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Old December 3rd, 2006, 03:32 PM   #1
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Default How good are '94 burb brakes?

I've got a '94 3/4 ton Suburban with hydroboost and a 454. How good are the brakes supposed to be?

I can just barely lock the tires up (well, abs kicks in) when empty. I recently put on new brake pads and rear checks out good. Everything seems to be in order brake and component wise.

Before I start searching for new front rotors, anyone know of major downfalls with this models brake system? Is it widely (except by me) known to have crappy brakes?

Lucas
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 03:44 PM   #2
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a lot of older chevys have bad brakes. my brakes on my 95 were real spongey and both my dads have leaked at some time. try carrying a can of brake fluid around and make sure your resivor is full. it could be the master cylinder but its probably just a real small leak. i dont think it would be the rotors but you could take them off a give them a good look.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 04:46 PM   #3
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well I used to work on these back in the day. the major problem is people don't know how Hyrdo boost works. there is an accumulator on the head unit by the master. it hold about 5-8 strokes worth of P/S fluid. if by chance it becomes contaminated or full of air it will not give you the 5-8 pumps worth of presure. it will also give little or no back up to the regular apply force. now if you did everything right I would think its not a hydro boost issue if you have spongey brakes. I would think its a parking brake issue. most likely the cables going to the back wheels. if you left the old cables and didn't repair them correctly the wheel cylinders will be left floating in mid air with no return presure from the shoes & springs. if you set them up right then the reversing motion of the vehicle will adjust them as needed with every hard reverse stop. if not the shoes will get out of adjustment really fast and will give you really bad pedal feel. so I would suggest to you either check your set up or repair the parking brake cables as needed. I don't suggest removing the cables because that is the wrong way to fix it.
PS make sure the adjusters are the right ones for each side of the axle, and then make sure they are free to rotate with the adjuster.
PSS, the system you have should be "RWAL" not ABS. if its rwal then it only works on the rear brakes and doesn't work below 35 mph under normal conditions. if its got any codes then un hook your battery for 15 minutes and it will clear them so you can operate normal to see if it resets a code.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 05:42 PM   #4
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Have fun changing the rotors... they are mounted behind the hub assembly. You have to remove the nut holding the CV shaft. Free the shaft then take the four bolts holding the hub to the knuckle. Now the rotor and hub is on the ground. Then you need to seperate these by removing all the lug studs. If your not very mechanically inclined Id pay the $200 or so to get them swapped out.

Check your rear brake adj. like Yetti mentioned. This is probably the cause of your soft pedal.
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:20 PM   #5
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Thanks guys,

The truck came from California, zero rust on body or frame with 80k miles on it. Slight paint pealing showing the primer underneath in a few spots. The parking brake works and its a '94, nuf said.

When I bought it, there was a bad hydroboost setup, leaked internally, so I replaced that and bled the crap out of the master cylinder hoping that between the two, my brakes would be much better; no change.

I inspected the rear brakes and found like new shoes on them with a nice close adjustment and a clean, fully functioning adjuster. The parking brake works just fine and feels really tight.

The front pads were worn about 1/2 way, so I replaced those thinking it was just a crappy brand installed or something (hoping it was at least). I know about the rotor PITA!! I busted a stud off, so that was fun figuring out how to get that apart without a manual, but figured it out in the end.

They aren't exactly spongy I guess. Sometimes they feel really tight and other times they feel soft. I was starting to think it was a glazed rotor or something and thats where I'm at now. I didn't get the rotors turned when I put on new pads, so I was going to do that as my next attempt....

Lucas
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Old December 3rd, 2006, 09:21 PM   #6
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my 90 burbin has real good brakes
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Old December 4th, 2006, 08:21 AM   #7
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i too ahve a 94 3/4 burban with the 454. my brakes suck as well. the main problem with mine is that the front rotors warp. i've had them turned before and worked on before, but innevitably it comes back within a month or so. and although i've yet to confirm it, i'm pretty sure my rear drums are out of round as well... when i brake it feels like half of the rotation the brakes clamp, the other half they aren't even touching. it's something ive just gotten used to. i have looked online for upgraded rotors and up until recently, no one made slotted or drilled rotors for these because of the issue mentioned above with where they are mounted. Recently, i've found a few companies that offer slotted and/or drilled rotors. personally if i were to upgrade, i'd just go with slotted as i've heard a few horror stories about drilled rotors. just my 2 cents and experience.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 11:50 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slayer63 View Post
...and both my dads have leaked at some time...
Dude, TMI.

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Old December 4th, 2006, 12:18 PM   #9
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lucassssssss!

