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Wheels, Tires & Brakes

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  #1  
Old 12-12-2006, 11:24 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2006
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97 F150 - mushy brakes, lots of travel.. where to start?

Guys, I realize this is more of a generic brake problem, but then again maybe it is "normal" for the model or at least a normal problem.

Just got a 97 F150 4.2. (no jokes please) The brakes work reasonably well, but there is a LOT of pedal travel before they activate. I can probably push the pedal 2-3 inches, and then there is a gradual onset of braking for the next inch - inch and a half or so... seems like all the braking happens in the last 15% of pedal travel.

Suggestions on where to start? I should note that pumping the brakes has makes no difference.

Last edited by Flot; 12-12-2006 at 11:27 AM.
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  #2  
Old 12-12-2006, 11:59 AM
APT APT is offline
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Bleed the brake fluid at all 4 wheels. There probably is air in the system. Easy and cheap. Use DOT 3 or 4 fluid.

Brakes rely on pressure that gets compressed when you push on the pedal. Air compresses a lot more than fluid.
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  #3  
Old 12-12-2006, 12:45 PM
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check every inch of the brake lines.if you have rear drums make sure they are adjusted corrcetly. those self adjusters always seize up. bleed all around start with passenger side. i replaced a rear line on my 97 took me 3 times all around bleeding before i got a good pedal feel.
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Old 12-12-2006, 01:36 PM
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Ok well ironically enough, I get in the truck to go to lunch and the right front wheel starts making a horrific squealing sound. I assume it is the pad warning indicator. So I will try to do the front pads tonight and bleed them if I can get time / a buddy to help. My impression is that it's not worth trying to bleed them as a one man job.
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Old 12-12-2006, 02:55 PM
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they do make one man bleeder kits. just a small plastic bottle with clear hose. you just hang the bottle above the bleed screw do a few pumps fill uo the bottle.gravity helps out. a friend helping is easier though.
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  #6  
Old 12-15-2006, 04:32 PM
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While you are in there, check out the rubber lines up front. I replaced mine with braided, made a huge difference in the pedal. Supposedly, the rubber lines begin to wear out, and a lot of the soft pedal is actually the rubber lines ballooning under pressure.
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  #7  
Old 12-15-2006, 09:50 PM
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I've got a 97 with the 5.4 and I noticed that too the first time I drove it...actually, I almost crashed it pulling out of the dealer lot because I expected the brakes to come on alot sooner that they did. I'm wondering if this is normal for this model year, drivetrain (v8, 4x4), ect.
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  #8  
Old 12-16-2006, 05:38 PM
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Exclamation

If you read Consumer Reports rating about the 97 F150s you will see in the brake area it is all rated "black",which means a poor rating.Over the next few years the brakes on the F150 improved,dramatically!
As stated above,braided lines are a very good fix.Also,flushing the brake fluid is a good way to go also.After time it breaks down and moisture gets in the system,which is a brake systems worst enemy,next to air.Bleeding the brakes also helps alot.I flush mine every year and am using Prestone synthetic DOT 4 fluid.Also,as stated above,check your rear adjusters;they do seize up with rust and need to be lubricated.
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  #9  
Old 12-20-2006, 02:21 PM
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You need to adjust the rear brakes. Leave the wheels on and jack the truck up. Put the truck in neutral. Remove the rubber plug at the bottom of the drum. Use a flat blade scredriver to spin the star wheel (should only turn one way, and make a ratcheting sound). Spin the wheel while doing this. Keep tightening until you feel/hear the shoes lightly dragging on the drum. The pedal will feel much after tightening them up. If I don't do mine every 5,00ish miles, my brake pedal sucks.
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  #10  
Old 12-20-2006, 03:36 PM
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Vehicle: 2008 ford 150
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worst brakes all time ,dodge dakota.every time youd change pads have to buy new caliper bolts. dodge made the steering knuckle metal to soft, dam thing would strip out.all kinds of problems. when i bought f 150 i was impressed by dual piston calipers, larger rotors etc...
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Old 12-20-2006, 03:36 PM


 
 
 
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