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Brake Problems - '88 DL


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10 replies to this topic

#1 stephenw22

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 08:40 AM

My '88 is having problems with its brakes. When you press down on the pedal, it barely grabs at all, even with the pedal to the floor. The problem started happening during the last cold snap, and it hasn't improved with warmer weather.

One thing I noticeed is that if I press the pedal to the floor, then quickly release the pedal and press it again, I get brakes like I normally would.

I tried bleeding the brakes, and my fluid seems fine (a little yellow, but not that bad at all. I flushed the brakes about 18 months ago with a fresh litre of fluid.

Any ideas or suggestions? Brakes are one thing I don't know too well yet.

#2 stephenw22

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 03:44 PM

Anyone?

#3 Snowman

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:03 PM

You've likely got air in the brake system. Bleed it again very thoroughly, following the procedure from a manual to the letter.

#4 phishy75

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:04 PM

Are you sure you bled them in the correct x-pattern?

If you didn't, then that is definitely the place to start.

#5 Syonyk

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:15 PM

And you last adjusted your rear brake slack adjusters... when? Thought so.

I had the exact same problem on my 88 DL wagon (and still do, to some extent, but not as bad). What causes this is the rear brake pads and/or drum wearing down. The pads are held in by a spring, so they always retract all the way. If there is excessive clearance between the pads & the drums, you have to "pump up" the rear brakes. The first pedal press pushes the pads out to make contact, and then subsequent presses actually brake the car. While the pedal is pressed, no fluid can return, so they work fine. When you let off the brakes, the springs slowly retract the rear brake pads.

The fix is to adjust or replace the rear brakes. There's an adjuster knob on the back of the rear brake mounting bracket that lets you spread the bottom of the shoes out to compensate for wear. It probably hasn't been touched in ages.

However, if you don't know when the rear brakes were last done, they probably are well overdue for a change. Pull the rear brake drum off (the bearing race is attached, so you'll have to pull the center nut off, and try not to get brake grime in the bearings). I'm betting the pads are badly worn, and/or the drum itsself is chewed up. Mine is badly torn up (1/4" or more depth) but I haven't been able to afford new drums (the hub & drum assembly is ~$60/side). I put new pads on and adjusted the slack, I now have about half a pedal travel to "pump up" the rear brakes before things work normally, but I can panic stop just fine.

So, go ahead & adjust things. I don't know why it would suddenly start acting like this, but I'm betting you'll find the answer to your problem in the rear brake systemm.

-=Russ=-

#6 Snowman

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:21 PM

That's a very good point that I hadn't thought about. The rear brake adjusters are SUPPOSED to work automatically, but they could very well be gummed up and not working. I am not positive about this, but I believe that they adjust when you apply the brakes while in reverse. You might try backing up and slamming on the brakes a few times. However, it's probably a good idea to inspect all the brakes.

#7 Syonyk

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:36 PM

Pulled apart any DL rear brake drums lately? There's no "automatic adjuster" setup - just a manual adjustment knob. The rear brakes are very, very simple.

-=Russ=-

#8 Snowman

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 04:44 PM

Pulled apart any DL rear brake drums lately? There's no "automatic adjuster" setup - just a manual adjustment knob. The rear brakes are very, very simple.

-=Russ=-

No s***!? My GL has automatic strut-quadrant type adjusters. I find it hard to believe that they didn't have any sort of automatic adjustment mechanism on the DL models, but stranger things have happened.

#9 Syonyk

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 05:20 PM

No adjusters on mine... the Chiltons (worthless, btw) says to adjust the slack adjuster every 6 months or so (manually).

-=Russ=-

#10 stephenw22

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 06:41 PM

How quickly would the pedal get mushy? It happened to me over the course of about 2 weeks, and seems to be getting worse all of the time. I was originally thinking that it was from the extreme cold we were having (it was about -40 for 2 weeks), but a recent warm spell didn't fix anything.

#11 WJM

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Posted 18 January 2005 - 07:42 PM

i had an 89 DL that was like that...it WAS the drums...and i never fixed it either...as it stoped on a dime with w/e brakes it had with the 205/60's that I had on it. :banana:




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