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1998 Yamaha Big Bear 350 - Disc Brake Conversion?


MadMan
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I own a 1998 Yamaha Big Bear 350 4x2. It has hydraulic drum front brakes and mechanical single drum brake in rear. When I bought the quad a yr ago the brakes barely worked. I installed rebuild kit for brake master cylinder, replaced wheel cylinders up front, front/rear shoes, and replaced rear brake cable. The front brakes grab sort of ok now, but the rear barely grabs at all. On a side note; If I drive through any trails with muddy water, moisture is getting inside the drums. Worse in the rear drum. These drum brakes have never worked great. They slow me down but don't have enough bite to lock up the wheels. Now I have considered my drums may have worn thin, therefore causing the shoes to not make strong enough contact (???) I'm guessing. The front brakes are spooned out so they fit snug and they work just ok. The rears I have adjusted close to the maximum setting for the actuator arm. I read online about a Yamaha 1998 Big Bear 4x4 owner using a 2004 Big Bear 4x4 front disc brakes on it. He did have to dremel and drill out the lower ball joint to make new knuckles fit since the 04 knuckle has it's ball joint on bottom. It sounded cool and the owner claimed it stopped better. I'm considering a conversion, but it sounds expensive. I hate sinking $400+ worth of disc brake parts into a quad a bought for $500, and I already replaced the existing brake parts I previously listed. I'm just tired of my brakes working poorly and every time I get into some water on the trails the drums look like a septic tank inside the next day. I live in FL and this is the land of the Swamp. There is no avoiding mudholes and water. I would like some brakes that could survive any wet conditions. Any suggestions or helpful advice is appreciated.

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i have a '91 BB with drums on the front and (single) disc on the rear.

WhyTF they engineered it that way is beyond me ???

i have searched online in forums and with conversion manufacturers and have yet to see anything for the BB's. i have seen tons of stuff for honda btw. it seems the only way you can do it is to start swapping out differentials with a later model, to avoid alot of fabrication, but, there would be alot of work going that route too. i have just come to the fact that i'm stuck with drums on a 20+ year old bike and love my grizzly that much more LOL

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LOL! Very True. I came to the same thought after researching the work entailed in converting the old beast. It's a great solid atv and has never left me stranded. Luckily the engine braking on this thing works great so I can usually stop even when the crappy drum brakes are barely working. I just like to use a parking brake when I load my big bear on my flatbed trailer and this rr brake sucks. I'm in the market for a larger newer quad so I think this old machine will remain with it's awful drum brake system.

Thanks for the advice Oxi-Blk.

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