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Author: Subject: My Toyota Tacoma finally had a problem in Baja! UPDATE: Repair photos added.
David K
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shocked.gif posted on 10-16-2017 at 10:13 PM
My Toyota Tacoma finally had a problem in Baja! UPDATE: Repair photos added.


With all the trips and miles added, especially this year, my fail card finally came up!

The truck is a 2010 and has 109,000 miles on it with most of the last 20,000 miles doing these Baja Bound research trips for the new guide. This was TRIP #7... unlucky 7!

The good news is my Tacoma did not leave me stranded and I still could drive it 250 miles back home!

I have has flat tires and my battery needed replacing on my trips this year, but nothing else.

Well, my Tacoma had its first mechanical problem in Baja... my card finally came up! LOL

The good thing is I could still drive it, albeit carefully, back home!

It was the rear brake that came apart or ?? (I will find out soon).

The rear brake (a drum brake) blew a seal, it seems, as fluid came streaming out... but that was after they locked up or were binding (left side). I actually thought it was the front disk brake pad that may have got a rock jammed in it.

I was on a road that I was just informed was impassable... or risky even though the Baja 500 recently used it. I needed to see for myself, plus it was my plan to go on from Mike's Sky Rancho to Hwy. 3. We went this way with no problems in 2005. Oh, how 12 years and lots of rain can change things in Baja!

Anyway, climbing a short, rock ledge in low range, the truck didn't want move after I parked to look at tire placement. I gassed it and it made a clunking sound and acted like one brake was frozen. I parked for a while and noticed that driving in reverse was not a problem... but did make sure it wasn't drivetrain related as it made the clunking in 2WD and 4WD.

I sent emails to Larry (bajatrailrider) [as he was going to Rancho el Coyote with motorcycle riding friends that day] and Rancho El Coyote, to contact me as I had a problem. {The Garmin/ DeLorme inReach satellite device is an amazing tool to have when you are traveling in the boonies}

I went ahead and tried driving it back to El Coyote... I was only 3.7 miles away. Thankfully, I made it and all was well until I noticed my back tire was wet... on the inside (so no dog pee) and there was a growing puddle of brake fluid.

When Larry and his gang showed up and heard my description they said to use vice grips to clamp the rubber hose that feeds fluid to the brake drum and that the fluid remaining is devoted to the front brakes and they do 80% of the work. In addition to the vice grip, I wrapped bailing wire and cinch strapped the vice grips so it wouldn't un-lock... plus I made a cinch strap chain to not lose the vice grips if it did come off. Mike (who lives at El Coyote) gave me some rubber to use with the vice grips so the teeth won't damage the brake hose. A great Baja solution.

El Coyote has wifi and I texted my Toyota mechanic and he concurred with the solution and assured me that the front brakes would be doing fine for the drive home and he would try and get me into his shop Tuesday.

It is 35 miles and 3,000 feet down to Highway 1 from El Coyote, and that was the first test. At the Pemex just north of the junction with then observatory road, I bought brake fluid and added it to the very low reservoir. That turned off the brake and traction control warning lights.

Driving home, I used the gears as much as possible to slow down and no heavy braking. Coming to stops in Maneadero and Ensenada, plus the borderline stop and goes was all the worst part as the truck would act like the brake was frozen until I got rolling over a few miles per hour... not always, but mostly.

The main thing is the Toyota, even with a destroyed brake, got me home... Oh, what a feeling! ;)

PS, the rear brakes are the original that came with the truck.

The vice grips were from Larry, as I did not have any in my small tool collection... so bajatrailrider saved the day! The rest of the story will be in TRIP REPORT #7: http://forums.bajanomad.com/viewthread.php?tid=87976

Here is the fix:



When I see what the brake drum insides look like, I will share that!



[Edited on 10-18-2017 by David K]




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fishbuck
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 01:18 AM


Classic and awesome:coolup:



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BajaBlanca
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:24 AM


wow, what a good Baja story!



