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Re: [T3] Brakes are done!

Jim Adney wrote:

>The end result is that old rusty calipers give you a very high and 
>hard pedal. Blocked hoses make this even worse. At the same time, the 
>rotors run extremely hot, the gas mileage goes down a bit, and you'll 
>run thru a set of pads in 500  miles.
Well, the pads weren't dragging- they actually had plenty of life left
in them, so I suppose that the hoses were so blocked that they weren't
doing a thing to those calipers. Effectively, I only had rear brakes. I
probably drove on severely diminished brakes when I drove it the 200
miles from where I bought it. Sitting for another year probably froze up
the calipers once and for all..

>Everyone's first reaction to getting back in a car that has had its 
>system rebuilt is that the pedal is now spongy, but it's actually 
>back to the way it felt when it was new.
This is what I was hoping was the case- again, it's been a very long
time I've driven a non-power assist vehicle that had brakes that were as
good as new. In fact, I may never have!

>OTOH, it's also possible that your pedal is too low. If everything 
>has been well bled (and there's no trick to this, it's easy) then the 
>next thing to check is the rear wheel brake adjustment. These are 
>often set too loose, just because they're not centered as the 
>adjustment is done.
This was the first thing I did. Initially when I put everything
together, the pedal had lots of travel. I thought I'd adjusted the rear
brakes properly at first, so I went back and revisited and indeed I had
a lot of adjustment left to go. This helped quite a bit.

I also adjusted the pedal. It had a lot of slack initially- about 20mm
of travel before the rod hit the piston in the MC. I adjusted this out
by moving the pedal adjuster plate until I got around 5mm of freeplay. I
seem to have the requisite hair under 9" of travel before the pedal
bottoms out. It still won't go to the firewall unless I apply extreme
force maybe (which I have not applied).

>Centering is done by rotating the wheel while you do the adjustment. 
>Rotate it both ways, to push the shoe into it's centered, or minimum, 
>position. I will sometimes get in the car, start the engine, and run 
>the wheels forward and backwards applying the brakes lightly in each 
>direction, then get out and recheck the brake adjustment.
I'll need to do this. I'll explore this tomorrow. It's raining cats and
dogs today.

>One thing you can do is to set the parking brake and then see how the 
>pedal feels. That limits the pedal motion to the front circuit only. 
>If the pedal feels extra high when you have the parking brake on, 
>then the front brakes are probably fine.
Just performed this test and indeed the brakes are higher with the
parking brake on.

>I've actually also wondered about brake pads and shoes. Does anyone 
>know if some brands or materials tend to be "softer" than others, to 
>the extent that they'll compress and require more pedal travel?
I would imagine that there is some give to the material and it may be
variable between brands, but I can't imagine it's terribly compressible-
certainly not enough to notice significantly in the pedal feel. Too soft
and they'd wear in minutes. And they can't be harder than the rotors or
drums, obviously.

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