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Discussion Starter #1
I've not been driving my Bronco much so I am not used to the softness of the pedal. I've been driving an 08 F350 so obviously the brakes on that are far superior to my Bronco. But it's excessively soft IMO. I've thought for the past couple years there has been something wrong but I checked everything and found nothing. I then took it to my mechanic and he said all good. Well I had it in 4lo yesterday backing out of my driveway (no I don't drive it on the road like that.) Anyway backing out of the driveway I could barely get it to stop. Same going forward. I was going probably 3mph and it took about 15' to stop the damn thing with me really stomping on the pedal. Thats just not right. I'm doing a trip this weekend with some serious incline/declines. The Bronco will be loaded up so there is no way it's going to stop when I want it to.
The basic question is, for those with a similar setup (37's, 4.88's stock axles, stock brakes) how does it stop when wheeling? What can I do so I don't kill my self and my Bronco and ruin the weekend? I've tried adjusting the shoes but that never seemed to help much and just made it smell like burning brakes. Don't have time or money yet to do the 1 tons.
 

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Check the M/C. It can leak slowly enough you don't really notice the fluid loss, and when it does leak it can leak INTO the booster, so you never notice it....


If everything is in working order, I would order a set of Hawk Superduty brake pads. A pad change is the single biggest improvemnt you can make to the braking ability.
 

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That's an option too. For some reason though I've gotten a few bad M/C over the last few years, and it always seems like a mystery problem....Lines good, wheel cylinders and calipers good..
 

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Sounds like the rubber brake lines have deteriorated and are expanding. Change them out (good idea anyways on a 17 year old truck). You could always bleed them first to see it that helps.
 

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Check the booster if it's leaking or not. Spongy is usualy a leak, MC seals torn up internaly or rubber lines going bad, but a hard pedal that you have to mash supper hard is usualy a leaking brake booster. It can be a comb of the MC and booster as well, where the pedal slowly sinks but have to mash supper hard to get it to stop. I'd start with the brake lines like mentioned above first and check to see if the brakebooster hold some vacum.
 

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+1 on replacing the rubber lines. I did that on my 86 and although it didn't make a big difference in pedal feel, I'm glad I did it.
They started leaking the second I touched the old rubber by hand.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Thanks guys. Never really thought about the rubber part of the brake lines. I'll get the front left and right as well as the rear (according to NAPA those are the three rubber lines on the Bronco.) That should be it right? All the metal lines are in fine shape. I may try to do the F350 MC and booster upgrade if I have time. This trail we run has some very dangerous spots as well as some very steep climbs/decents. No brakes would be a bad headache, literally.
 

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Thanks guys. Never really thought about the rubber part of the brake lines. I'll get the front left and right as well as the rear (according to NAPA those are the three rubber lines on the Bronco.) That should be it right?
Yep, that's it. Not sure what Napa charges but Summit had the stainless steel ones from Russell for $80 or so.
 

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All you have to do to adjust the rear brakes is go in reverse and stop quickly a couple times. You were probably over doing it when you manually adjusted them causing them to smell like they were burning, because they were. Your shoes may be glazed and your drums may have hot spots, if that is the case you will have a harder time stopping in reverse and you may get a little vibration. You will need to change the drums and shoes to fix this problem.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Heres what I have done. I tried adjusting the rears by backing up fast and hitting the brakes. Did that about three times. Didn't seem to make much of a difference. Since I've been meaning to do it I decided to get a new MC and booster for an F350 and did that upgrade. Simple upgrade, took about an hour. However I don't notice much of a difference. Maybe a bit better but still not happy with it. I have the new brake hoses sitting on the floor to do next (it says to lay them on the floor for 30 minutes before installing them.)
I have also adjusted the push rod in the booster. That seemed to make the biggest difference. At first I adjusted it perfectly so when the MC went on it just touched the rod. That didn't do much so I did two more full turns which made it about 1/8" long. That seemed to make a difference. Still rolls fine so the brakes are not on at a stand still. So I'm now going to go even further, maybe another turn or two and see what happens.
However I'm still not happy with this. I'm affraid of those steep declines on the trail. It wouldn't stop unless I put all of my 195lbs behind it.
Seems to me I should be able to lock up the tires driving down the street (abs off). But I can't. Even crushing the brake pedal I can't get the tires to lock. Just not happy with it. I feel it could be much better.
 

