95 LSi Hatchback - BAD brakes

orfeo
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orfeo
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Joined: March 8th, 2011, 6:45 pm

May 4th, 2018, 11:42 pm #1

On my 3-cyl 5-spd 95 LSi hatch the brakes are horrible (in my opinion). They work, but they are sh!tty. . . Panic stops are scary. With semi-metallic front pads, they lock up readily in a panic stop (Kumho tires, I know not the grippiest). With Wagner ThermoQuiet (non-metallic) pads (and Kumho tires) they mostly just don't lock up in a hard panic stop. I believe the OEM pad was not semi-metallic. I am recently onto my second set of Thermo-Quiets over quite a few years. I have the impression that I should stick with the Thermo-Quiets (non-metallic). However, stopping power is poor. It seems fine/ok in normal driving, but downright scary in panic mode. . . like needs TOO MUCH foot pressure. This has been the case for years.

Lately, the car will occasionally shimmy right then left when pressing the brake. Only happens sometimes, and I feel pretty sure it is the calipers. I intend to replace both front calipers and both front hydraulic hoses. I am not in a position to do a lot of detective work to figure what may be deficient with this car vs my expectations.

Should I go back to semi-metallic front pads? (I'm thinking not, but want your opinion)
What things should I replace that you think would be most beneficial in moving the needle in the right direction (without doing in-depth diagnostic detective work)?

Obviously I can't afford to just replace everything, but I'd like to eliminate the most obvious/likely culprits. Car is 24 years old, 188,000 miles, still seems to have the original rear shoes (every mechanic tells me that's normal), has never really had anything but pads and rotors changed, never replaced brake fluid. Gimme your best bang for the buck shot in the dark as to additional parts while I'm placing this order for front calipers and hydraulic hoses from Rock Auto.


Many thanks in advance for your patience and your input. I know some of you will hate the half-assed way I seem to be approaching this, but I have a awful lot going on in my life right now and I'm doing what I can.

EDIT: Forgot to mention, the rotors are fine. They were replaced with the first set of Thermo-Quiets, and have barely worn.

Last edited by orfeo on May 4th, 2018, 11:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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kzelisko
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Joined: February 3rd, 2013, 4:31 am

May 5th, 2018, 12:10 am #2

It's pretty common for the hose going to the brake booster to collapse internally, causing only partial or no brake assist. I would replace that just based on age alone. Also when you do the calipers, make sure you use actual disc brake slide grease on the slides and pad ears, I've seen people use wheel bearing grease and it cause problems down the road too many times due to it getting too hot and turning into tar-like nastiness.
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orfeo
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orfeo
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Joined: March 8th, 2011, 6:45 pm

May 5th, 2018, 12:20 am #3

kzelisko wrote:It's pretty common for the hose going to the brake booster to collapse internally, causing only partial or no brake assist. I would replace that just based on age alone. Also when you do the calipers, make sure you use actual disc brake slide grease on the slides and pad ears, I've seen people use wheel bearing grease and it cause problems down the road too many times due to it getting too hot and turning into tar-like nastiness.
Thanks! Will do. . . Is this a regular vacuum line that is on a coiled roll at parts store?
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suzukitom
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Joined: February 8th, 2012, 4:17 am

May 5th, 2018, 1:36 am #4

there's a check valve inside the hose to the brake booster you need to save and put into the new hose.

http://geometroforum.com/topic/4814179/1/

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orfeo
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orfeo
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Joined: March 8th, 2011, 6:45 pm

May 5th, 2018, 6:43 pm #5

suzukitom wrote:there's a check valve inside the hose to the brake booster you need to save and put into the new hose.

http://geometroforum.com/topic/4814179/1/
Good point Tom. . . I will definitely keep that in mind
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orfeo
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orfeo
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Joined: March 8th, 2011, 6:45 pm

May 5th, 2018, 9:43 pm #6

So do you guys run semi-metallics or organics? Do you think I should go back to semi-metallics and call it a day?

I can't really say that the car stopped any shorter with the semi-metallic, because in an urgent stop it just locked up and skid. Seems like the right balance for my car is softer than semi-metallics but sharper than what I'm getting from the organic/composite ThermoQuiets. My instinct says "Strengthen up the braking performance keeping the ThermoQuiets"

What say you? :coffee
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Coche Blanco
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Joined: July 16th, 2009, 2:22 am

May 5th, 2018, 10:08 pm #7

http://geometroforum.com/topic/5325636

This is an interesting read about brake pads, specifically the Thermoquiets. If you think you're locking up your tires too easily with non-thermoquiets I would look into better tires.
Last edited by Coche Blanco on May 5th, 2018, 10:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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suzukitom
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Joined: February 8th, 2012, 4:17 am

May 5th, 2018, 10:27 pm #8

Coche Blanco wrote:http://geometroforum.com/topic/5325636

This is an interesting read about brake pads, specifically the Thermoquiets. If you think you're locking up your tires too easily with non-thermoquiets I would look into better tires.
:gp

I'm using thermo quiets and until i changed out the crappy all season tires, the braking was sloppy, locking up left or right on slightly slippery roads. my current tires have traction rating AA.

your brake pedal should feel firm not spongy, otherwise it might need bleeding or the hydrailic and vacuum hoses checked out and replaced if needed.
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Woodie
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Joined: February 13th, 2009, 12:29 pm

May 6th, 2018, 10:34 am #9

If it's locking up that easily, it's likely just shitty tires. The vast majority of tires available in stock sizes are awful.

Look on the side of your tires for this, the UTQG rating:

The traction rating should A at least, preferably AA. The treadwear number on the left is a bit vague, but the higher the number the harder the tire. Higher numbers last longer, lower numbers actually grip the road. I look for 300 myself, would never buy a tire over 400 for any reason.

It's possible that your rear brakes aren't doing their bit, the adjusters on the rear brakes are known to fail. The back brakes don't do much, maybe 20% of your braking potential, but if the adjusters fail then the emergency brake handle comes way up high, and the pedal travel gets long, you have to push the pedal down quite a distance before anything happens. When things are right the brake pedal should be about 2.5 inches off the floor when pressed hard enough to stop the car normally, and the emergency brake handle should come up 5 or 6 clicks.
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sphenicie
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Joined: November 27th, 2011, 9:50 pm

May 6th, 2018, 12:32 pm #10

suzukitom wrote:there's a check valve inside the hose to the brake booster you need to save and put into the new hose.

http://geometroforum.com/topic/4814179/1/
NO

NO!

NO, 1000 times NO!

Not to jump on you, Tom.

This is a perfect case of forum echoing. Echoing incorrect information.

The valve is NOT, NOT, NOT.............NOT in the hose. It is in the booster housing nipple, at least in pre 97 Metros.

The valve is the nipple, or, more correctly, is incorperated into, the nipple, that the hose attaches to on the booster.
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