Squishy Brakes going downhill (1 Viewer)

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While descending today on the trails, I noticed that the brakes started getting pretty squishy (down to the floor and little braking power). I think this is commonly referred to as brake fade? I shifted to a lower gear and let the engine take more of the hills and slowly went down the trail.

After we got back on the road the brakes recovered and I was able to brake normally. My question is should I replace the brake fluid? I just got this rig about 2 months ago so I was thinking I should change the entire braking system anyways as part of my baseline. Thoughts?
 
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Brake work is likely, however you should learn to use the gears on the trail as well. I can descend some pretty steep slopes with zero brake application in low range 1st and 2nd gear.
 

Irish Reiver

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It won't hurt to change the fluid especially if you are not sure when it was last done. It should be pretty high up on the basic baselining list.
Also what @ZackR says is super important. Low gears keep the revs high which keeps the vacuum in servo.
 
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It won't hurt to change the fluid especially if you are not sure when it was last done. It should be pretty high up on the basic baselining list.
Also what @ZackR says is super important. Low gears keep the revs high which keeps the vacuum in servo.

What does it mean to keep the vacuum in servo?

Yup definitely will change the brake fluid! Are there any basics I'm terms of inspecting the calipers or rear brake drum to know if I should replace those vs replacing just the pads and shoes?
 
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While descending today on the trails, I noticed that the brakes started getting pretty squishy (down to the floor and little braking power). I think this is commonly referred to as brake fade? I shifted to a lower gear and let the engine take more of the hills and slowly went down the trail.

After we got back on the road the brakes recovered and I was able to brake normally. My question is should I replace the brake fluid? I just got this rig about 2 months ago so I was thinking I should change the entire braking system anyways as part of my baseline. Thoughts?
It is more important to stop than it is to go.
Brakes should be a #1 priority when baselining a vehicle, and your brake system is 28 years old now. If it has been neglected, then it is WAY past due.
Brake fluid should be water clear and changed yearly. The darker it is, the more contaminated it is.
There is boatloads of information on brake systems on this forum.
 

flintknapper

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@jonheld I think it terminology thing. In Western Europe we call a brake booster a brake servo. Performs the same function. We need a spanner to remove the servo but you need a wrench to remove the booster :)

^^^^
Haha...........

A long, long time ago...when I was in college, I had a 1969 Jaguar XKE roadster. Had slight oil leak from a valve cover. Looking in the service manual I remember reading instructions to "Lift the Bonnet" (hood), take my "Spanner" (wrench) and "Address the nut smartly" (whatever the hell that means).

Laughed and laughed over that.
 
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Australia
Descending under brakes can spell disaster.
Correct gear selection is your best mate, try to stay off the brakes as much as you can, your drivetrain will do all the braking you need, especially on slippery loose or muddy descents - “pick your line, take your time”

In saying that....
Flush your system out if anything but clear.
🦘🦘🦘
 
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Thanks mate. Still learning as I just picked up this beast and thankful to have this forum to ask questions.

Descending under brakes can spell disaster.
Correct gear selection is your best mate, try to stay off the brakes as much as you can, your drivetrain will do all the braking you need, especially on slippery loose or muddy descents - “pick your line, take your time”

In saying that....
Flush your system out if anything but clear.
🦘🦘🦘
 
Joined
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Small Waves, FL
Water in the brake fluid (ie. old fluid usually has some water) will heat/boil (while stopping) especially on long downhill braking and reduce pressure to the rotors.

Change your fluid.
 

mudgudgeon

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^^^^
Haha...........

A long, long time ago...when I was in college, I had a 1969 Jaguar XKE roadster. Had slight oil leak from a valve cover. Looking in the service manual I remember reading instructions to "Lift the Bonnet" (hood), take my "Spanner" (wrench) and "Address the nut smartly" (whatever the hell that means).

Laughed and laughed over that.

It means "don't be a dumb ass!"
 

mudgudgeon

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Thanks mate. Still learning as I just picked up this beast and thankful to have this forum to ask questions.

IMO you guys are at a disadvantage with auto transmissions. I like a manual trans off-road for exactly this reason.
For steep decent, with a manual trans, select a gear that is low enough that you can let the car run with both feet on the floor. No foot on the brake, and absolutely no foot on the clutch. The engine keeps speed under control, the brakes are for when you need to stop. With a manual trans, on really steep conditions, there's times once been in 1st, low, and stalled the engine coming to a stop, and continued down hill using the compression in a non running engine to provide engine braking along with the foot brake.

You don't get anywhere near as much benefit from engine breaking with an auto, but the same principals apply. But I would say, keep your foot on the brake with an auto.
 
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IMO you guys are at a disadvantage with auto transmissions. I like a manual trans off-road for exactly this reason.
For steep decent, with a manual trans, select a gear that is low enough that you can let the car run with both feet on the floor. No foot on the brake, and absolutely no foot on the clutch. The engine keeps speed under control, the brakes are for when you need to stop. With a manual trans, on really steep conditions, there's times once been in 1st, low, and stalled the engine coming to a stop, and continued down hill using the compression in a non running engine to provide engine braking along with the foot brake.

You don't get anywhere near as much benefit from engine breaking with an auto, but the same principals apply. But I would say, keep your foot on the brake with an auto.

Although the benefit is perhaps less than a manual the auto transmission in my cruiser provides significant engine braking capability. In low range, 1st gear it will hardly move down a steep hill unless I apply some throttle.
 
Joined
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Same experience as ZackR here, in Low and shifter in L, the truck creeps downhill quite well.
Recently, I did a long downhill descent in 4H and at the bottom my brakes were scary bad. I almost hit my friend's rig.
Lesson learned, that scared the heck out of me. Future long descents will be done with engine braking.
 

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