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Will brake boosters help with squealing brakes?

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Will brake boosters help with squealing brakes?

Old 05-19-13, 05:19 AM
  #1  
Airburst
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Will brake boosters help with squealing brakes?

The basic situation: mid '80s Diamondback MTB with skinny stays and fork blades, and cantilever brakes that squeal. I've tried toeing-in the brake pads, which has helped, but they still squeal under hard braking. Sheldon Brown says brake boosters "may help" with brake squeal, and I'm wondering if it's worth getting a pair off eBay (both front and rear brakes squeal). I'd appreciate some insight from anyone who's actually tried it before I do that, though. I've already cleaned the rims, which didn't help much, and the brake pads have squealed from new. Anyone tried a brake booster to deal with squeal, and did it help?

Thanks in advance
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Old 05-19-13, 05:40 AM
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Airburst View Post
the brake pads have squealed from new.
What kind of brake pads?

Before resorting to add-ons, I'd try a set of Kool Stop pads and put everything else back to the default position. Honestly, I'm not impressed with the canty's that were common in the early 80's. If I was looking to improve my bike, I'd invest in a set of low level Shimano or Avid linear pull brakes and levers.
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Old 05-19-13, 05:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Retro Grouch View Post
What kind of brake pads?

Before resorting to add-ons, I'd try a set of Kool Stop pads and put everything else back to the default position. Honestly, I'm not impressed with the canty's that were common in the early 80's. If I was looking to improve my bike, I'd invest in a set of low level Shimano or Avid linear pull brakes and levers.
Clarks cartridge pads on the back, Shimano cartridge on the front. The rear brake is the original as far as I can tell, it just says "Shimano" on it. The front one is a new Shimano one.
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Old 05-19-13, 06:16 AM
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If you have a stem-mounted cable stop you may be able to eliminate the noise with a fork crown-mounted cable hanger. The root cause may be flexure of your fork and headset modulating the brake pressure. Search on "brake shudder" for an explanation of the phenomenon.
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Old 05-19-13, 09:28 AM
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Clarks cartridge pads on the back, Shimano cartridge on the front. The rear brake is the original as far as I can tell, it just says "Shimano" on it. The front one is a new Shimano one.
inserts can be changed if the shoe is not a molded unit. KS, sells inserts for most standard holders..
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Old 05-19-13, 09:52 AM
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Well, it looks like the easiest thing to try is going to be the Kool-Stop pad inserts, so I'll get hold of two sets of those first. If that doesn't seem to help, I'll get a fork-mounted cable hanger for the front, as I'm currently using a cable stop on the stem and the squeal seems to be worse from the front. Thanks!
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Old 05-19-13, 10:37 AM
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Short answer is sometimes, but not always.

Longer answer is that it depends on the underlying cause of squealing. When you apply brakes, the forward movement of the rim pushes the shoe rotating it so the toes are out and the heel digs in, setting up a vibration akin to why new chalk squeals on a blackboard.

On front canti's fork blade flex contributes and a brake booster reduces this and so helps. But there's also flex in the brake arms and play in the pivots, which the booster can't prevent.

You might do a quick experiment (requires a friend). Place a short ruler, or any improvised gauge across the brake pivots, bracing it on the mounting bolt on one side. Have your friend apply the brakes and observe how far the pivots move apart. Now with the brake on just enough to hold the wheel, have him push the bike forward and see if that also causes more spread. If so, a booster will probably help. If not, or very little, then the flex is in the brakes themselves and a booster probably won't do much good.

If you rarely ride in the rain you can try this trick which reduces and often eliminates squeal. File a curved bevel in the back of each shoe, similar to a ski's tip. This eliminates the rear corner and prevents the digging in that causes squeal. The caveat is that it will worsen wet performance, so there's a tradeoff.
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Old 05-19-13, 03:59 PM
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+1 to what FB said. I tried brake boosters on one bike after I couldn't prevent the squealing by toeing in and changing the brake shoes. Braking power was also lower than I hoped for. Brake boosters helped a lot on both issues with that bike. I later got rid of that bike and put the boosters on a different bike that had decent braking power but a little squeal I couldn't fully prevent. The boosters didn't help at all on that one.
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Old 05-20-13, 01:28 AM
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A lot of squeal is also caused by loose brake-pivots. This allows axial and radial movement of the brake-arms and the change in pad-alignment relative to the rim causes the skipping back & forth digging in of the heel of the pad. With the old-style cantilevers that actually pivoted on the brake-bosses, you can reduce axial looseness by filing the end of the boss so that the brake no longer slides along the boss. But don't file so much that the boss is shorter than the brake, or else the fixing bolt will bind the brake and not let it move at all.

With newer brakes with a sleeve that goes over the brake-boss, you have to disassemble the brake to trim down the sleeve.
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Old 05-20-13, 03:09 AM
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I agree with Danno. Loose and unlubricated parts have been the cause of squeals and poor brake performance for me. A little maintenance and adjustemnt seems to go a long way. I knew about the toe in trick but only ever needed to use it on one bike.

-SP
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Old 05-20-13, 08:18 AM
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Do the V/cantilever/U brake bosses spread apart, when you squeeze the brake levers?
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Old 05-20-13, 10:45 AM
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A softer pad will help also.....
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Old 05-20-13, 11:02 AM
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Give Yokozuna's salmon pads a try. They're my go-to pads when everything else fails to fix noisy brakes.
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