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lpblasch
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Joined: April 27, 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Northern Virginia
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:01 pm    Post subject: brakes Reply with quote

1991 Vanagon Carat.
I have been unhappy with the brakes on this vehicle. Front pads are new, rear drums are good. System is properly bled, although I have never tried to bleed the master cylinder.
I cannot lock up the wheels under any braking situation, and it feels to me like the fronts are doing all the work. Emergency brake is adjusted, but barely holds the car when it is set. I hit a mechanical stop with the pedal before I get a solid, hard pedal. I do not have to pump the brakes to get slowing action. Brake power booster behaves as it should.
So, is this a standard condition of Vanagons? Or do I have a problem that I have not isolated?
The Bently manual talks about a brake regulating valve, which sounds to me like a proportioning valve to get the proper braking action from the fronts/rears. I have not been able to find it.
What do you think? Are you pleased with YOUR Vanagon brakes, or is the vehicle too big for the size pads/bands in the car? Rolling Eyes
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DanJReed
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Joined: July 30, 2004
Posts: 548
Location: Riverton NJ
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are the rear wheel cylinders working?

I can lock my camper up, I mean, I know I could, I never want to, but I could. I feel the brakes are ok. They could be better, ABS would be great.
Rolling Eyes

Stuck rear wheel cylinders may not leak, and give you a hard pedal, but don't work the back brakes at all.

Oil on the pads will cause them to grab, once they get hot..

Often times most vehciles send about 70% of the braking to the front wheels, due to weight transfer. Don't expect drum brakes to work as fast or as strong as disk units.
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(87 Westy Vanagon, 98 Jetta GLS 2.0, 95 Golf Sport) VW Logo
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Ericthenorse
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Joined: October 03, 2004
Posts: 782
Location: Los Osos CA.
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very Happy vanagons have crappy brakes... I would check that the rod between the pedal and the master cylinder has enough freeplay. if it is tight, the master will not be able to move the right volume of fluid. then bleed the system again. I have found that the two man pump and bleed method seems to get the most air out of the system Twisted Evil
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'91 vanagon carrat-slammed,5 speed,4 wheel disks,17x8.5's
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mlf
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Joined: September 02, 2003
Posts: 120
Location: New Jersey
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 2:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

if the raers not properly adjusted , they will not work , the ez way is how much does the parking brake comes up? if it came all the way to the top readjust the rear . a longer but correct way is to jack up the wheel ,adjust ,just a little at a time until the brakes just make contact , the wheel should not make a full turn when spun by hand with moderate push . in other words there should be a lite drag . Very Happy ,good luck remember even thou fronts take the most to stop . u want no grease on them . a wheel can catch on fire with the right conditions are met . and with a fuel recovery tank under you ,i will not sat any more, Wink
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lpblasch
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Joined: April 27, 2005
Posts: 2
Location: Northern Virginia
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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2005 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

First, thanks for the replys.
I replaced the front pads because they wore out in 30,000 miles, probably because they were doing all the work.
I removed the rear drums and found that all of the shoes were cracked in the middle, either from heat or defective material. Also noticed that the rear shoe on each side was only contacting the drum for about 1/5 of it's length. That means the car has been stopping on front pads, rear leading shoes and a tiny bit of the rear shoes.
Pedal freeplay is o.k., no grease or oil on the old or new shoes.
Took it for a drive and, until the shoes/pads seat properly it's hard to say how the braking will be, but it feels somewhat better to me. Still don't have solid, firm pedal and didn't try to lock up the wheels with new stuff.
Thanks again for your help.
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