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Awful brakes

Discussion in '1st Gen Tundras (2000-2006)' started by 03silverTundra, Mar 9, 2020.

  1. Mar 9, 2020 at 2:06 PM
    #1
    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    Hi All,

    new here and I wanted to see if any of you had experience with the crappy brakes on the 1st gen tundras. I recently bought a 1 owner 03 tundra w 150k miles. records show that he had rear drums serviced/resurfaced 9 months/5k miles ago but the front rotors were warped, which as I understand, is VERY common for 1st gen tundras. I went ahead and replaced them with new rotors (china) and bosch pads which was a significant improvement.

    Brings me to my issue - Yesterday I bought a pop up tent trailer, that has brakes and weighs about 2200 lbs (my truck was brake controller), and while everything was fine, I experience some crazy brake fade. The worst part is that I was not even taxing the tow limit or speeding. I was driving gingerly 25-35mph on streets when I noticed brake fade getting progressively worse. I could also smell them...

    Talking to a buddy of mine who had an 06 crew cab, he was telling me "yah tundra brakes are god-awful" he suggested I switch the brake fluid to something with a higher boiling point (since the fluid on my truck is pretty dark, and may be old). I don't tow often, but that experience was downright scary... and I def want to feel like the truck will be up to the task of towing it's rating 7k plus pounds.

    wondering if you all feel that would help, or am I better off going with one of those 400-600 dollar kits with much better rotors and beefy calipers, maybe some EBC yellow pads??

    Thanks you guys, feedback is much appreciated.
     
  2. Mar 9, 2020 at 2:14 PM
    #2
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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  3. Mar 9, 2020 at 2:48 PM
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    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    how likely do you think that might be? This truck hasn't been sitting and it's had fairly regular maintenance. I doesn't seem likely that pistons would just seize up. You did mention that you switched to Dot5? It would seem to me that the issue may be about temperature.. this better fluid might help me. Again, I think the brakes are great just driving around town and in freeway, but with that load... man it scared the crap outa me how quickly it went south...

    Maybe I'll start with the fluid, and then if that fails.. I place a call to BREMBO's Skunkwerks department... LOL
     
  4. Mar 9, 2020 at 3:01 PM
    #4
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    I don’t tow anymore than about 3500lbs. max. Over that limit you are pushing it even though the spec is higher.
     
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  5. Mar 9, 2020 at 3:07 PM
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    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    wow!! ok good to know and I'll def listen to that advice!!
     
  6. Mar 9, 2020 at 3:47 PM
    #6
    bmf4069

    bmf4069 Yup, that's car parts in a dishwasher

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    Might not hurt to get under there and see which calipers you have. You could have the older WE style. If so, upgrading them, the pads, and rotors wouldn't hurt. If you zoom in on this pic you can see where it says 13WL. That's what you want, especially if towing. And change your fluid before replacing calipers, that way you're not flushing gross fluid through your new calipers.

    20190301_173654.jpg
     
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  7. Mar 9, 2020 at 4:45 PM
    #7
    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    Here's a picture, seems like I have the old one huh? See pics

    20200309_161838.jpg
    20200309_161827.jpg
     
  8. Mar 9, 2020 at 4:46 PM
    #8
    PCJ

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    Sounds to me you cheaped out on the front brakes. Cheap rotors aren't going to dissipate heat as well as better quality ones. I would start by putting good quality rotors and pads upfront. Then check the back brakes and make sure they were repaired with quality brake shoes and are adjusted and working properly. Change the brake fluid as was recommended. Then make sure the trailer brakes are adjusted and working properly. Properly adjusted trailer brakes will keep the strain off of the tow vehicle.
     
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  9. Mar 9, 2020 at 4:51 PM
    #9
    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    PCJ, yah I def did. That was on recommendation of my buddy who had that 06 I mentioned earlier. He said that he noticed zero dif in terms of warping or performance between factory and chinese, so don't waste your money on em he said..

    I'll go with fluid 1st... should I go with Synthetic dot4 or regular dot4??
     
  10. Mar 9, 2020 at 4:57 PM
    #10
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    I’d bleed an entire bottle of DOT3 through the entire system first to clean out the old and then do your last round with DOT5.1 by Bosch.

    Start at pass rear, then LPV, driver rear, pass front, and finish at the driver front.
     
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  11. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:10 PM
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    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    COOL!! I'll do that.... I should probably still be on the lookout for those upgraded calipers from an 05, 06. Maybe I'll check junk yards...
     
