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  #1  
Old April 17th, 2015, 09:42 AM
Tyler Wirken
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Tyler Wirken
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Let's talk brakes

I am sure there has been a TON of discussions on this topic here but searching the forum does not seem to be my forte so I am starting a new thread.

The brakes on my 90 now a 110 have never been great and now that I am driving it everyday it's starting to occur to me that I really need to do something about it before the situation arises where I regret not fixing the issue. This morning I hit a yellow light a little late and it took quite a bit to bring the rig to a stop quickly and no matter how much foot pressure I used it still would not stop it fast enough. I have never been able to lock up the brakes on this thing even in gravel. Not good in my opinion.

I have a great pedal. Plenty of pressure it feels but just no great grip when it comes to stopping power. It's like a weak handshake. Everything is stock minus some new pads on the front that are EBC green stuff pads. Rotors are stock but most likely off brand as I was trying to save money years back but can't recall what brand they are. Rear pads are genuine I assume but again might be off brand as well. Rear rotors are stock I am sure.

I know at the very least I need get new pads and rotors since I have no idea how old they are or what brand. They are in good shape though so I never replaced them. As far as calipers go I know the front ones have been rebuilt at one point but the rears are original from 1997. No leaks ever so I just never did anything about it.

So my question is what is the best route to take? If my master seems good and I have a good pedal do I need to look into the brake booster to help out with stopping power? Do I just replace the pads and rotors first and see what that does? Etc....

I read about the Twisted brake kit as well as another one that really intrigued me but the expense sure does not. What are your favorite combos of pads and rotors that really work well?

Any advice is really appreciated.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old April 17th, 2015, 10:08 AM
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Jason England
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Start with genuine pads on fresh disks. Transformed my braking experience.

My old rotors and pads hand plenty of meat but were rubbish.
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  #3  
Old April 17th, 2015, 12:21 PM
Tyler Wirken
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Thanks Jason! I might just do that. So were you experiencing the same issues as me?

Would also love to hear if anyone has any good recommendations for any upgrades from genuine as well while I am spending the money.
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  #4  
Old April 17th, 2015, 12:24 PM
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John B.
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Have you checked the booster function? You should be able to lock all four tires on pavement with no problem.
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  #5  
Old April 17th, 2015, 12:38 PM
psykokid
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How are your brake lines? Still running the stock rubber ones or have you upgrades to stainless ones? If the lines are old they can expand under pressure and not allow full braking potential.

Also, when was the last time you did a flush on the brake system? Most MFG's recommend changing the fluid every two years.

I'll echo the brake booster statement as well. If it's not doing its job well then that could be part of your problem. I don't know if one from a Disco will fit on the defender pedal box but if so they are a dual diaphragm design and will give a bit more vacuum assist.
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  #6  
Old April 17th, 2015, 12:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90 View Post
Have you checked the booster function? You should be able to lock all four tires on pavement with no problem.
You check booster function by starting with engine off. press the brake pedal down hard.Start the engine and you should feel the pedal sink further. If it doesn't you have a faulty booster.

My front brakes where ineffectual and now work great ... think of it this way .. if the standard setup was crap you'd see a lot more complaints!

Stainless braided replacements for the stock rubber are a great upgrade and are also pretty cheap as recommended by psykokid. Install them and do a full fluid flush and all will be good.

While you are at it don't forget to slot the mounts for the hoses to aid removal next time you need to work on the hubs.
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #7  
Old April 17th, 2015, 12:49 PM
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On the booster itself, look for small, hairline cracks around the areas (4) that bolt it to the master cylinder. Mine had a crack & I was loosing vacuum there.

Another way to test it is use a vacuum pump & see if it will hold vacuum for about 5 minutes.
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  #8  
Old April 17th, 2015, 12:54 PM
Tyler Wirken
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Tyler Wirken
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Just tried the booster test. Pedal did sink further but only slightly like maybe a 1\4" if that.

Lines are new stainless braided all around. Was flushed two years ago when I did 90-110 conversion.

Thanks for the ideas.

------ Follow up post added April 17th, 2015 11:56 AM ------

I have never since I owned the truck been able to lock up all four wheels as far as I can remember even on gravel which is total silliness.

So something is definitely wrong for sure.
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  #9  
Old April 17th, 2015, 01:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler Wirken View Post
Just tried the booster test. Pedal did sink further but only slightly like maybe a 1\4" if that.

Lines are new stainless braided all around. Was flushed two years ago when I did 90-110 conversion.

Thanks for the ideas.

------ Follow up post added April 17th, 2015 11:56 AM ------

I have never since I owned the truck been able to lock up all four wheels as far as I can remember even on gravel which is total silliness.

