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Brakes aint brakin'


NAXJA Forum User
I am having a problem with my brakes. 90 XJ

The mechanical stuff (rotors,pads, etc) seem to be in good condition. They are not that old. But if I have to make a sudden stop, it kind of takes longer than it should. On my newer ZJ, If I slam the brakes I stop. On this older XJ, it stops, but in about twice the distance.

It almost seems like the pedal may need adjusting???

I don't think it is air in the lines but I'm just a rookie.

Any thought much apprechated. :)
Found my brakes on my '90 felt kinda 'spongy' Redid the rear brake shoes, replaced all the springs, and the adjuster. Made a HUGE difference. IF you haven't replaced those, maybe try that? Not too expensive to do so at all, and if they're the originals like mine were, the adjuster may definitely need replacing.

Some to note though. While 'researching' things while at the wreckers, I've figured out my brakes are the same as the '91s I've seen. I've not yet seen anything from '87 to '90 with these same brakes.
What brakes do you have? If you have ABS, that may be part of your problem....but another suggestion is to change your power brake booster to the 1996 dual diaphram booster, as that will increase your braking power a bit as well....I did a major upgrade on my 1990 Laredo, and it stops rather nicely compared to stock- run a search on NAXJA, and you should find all sorts of good threads regarding brake upgrades and such. Good luck,

Bret S Gray
1990 XJ Laredo
RE 3.5 lift and other miscellany.....
In the shop for some upgrades :)
Well, the brakes ain't brakin', but they did break sometime so that mean's they're broke?

Check the fluid, not that you haven't but its one of those obvious but hidden things. If for example you have a leak in the rear brake system, and you've lost all the fluid the front brakes would still work but you would definately notice lack of braking gusto. Also, they would seem to engage lower to the floor than usual. Something to check, normally speaking if that happens your combo valves differential pressure switch should illuminate the "brake" light on the dash, but that may or may not function properly either.

Food for thought.
Also it being the age it is the soft hoses might be shot, what happens is the fluid baloons them out instead of delivering all the pressue to the calipers and drum cylinders. Might want to take a day and redo the whole thing. Go get the soft hoses, new pads, rear drum hardware kit, new shoes and just to save youself some time you could get new pads and calipers already stuffed, you will have to disconnect the brake lines anyway. To save more time I'd also get new rotors and drums. My son did his TJ's front rotors and calipers in about 30 min and he had never done it before, bleeding took about another 20 min but he also flushed the whole system so it had all new fluid.
Put it up on jackstands, pull the tires/wheels, pull the rear drums and look, you could also have a rear cylinder leaking but you won't know till you look.
Pickup a 'mity-vac' hand pump [looks like pliers with a bottle and gauge on it] for when you refill. If you have a bud who knows this stuff recruit him/her for the job, supply beer, soda, pizza, etc.