  12. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:21 PM
    #12
    bmf4069

    bmf4069 Yup, that's car parts in a dishwasher

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    You can buy em online. I got mine from rockauto.
     
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  13. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:23 PM
    #13
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Looks like you already have the 13WL (larger) calipers.

    My 2002 was the last year of the 13WE smaller brakes. They were toasted. I also replaced my brake lines and rebuilt the rear brake cylinders. It all needed to be done after I started looking at it. You can see the pics in the link above.

    A fluid change is a good cheap and easy start and my be all you need.
     
  14. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:27 PM
    #14
    Darkness

    Darkness Allergic to white

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    First do the fluid. Get all that old fluid out and all the air that might be in with it. Doesn't matter much which fluid, a freshly bled set of brake lines makes a difference in these trucks.

    If that doesn't work, check that rear brakes are adjusted properly. I really think the majority of brake complaints on these trucks is related to improperly adjusted rears that leave the fronts doing all the work.

    If that doesn't work, look on the inner side of your calipers. See if it says 13WL. If it doesn't then plan on an upgrade in the near future to 13WL (or 13WG) calipers and pads. You may or may not want to swap rotors at that time as well, I don't think your rotor choice has anything to do with what you describe.

    If you do go for the whole bundle stick with solid rotors, no fancy slotted ot drilled ones since they won't work as well. I had bad luck with yellow EBC. I'm running Hawk now but not impressed. My next will be Akebono.
     
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  15. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:35 PM
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    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    I do!!!???? YAAAYY!!! how come I don't see the stamp.. or is in on the inside?
     
  16. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:47 PM
    #16
    imDementeD

    imDementeD New Member

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    I'm 90% that my 03 has 13WEs on it. I'll double check but that is why I'm going to upgrade to the 14WAs. Just found a wrecked gx460 to get them from!

     
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  17. Mar 9, 2020 at 5:55 PM
    #17
    bmf4069

    bmf4069 Yup, that's car parts in a dishwasher

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    It's on the inside.
     
  18. Mar 9, 2020 at 6:01 PM
    #18
    FirstGenVol

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    Didn't empty Lord say it was normal for the pistons to appear seized? Your brakes would have likely been a lot worse right? I remember you stating before the upgrades they were decent.
     
  19. Mar 10, 2020 at 3:16 AM
    #19
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    He sure did. The thought is if you pump the brake pedal (with the pads removed from caliper) is that the easiest piston will extend out and the others remain due to no contact pressure forcing the others to work.

    My brakes were ok. When I changed the fluid after (5 years?) they really firmed up.

    Then I went down the rabbit hole once a tear was noticed on one of the piston boots.

    After removal of calipers, I tried removing and turning/twisting the pistons off with no success on both the inboard sides so I know at least 2 of 4 on each side were seized.

    The one piston I did remove had a fair amount of pitted corrosion on the inside cup along with varnish build up from the deteriorating rubber inner seals.

    upload_2020-3-10_6-11-56.jpg
     
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  20. Mar 10, 2020 at 3:41 AM
    #20
    FirstGenVol

    FirstGenVol persona non grata

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    That's a good analysis. I think you've sold me on new everything once these pads wear out. I'm going to try and do those bigger Lexus calipers and rotors.
     
  21. Mar 10, 2020 at 3:59 AM
    #21
    foxtrapper

    foxtrapper New Member

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    I have to say, I've been quite impressed by how poor my Tundra's brakes are. Perhaps the worse brakes of any Toyota truck I've ever had (and I've had a few).

    I agree with the various comments about the stock front rotors and calipers being inadequate. The various upgrades are probably a very worthwhile thing.

    The rear drums, beware of them even working. Many a truck with the load sensing valve under the bed have that valve plugged with goo so the rear drums aren't doing anything. Which overwhelms the front brakes all the quicker. If your rear brake shoes aren't wearing down, it's probably because they aren't working.
     
  22. Mar 10, 2020 at 6:43 AM
    #22
    tvpierce

    tvpierce Formerly New Member

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    You have to assume the front calipers are original -- which puts them at 17 years old. As @Professional Hand Model indicated, rusted/frozen pistons would cause what you're describing. Also, as others have said, the rear brakes are frequently maladjusted by owners or techs who don't understand Toyota drum brakes. The rears brakes auto-adjust when you use the parking brake. If you or the previous owner never use the parking brake, the rears will be out of adjustment.

    It's easy to check if you rear brakes are working: find an empty stretch of road and do a few panic stops to give the brakes a good workout and get them good and hot. The fronts should be so hot you'll burn your hand if you touch the disks. The rear drums should be hot too... but I bet they won't be -- just a hunch.
     
