'88 Nissan Pathfinder Brakes


Old 07-29-04, 02:57 PM
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'88 Nissan Pathfinder Brakes

My 1988 Nissan Pathfinder has an issue with the brakes. For normal driving, the brakes function fine with pletty of braking pressure. However, when more aggressive braking is required, I often get the sense that the brake pedal reaches a stop point where no additional braking can be applied. I want to be clear that this stop point is far from where the pedal reaches the floor. I have run the checks of the master cylinder and brake booster listed in my maintenance manual. Everything seems to check-out. I have even measured the pedal "free height" and height of the pedal with brakes applied. The brake free height meets specs. The height of the pedal with brakes applied is higher than the minimum distance in the specs. In other words, the pedal does not have as large a travel distance as allowed in the specs. Does anyone have any suggestion as to where to check next? I hate to take this 16 year old car to the shop if there is something I can relatively easily do myself, like a master cylinder. This has not yet caused a safety problem for me, however, I need to get this taken care of as soon as possible.

By the way, I took the car in for a complete brake check about a year ago. I got new pads, and new rear drum cylinders. Of course the brakes were bled at that time. The problem seemed to develop gradually over the past year, and may have existed before I took the car in.
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Old 07-30-04, 03:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Pittsburgh,Pa
Posts: 2,417
Go to a deserted parking area and see if you can lock the wheels up.If you can I don't them getting any better than that.You don't have oversize tires on it do you?You could check for frozen caliper pistons or slides as well as frozen wheel cylinders.
Old 07-30-04, 03:49 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Boynton Beach Florida
Posts: 2,207
The problem probably lies with the quality of the pads and the rotor finish. Some cheap pads are just loaded with metal which will make them last forever but the friction factor is terrible. They will also lead to glazing over of the rotors which will further the problem.
Old 08-03-04, 09:48 AM
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I can't seem to get the tires to lock-up and I do not have oversized tires. I guess the next thing I should do is to check the calipers and cylinders. What should I be looking for there? Should I simply check that the brake cylinders and calipers move when the brake pedal is pushed? Perhaps I need to try to rotate the wheel with the brakes applied?

The suggestion that the problem may be due to cheap pads and/or glazed rotors is intriguing. Is there a way to clean the rotor or pads to see if braking improves?

Thanks for the suggestions guys.

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