Brake Fun

It all started off with squealing brakes as we entered the Tankwa Karoo National Park. We were off grid here for 4 days with no power or water at our ‘wild camping’ spots (dig for your toilet pleasure Smile).

We pulled all of the pads out and re-copper greased them.

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Working on the brakes

Unfortunately, this didn’t cure it. We were going to put up with it until we got to a bit more civilisation, but on the way out of the park on our 5th day there was a hot brake smell and the drivers side front was very hot.

We jacked up the car and took the pads out after letting it cool down a bit – the outer one put up a bit of a fight. The inner pistons were moving ok, but the outer ones were stuck pretty well. We managed to free up one of the outer ones a bit, but the other would only press out and not retract. So with no way to put the pads back in, it was time to resort to a trick we learnt on our bush mechanics course and we clamped off the problem calliper with the vice clamp as shown in the picture. This was all around midday and about 35 Degrees – deep joy.

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Look at that fine bit of clamping

After another night in the park, we set off reasonably early and drove with the clamp on for about 75 miles on some pretty rough gravel tracks and all was well. We got into Calvinia and found a garage that dropped everything to take a look. They removed the callipers and took them apart. The hole that joins the outer and inner was partially blocked and acted like a one way valve which explained why the piston was behaving like it was. They didn’t completely solve it and it was pulling to the left and they blamed the clamp I put on the flexi-hose, so we left town and headed on a 5 hour trip to Upington where there was a Land Rover dealer. They recommended a company to make a new hose as they don’t carry stock of such an old part. They wouldn’t remove it (litigious society mate), but there was a brake and clutch man next door.

They also dropped everything and took a look. First pulling the flexi-hose off – no issues with that, then bled everything – still the same. They removed the calliper and checked everything, then took the master cylinder off to check as well – you’ve never seen as much brake fluid just dripping on the floor – but hey this is Africa. That went back on and it felt like the pulling had eased off, but there was no servo assist. Off with the master again and I eventually found an o-ring on the floor that seemed to fit. All’s well (for now) and he only charged 2 hours labour and some fluid!! Wouldn’t take more. Will investigate a new master brake cylinder when we’re in Swakopmund in Namibia as they are Landy nuts there.

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