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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:45 AM


Why didn't you get it repaired in San Vicente? Toyota brake parts are probably readily available. Probably saved some money too. lol
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:52 AM


I'm guessing insurance covered it at home?



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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:53 AM


I learned this trick from a Mexican rancher. I was in his truck co pilot we went up and down steep climbs in 4x4. I noticed every down hill he never used the brake pedal. It was standard shift truck he would turn off key. Put shift lever in first gear at bottom turn key back on. I asked him why he never used brakes. He said look under my truck I have no brakes all brake lines had vise grips. To pinch off fluid so his metal to metal shoes would not destroy drums.:)
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:57 AM


You mean to tell me that Toyota still used drum brakes? Just pulling your chain. :):):)



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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 08:01 AM


Have also to add David puts his Toyota to the test. He does not baby it hard core all the way.
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David K
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 08:07 AM


Quote: Originally posted by ehall  
Why didn't you get it repaired in San Vicente? Toyota brake parts are probably readily available. Probably saved some money too. lol


It was Sunday, otherwise that was an idea. However, I am on very limited funds and I will guess that mechanic doesn't take credit cards? I have a great, off road racing mechanic here who is Toyota tech trained and very reasonable.

Blanca: At 7 years of age and 109,000 miles my warranty is no longer available




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David K
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 08:13 AM


Quote: Originally posted by ncampion  
You mean to tell me that Toyota still used drum brakes? Just pulling your chain. :):):)


Yes, in back... Perhaps the same reason the big semi rigs use drum brakes? They have not worn down or had a problem until now, 7 years and 109,000 miles of wear.
I will take photo of what we find. I am hoping my mechanic can get to it today... he is very popular with Tacoma owners and desert racers!




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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:05 AM


Glad you got home safe and sound.

While the front brakes do most of the braking on a vehicle without rear brakes there is a difference in stopping power. Don't try any panic stops. I lost the rear brakes on my 04 GMC a couple of years ago due to rock damage. Driving home was OK as long as I was prepared to stop. It just takes longer.
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:13 AM


DK - I think you better add a vice grip sticker to your window.

Great story!
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ehall
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:34 AM


It could of been worse. On my jeep my braided stainless line on the front got P-nched by the coil spring and the brake pedal went to the floor. Lucky I was only 1 mile from my house at the time.

[Edited on 10-17-2017 by ehall]
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ehall
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:35 AM


Wow, pi nched is a blocked word
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:52 AM


vise grips....got many a desert racer home ;)
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David K
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 05:57 PM


Just an update... my super mechanic in Vista fixed the cause of the problem and he has never seen this happen before!

A part that holds the brake shoes in place, that is factory rivited to the backing plate, broke free and was wobbly. Other than a new axle swap, he pounded it back in place and welded in. I took photos, and will post later.

He is putting new shoes and cylinders on both sides, too.... as I type this. Anyone needs a great independent mechanic or off road installer, just ask!






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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:03 PM


Ever try to ride a dirt bike down a hill climb with only rear brake. It hurts.
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:14 PM


Got 335000 km on my tacoma. Mostly on logging roads going to work.

The fuel filter went. Methyl hydrate saved my butt and I limped home when it started to go. Unfortunately the filter and fuel pump are a single assembly so I had to replace the pump. Not cheap. $700 can dollars.

Put some methyl hydrate in your truck box. Works not only for water in the gas but cuts grease or varnish in the filter to get you home.
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 07:17 PM


Brakes??? We don need no stinkin' brakes!!! Not sure if they are still the same but I have used a drywall nail between the wheel cylinder and the flare nut. The cupped head on the drywall nail will make a perfect seal. Used to anyway. I know you can't file your points with a match book anymore.
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[*] posted on 10-17-2017 at 09:12 PM


Quote: Originally posted by Sr.vienes  
I know you can't file your points with a match book anymore.

Then use the match book to set the points gap! 1950's farm boy tune up.
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