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1986 Suzuki LT230GE front brakes.


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  • Ajmboy changed the title to 1986 Suzuki LT230GE front brakes.
  • 2 weeks later...

Still have no front brakes to speak of.  

Took Master Cylinder apart, big end of piston return spring was broken (at very end, I bent the end over and stretched it a bit).

I cleaned it after removing the rubber in the bottom of the reservoir and removing the piston of course.

Does not seem to pump up real well, is there a rebuild kit for these?

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Pulled the front wheels off, then the drums. Everything looks ok, shoes look fine, cylinders are not leaky.

Hosed everything down with brake cleaner, put drums back on.

Noticed they freewheeled pretty good, so I tightened down the front shoe adjuster till I had some drag and now there is SOME brake action.

It is better than it was, but not enough to come close to stopping the quad quickly.

I did turn the wheels inside out so the front stance was wider (wife is concerned that it is so narrow and "easy to flip".

We shall see.  I will try to get some pix up eventually if I think about it.

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  • 2 weeks later...

It's a good idea Lester, when you are inspecting the brakes at the wheel, to use two screwdrivers or levers, one front and rear, tucked into the brake drum and levering on each brake shoe, and used to move the pistons in their cylinders left and right, to make sure they aren't seized. One lever is moving the pistons while the other one is stopping them moving too far..


Or use two levers while someone pulls on the brakes gently, to make sure the pistons move freely.

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Thanks for the ideas fellas, I have had the front apart, never thought about the slaves being frozen on one side, may give that a try next chance I get.

I did ratchet out the adjuster a tad till I started to have some slight drag and now I do have some braking, it will stop the quad, not fast, but it will hold its own now.

I think the Master may be weak, they are cheap and I may just throw one at it.... again when I get some time.

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They can get worn seals/cylinder gouges and the test of that is to pump the pressure up and then hold it on and see if the lever creeps, and another test for worn seals only is, let the lever right off, then very gently start pulling it in being very careful not to develop any pressure. If the lever moves in when you are moving it very slowly and gently, but pumps up with quick grabs of the lever, it means the seals are worn and just brushing past the cylinder wall but/and depending on pressure to flare them out and seal properly. If the seals are worn like that they will have a flat edge where they touch the cylinder wall. Originally the seals have a thin sharp edge where they touch the cylinder wall.

If the lever pumps up pressure though, and has a firm feel with minimum travel, but doesn't stop the bike well then it will be something in the drum, seized cylinders or dirty/glazed, or contaminated shoes.

I think from memory there are two types of adjuster on the old suzukis, a rotated barrel that screws out, and a ratcheting lever type. The ratchet lever type aren't too reliable when they get old and rusty and sometimes need a clean up with a fine file on the teeth to make them work properly.

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Yeah, these drums had a cog wheel adjuster front and back of the post that the shoes mount to. 

The brake lever will hold pressure, but there is alot of travel.  

At first I could get a little brake action by pumping to the handle bar.

Here are some photos of the quad, I just repaired the front rack and painted it. 

Got the sprayer with it, works good spraying with Left hand...




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Oh Ok. The barrel type adjusters are easy to adjust, you just tighten them till the wheel won't turn, then back them off till it does turn without drag. A light scuffing of the shoes is ok.. It's important you do them till it won't turn first though. If you just wind them out till the shoes touch, the shoes can be touching at only one point and will get more clearance once they centralise. Locking them right up ensures they are centralised so they don't reposition themselves when you use the brakes.

I'd try locking all four shoes right up and then bleeding the brakes. That way you know there's no lost travel in the hydraulic fluid having to push the shoes out as you are bleeding. You should be able to get a good hard pedal with very little travel doing that.. If you can't, then you might need to try bleeding a different way. I generally pump the lever fast till it won't pump up any more, then still holding it down, release the bleeder as far as possible as fast as possible. If you pump the fluid through slowly, or release the bleeder too slowly, bubbles of air can rise up the pipe and not get flushed through.

If there's no travel in the shoes, you know whatever free play or pumping up there is happening is in the hydraulics. The other test of the bleeding is, lock the shoes with the adjusters, pump the lever till it's hard, take note of how far it is from the handlebar, then let the lever off, wait about five seconds, then pull the lever in once and see how far it is from the handlebar.. It should be the same distance as when it had been pumped up.. If you can pump it up it still has air in it.

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Yup, there are a lot of "tricks" to mechanical drum breaks and a number to hydraulic drums as well.

you can shift the actuation lever a tooth on the spline shaft on most mechanical drums, and fine tuning, careful bleeding of hydraulics and a bit of sanding of drum and shoe create amazing results as well.

If you have your drums turned, many (used to be most) shops you could request them to forego the finish cut leaving your drums a lot more grabby. You will run through shoes a bit quicker, but the results are worth it considering a $20 set of shoes versus being able to stop on a dime and have change left over.

your horsepower should never exceed your ability to reign those horseys in.

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