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Soft pedal, drum brakes, etc

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86-95 Trucks & 4Runners 2nd/3rd gen pickups, and 1st/2nd gen 4Runners with IFS

Soft pedal, drum brakes, etc

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Old 10-11-2018, 11:56 AM
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Soft pedal, drum brakes, etc

Howdy folks, first post here.
My partner has an '88 Toyota 2WD pickup, great truck. She inherited it from a friend and I'm going over alot of maintenance stuff, this truck was neglected.

Right now there's a soft brake pedal that I don't like. I've done a bunch of investigating here and other places, seems like it could be a few things. Master cylinder was replaced in 2016. Pedal does NOT sink to the floor, its just soft.
So it seems there could be air in the system, but I wanted to verify that the rear drum brakes were adjusted.

Today I spent an hour fishing around in the little access hole with a screw driver, trying to find the damn star adjuster! Is this just hard to do with a screwdriver? Should I spring for the $5 brake spoon?
Anyway I gave up after trying every screwdriver I had, which is many.

I tried the "go in reverse while using the parking brake" trick to adjust the rear drums, the parking brake works GREAT and grabs right away, stops the truck. Should I assume the rear drums are good and move on to bleeding?
I haven't worked on drums since I had some old VW's years ago...so this is kinda new to me!

thanks,
Mk
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Old 10-11-2018, 12:51 PM
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Just a quick update, had the afternoon off and the weather is great here so I went ahead and bled the brakes per sequence in FSM (DSR, PSR, PSF, DSF, LSPV).

Here's the funny thing though...when I got to bleeding the LSPV just a drip came out! I tried again and nothing came out. Took the truck for a drive around the block, the brakes were almost the same...maybe a little better but still very soft. Came back, parked, tried to bleed the LSPV again, just a little fluid then it stopped.

So, I did the whole sequence again (which is really a quick thing to do if the bleeder nuts are free), then when I finished up with the LSPV once again there was no fluid!

What's going on here? I'm assuming there should be fluid coming right? What should I do next? Also still wondering about the drum sitch in my first post. Luckily the truck does stop, I'd just prefer a firm pedal.
mk
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Old 10-11-2018, 03:07 PM
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I have run into issues in the past where someone adjusted the parking brake cables before adjusting the rear shoes and created a similar issue with soft pedal but good e-brake action and no more auto adjusting of the rear shoes. I think you should loosen the cable, adjust the shoes (yes the $5 spoon is worth the money). If you go too far the rear brakes will drag and sometimes you can't get the drums off to loosen the shoes, I use a bent flathead screwdriver to get over the adjuster and push the adjuster lever off of the star wheel slightly while I back it off with a brake spoon just enough to allow the drum to spin with the slightest of drag from the shoes.
I haven't looked into the proper method of bleeding the LSPV but I believe if you disconnect the arm from the axle and raise it up as high as it will go you may get more fluid when you bleed it. if that doesn't work try lowering it.
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Old 10-11-2018, 04:02 PM
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Originally Posted by akwheeler View Post
I have run into issues in the past where someone adjusted the parking brake cables before adjusting the rear shoes and created a similar issue with soft pedal but good e-brake action and no more auto adjusting of the rear shoes. I think you should loosen the cable, adjust the shoes (yes the $5 spoon is worth the money). If you go too far the rear brakes will drag and sometimes you can't get the drums off to loosen the shoes, I use a bent flathead screwdriver to get over the adjuster and push the adjuster lever off of the star wheel slightly while I back it off with a brake spoon just enough to allow the drum to spin with the slightest of drag from the shoes.
I haven't looked into the proper method of bleeding the LSPV but I believe if you disconnect the arm from the axle and raise it up as high as it will go you may get more fluid when you bleed it. if that doesn't work try lowering it.
Ok cool, thanks for the info.
As far as the bleeding goes, I hadn't thought of raising or lowering the LSPV but one thing I DID notice when I bled was that when I cracked the bleeders for the rear wheels fluid SHOT out...when I bled the front fluid came out with less force, then of course the LSPV I couldn't really get anything out of of. Not sure what that all means but something's funny!

Mk
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Old 10-11-2018, 05:41 PM
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You should know that the application of brakes in reverse DOES NOT adjust the rear drum brakes on these trucks as it does on some other vehicles.

It is the regular use of the emergency brake that accomplishes this brake adjustment on these Toyota trucks.
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Old 10-12-2018, 10:40 AM
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Why don't you try taking the drums off and see if the adjustment is working?

I haven't had an issue with the adjustment, and from what I recall the brakes were not soft when the drums were out of adjustment, so the problem might be elsewhere.
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Old 10-12-2018, 04:09 PM
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Bleed the master cylinder by cracking open the lines until they seep, and then close just like you do a bleeder valve. Once you get one seeping, do it at least 3 or 4 times to make sure it's still seeping. You will need a helper for the two man, and some rags to catch the fluid. Now bleed the bleeder valves like you were already doing.
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