When I had a hydro boost equipped rig I couldn't get them to work for $hit!. I replaced everything, pad,drums, shoes, rotors etc. Turned out the PS pump was dying, replaced it still had $hitty brakes, also had a hard time getting them to bleed. Jack the front end of the truck off the ground, bleed your powersteering system, then your brakes. SOunds stupid but it worked on mine.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 01:13 PM   #10
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My 95 K3500 (w/hydroboost) brakes are hardcore. If yours are spongy theres something wrong. IMO diagnos them the same as you would regular vacuum boosted brakes. The hydro is only a booster and wont have anything to do with pedal height, only pedal effort.
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Old December 4th, 2006, 06:56 PM   #11
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well he just said what is wrong. he replaced the pads without truning the rotors. so that means the surface area that contacts the pads are not true. with that you create air gaps and hot spots. I would recomend replacing the pads again when the rotors are turned or replaced. secondly if you use a high metalic pad they create "gas" that lets the pad "float" and they prevent max braking. so stick wit the cheapies and they will do a better job. about the best way to get the best performance is to go with vented rotors from Bear Brakes that vent the gas and allow the use of better pads
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Old December 4th, 2006, 08:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yetti View Post
well he just said what is wrong. he replaced the pads without turning the rotors.
When I did this I inspected the rotors and they appeared to be fine by my eye, but I scuffed them up with some sand paper for shits and giggles. The brakes sucked even before I put new pads on. I had a bad experience with a certain brake pad on my Jeep, so I wanted to eliminate the pad being the problem.

Thats what I was planning on doing, just I was going to buy some new rotors that were slotted along with some good pads instead of turning these down.

Thanks

Lucas
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:11 AM   #13
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well he just said what is wrong. he replaced the pads without truning the rotors. so that means the surface area that contacts the pads are not true.
I would not consider this to be a problem. Ive replaced MANY pads without changing/cutting rotors and Ive never had a problem with weak brakes. If the rotor isnt too grooved up the pads wear in pretty fast.

Also fancy rotors will not improve braking. They MAY reduce fade due to overheating... but unless you like to ride the binders down mountains in tennessee this is not going to help...

STOCK pads and rotors should be perfectly adequate ESPECIALLY when the truck is empty.



I guess the first question that should have been asked... You said your brakes barely lock up... Is this because the pedal is mushy/goes to the floor? Or is the pedal high, just you have to push really hard?
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Old December 7th, 2006, 07:28 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by smasheromalley View Post
I would not consider this to be a problem. Ive replaced MANY pads without changing/cutting rotors and Ive never had a problem with weak brakes. If the rotor isnt too grooved up the pads wear in pretty fast.

Also fancy rotors will not improve braking. They MAY reduce fade due to overheating... but unless you like to ride the binders down mountains in tennessee this is not going to help...

STOCK pads and rotors should be perfectly adequate ESPECIALLY when the truck is empty.
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I worked at Muir Olds/GMC 95-98 and know bit about these trucks myself.

...I would venture the "Smasher" part of your name comes from the many vehicles you have wrecked for lack of brakes?
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:14 PM   #15
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well if you ever worked at a Chevy dealer then you would have read bulitin on the pads and how they were performing badly. you would have also read how they revamped their fix several times.
So does this mean that only factory pads were crappy or all aftermarket direct replacement ones too?

I use this as my tow rig most of the time, the wife drives it around town a couple times a week, but I want kick ass brakes when I'm towing! I've got to put new shoes and magnets on my trailer, thinking about adding some for the second axle too, but thats another story!

I've read that Hawk pads are about the best as far as direct replacement pads go....who sells the cheapest slotted rotors? I can only find drilled and slotted ones...

Lucas
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:26 PM   #16
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I would say what every you decide on rotors will do as long as the face is vented. the biggest problem with good metalic brakes in the discharge of gases from the material while doing braking under load. the factory pads are engineered to be as good and as cheap as posible. the problem is when you use to many different things at once you tend to loose sight of the problem your fixing. if you need rotors do them and replace the pads with new ones of what you have. if you did everything else right then there should be no issues. I am sorry for ragging on smasher , but I see all to many times that people give partial or incomplete info and leave people hanging on issues. I have no problem with anyones ability, but we're talking the safety of peoples family here and theres no room for errors. so save the cobbling for the trail repairs.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:27 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by smasheromalley View Post
I guess the first question that should have been asked... You said your brakes barely lock up... Is this because the pedal is mushy/goes to the floor? Or is the pedal high, just you have to push really hard?
Pedal feels fine, grabs right away, just as I push down harder and harder, the increase in braking power doesn't really increase by as much as I push on the pedal. Like I said, its hard to get the ABS to kick in. I know what inproperly bled brakes feel like, I've dealt with that many times, this just feels like the brakes are wet.

Speaking of ABS, I could swear I have 4 wheel ABS? When it kicks in, it feels like the front tires are the ones that go loose....and the main ABS module, both the front and rear lines go into that giant module on the fender....?

Lucas

Last edited by lgottler; December 7th, 2006 at 08:29 PM. Reason: more info
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:36 PM   #18
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Speaking of ABS, I could swear I have 4 wheel ABS? When it kicks in, it feels like the front tires are the ones that go loose....and the main ABS module, both the front and rear lines go into that giant module on the fender....?

Lucas
forgive me I was thinking you just had the Rear wheel anti locks, ABS was an upgrade from the RWAL.
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Old December 7th, 2006, 08:51 PM   #19
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http://www.raceshopper.com/tech.shtml

heres a great link to help you make the best choice for your brake needs. it will get you on the right track reguardless of what we say here
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Old December 7th, 2006, 09:24 PM   #20
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Well guys, thanks for the info. After looking at all the prices for some better slotted rotors etc...I think I'm going to try the cheap route first and see what I can make of it.

I'll first try turning my rotors if they aren't too thin already and put on some new pads. I'll also try to flush the brake fluid out, put in some new stuff, blead the crap out of everything and see what happens.

Lucas
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