2002....Are the brakes supposed to be this bad? - Ranger-Forums - The Ultimate Ford Ranger Resource


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  #1  
Old 01-15-2006
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2002....Are the brakes supposed to be this bad?

I have a 2002 4.0 V6 with 52,000 on the clock and I really wonder about the brakes.

Bit o history...Rear shoes were changed at 45,000 and the front brakes were at about 50%.

When I slam on the brakes at say 35mph I never get any sense that the wheels are locking or that ABS is engaging...Is it supposed to do this?

When coming up to a stop at a somewhat quick pace, it seems like I need to put the brakes uncomfortably close to the end of its travel range to slow down the truck, like about 1" away from the "floor". It also seems like the fronts engage much much sooner than the rears.

I was in 2WD mode on a patch of ice the other day and trying to get out, my tires were spinning without my foot on the gas and so I hit the brakes to try to get some traction in the rear, and I noticed that it took about 1/3 of the brake travel just to engage the rear brakes.

Do I have a problem with the braking system? I have a 100,000 extended warranty, but I dont want to pay the $100 deductable and have the ford dealers tell me that the brakes are working just fine.

Thanks
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Old 01-15-2006
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How long have you been having problems with your brakes? Did it start right after your rear shoes were changed? There shouldn't be an issue unless the rear drums were rebuilt or replaced, but it sounds like you've got air in the brake system. That will make the pedal feel soft, and sink lower to the floor.

You could bleed the brakes yourself, but if there is air in the ABS motor, most vehicles need a special tool to do it. I'm not sure if the Ranger needs the tool, or if there is a shop proceedure somewhere on it.
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  #3  
Old 01-15-2006
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Not just air will do that. Poorly adjusted rear shoes feel all wambly like that and sabotage braking force.

You really must do an initial adjustment of the rear brakes well, or that are a pest.

The self adjusters suck really. If you offroad or get enough crud in there they cease to work. There are brake adjuster rebuild kits available for about $25 total for both sides that have the "spreader" with the star-wheel, the cable and pawl and so on. I had to change mine about that time -- but mine are underwater a lot, lol.
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Old 01-15-2006
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The problem was there before I changed the rear shoes.

The brakes sucked, so I went and bought new pads/shoes and brought them to my buddies shop, he said the fronts were fine and that the rears we are about 20%. When I got it out the brakes were no better than when I started.


Any way to tell if there is air in the ABS unit?

Also, what exactly are the adjusters and how do I go about manipulating them? I am fairly mechanically inclined but all my previous cars have had rear discs, and drums are relativly new to me.

Last edited by Schnit; 01-15-2006 at 09:53 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-15-2006
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You can pretty much find that online with pics and it'll be better than what I can explain here.

But there is a "spreader" at the bottom of the shows with a threaded shaft and sleeve between the shoes. A "star-wheel" on the sleeve turns freely and can expand/contract the spacing between the bottom of the shoes.

Since the brakes only actuate from the top, poor clearance at the bottom results in lousy shoe contact and movement of the shoes -- they just don't feel tight and pedal travel is excessive.

It's very unlikely you have air in the brake lines unless the system was disassembled for some reason in your 50K miles -- not usually something that's been done. Everyone goes to air in the lines the FIRST thing on brake problems but it rarely is unless there are bad lines, fittings, or someone did a repair and opened the lines without bleeding. If you have bad fittings or lines, you'll be losing brake fluid, so you'd know it.

My rear shoes have been a real problem with mud getting in there and gumming up the adjusters.

In order to understand it, it's helpful to jack up the back, and take off a wheel. Make sure you chock the front wheels well and leave the e-brake OFF. Then once the wheel is off, slide off the brake drum. If it comes off pretty easy (after breaking loose the rust, lol) then they are badly adjusted. You should actually have to work to slide that sucker off there if everythings as it should be.

I've had several people bring Rangers to me now with this problem and that's how we fixed it -- rear brake adjustment.
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  #6  
Old 01-15-2006
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Mine are exactly the same. If you take your rear adjusters apart and put some white lithium grease on them they will work properly. I think I really need to bleed my brakes to get some more out of them. My truck also has about 57K on the clock.
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  #7  
Old 01-16-2006
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Do those slack adjusters still operate when you brake in reverse or are they only manual? I remember having to futz around with them on '84 because they never worked automaticly.
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Old 01-16-2006
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when you adjust them you should be able to spin the drum without any scraping noise. adjust as tight as possible without the scraping.
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Old 01-16-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRanger
Do those slack adjusters still operate when you brake in reverse or are they only manual? I remember having to futz around with them on '84 because they never worked automaticly.
The rear drums should self adjust when you brake firmly while rolling backwards. Of course, this won't happen if the adjusters are frozen. The front discs have no return springs and are continually self adjusting by piston position.
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Old 01-16-2006
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FireRanger
Do those slack adjusters still operate when you brake in reverse or are they only manual? I remember having to futz around with them on '84 because they never worked automaticly.
Yes, and they also work SOME when you use the emergency brake. Using it regularly is SUPPOSED to help keep them in adjustment.