  23. Mar 10, 2020 at 10:06 AM
    #23
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Thought about starting another thread today on Bad Karma coming back to get me for digging on @bmf4069 being ‘The Mangler’. :rofl:

    Anyways, started my trip out of town this morning to go pick up the muffler. This is my first long drive since doing brakes last month. Got about 45 miles away (pure highway cruising) and the truck starts grumbling at cruising speed of 62 mph. Kicked cruise control off and grumbling stopped below 60mph. Pulled over to check possible wheel lugs loose and all is good!

    Put hands on front calipers and cool/warm from the long drive without braking. Check driver side rear and cool, as well. Put hand on pass rear drum and it burnt my pinky! Might need to file disability!:cookiemonster:

    Got back on road and drove another 2 miles (at 65mph) until the grumble came back. Pulled over and that rear pass drum was hot hot! Had to turn around and come back home driving under 45mph. Did a sample test once near the house and ran her up to 65mph and she grumbled again. Back pass drum hot hot!

    Got home! Dialed back the star adjuster to remove and inspect both rears drums recent work. Everything works and looks in order. Put everything back and did a long highway test drive after self adjusting at the emergency pedal ‘lightly’. All is good!

    ’Self adjusted’ harder (this time at the e-pedal again) and turned around to come home. Drum gets hot (but not hot hot). :annoyed:

    Hoping the grumble was the rear drum getting hot and expanding making the grumble. Or, maybe her glory is over and off to the dump she goes? No way to know until I mimic another 45 mile non-stop non-braking cruise drive at highway speed like today again. Right now I can’t get the grumble to happen due to not wanting to drive 45 miles!

    May end up backing the star adjuster off if it happens again and never use the e-brake again. :D

    I’m done with these adjustments. :mad:

    Or the rear axle mojo is messed up with a new axle on one side and not the other is another possibility. New bearing repair is not leaking and holding well.
     
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  24. Mar 10, 2020 at 12:11 PM
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    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    Yeah, I'll do fluid for sure and have rears checked out.. or try your technique with the hard braking. As far as frozen pistons, I spoke with a reputable show this AM.. and he said that's most likely NOT the case as truck was used regularly and not stored or left out in the elements for a period of time. Also, He said that if the pads are wearing evenly, then pistons are working properly.

    Hey guys as far as DOT4 vs. DOT5 I found this:
    https://www.lelandwest.com/brake-fluid-comparison-chart.cfm

    So... DOT5 is not necessarily better than DOT4... as you can see from some of these brands.. some of the higher wet boiling points are with DOT4. All things being Equal, according to this guide.. it doesn't matter if you go with 4 or 5. Thoughts??
     
  25. Mar 10, 2020 at 12:37 PM
    #25
    Professional Hand Model

    Professional Hand Model A.K.A ‘Golden Hands’

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    Its DOT 5.1

    not Dot five
     
  26. Mar 10, 2020 at 12:41 PM
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    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    Sorry, that's what I meant, 5.1 . same thing still applies as no real benefit according to the guide.
     
  27. Mar 10, 2020 at 4:53 PM
    #27
    tvpierce

    tvpierce Formerly New Member

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    Fluid isn’t your problem. Fresh fluid never hurts, but it’s just the hydraulic medium — it’s not going to fix your brakes.
     
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  28. Mar 10, 2020 at 5:00 PM
    #28
    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    Wait.. old or contaminated fluid no longer holds up to heat right? My issue is fade, that's it. My brakes work wonderfully if I'm driving the truck normally. Load is a different story, and if better/fresh fluid has a higher boiling/fading point, would this not be a huge factor in what I'm experiencing?
     
  29. Mar 10, 2020 at 6:37 PM
    #29
    PCJ

    PCJ New Member

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    Did you lose pedal pressure when you experienced the fade? If not, it wasn't a fluid problem.

    Fade starts at pad/rotor and shoe/drum contact. They over heat and lose holding power and that heat is transferred to the fluid. As long as you have pedal pressure the proplem is in the other components.

    The front brakes do t most of your stopping and you already know they are inferior. That needs to be addressed. You haven't pulled your rear drums so you don't know their condition. Good brakes will work when you're hauling or towing just not empty. You are going about your repair backwards.
     
  30. Mar 10, 2020 at 6:55 PM
    #30
    03silverTundra

    03silverTundra [OP] New Member

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    Yup, lost pedal pressure...it got super soft. Barely broke, and smelled.
     

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