brake seals leaking. Of course, this means you must remove the axle housings again and replace the seals, which will be leaking. There is a serial number break on the 2240, so be sure you know your serial number when ordering parts.


Be careful when using a recirculating cleaning solution for cleaning old gas and diesel tanks. The mixture can easily become diluted and catch on fire. Most professional cleaning machines are serviced and have a safety latch that closes the lid if a fire occurs. Make sure it is operable.


-- Write Steve Thompson at Ask The Mechanic, 2204 Lakeshore Dr., Suite 415, Birmingham, AL 35209, or email


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