David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
6/16/05 11:05 p.m.

Now that the results from this weekend's autocross are posted, we have been replaying our final run in our head. For most of the run, we were flying, hitting our marks, watching the line and doing everything possible to maintain momentum. The course ended with a tight, 90-degree right, and that's where we threw it all away--we braked a bit too late, and the pedal headed for the carpet. We overshot the apex but still managed to make the turn without hitting any cones. The screw-up had to add a second or two to our time, as we got way off-line and lost a ton of speed.

So, what happened? Today we spoke to James Walker, Jr., our resident brake expert. The brakes felt really mushy during the ride home, but they have more or less come back to normal. Assuming junk pads and old fluid, could we really have experienced fluid fade during an autocross? we asked. Absolutely, he answered. Based on our long-distance diagnosis, he doesn't think we have a problem with our booster or master cylinder. It sounds like a textbook example of why you should run clean, fresh brake fluid. We had been concentrating on our suspension first, but our brakes have now also been given high-priority status.

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