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Why do my brakes always pull?

Discussion in '1973-1991 K5 Blazer | Truck | Suburban' started by Blue85, Jan 4, 2001.

  1. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    My brakes pull to the left. If I let go of the steering wheel and hit the pedal, the wheel turns to the left. They used to pull to the right. Every now and then, they are straight. I rebuilt the front calipers this summer and all pads and shoes are O.K. Does it likely have to do with the rear brakes, from contamination or need for new wheel cylinders? The inner and outer front pads seem to wear about the same, but like I said above, the pulling sometimes changes it's characteristics. Do I need to replace the rubber sliding things on the calipers?

    Any thoughts are appreciated.

    "Big? No, these tires might be big for your Jeep, but they're just temporary for my K-5" [​IMG]
     
  2. Truckfan2

    Truckfan2 1/2 ton status

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    I'd really like to know the answer to that question too because my Jimmy has done the same ever since I put the 6" lift on and custom ss brake lines with 3/4 ton brakes (D44 in front, 14 bolt in rear). I need to know why it's doing this because it's not fun never knowing if it's going to pull and how hard.

    Have been stuck (once) as of 8/12/00
     
  3. Derf00

    Derf00 1/2 ton status

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    I had a similar problem which I thought was a brake problem but it turned out to be the front u-bolt weren't 100% tight. Fortunately I found it before I took it in to have the brakes fixed.
     
  4. bigjim321

    bigjim321 Registered Member

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    i had the same trouble once, replaced the caliper and turned the rotor/drum and it pulled straight again.
    the reason is something is causing the pads/shoes to not hit the rotor with equal pressure. or one rotor is glazed (slicker) than the other.

    with a truck that has been in the mud alot, dirt and debris could be making the dust cover or caliper piston bind, also if you rebuilt the caliper was the piston replaced and new seal ? if so, the seal could have twisted or bound up somehow when you put it back together, also give the lines another flush maybe something came loose and is restricting the flow of your dot 3.

    Lack of mud makes a man mean!!
     
  5. Phyte

    Phyte 1/2 ton status

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    I just fixed my problem by replacing the front bearings and bleeding the brakes. I was going to put on new brake pads but the old ones still had plenty of life. I'm not sure if the wheel bearings had anything to do with the problem, but the front end is a lot quieter now. At 55 I would have a loud hum that I just thought was tire noise.. Nope.. bearings.. Now when I brake its perfectly straight. You might have some air in the lines.. bleed em', its cheap.

    Phyte
     
  6. istallion88k5

    istallion88k5 1/2 ton status

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    Mine does the same, a real B***h in traffic when you slam on the brakes due to an idiot in front of you. But I have brand new rotors, calipers, pads etc, and all new shocks stabilizer, so I dunno what is causing it on mine and the ujoints are only a few months old. Any other explanation would be great, so I have an idea of what to put on the blazer to do list, hehe gets longer every day.

    If it aint a Chevy don't raise it up!
     
  7. mich89k5

    mich89k5 Registered Member

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    Hey where were all you guys about 4 months ago? I've been having this same problem since early last year. I posted a message back then and really didn't get too many people who had the same problem so I thought it was an isolated problem. I have replace the rotors,pads, calipers, proportioning valve, master cylinder and brake lines going from proportioning valve to each front brakes and had the rear(keft) shoe replace and axle seals replaced and balljoints replaced and brake hoses too. I have had it. I feel better now since I know that I'm not the only one. I really thought the proportioning valve was the culprit, but no luck. I'm going to start over. I have new rotors, but I get a deal through my brother so I'll replace those and keep the set I have now if that doesn't solve it. And the pads look great, but they're getting replaced too. My blazer pulls hard to the right and I pull a 5000 pound trailer daily and the pull is really increased with the trailer hooked up. Oh yeah I forgot the rear drums are new too along with the front bearings. I really don't know if this is lift-kit related, but I'm starting to wonder. Anyone have any answers? Or if you're having the same problem then post a message, because I'm not feeling so lonely any more with all these posts.In a weird way it makes me feel good. Good luck guys. I'll let you know what happens with me and vice-versa.


    Mich89k5
     
  8. Gandolf

    Gandolf 1/2 ton status

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    When I bought my K5, it pulled to the right when braking. The following weekend I changed the oil, and checked all the fluid levels. I also checked the tire pressure. My right front was around 7 lbs lower than my left. After evening them out at 30 lbs, to my surprise, the pulling was gone. I know there are many causes for pulling, but this simple thing cured mine and is easy to check.

