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Thread: Front brakes don't work!

  1. #1

    Default Front brakes don't work!

    This has been an ongoing saga since I purchased my 1983 S3 88 County diesel. I have replaced everything except the hard lines from the MC and the steel lines to each wheel. I have a good firm pedal when braking....no spongyness or softness. Drove it yesterday and when I got home I checked each wheel to see if they were hot. Found that the rear wheels were good and hot......the fronts were cold, it was as if they were not working.. My conclusion is that the front brakes are not working. I've had the system bled by a shop and the shoe adjustments are as far out as they will go on the rears and in a couple of notches on the front. Since the drums and shoes are new there is still a bit of drag. I have removed the shuttle valve so that it cannot be the problem. I have removed the front drums and watched the new wheel cylinders move as the brake pedal is displaced.....what i don't know is how they respond in actual road braking.....apparently not very well. I don't know what to do next. I have read many forum post and the only input that may be relevant is the bleeding of the MC. I don't know if the shop I took it too knew to do that. They did a bad job with some other repairs so I will not take it back to them. I've checked that the brakes lines from the MC go to the appropriate wheels ( front port to front wheels; rear port to rear wheels - the MC is a 1 1/16 bore) . I don't know how to bleed the MC without having to do the rest of the system.

    Does anyone in this forum know what I should do? Or how to check to see if there is air in the front part of the MC preventing full hydraulic pressure to the front wheels.....and then how to fix that. I am really frustrated with this problem.....other issues I have been able to work my way thru them but this is a stumper. Thanks in advance

  2. #2

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    HOW LONG WAS THE DRIVE U SPOKE ABOUT??? I suggest U try some REALLY HARD braking....for maybe 5-10 minutes to give those fronts every possible chance of 'doing their thing'. They may not be bedded in yet. SOmetimes we get on BOTH the brake and the accelerator pedal at the same time, at ~50 MPH for maybe 10 minutes or miles & that helps to burn in the shoes more quickly {& give them a REAL chance 2 heat up)

  3. #3

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    Wish I could get to 50mph! Anyway, the front and rear drums and shoes were replaced at the same time. So why are the rears working and not the front.....seems the fronts should "bed in" before the rears since they are suppose to provide the majority of the braking force. I live on a 1 mile hill so going down that should have bedded the shoes/drums. The temperature difference between the front and rear is significant....burn your fingers on the rears and won't melt ice on the fronts. Suppose I could try what you suggest but I anticipate that the rears will get hotter and nothing will happen with the fronts.

  4. #4

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    We've found that some of the shoes are dimensionally incorrect [in a very careful comparison] not sure that's what u're up against. Have u removed the front drums 2 see what kind of 'print' the shoes display. R they the 10 or the 11" shoes & drums? How many wheel cylinders/wheel in the front? Do u have any fluid leaks up front??? [brake fluid or 90 wt.?]

  5. #5

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    Before installing the drums and shoes I checked to see how the shoes "sat" against the drum. All was good. The fronts have two wheel cylinders, the drums are 11 inch; rears one wheel cylinder with 10 inch drums. No leaks anywhere. I have not taken off the front drums to see if there is a "print". I will do that tomorrow. I still suspect that the bozos at the shop I took it to didn't properly bleed the master cylinder.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2020
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    240

    Default

    Is there not anywhere near you that can test the brakes to see what retardation you are getting on each wheel? Here in the UK, I would take it to the Local MOT testing station where its annual roadworthiness test is done and they could supply a reading for each wheel. You say the fronts are not working, if you brake hard you should be able to lock up all wheels on a dry flat surface . I just wonder if your master cylinder isn't working properly. I am not 100% certain but if the piston for the front brakes has bottomed out & not returning under its spring pressure, it will not create any pressure to front brakes although you would have longer pedal travel .

  7. #7

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    There is no way I could lock up the wheels no matter how hard I push on the pedal. What would cause the front piston to bottom out? Bad spring? Air in the cylinder? Contamination? Other? If the piston for the rear was working properly ( which it seems to be doing) then the rear brakes would engage when the pedal is depressed and one would not sense a soft pedal because of the failure of the front piston/brakes - am I right on this? Unlike in the UK there are not many shops where I live that are familiar with Series LRs, And some LR shops even refuse to work on them - they want high turn over and don't want repair bays taken up waiting for parts. Seems my only option is to fix it myself. The shop that replaced the MC did say that they had to return the first MC they purchased as it failed.....they eventually tried three MCs before giving my S3 back to me saying it was fixed. Which it isn't.. They must have purchased the MCs from either RN or Atlantic British. Maybe I should just purchase another MC and see if that fixes the problem but the cost is steep and if there is a solution without making that purchase then I need to find that out first.

  8. #8

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    There is no way I could lock up the wheels no matter how hard I push on the pedal.   What would cause the front piston to bottom out?  Bad spring? Air in the cylinder? Contamination?  Other?  If the piston for the rear was working properly ( which it seems to be doing) then the rear brakes would engage when the pedal is depressed and one would not sense a soft pedal because of the failure of the front piston/brakes - am I right on this?   Unlike in the UK there are not many shops where I live that are familiar with Series LRs, And some LR shops even refuse to work on them -  they want high turn over and don't want repair bays taken up waiting for parts.  Seems my only option is to fix it myself.  The shop that replaced the MC did say that they had to return the first MC they purchased as it failed.....they eventually tried three MCs before giving my S3 back to me saying it was fixed.  Which it isn't..  They must have purchased the MCs from either RN or Atlantic British.  Maybe I should just purchase another MC and see if that fixes the problem but the cost is steep and if there is a solution without making that purchase then I need to find that out first.

  9. #9

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    1 way 2 tell if your frons brakes are working is to clamp off the [2] flex hoses and see if the brake function changes at all,at speed. You could also clamp off the rear flex hose and see how that affects things. You might observe the front wheels under hard barking and see if they show any slowing of the front wheels.

  10. #10

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    That approach would certainly be interesting. Would want to first try the clamps on the front brakes......clamping the rear sounds a little dicey.....if the fronts indeed don't work I could wear out the heal of my shoe trying to stop!

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