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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Still sorting through probs on my 1st Zuk.
'94 Sidekick, 4x4, 5-spd, 1.6L 8V, 300k mi.

The brakes are spongy but not to the point of being dangerous. What have you all experienced with your brakes? Some vehicles tend to be like this. 88-98 GM trucks come to my mind. Do Sidekicks come with spongy brakes or should I start sorting through them. I plan to bleed them regardless but need a point of reference. Just FYI it doesn't pull or feel uneven under braking.

Thanks in advance.
 

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I should think that it just needs bleeding but its worth checking that the front callipers move freely on the sliders and that there are no leaks from the rear cylinders.
 

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I know what you're talking about with the spongy brakes on other cars, but the brakes on my Tracker are actually pretty solid feeling. But it did have new front calipers and rear lines just before I got it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Rhino,

I've had all 4 wheels off including the rear drums. No seepage or wet areas around the rear cylinders. I think the fronts are moving as they should and are dry as well. Guess I'll start with bleeding next time I have help available.

Also, on a rather embarrassing note, where is the fill plug on my transfer case. I've found 2 or 3 potential candidates. None of them are square drive plugs like the drain. I've got the manual tranny sorted out but the t-case stumped me. I read in another thread not to mistake the fill for some particular bolt. Got me running scared. I suspect the case is low since it's a bit leaky. Suggestions or advice?
 

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Still sorting through probs on my 1st Zuk.
'94 Sidekick, 4x4, 5-spd, 1.6L 8V, 300k mi.

The brakes are spongy but not to the point of being dangerous. What have you all experienced with your brakes? Some vehicles tend to be like this. 88-98 GM trucks come to my mind. Do Sidekicks come with spongy brakes or should I start sorting through them. I plan to bleed them regardless but need a point of reference. Just FYI it doesn't pull or feel uneven under braking.

Thanks in advance.
I would suspect moisture in the brake lines causing the spongy feeling.

On the T case always remove the fill plug first in case you want to fill it again. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Good point Gumby. Luckily I did take the fill plug out of the tranny 1st for a level check. It's pretty low. Decided I better do the same on the t-case but I'm just not sure which one is the fill since there's no obvious square drive plug on the side of the case. There has been quite a bit of questionable work done to my little rig well before any of mine.

I know it sounds stupid but I've seen people do stupid things. I had a guy working for me once. Told him to check/service the front diff on a backhoe. He asked me how. Told him top plug to check/fill. Bottom is drain. He pulled the drain, as the check plug, while directly under it. In all seriousness he came out with his entire head coated in dirty, black gear oil. The only clean place was behind his safety glasses. I don't want to be that guy.
 

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Have you bled the brakes as Rhino said? That would eliminate air and moisture. If that doesn't do it, consider old brake hose replacement.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No, Ranger, I haven't but it's on my to do list. Need a helper for that. I know how to do it by myself but I prefer having someone pump the pedal.

I hadn't considered moisture as a potential prob as several have suggested. I'm sure that would start me onto a whole new path of probs. I really hope it's just air. The master cylinder appears to have been replaced at some point which could be air in the lines.
 

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Still sorting through probs on my 1st Zuk.
'94 Sidekick, 4x4, 5-spd, 1.6L 8V, 300k mi.
With 300k mi how many times do you think the brake fluid has been changed?

You can try bleeding first but if it is moisture changing the fluid is the only way I know to resolve it.

But if you do a forum search you may find a recent thread where the poster had to replace the master cylinder (I think).
 

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Are you losing any brake fluid (even the smallest amount)? The master cylinder can leak internally, so that you wouldn't see brake fluid dripping anywhere near the brakes or pipes.
For transfer case filler hole location, check out page 6 here:
Ack's FAQ Tracker Factory Service Manual Transfer Case
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Bex,

I haven't found any obvious leaks or wet spots in the brake system. I haven't chased the lines 100% but I've looked around the master cylinder & at the wheels closely. I do need to look more closely underneath for damaged hard lines or fittings but in looking there briefly, nothing. I have checked the fluid a few times at the master cylinder and the level appears steady. But even a very slight leak (i.e. barely noticeable fluid change) could be possible. I have brakes and they are consistent but there is a lot of pedal travel before they engage.

Also, thanks for the link on the t-case. It confirmed what I suspected but wasn't sure. The plug has been replaced with some bolt that looks suspiciously out of place. I suspect I'm in for a fight there.
 

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Brake fluid easily absorbs moisture. I most probably would bleed the system properly and put in new fluid, and then see if the brake problem persists.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Bex
That seems to be the consensus so I'll go that route.

As for the fill plug on my t-case it's a lost cause. Someone has run a large bolt into the hole then sealed around it with JB Weld of all things. Zero chance of it coming out & going back in. I plan on installing crawler gears so I'll address the plug then. I just hope it isn't dry.

Thanks as always
 

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Bex
.

As for the fill plug on my t-case it's a lost cause. Someone has run a large bolt into the hole then sealed around it with JB Weld of all things. Zero chance of it coming out & going back in. I plan on installing crawler gears so I'll address the plug then. I just hope it isn't dry.

Thanks as always
That is about the dumbest thing I have heard of in a long time..lol! (sealing the fill plug.
 

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Bex
That seems to be the consensus so I'll go that route.

As for the fill plug on my t-case it's a lost cause. Someone has run a large bolt into the hole then sealed around it with JB Weld of all things. Zero chance of it coming out & going back in. I plan on installing crawler gears so I'll address the plug then. I just hope it isn't dry.

Thanks as always
If you can get it out, possibly you could tap to a larger size.
 

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Something's gotta be done with the fill plug, but I'd be concerned with thread shavings ending up in the gears. Any way to do that without tearing down the unit?

The PO of mine had JB welded the pressure tube coming from the fuel pump. Didn't last long.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Peculiar, if it makes you feel any better they did something very similar to the fill on the front diff. I may be able to salvage it but... I dunno. It's not quite as ugly as the t-case.

If I were to get the bolt/plug out of the t-case (or front diff for that matter) the tap shavings would definitely be a concern. 2 options I know are putting grease on the tap and going very slowly cleaning the tap often. 2nd, most likely coupled with the 1st, is fill the case with diesel fuel and flush it through several times. I've flushed diffs and drop boxes on tractors that way before with reasonable success. I'm open to any & all suggestions tho.
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
Oh and one more thing just to vent. If you think JB Weld is a good solution think again. I've never seen it used in any fashion that didn't create future probs. My Kick's t-case & diff are good cases in point. I've driven past the home of the inventor of JB Weld many times. One of these days I'm going to give him the finger. Apologies to the JB Weld fan club but I REALLY hate that stuff.
 

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The best way to bleed brakes is with a power bleeder (air pressure) or a vacuum bleeder. Both make it a "one man" operation. There are web pages on home-made power bleeders on the Internet.

Note that most kinds of brake fluid are designed to absorb moisture to reduce the possibility of the "fluid" boiling and becoming a gas/vapor... causing loss of brakes under hard use. It also helps keep the brakes from freezing up.... from either rust or cold weather.

BUT... that means the fluid eventually absorbs so much moisture that the fluid becomes the CAUSE of the above problems, So... the brake fluid should be replaced from time to time. In the long run it will save you money as the brake parts will rust up... from the insides if left with old fluid. Power Bleeding is also the best way to replace the brake fluid. With a vacuum bleeder you have to keep checking the master cylinder reservoir... you do not EVER want it to run dry and suck air! 8o

As for a home-made power bleeder: Here is the first site Listed by google: Creating your own power brake bleeder kit - FSB Forums
As it has been many years... this site is NOT the site I used to make mine.
 
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