Big Bear Brakes???? - ATV Enthusiast Community

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Old 11-15-1999, 01:31 AM
Weekend Warrior
Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 1999
Posts: 17

My Dad has a 97 big bear and the brakes have never been up to par with any other Drum brake system i've encountered.

I was wondering if the hydraulic disk system off of a wolverine would work, say the spindle and rotor assembly? If so then the rest of the components should bolt on with (hopefully) minor modifacations.

I do not have access to a wolverine for measurments or even to compare and my local dealer isnt worth [email protected]#... or i would go there and compare.

Any help would be appreciated and thanks in advance.

P.S I own a 99 400EX FMF exhaust,KN filter, Helm Bushings, and Custom fit replacement top ball joints.
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Old 11-15-1999, 11:32 AM
Range Rover
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 162

I too was going to post a similar question to this one today. I have a Grizzly and the rear brakes refuse to stay sealed. I just replaced the seal last week ($60), cleaned everything up, put it back together with lots of marine/waterproof grease and rode twice this weekend and again my brakes are full of mud and water. It did hold up for about a day which is better than before I replaced the seal. I noticed the drum now has grooves worn into it from where the old seal was rubbing. I'll probably have to have this machined to fix it again. The Grizzly has less than 600 miles on it and its on it's 3rd set of pads and shoes. I really don't mind replacing the pads often as long as they work, but the drum brakes just won't work for my style of riding. So my question is the same: Can I take the rear disc brakes off a Wolverine or new Kodiak and put them on my Grizzly. I can see where bolting up the caliper should not be a problem, but I'm not sure how the disc would attach to the axle. I don't recall exactly what the axle looks like where the disc would attach. I need to do something before I break down and buy a Polaris. Any help would be appreciated!!
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Old 11-16-1999, 07:17 PM
Weekend Warrior
Join Date: Aug 1999
Posts: 14

Hoggmoly: I too am disappointed with the poor drum setup on Yamaha's 4x4s. I saw a '99 Big Bear last year (when they were new) and the front brakes were discs! I was going to ask my dealership if I could simply bolt on the newer hub/spindle assembly, purchase rotors, calipers, etc. to complete the conversion for my '96 BB SE. I have yet to check 'cause I currently have my eyes on a Foreman 450S. As for your zero-star rated dealership... better find another one nearby.

YamaHonda: drum brakes are not sealed air/water tight. That rubber seal(s) you are cleaning and re-greasing helps keep most muck out but silty water will get thru if you play in it long enough. It was recommended before to go with an aftermarket brake shoe that has grooves cut in them to allow the muck to sit in them while allowing more shoe surface to mate with the drum. Again, something I was considering for my first brake shoe change in 600km (Canadian ATV).

William Hayes '96 Yamaha Big Bear SE Juneau, Alaska
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Old 11-17-1999, 12:31 PM
Range Rover
Join Date: Sep 1999
Posts: 162

I appreciate your suggestions, but I do have aftermarket brakes (EBC) and I even took a hack-saw blade and cut small X's all down the surface area to channel off some of the water and muck. As soon as I get into water though, my brakes not only lose their stopping power but also lose all tension at the brake lever handle. Meaning the moment I get water into the drum, I can also squeeze the brake lever until it touches the handle grip. Once I unscrew the drain hole and let the drum dry out, I get most of the tension back in the lever. This is what I just don't understand. Does anyone have any suggestions? This drum did stay sealed the first few months when the bike was new, but now that the seal has worn grooves into the brake drum surface, the new seal just can't make a good seal anymore. Why can't Yamaha make their drum seals like Hondas? Honda's seals and drums are a much better design and the seals cost half as much.

I think you'll be happy with the Foreman. I have a 2000 ES model and I love it. The brakes even stay sealed for the most part. I clean them every 200 miles or so and they have been fine so far. My only suggestion is to remove the pins that hold on the front brake shoes and put some silicone or Marine Goop around the holes where the pins come through the backing plate. They have little rubber grommets here but they tend to leak after extended use.
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