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Hello everyone,

I have an 04 Sierra LB7, that I use for my daily hauler for work, I am in landscaping, so it's either hauling a lawnmower or a tractor each day.

I have noticed for a while that when braking it seems like it requires a lot more effort and braking force to stop my truck than I feel like there should be, especially with only 3000lbs being pulled when carrying the lawnmower, so much so that it has put some fear and hesitation in me to try and pull the tractor at 10k lbs around the curvy and hill filled roads I live and work around.

So wanting to start simple, I started with taking the tires off and checking the shoes, they all seem to have plenty of pad left. So I moved on to doing a brake and power steering fluid flush. Got that done it does seem to have helped some, but not enough that I'm comfortable with the brake system. I am the 3rd owner of the truck and the pads/rotors on it are the same ones I bought the truck with, so I don't know the quality of the brakes that were put on it last.

I am wondering what everyone's overall opinions are on what to do to help my braking system, as I don't know what brakes it has, would stepping up to a powerstop(or another reputable brand) shoes/rotors be the first step? I also have a friend who used to work at GM as a tech, and he said I could swap out the lb7 hydraboost for an LML and that would increase my braking power, however doing a little googling all I can seem to find is lb7 rebuild kits for the hydraboost, and not a whole unit sold that you can just swap out. If this is a viable option and anyone has a link to a place that sells them posting that info would be greatly appreciated!

So that's pretty much it, would any of you guys recommend doing one of those before/instead of the other? Or have any suggestions I should do before either of these?

Thanks in advance,
Jay
 

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Have the rotors / pads became contaminated with brake fluid from a caliper?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sturgeon, I haven't seen any fluid on the pads or rotors, and have not seen or smelled the smoke that usually comes with leaking brake fluid. Thanks for the links guys!
 

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Ive read where some people get a firmer pedal feel when switching to braided stainless line in place of the stock rubber ones going to the caliper.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Timmer, I'll add the lines to the list of future endeavors to tackle. But incase i wasn't clear, it's not the pedal that is the issue, it does have a slight spongie-ness to it, but not enough that I'm worried about it. It's the brakes(or something in the braking system) themselves. My wife likes to tell me I drive like a grandpa, always going the speed limit, keeping adequate space between cars, braking early with more than enough distance to safely come to a stop, etc. But multiple times I've started my braking several hundred(approximately) feet back from a red light, and had the weight push me partially into the intersection, with pretty firm braking applied. That's with only around 3k lbs behind the truck, and with a trailer that has trailer brakes, so I know it's not just on the trucks brakes alone that I'm attempting to stop it.

I'm one of those people who freaks out a little bit every time I hit a pothole, or hear an abnormal sound, so replacing/upgrading everything in the braking system and steering/suspension is something I plan to do, but I can only afford time and money wise to tackle one project at a time, so was wondering what some people's opinions are on the forum for which thing I should do first.

Thanks again,
Jay
 

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Which one?
Brake hardware functionality.
I can assure that your 14 year old truck was not built with brakes that need upgraded to confidently stop a 3k lb trailer.
Your hardware/ mounting is most likely fouled up, and you, well...you wanna spend money you don't have.
 

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X2 I can barely tell if I have a 3000 pound trailer behind me. Heck I have that much weight in the bed of my work truck every day.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Heymcall, yeah that's basically what I'm getting at. There's no logical reasoning I can think of that the system wouldn't be working outside of something failing. That's why I started with the simple fixes and have been working my way up. My old gasser had no problems stopping my trailer with the tractor or mower on it so there's no way the better quality diesel truck is designed to have these braking issues.

What do you mean by hardware and mounting? Shoe mounting? Calipers? Pistons? Etc.

My pads are all good, they fit into the calipers smoothly and easily and are moveable by touch when off the rotors, calipers retract as they should. No visible damage to the lines or anything else I know to check for.

Not really sure what you mean by trying to spend money I don't have, not only do I have the money to buy new pads/rotors/calipers/lines if it turns out I need them, but I am on this forum asking for advice and expertise from people like yourself who have more than I do to try and avoid wasting money on something that may not actually be the culprit.
 

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Well, I certainly don't mean to be condescending.

The absolute #1 problem I see is the use of antisieze on the caliper pin bolts. Antisieze chemically alters the rubber bushings, creating a condition where the semi floating caliper no longer floats.
#2 is the inspection or repair of one axle's worth of brakes, neglecting the other. 3.5 ton of truck needs to have four properly working brakes.

In 15 years of the full size trucks, in a fleet, I have never had a caliper piston sieze, ever.
But, I don't have enough fingers and toes to count the number of times that the slide bolts sieze, preventing proper caliper operation. Initially, the hardware froze because I'm in the rust belt, but as the fleet aged, I began to get trucks back where someone did the brakes, and used antisieze on the slide bolts. Then, I began getting more and more units where the pads were siezed in the backet.

By your description, clamping force is compromised on more than one corner, or, someone put on competition brake pads (EBC comes to mind). Performance pads need to be heated before they'll perform fully. You said that you've never changed the pads, so, assuming the calipers float properly (you said that the pads do), I'm inclined to think that maybe you don't have "normal" brake pads on there.

BTW, only twice EVER has an outside repair shop properly service the brake system on my trucks.

Logically, if it were the power steering pump, steering effort would be higher than expected.
If it were the master cylinder, the pedal would drop while sitting at a stop light, or one axle would be underperforming.

With the system history unknown, have you tested the ABS operation under controlled conditions (abandoned dirt road, at, say 15mph)?

And, for clarity, there is some value in upgraded components (Centric comes to mind), but, your symptoms, and what you haul, arent putting you there.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Heymccall, No problem man, hard to tell tones and interpretation through Text, so same as you weren't being condescending I was not trying to sound defensive if that's how it came across, just inquisitive. The only other diesel engine I have is my tractor, which really only uses brakes for parking, so I am fairly lost when it comes to this area of work on the machine.

I have not tested anything on the ABS system, and am not really sure how, but I live in backwoods GA, so I have plenty of dirt and gravel roads to go do the test at. What does that entail? Just driving 15mph and braking on it? What am I supposed to check for in that situation?

The possibility of it being racing pads sounds possible, if that is the case would you recommend swapping them out despite them still having material on them? I know there are certainly going to be parts with this specific issue and any future endeavors I replace that don't necessarily need it, but In general i would rather know what it is I have in my truck than having a big "?" On something.

Thanks again for all the advice, and I apologise again if the last message came off defensive.

Jay
 

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Read the link Heymccall listed earlier and follow it step by step. To check the abs go down a dirt road about 15mph and slam on the brakes, see if the abs engages or if the brakes just lock up.
 

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maybe the rotors and pads are glazed over from use. I would scuff up the pads and the rotors. I use one of the ball hone brake rotor units that go on my drill, to scuff up the rotors. it leaves a really nice finish on the rotors, very similar to new. New rotors have a rough finish to them that grips the pad or the other way around. years of braking make the rotors smooth. To me, it is like putting on new rotors and pads. $35.00 is pretty cheap for the rotor hone. I put my truck on four jack stands, take the wheels off, bend the backing plate back at an edge. put the truck in gear and let it roll. I use a blow off tool and air hose to grit and dust out of the pads, scuff up the front and rear of the rotors, all four of them, kinda scary under the truck with all four rotors running!!!!!!. then apply brakes, put in park, take apart brakes and scuff up pads with hone or just sandpaper or sanding disc. put all back together, just like new. what do you have to loose besides alot of money.
 
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