So something is definitely wrong for sure.
Shit pads ... and maybe shit rotors.

Think horses not zebras
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #10  
Old April 17th, 2015, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tyler Wirken View Post
Just tried the booster test. Pedal did sink further but only slightly like maybe a 1\4" if that. Something is definitely wrong for sure.
I'm not sure that method is a "sure fire" way to test if the booster is holding vacuum. I'd still do a vacuum test.
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  #11  
Old April 17th, 2015, 01:42 PM
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When was the last time you bled the brakes? I'm talking a real-deal, pedal-pushing, four-corners brake bleeding job?

If your brake booster is working, then the following are the likely suspects to me:

1. Air in the brakes.
2. Brake fluid leak.
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  #12  
Old April 17th, 2015, 01:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
When was the last time you bled the brakes? I'm talking a real-deal, pedal-pushing, four-corners brake bleeding job?
When the brake fluid goes from being clear in the reservoir to the color of tea or darker, it's time to change it.

I use the Miti-Vac to do this job too. Suck all the fluid you can from the MC and fill it with new, unopened quart bottle (yes you'll need that much) of DOT4. I suck the old fluid out the bleeders with the Miti-Vac, until clear being sure to keep the MC full to keep the air out.
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  #13  
Old April 17th, 2015, 02:40 PM
Tyler Wirken
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I doubt it is air in the system or bad fluid. The pedal is prefect and no leaks anywhere.

Just two years ago the truck was rebuilt to a 110 with half of the hard lines brand new to rear of truck and new stainless all around. So system has brand new fluid and was bled accordingly.

Vacuum test is a great idea. Then new pads and rotors I think.
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  #14  
Old April 17th, 2015, 02:50 PM
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I would go ahead and bleed it again. Seriously, it never hurts to check twice.

There is something wrong with the math when somebody says "The brakes on my 90 now a 110 have never been great" and follows by saying "Just two years ago the truck was rebuilt to a 110 with half of the hard lines brand new to rear of truck and new stainless all around. So system has brand new fluid and was bled accordingly."

My 1984 90 locks up all four tires - on blacktop - when hard on the brakes. I just bled my brakes last month and it made a huge difference. Prior to the bleed, the brakes felt "fine" and "good" but never locked up. It turned out there was air in all four brake calipers.
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  #15  
Old April 17th, 2015, 03:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sonoronos View Post
I would go ahead and bleed it again. Seriously, it never hurts to check twice.

There is something wrong with the math when somebody says "The brakes on my 90 now a 110 have never been great" and follows by saying "Just two years ago the truck was rebuilt to a 110 with half of the hard lines brand new to rear of truck and new stainless all around. So system has brand new fluid and was bled accordingly."

My 1984 90 locks up all four tires - on blacktop - when hard on the brakes. I just bled my brakes last month and it made a huge difference. Prior to the bleed, the brakes felt "fine" and "good" but never locked up. It turned out there was air in all four brake calipers.
Makes sense to bleed to eliminate any air or fluid related issues. Don't assume that anything was done correctly nor that it has remained in optimal condition.

After 2 years it's time for a flush and a bleed. If you do the flush before changing pads and rotors you may find that they don't need to be replaced. You need to do it anyway so might as well do it first.

I believe that's the logic being proposed.
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Soapy water / KY jelly, etc. is is basically a must. Yes, good idea to remove trim panels - only takes 5 more minutes to do so.
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  #16  
Old April 17th, 2015, 03:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by leastonce View Post
I believe that's the logic being proposed.
Correct. It's also a heckuva lot cheaper to bleed the brakes than buy new pads and rotors. Cheaper as in free.
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  #17  
Old April 17th, 2015, 03:11 PM
Tyler Wirken
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Tyler Wirken
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All true statements and great advice.

I also just looked at the fluid in the res and it was not as clean as it should be.

Thanks for the thoughts.
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  #18  
Old April 17th, 2015, 03:43 PM
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Also check that you don't have seized pistons....
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  #19  
Old April 17th, 2015, 04:25 PM
Tyler Wirken
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Good point as well john. Thanks
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  #20  
Old April 17th, 2015, 05:58 PM
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Can you post a picture of the rotors so we can get an idea of what kind of condition they are in? In Jason's case the front rotors had a lot of 'lot rot' on them from it sitting. Even after a lot of driving they had pitted to the point where the brake pads were not making full contact with the rotors. You could tell from the brake dust on his wheels that the rear brakes were doing more work than the front. I can lock up all four wheels in my D90 on the highway.
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