    '89 K5 Silverado 4" lift w/BFG 33's
     
  9. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    I used the same pistons when I rebuilt the caliper. One of the dust boots had been torn, which is part of what turned my suspicions to the calipers, but there was no rust on the pistons, only a tiny amount of surface rust on the inside wall, above where the seal rides anyway. That side had been pulling harder anyway. I figured that rust inside could only make that caliper less effective. Currently I am suspicious again that the pulling is caused by the calipers not sliding evenly on their little mounts. One thing that I am certain of is that the problem is not caused by a lack of lithium grease on the moving parts! [​IMG]

    <font color=blue>Powered by a Goodwrench 4-bolt longblock [​IMG]
    240hp...for now.</font color=blue>
     
  10. Woodman89

    Woodman89 Registered Member

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    Between all you guys that have posted on this thread, it sounds like every piece of the brakes has been replaced or rebuilt. Well im no mr goodwrench but this happened to me with my chevy g20 van, which has about the same brakes as the blazer. It was pulling left and you could see the brake dust building up on my white spoke wheels. After a few weeks of dubbing with it, I finally got the pull to go away after I thoroughly sanded the sides of the puck (piston) on the caliper and removed all of the crust and pits. Just wanted to give my 2c
     
  11. OFFRDK5

    OFFRDK5 1/2 ton status Premium Member

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    Whoa...I am not alone here!!! Ithought it was my crappy driving style!! I am sitting at stock height so a lift I don't think would cause it!! I had it fixed at the dealer cuz I knew I was getting screwed anyway so I might as well get it good. They replaced the right caliper. It was fine...repeat WAS...now it pulls the other way. Don't know why this happens. I wonder if there was a recall on them or not? Or there is a recall on some brake parts? I am going to go check my tire pressure just to be sure though. Where does it pull on yours? City driving? Highway? Lots of stop and go? Cold air? Warm air? Cold/Warm brakes? Rain? Snow? Mud?

    SK-15
    J**P...it's whats for dinner!
    <A target="_blank" HREF=http://SK-15.coloradok5.com>http://SK-15.coloradok5.com</A>
     
  12. Blue85

    Blue85 Troll Premium Member

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    The pulling happens only when the brakes are apllied. [​IMG]

    <font color=blue>Powered by a Goodwrench 4-bolt longblock [​IMG]
    240hp...for now.</font color=blue>
     
  13. mich89k5

    mich89k5 Registered Member

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    I checked my tire pressure today and sure enough my left tire was 5 pounds less than the others, so I added air. Well, guess what? No difference, so if I have time tomorrow I'm switching pads from left to right to see if it's glazed over pads. There was a post awhile back that has me wondering about how to bleed the brake lines correctly. The post said that it took 2 hours to bleed the brakes at a dealer. Now I follow the procedure set forth in Haynes, but never has it taken me even a half hour. Could this be the cause? Is there some crazy way to bleed the lines that I don't know about? I guess it could be a case of mechanics milking the clock. I wonder too if there was a recall for blazer brake parts in the past. Is there an online source to check this out?

