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forklift brakes sometimes squeek but work fine, does this really indicate problem?


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Forklift is a toyota 8K boxcar special. Seems to work fine. Sometimes, especially when backing down ramp in the cold, the brakes will squeek. In general, they are quiet.
It seems to stop fine for a 13K vehicle with braking on only 1 axle.

The last maintence visit (before the pandemic) was on a very cold day, and the tech seemed to think it needed an elaborate brake inspection and cleaning, and then maybe or maybe not pads.

For modern disk brakes on cars and bikes you can measure the pad, measure the rotor. And if the pads are gone there will be grinding noise.

How do you tell when a forklift needs a brake job?


I don't think you can totally know unless you pull the wheels off. Seems like there's an inspection port on my Hyster to visually check the pad thickness.

But, idling around rigging this and that is a far cry from unloading trucks or constantly moving materials around a plant.

I think if you use it for rigging and you're able to reliably stop when you want especially on inclines/declines then you are good for awhile.

If it ever got to the point where you had no friction material and it was steel-on-iron you'd have a lot more noise and a lot less braking force.


New member
Most forklift brakes get way more wear from frequent light use, rather than long hard stops like a car.
Things like wheel cylinders , adjusters and other hardware seem to wear out before the lining.

When asbestos was phased, out the replacement linings had a few problems.
Noise being one of them.
Being grabby until warmed up was another.
A couple of firm stops and they were good to go.
Not the ideal thing for a fork lift that only sees occasional use.


I am not exactly answering your question but I have a Nissan 50 forklift which is a propane 5,000 lb rated unit and in my ownership it has been used very little. I guess it is about a 1997 model but I don't know for sure. The brakes got to where they did not work so well so I am in the middle of doing a complete brake job. What I have found is that the brake shoes had life left in them but all the springs, adjusters and other components had so much brake dust and corrosion on them nothing moved. The springs had pitted corrosion on them so they are all being replaced. I know sometimes you shouldn't fix what is not broken but you might want to take the drums off and at least check all of the other components out.


Active member
So the mechanic suggested 2 years ago that it needed major repair, and now that its making noise you are wondering if it needs repair? Pull the wheels and inspect, you might even find some specs in a manual.


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Actually, I think it's squeeked about the same since the day it came from the dealer. But it occurs to me that it cannot be all *that* complicated, so I should figure out how to inspect it (borescope maybe) I don't really have a jack for a machine that heavy. (And the brakes worked totally fine, with no particular noise, for the last task it did, it's not like they're growling or not working...)


Active member
Tilt mast all the way back, shove some stout wood blocks under mast, tilt forward and it should lift tires off the ground. My ancient Clark had functioning brakes for years, when they finally quit working we pulled wheels and found it was because the backing plates for shoes had worn out and there was nothing else left to provide enough friction.


Active member
if I had a forklift where the brakes actually worked ,I wouldnt care if it played colonel bogey.


Active member
I've done brakes on a forklift. Squeaked before and after, and not from a squealer. Our newer forklift squeaks under hard braking, and my 60 year old forklift did too, when it had brake fluid.