And I disagree that they should spin freely. With that standard you have no idea how much clearance there is. The only way to know for sure you've take up slack is to have some contact. Otherwise you could be fooling yourself. They also may "shift" a bit when actuated and you'll find there is even more gap in there. I'm not talking about not being able to move the drum, lol.
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2006
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Well I drove backwards for about 2 blocks last night hitting the brakes over and over, didnt make it any better.

One question, when I apply the e-brake while the car is moving, is it normal to hear a "thunk" from the rear end at aprox 1/3 travel?

Do I need any special tool to adjust the adjuster?
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  #12  
Old 01-16-2006
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You can use a "brake spoon", which is a special lever that makes it much easier when the drum is on. There's an oval rubber plug that covers the slot. You are going to want to take the drums off and inspect them and see and understand how they work BEFORE you try to adjust them from the outside.

Also, with the drums off, you can adjust them with your fingers until its tough to get the drums on again, and you're pretty close then.
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  #13  
Old 01-17-2006
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If it's any consolation, the brakes on my 03 have sucked since the day it was bought and the self adjusters have never worked. I usually adjust the rear brakes every time I change the oil. I'm getting ready to upgrade my pads & shoes to see if it makes a difference. I'm just not sure which brand yet, and whether I want ceramics on the front.
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  #14  
Old 01-17-2006
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Listen to John Griggs' response. Adjust those rears till it's HARD to get the drums off. I wouldn't mess with bleeding YET. No reason to suspect air with your symptoms.

I'd also go with the advice to lube the adjusters. Disassemble them, clean them well and lightly lube with the lithium grease. Adjust them out till that drum lightly rubs when spun. I am also religious about using the E-Brake (I have a 5 speed) and "adjusting" them with the hard braking in reverse method.

If I slam on my brakes at 35 mph, I almost ALWAYS activate the ABS, for your reference. But, when I say slam, I mean SLAM.

Lastly, I love my ceramic front pads. BUT, they are NOT FOR TOWING. Use your best judgement there. Best alternate is carbon fiber metallics.
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  #15  
Old 01-19-2006
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your rear brakes are only doing about 10-%-15% of your braking, so on a slippery surface it is commin for the fronts to lock up while the rears still roll freely.
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  #16  
Old 01-19-2006
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True enough, but if the travel in the rears are too long, you get "soft pedal", long pedal travel and lousy braking because of it. It's not just a matter of the fronts locking up first, it the general "softness" that happens when the rears are wrong.

I can't wait to retrofit Explorer disks on to this 31 spline FX4 rear I have on now. I'm REAL tired of these drum brakes and their sensitivities.
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  #17  
Old 01-20-2006
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I bought EBC Greenstuff 6000 series pads & Raybestos Superstop shoes yesterday. Only had a chance to put the fronts on, but MAN WHAT A DIFFERENCE !!!!! I should've done this before, but I kept having to deal with the dealer on multiple other brake issues. Since they seem to be fixed (and I'm out of warranty), it's time for a change. You wouldn't believe the difference. I can't wait to put the rears on this weekend.
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  #18  
Old 01-20-2006
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I have frozenrotors.com slotted rotors on the front with hawk hps compound pads and regular replacement shoes in back. I also switched all three brakelines to stainless braided ones. The pedal is rock solid with very little travel and brakes are a ton better than when the stock stuff was still on.

Summit has a rear disk conversion, but for the amount of braking done by the rears, it really isn't worth the extra $$$.
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  #19  
Old 02-10-2016
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I have a 2002 xlt 4x4 and I changed thee brake booster and master cylinder and the brakes dont feel right at all. I have had everythiing adjusted by professional and the brakes are just awful. There arre no leaks or air in the lines. Should I just get the new pads suggested above or should I take it to the dealer? The person that started the post described is exactly what my truck is doing. I just want to feel safe knowing i can stop hard when someone slams on their brakes in front of me.
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  #20  
Old 02-10-2016
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TommyRanger View Post
I have a 2002 xlt 4x4 and I changed thee brake booster and master cylinder and the brakes dont feel right at all. I have had everythiing adjusted by professional and the brakes are just awful. There arre no leaks or air in the lines. Should I just get the new pads suggested above or should I take it to the dealer? The person that started the post described is exactly what my truck is doing. I just want to feel safe knowing i can stop hard when someone slams on their brakes in front of me.
If you want a answer please start a new thread.
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  #21  
Old 02-13-2016
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first and foremost .

pull on the emergency bake pedal release lever and hold !! at the same time you are pushing and releasing the parking brake pedal many times , it is the parking brake assembly that constantly adjusts your rear brake shoe slack adjusters to keep the shoes against the drum at all times .

you should also upgrade to stainless steel braided brake hoses since more than likely your present brake hoses are ready for replacement anyway
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