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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

Since I've owned my 33, I have been trying to go over the car and give it a bit of mechanical refurbishment.

One thing I have always noticed with the car is the quality of the brakes. I have just replaced the front brake pads and the braking power is still quite bad. If I step on the brakes the car the car does stop but no where near a modern car.

I obviously do not expect them to be as good as a modern car .. but was wondering if this is normal or not.

I don't seem to have any leaks in the braking system, my mechanic suggested replacing the master cylinder.

What do you guys think?
 

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I would check the rear drums. In good condition and working properly there is nothing wrong with 33 brakes, even the solid disc fronts on the 1.5. If you want to compare with a modern car, remember that though the brakes may not have the same spec, they are stopping a much lighter car, so actual stopping performance should be similar.

So have a look at the rears. I recall that one version of the drums tended to have an issue with the self adjusters which could reduce effectiveness quite a bit. Don't listen to people who say the rears don't do much - with the pedal buried in an emergency stop that's kind of true but in normal everyday driving they have a large effect.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Do you think it could be worn rear brake shoes? or a fault with the drums?

The car doesn't pull on a specific side when braking hard
 

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Hi,

If possible have the brake forces tested (e.g.: on a roller type brake tester) before start to replace things.
The front brakes should produce at least 2.1 kN, the rear ones are capable up to 1.5kN (above 1kN is good).

The rear drum brake shoe clearance is not self adjusting, so the brake pedal travel slightly increases with the
wear of the rear brake. Adjusting (minimizing) the clearance between the drum and the shoes will result better
brake response.

The correct setting (and operation) of rear brake force corrector is also important. If the preload is weak on
the "fork" of the corrector valve, the rear brake force may be inadequate.
 

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Don't listen to people who say the rears don't do much
Slightly off topic, that's what people say mostly about sud rear discs. I removed the pads from my sud sprint, the car has a genuine 60,000km's the pads were 70-80% worn so they were definitely doing something.

As for the 33 does anyone know of better than stock front pads? EBC red or greens are easy to find for the sud but I cant find any for the 33 Series 3.
I do find the standard pads produce a lot of brake dust and mine squeal a lot. (I've been hard on them too) surely there are better pads out there to help improve braking.
 

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People do indeed say that about sud rear discs, but also any car. As you noted it's not really correct either way. For front pads I have used Hawk HP Plus for vented 33 calipers and they are very good. I think the pad is common with E30 BMW and they have a one make race series in NZ where I understand the Hawk pad was/is the control, so supply is plentiful here. I have a slightly used set in the garage as it happens, but I guess it makes no sense to send to you.

Lonewolf I'm sure you're right about the adjusters. My recollection is from years ago in the pits at a circuit helping someone solve a rear brake (lack of) problem and when we removed the drum various pieces of the adjuster fell out onto the ground.

OP - it is unlikely to be the drum itself. Check for worn brake shoes, leaking wheel cylinders, incorrectly adjusted shoe to drum clearance, correct bias valve operation (both as suggested by Lonewolf) and if you can, get it on a brake dyno to try and narrow down the issue.
 

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I agree with all the above, you might also have an issue with your rear brake compensator, the rear offside cylinder quite often with age does not get the same pressure than the nearside rear brake and can make a big difference in a soft spongy pedal. I would 1st check for wear on the rear shoes, then check for leaks on the rear cylinders if all good then give the whole system a bleed through with new brake fluid, the fluid is supposed to be changed every 5 years, if left in the system for longer it is prone to water build up through condensation and over heating of the fluid if the car has been pushed hard (i.e. on a race cuircit).
 
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