97 Ranger chronic brake problem

I have a 97 Ford Ranger Ive had for 10 years and it has always had brake problems.

When its been sitting in wet conditions it always screeches the front tires the first couple times you step on the brakes and then you get this loud boom coming from the rear drums. Needless to say it scares the poop out of you and the nearby pedestrians. It also goes thru brakes like crazy. The last job only lasted 2 years with only modest miles (about 15k per year and less recently).

I just put in new brakes 3 weeks ago and already the pedal vibrates like the new front rotors are shot.

Id like to buy a new/use Ranger again because I like the truck - but I see that the new ones have the same front disc/rear drum scheme. Is this common on Rangers or just mine?

The service guy at the dealer says “Oh, those Rangers just do that!”

Maybe he can explain that to the little old lady I nearly mowed down recently…

30k for a brake job is hardly going through brakes like crazy. That’s about the normal change interval for me. If you’re running semi-metallic pads, you might consider going with simple organic pads or, if you’re concerned with brake fade, a more expensive ceramic pad to minimize the rust bonding issues in wet conditions.

The new brake shudder may be material transfer to the rotors. Did you bed them in? Either way, try a couple of HARD stops from about 30 mph and see if the shudder diminishes or goes away.

I probably should have mentioned that Ive had to have both the rotors and drums turned several times in between. I did not do the work myself. The local Ford dealer did it this time. Ive had other shops try solutions and always the same. A rainy day and watch out until you use them a few times. They just grab excessively when they are wet - especially over night.
Ive never had this problem with any other vehicle - especially the screech and bump problem.

I just thought Id add another note. There is 166K on the truck total. The average for all years is maybe 30, but I also indicated that Ive used it considerably less recently. The reason I feel that the frequent (so I say) brake jobs are too much is that they have been complete rotor and the occasional rear drum replacements and not just turning the rotors and new pads.
This is a manual trans so there is much less stress on the brakes as well since the brakes arent used to slow your speed so much. Just taking your foot off the gas works fine in most cases.

Based on that information, then yes, I agree it is excessive. I still would try a different pad material that will not rust as readily as a semi-metallic, if that is what you are using now. One thing I would check is to see if the pads are being held against the rotor excessively. When you release the brake pressure, the piston seal tension helps to pull the piston back slightly. Worn out seals or sticky slider pins can cause the pads to ride on the rotor more than they should. The real teaser is why this has been like this since new. I wonder if the master has problems releasing pressure. Has the brake fluid ever been flushed and replaced? I’m wondering if it got compromised at some point early on…

I had a similiar though much less severe problem with my 87 Ranger which I bought new. It allso has disc/drum brakes & since I bought it new, i simply sais NO to the silly ABS option.

On foggy or rainy mornings the first stop of the day had the rear drum brakes locking up. The solution was to simply ride the brakes for about 100 feet to dry the shoes out.

Other than this minor little glitch the brakes were excellent and When I did the first brake job at 140,000 miles the “problem” went away.

Apparently the factory shoes would absorb moisture from the air. The Napa replacements did not.

Brake jobs every 30K is ridiculous.

Are you using Ford pads/shoes.

Brake jobs every 30K is ridiculous.

Like most things in life, this is relative. If you drive in rural Iowa (or insert your own favorite, desolate rural area) it’s a heck of a lot different than driving around Boston for example. MILEAGE based service intervals for brakes are far too dependant on usage patterns to be useful.

Very true, driving conditions and the way the brakes are used make all the difference.

I drive my 87 Ranger/5 speed approx 60/40 highway/city. In stop & go traffic I use 1st or 2nd gear & let the engine do most of the braking.

I frequently drive a long downhill stretch of road in 3rd gear. I’m barely using the brakes while many of the morons driving in front of me are apprently in overdrive & riding their brakes all the way to the bottom of the hill. I’d hate to pay the bills for these folks brake jobs.

Brakes can do some strange things. My wife had a 95 Taurus that we bought new & drove for 145,000 miles.

The only thing I ever did on the front discs was to inspect the pads at every 10K oil change.

But, -go figure- the rear shoes were almost down to the rivets at only 80K miles.

So much for the old rule of wearing out 2 fronts to one rear. At least on this Taurus.

A taxi driver in San Francisco once told me they did brakes every 3 months! Yes, brake work is very use-dependent!!