Death Valley - Brake Repair Story (1 Viewer)

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Went to Death Valley this weekend and visited the Ghost Town of Lida just North of the park. Had a great time until heading down a dirt road to Eureka Dunes when I hear a clanking and my brake pedal is mooshy. Not a good sign. We get out and take off the driver’s side front tire to find that the caliper bolts are gone and the caliper is free floating on the disk. Every time I would stop the caliper would grip the disk and slam into the dust shield. This was my first trip with a different set of people outside the Landcruiser community. All of them were American vehicles or Jeeps. No one had spare bolts to secure the caliper. I carry spare bolts but all of them were too small. I was able to get two smaller bolts into the holes and wire them in place to at least get down the hill. Luckily I didn’t have to use the front brakes. I used engine braking and parking brake to make it into camp. Next morning I find a puddle of brake fluid on the ground. Turns out the hard line from the axle to the caliper had been fatigued during all the slamming when it was loose and now I have spongy useless brakes in the middle of Death Valley. One guy had spare brake fluid so the goal was to remove the caliper and somehow plug the brake line allowing me to get home on three brakes. I removed the bad brake line and used the Jeep guy’s welder to turn the companion end fitting into a cap by welding over the hex hole end. Now I had a plugged brake line and I was good to go. Moral of the story: Don’t let other people work on your brakes unless you trust them. P.O. had the birfield seals and the brakes redone by a well known Land Cruiser specialty shop in the L.A. area. I bet the mechanic hand tightened them with a wrench and forgot to torque the bolts in place. For a normal vehicle it probably would have been ok. Not for me, this had been my third trip to Death Valley and washboard roads are common.

Warning to all, carry some sort of spare brake parts, brake fluid and spare bolts because things happen.

Pictures to come within a day or two.
 
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That road must be jeenkstd, we just came back from the eureka dunes also. On the way there a main electrical wire cut itself in to because of rubbing, then when we got back to camp, I noticed oil on my front diff:eek: so I got under and found every single bolt that hols the pumpkin on were finger tight at best and had ruined the gasket. :crybaby:So now you can guess what I have to do now. :bang:Anyway, hope you had a blast we will definately go back.

Bill
 

rusty_tlc

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We go down there a couple of times a year or more if we can.

Tighten everything before, during, and after the trip.
 

NLXTACY

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In the future if you run into an issue like that again, first off wheel with other cruisers :flipoff2:

Secondly, you don't need to weld the brake line. I would have just snipped it off at the end and just bent the end 180º on itself a few times, kinda like what you do to a tube of toothpaste. Did that once on my 79 4WD Toy P'up. Three corners braking was fine for the most part, I was just pulling hard to the right when doing hard braking.

Glad you made it fine.

I think this qualifies you for the duck again :flipoff2:
 
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No Duck nomination allowed! This is a situation I had no control over and I perservered. How do i get the duck for something that was done during the P.O.'s stint? Am I supposed to check every single bolt on the whole truck? No.
:flipoff2:

In the future if you run into an issue like that again, first off wheel with other cruisers :flipoff2:

Secondly, you don't need to weld the brake line. I would have just snipped it off at the end and just bent the end 180º on itself a few times, kinda like what you do to a tube of toothpaste. Did that once on my 79 4WD Toy P'up. Three corners braking was fine for the most part, I was just pulling hard to the right when doing hard braking.

Glad you made it fine.

I think this qualifies you for the duck again :flipoff2:
 

MJM

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Common Problem

This is common issue I have had it happen on my 60. The bad part is normally the bolts will destroy the threads when they work loose. Some people will re-tap to SAE I just replaced the knuckle since I was due for a rebuilt.

Good Luck and use thread locker on those
 

NLXTACY

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No Duck nomination allowed! This is a situation I had no control over and I perservered. How do i get the duck for something that was done during the P.O.'s stint? Am I supposed to check every single bolt on the whole truck? No.
:flipoff2:
Totally your fault for trusting the PO's work :flipoff2:

But you DID persevere so that deserves a :beer:
 

Cruiserdrew

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Super common issue and we ask everyone on our trips to carry a spare caliper bolt or two. 80 series have a built in spare-the bolts that hold the hub to the rotor also fit the caliper. That's saved a trip more than once.

Tundra caliper bolts from the first model of Tundra also fit the cruiser just fine.

Torque spec is 90 ft/lbs. They strip at about 100 foot-pounds so set them with a Torque wrench.

Bummer-now you have some brake work to do. Did it wreck the backing plate?
 

ntsqd

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Well, actually, yeah. You're supposed to as part of vehicle prep. Ideally we treat them like race cars in prepping for a trip and check every significant system or feature completely. I can't say that I've ever checked those bolts though. ;) I think that I'll Safety Wire mine. :)
 

NLXTACY

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Well, actually, yeah. You're supposed to as part of vehicle prep. Ideally we treat them like race cars in prepping for a trip and check every significant system or feature completely. I can't say that I've ever checked those bolts though. ;) I think that I'll Safety Wire mine. :)
I've been looking into safety wire systems. Kinda cool but I don't have a drill press to get the holes in straight.
 
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Well, actually, yeah. You're supposed to as part of vehicle prep. Ideally we treat them like race cars in prepping for a trip and check every significant system or feature completely. I can't say that I've ever checked those bolts though. ;) I think that I'll Safety Wire mine. :)
The new bolts that go in will be lockwired in place. I will not let something like this happen again.

Interesting to see that it's a common problem. I guess going 30 mph on washboard roads is not healthy for the vehicle.
 
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This is common issue I have had it happen on my 60. The bad part is normally the bolts will destroy the threads when they work loose. Some people will re-tap to SAE I just replaced the knuckle since I was due for a rebuilt.

Good Luck and use thread locker on those
The threads might be toasted. I think I'll just retap and replace for now. I have a spare set of axles that I am rebuilding with lockers for my SOA. Now I know what type of work to put into the braking system to make sure it is fool proof.

Cruiserdrew,
The backing plate looks ok.
 

Cruiserdrew

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If the threads got toasted, then you have a more significant problem. Best option will be to drill out the threads and re-tap to 1/2 fine thread. You may need to slightly clearance the holes in the caliper ears too.

I retapped a set to 1/2 fine and they came out perfect-literally as good as new. Some have used thread inserts with success.
 
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I installed some new calipers for my car and they came with new bolts with thread locker already on them. It seems like a good place for thread locker. Also I can't remember if these bolts have lock washers but that would help too.
 
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I want to try and fix the existing threads. If that cannot be done then i will retap to a higher Ø as you mentioned (Ø0.5" fine.) Remember that this is a temporary fix for a few months until the other rebuilt axles go under the truck. The other axles have huge american disk setup front and rear. It's the old design that TLC Van Nuys uses on their ICONS. TLC Van Nuys now has even bigger calipers on their new ICONS.

What is the correct caliper bolt size? I'm guessing Ø12mm x 1.5mm?
 
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Almost the same thing happened to me going down Lippencott from the racetrack...It was only ONE bolt though. Fortunately someone had a bolt that matched the threads. It was a little long, but it worked. I picked up 4 bolts after that incident and carry them all the time.

Chicago
 

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