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Hi folks -- it's time for another game of "guess that sound". I have what sounds like a mild air leak in the driver's side footwell (pedal area). If I touch the brakes with even the slightest amount of pressure, the leak sounds like it stops. As soon as I take my foot off the brake, it returns.

It is loud enough that you can hear it while driving around the city, but soft enough that you can't hear it at highway speeds.

Lastly, when you shut off the car, you can hear the pressure slowly decrease to nothing as the air bleeds out.

So my questions:
1. What is it?
2. How do you fix it?
3. How hard is it to DIY?
4. Any idea how much it is to be done professionally?

Many many thanks in advance!
 

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Sounds to me like vac leak with the brake booster. All though when mine went bad, the sound was more coming from behind the steering wheel as the booster is mounted up by the firewall behind the steering wheel. I would first inspect your vac lines, mainly the booster vac line. The booster sits right behind the brake master cylinder, and you should see a vac line running from that to the back of the engine. If the booster is bad, most likely the diaphram has a tear, unfortunately these are not repairable, a replacement is in order. There is a DIY guide in the FAQ section. I'm not sure what year your estate is, if it's 03 or newer or equipped with ESP the DIY becomes increasingly more difficult as brake lines will need to be removed. Without ESP mine took me about 4 hours and lots of patience with the mounting bracket nuts. I would think a shop would charge around 4 hours as well.

OOPS... I had computer trouble and didn't mean to post twice.
 

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If the vacuum booster is bad then not to the person expecting it.

What happens is when you put heavy load on engine like say while accelerating? The engine will create a vacuum and cause the pedal to get firmer with the diaphram leaking. So to someone that isn't expecting it you may have to push the pedal hard to get the brakes to work for you, or harder then normal. I almost crapped myself when I was on the interstate and mine was leaking, I had cruise set and went up a hill and as I crested it cars were braking so I went to tap the brake to disengage the cruise and it didn't disengage. I had to push harder on the pedal, no biggie but for a fraction of a second I was like ooooh #$%^. lol cruise shifted gears to accelerate up the hill right as I went to hit the brake so it was pretty firm.
 
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