I have a 1996 GMC Jimmy, and I am having problems with the
brake system. It seems that when I have to press them hard (to stop
suddenly) they grab, let-go, grab, let-go, and all while it is grabbing
the tires are screeching (locking) and the entire truck rocks, but it's not stopping like it should. It
takes forever to stop when I NEED to stop.
Also, when I stop normally it pulls to the right.
Any help would be appreciated! I can't drive this thing, too dangerous!
Sounds like your abs isnt working right. The pulling to the right could be the alignment out, brake pads more worn out on one side then the other or a rotor grabbing better than the other. If I was you I would get the alignment checked along with replacing brake pads and rotors and maybe disconnecting the abs, thats what I did to mine and have no problems anymore.
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possibly the neutral safety switch connected to the brake pedal is bad. when you apply foot to brake , shouls hear a click with key in run position, this would be the safety solenoid retracting itself from shift linkage, allowing shift lever to move. try pumping rapidly, but easily the brake pedal to see if you can hear click, and or shift from park.
If the brakes are stopping the jimmy, it could be a hydraulic problem. check brake fluid level in master cylinder. If it is overfilled, fluid can expand when fluid heats up and can apply brakes. also,bad brake hose can trap pressure in caliper and apply brakes. Also check brake pedal and booster adjustments. other possibility is caliper/hardware (mechanical) is hanging up and not releasing. If drum brake in back, check adjustment and/or stuck wheel cylinder.
You need to bleed the whole system. Once this is done it should work better. Make sure you are not low on brake fluid. If the front brakes are disk brakes and the rear are drum breaks, the front really does most of the stopping, the back jjust keeps the car from spinning or swaying. But the main stopping power is in the front breaks. They need to be bled correctly, make sure brake fluid is up and make sure emergency break is not engaged. The emergency break uses a lever and cable to activate the rear brakes. The emergency breaks don't run off brake fluid...
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The hard brake pedal is most likely a faulty power brake booster. Unless you suspect a faulty master cylinder, buy one with out it. In fact, if you suspect any other problems which might require opening the brake system (the booster does not) take it to a mechanic for repair. The brake booster will require removal of four bolts on the fire wall (from the inside of the truck) and the removal of the master cylinder (do not remove the brake lines, simply unbolt it from its mooring). You will also have to muck about with the connecter for the pedal rod. If you feel at all unsure about doing that job, have a mechanic do it. Good luck and hope this helps.