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Heres what I have done. I tried adjusting the rears by backing up fast and hitting the brakes. Did that about three times. Didn't seem to make much of a difference. Since I've been meaning to do it I decided to get a new MC and booster for an F350 and did that upgrade. Simple upgrade, took about an hour. However I don't notice much of a difference. Maybe a bit better but still not happy with it. I have the new brake hoses sitting on the floor to do next (it says to lay them on the floor for 30 minutes before installing them.)
I have also adjusted the push rod in the booster. That seemed to make the biggest difference. At first I adjusted it perfectly so when the MC went on it just touched the rod. That didn't do much so I did two more full turns which made it about 1/8" long. That seemed to make a difference. Still rolls fine so the brakes are not on at a stand still. So I'm now going to go even further, maybe another turn or two and see what happens.
However I'm still not happy with this. I'm affraid of those steep declines on the trail. It wouldn't stop unless I put all of my 195lbs behind it.
Seems to me I should be able to lock up the tires driving down the street (abs off). But I can't. Even crushing the brake pedal I can't get the tires to lock. Just not happy with it. I feel it could be much better.

I did the same on my pushrod, as per the Haynes manual. And according to them, the rod is supposed to extend 13/16" out from the outer face of the booster. When I pulled my m/cylinder, the rod was protruding about 1-1/4". So I'm not too sure if you should be randomly adjusting your push rod----unless you know exactly what your doing.

On another note (and something you may want to consider) I think I just found the cause of my own spongy pedal problem. Noticed that over night I was a bit of dripping brake fluid on the ground. Traced it up the frame to the area of the RABII thingy. It seemed dry but I noticed that the plastic spiral cover that's over the 4 wires coming out of the back was wet with fluid. So I separated the wire coupler, and about a teaspoon of fluid poured out of both ends of that wire group. The male terminals look very corroded as well. Then I had my wife fire up the truck and hit the brake pedal a few times-----and I noticed a couple bursts of mist flying out of the RAB thingy, at the thick black rubber gasket in the middle. So I'm hoping that rebuilding this thing or replacing it will solve my fricken problems.

Will report back tomorrow............:toothless
 

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Heres what I have done. I tried adjusting the rears by backing up fast and hitting the brakes. Did that about three times. Didn't seem to make much of a difference. .
I don't think i have ever heard of doing this before, Jack upthe rear wheels and use a brake spoon or screwdriver to adjust the the adjusters until there a slight drag on the the drums when spinning the tire.

Also pull the drums and make sure the wheel cylinders are not leaking before you adjust them because this could give you spongy pedal as well.
 

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Make sure your rear brakes are adjusted correctally and maybe check your fluid..... just like oil it does wear out..... if it looks like black coffee then start bleeding, my 94 stops on a dime and i have just replaced the line going to the back, and the front calipers, and rebuilt one of the wheel cylinders so alot of the old fluid has been replaced
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I've blead the brakes twice now. All new fluid coming out the fittings. I've been just gravity bleeding it. But I started thinking that maybe that wouldn't get the air bubbles out. If there was a bubble it would need to be forced out. Maybe I should get my wife to push the pedal as I open and close the fittings. I've done that in the past though and always got the same spongy result.
I just adjusted the rod two more turns out and it seemed like it may have helped a bit more. What would be the downside of adjusting it to far out?
Am I wrong in thinking I should be able to lock the tires stomping on the brakes?
 

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I don't think i have ever heard of doing this before, Jack upthe rear wheels and use a brake spoon or screwdriver to adjust the the adjusters until there a slight drag on the the drums when spinning the tire.

Also pull the drums and make sure the wheel cylinders are not leaking before you adjust them because this could give you spongy pedal as well.
Backing up and hitting the brakes automatically adjusts them. You can manually adjust them from the back of the brake as well but you really only need to do that on much older vehicles that do not have the self adjusting feature, or when you install new shoes or drums.

If you don't believe me take off you drum and look and you can see the adjuster it is a ratcheting type machanism that is touching the adjustment screw.

Also you should adjust until you can feel a slight drag then back it off slightly other wise it will drag and create excessive heat.

It sounds like his broblem is really thae leak he has where the pink mist is coming out. Any leak in a hydraulic system will cause failure.
 

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Backing up and hitting the brakes automatically adjusts them. You can manually adjust them from the back of the brake as well but you really only need to do that on much older vehicles that do not have the self adjusting feature, or when you install new shoes or drums.

If you don't believe me take off you drum and look and you can see the adjuster it is a ratcheting type machanism that is touching the adjustment screw.

Also you should adjust until you can feel a slight drag then back it off slightly other wise it will drag and create excessive heat.

It sounds like his broblem is really thae leak he has where the pink mist is coming out. Any leak in a hydraulic system will cause failure.
So I manually checked the rear brakes. The left was pretty good but I tightened it a couple teeth anyway. The right however was not working. The adjusting wheel was frozen and not contacting the little metal piece to self adjust. So I lubed the wheel and adjusted that one as well. The self adjusting feature is not working but for now thats fine. Haven't test driven it yet but I would hope it's even better now.
The pink mist isn't me. I think you are reffering to Rickys post.
 
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