    Mich89k5
     
  14. Wheels

    Wheels 1/2 ton status

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    There are several things that can cause this pulling problem. From worn suspension components to glazed pads to uneven pressure to the calipers. The rear wheels have little effect on the braking operation since when the brakes are applied, the weight of the vehicle will shift to the front and the front brakes will provide about 80 to 85% of the braking operation. The seals that you are referring to should have a small amount of synthetic grease or brake grease (you can pick up a small packet from AutoZone for about $2) on them to allow the caliper to return after pressure is released. Use only a small amount of this grease on the seals. Also, look at the condition of the metal brake lines. The chemicals that make up brake fluid is known to be hygroscopic. This means that it readily takes up and retains moisture. This moisture in the brake system causes many things and one of them is rust. The wear and tear of the rubber components, small metal particles, rust particles can cause the metal brake lines to act as restrictors and cause the differential pressure between the left and right sides causing it to pull. Air will also trap in high spots in the brake system while fluid will go to the low spots. When pumping the brakes to bleed them, the air will move back and forth and when you release, it will migrate quickly back to the high spot. With spongy brakes, air is most likely the culprit, fluid blowing by seals is the other. You may have one side that has a small pocket of air in it that is not noticeable. This can also cause direct pressure to one side and the side with the small air pocket in it will have lower pressure to it to extend the caliper. The difference between air and fluid is that you can compress air (which is why it seems spongy) but you cant compress liquid (fluid). I discovered this process many years ago with a 1st gen Bronco. I blew a steel line that rusted from the inside out in the middle of no where. While I was rebuilding my 79, I pulled all the steel brake lines and cut a few open and found some serious rust forming in them. One way I found to get all the air and crude out of the system was to use a Mighty Vac vacuum pump. I had a friend keep the master cylinder full, pinned the pro valve and start pumping. This kept a steady stream of fluid coming down the line. I saw a lot of air and crude come through even after I had the system bled (I was still having a spongy brake). Brakes are firm and solid now and they do not pull. Also, on the rear brakes, adjust the shoes all the way to the drum prior to bleeding the brakes. If you can't adjust them, take the drums off and with a small block of wood on each side to protect the pads, use a speed clamp to keep them from flexing during the bleeding. This takes out any flexing in the system. Readjust them after you are done bleeding the system. Start bleeding them from the fartherest cylinder (ie, left rear, right rear, right front, left front). Anyway, that's my .05, sorry this is long but good luck.
     
  15. Hobbes68

    Hobbes68 Registered Member

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    I used to have the same problem -- when I hit the brakes the truck would make a right turn. The harder I was on the brakes the harder the turn! I always thought it was due to air in the right front caliper since the bleeder screw was frozen and I didn't want to replace the caliper unless I absolutely had to. I found out the real cause of the problem by accident when the lower bolt on the rear of the right spring / spring bushing / shackle broke because it was worn through. I replaced the shackles, bolts and bushings with ORD's greasable bushing and shackle kit. What a difference in drivability! It's like a new truck. No more loose steering or wander on the highway and no more pulling when I hit the brakes. Also the harshness of the suspension is gone now that it can actually do it's job properly. The old shackles were worn to the point that the bolt holes were decent sized ovals and the bolts were worn almost halfway through! I also replaced the front spring bracket whioch was also worn to the point of total danger! On one side there was almost 3/4 of an inch of play in there! A very dangerous condition for the suspension to be in, but not readily apparent until I took everything apart. I had about 105,000 miles on the truck when I replaced everything. Definitely worth doing! I'm now planning on doing the rear bushings and bolts in the near future. It'll probably ride like a cadillac when that's done.

    First I'd check the brakes to make sure everything is working ok and there's no frozen calipers or binding parts. Check the rears too. If they're misadjusted --too tight on one side -- you will get a pull. Then I'd check the ball joints and check the frame for cracking around the steering box. And definitely look at the springs, bushings and shackles. Take the nuts off and remove the large washers and inspect the shackles and bolts for wear. There shouldn't be any play and the bolts should be snug in the shackle.
     
  16. mich89k5

    mich89k5 Registered Member

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    Guess what? I think I fixed my pulling problem! It's been two days and so far the pull hasn't returned. I went out and bought a vaccuum kit that you can bleed your brake lines with. The funny thing is that I had trouble getting it to work correctly so I gave up on doing the 3 other wheels. I started on the left line and since my vehicle always pulls to the right then I figured that would be a great place to start. Anyway, I wasn't getting a good vaccuum flow, at least not as good as I thought I should be getting, so I tightend up the bleeder screw and took it for a test drive. Well no pull so far!!!! Believe me, I have replaced everything brake related and nothing worked and now I spend five minutes with this vaccuum bleeder kit and everyhting is cool now. Before I bought the kit I had bled the brake the correct way, but it never helped , so I looked elsewhere which is one reason I have replaced everything. I know there are countless reasons a vehicle could pull so chances are this might not be the answer for everyone else having this problem, but if you have checked everything else then you might want to give it a try. I called a brake place by my house and asked if there was a fool-proof method to bleed brake lines that would assure there was no air in the lines and they said that they used a vacuum system, bu they charged 45 bucks, so I opted to buy the kit myself for 25.bucks since I'm sure I'll replace my brake hoses to stainless steel lines soon. I just hope it doesn't come back for some reason after I do that.


    Mich89k5
     

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