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My brakes are burning up!

Discussion in 'Stock 1991 - 1994 Explorers' started by cerberusaardvark, July 26, 2010.

^^Searches ExplorerForum.com^^





  1. cerberusaardvark

    cerberusaardvark Active Member

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    when i use my brakes on long downhill highways sections or while im going down steep hills, a terrible burning smell starts coming from my front tire area. its so bad that sometimes other drivers complain on the road! now i just replaced all brake components about four months ago so i dont understand why this could be happening! rotors turned, new brake pads, cleaned and greased spindles. whats going on here!!!
     
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  3. 92exp4x4

    92exp4x4 Elite Explorer

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    Do you ride/stay on the brakes for long amounts of time? Does your truck have alot of excess weight in it? Cargo, extra junk? Keeping a little further distance also keeps one from jamming on the brakes as often. I don't know your personal driving habits, but most often a complaint of this type usually results of driver habits.

    I try to keep my speed down before hitting a hill and pulse the brakes to maintain speed. Giving them a cooling period between applications. Also on a long downhill slope, downshift out of O/D and into D. This will make the engine assist in slowing the vehicle. Don't do this if you are traveling fast like 65+.

    Chances are if you have smoked em that bad already, you may have damaged this set of pads, making them brake less and build heat more quickly.
     
  4. 92exp4x4

    92exp4x4 Elite Explorer

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    Another thing that could be happening is you rear brakes are not working fully. There are adjusters in the rear brakes that can rust up and not allow the shoes to adjust properly. The fronts then are doing 90-100% of the stopping. These ajusters are designed to only work when you apply the brakes in reverse. Check these out and see what you find.
     
  5. cerberusaardvark

    cerberusaardvark Active Member

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    thanks for the speedy advice! i like to think that my driving habits are generally pretty safe and slow. i will check the back brakes and try to figure out if they are working though- any procedural advice to check those spots? i need to put new drums and shoes in the back anyway. could brake lines be a contributing factor to the fronts getting smoked like that? i have no idea when they were last replaced.
     
  6. TedJ

    TedJ Active Member

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    Check the brake hoses - sometimes the rubber inside can separate from the inside of the hose and it basically creates a one way valve. This makes the brakes stick on a bit and they run hot and then braking is enough to burn them up. You can't really tell by looking at them so just replace them if they are old.

    As others suggested too, if you're driving down long grades or hills, you really don't want to be riding the brakes the whole time. Shift into D or lower depending on the speed to get engine braking, and don't just hold the brake pedal down. Slow down a bit, let off, and then slow down more. Doing it this way gives the brakes time to cool down in between.

    Also, if you used cheap rotors (like whatever the parts store gives if you don't ask for better) they have less steel in them and therefore cannot absorb as much heating as better ones can. On a FWD car its not a big deal because the weighs nothing, but on an Explorer they work the brakes hard and you need them to be as good as they can be.
     
  7. cculter

    cculter Active Member

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    I agree with TedJ, I was wondering what kind of brake pads you bought. The cheap pads and rotors are cheap for a reason. Replacing the hoses and rear brakes wouldn't be a bad idea either. Good Luck!
     
  8. 92exp4x4

    92exp4x4 Elite Explorer

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    This would be a good time to learn your brakes. To adjust just remove the rubber plug on the back side of the backing plate and stick a screwdriver into the hole. Find the star part of the adjuster and try to turn it. If all is right, you will only be able to turn it one way- tighter. Keep putting more clicks tighter until the brakes just slightly drag while turning the wheel.

    You can remove the rear wheels and brake drums. If the drum is hard to remove then chances are the shoes are adjusted out properly, but you may have to back adjust them off a little to remove the drum. Turn the adjuster the opposite way while pushing another screwdriver against a locking tab inside the brakes.

    When you get to the brakes them selves you will see a mess of springs and two big friction shoes on either side of them. At the bottom of this mess of parts is a tube about 2 inches long, with a toothed star on the end. This is the adjuster. It is two parts; one screws into the other. See if you can turn the star part of it with reletive ease. It may need to be removed, cleaned and the threads anti-siezed.

    Try not to take anything apart if you are not sure about drum brakes. There are special tools to use when working on them. You can use screwdrivers on the springs but its dangerous, especially if you have never done this before.

    Picture courtesy the forum: (they never are this clean!!)
     

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  9. AMMO_HOOAH

    AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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    You never commented on your "braking habits". When you're going down hill you really shouldn't need to touch the brakes more then once or twice a mile. If you're needing more then that you're probably in too high of a gear.
     
  10. shaggymane

    shaggymane Active Member

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    /\this

    those cheap pads are also soft, get your front wheels dirty and wear out quickly. it's odd that yours is the only one burning the brakes (which you need to find the cause of) but getting a harder set of pads would be a good deal. depending on where you buy them they are called ceramic or raybestos. Ask what they carry in the way of hardness.
     
  11. TedJ

    TedJ Active Member

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    Also remember that Ceramic pads put more heat into the rotors. The Explorer rotors are just barely adequately sized for the vehicle and do not seem to do well with the additional heat of ceramic pads in my experience. I only use Motorcraft pads, which are semi-metallic. I'm happy with them...
     
    Last edited: July 30, 2010
  12. AMMO_HOOAH

    AMMO_HOOAH Active Member

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    Ya I stopped using ceramic pads after they ate two sets of rotors in a year.
     
  13. rhauf

    rhauf Well-Known Member

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    cheap pads = tons of over heating issues (and ton of break dust)

    i learned my lesson on cheap pads, (over and over again) now i use quality pads...
     

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