UK Car Repair Questions? Ask a Mechanic for Answers ASAP
I'd double check all the unions for tightness on all the joints 1st Also I'd use a pressure bleeder such as Easibleed to push fluid through to each corner first then use the two person method below to bleed the brakes and clutchI favour having a clear hose from the nipple to a jar 1/2 full of old fluid and with the nipple closed your assistant pushes the pedal up and down a few times then holds it down then you crack open the nipple and close it again whilst fluid is still flowing.Repeat this a few times on all calipers and start with the caliper furthest away from the master cylinder.
If you still have an issue then it could be a flexible brake line is ballooning under pressure, this can't always be seen from the outside so to test this use a hose clamp on each line in turn to close off then lines one at time . Push the pedal in between and see if you can feel any difference as each line is closed off.
I have no service bulletins or recalls regarding this part I'm afraid, but I have seen issues with the clutch itself breaking up so it starts to stick mechanically
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now if the clutch cylinder seals are breaking up then typically the fluid will be dark and sludgy as tiny bits of rubber are suspended into the fluid
regarding the spongey brakes may I suggest driving the car for a short distance and hitting the brakes hard enough to trigger the ABS and then re-bleeding the system as sometimes air can be trapped in the ABS pump which then has to be run to shift the air to the caliper
regarding the engine rattle then I'd first try removing the auxiliary drive belt and turning every pulley and ancillary ( power steering pump , alternator etc) by hand. All should turn easily (with the exception of the AC pump) with no grittyness or wobbly pulleys- If you do find a sticky pump / alternator then it should be replaced or repaired
If the engine is stone cold you can briefly run it with no belts to see if the noise changes or has gone away, this will help show if an ancillary is the issue