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Braking Good

Braking Good

I made a statement on the Facebook Page about how long could we go with out breaking down.  This weekend was spent with work on the car but I’m not ready to say that it was broken down.  The front brakes have been needing attention for a while, they were still working when I got the car on the lift, though.

During a trip out of town, for a job interview, I noticed that my brakes were not just squealing anymore, but just grinding away.  The shaking from the warped rotors was still present, too.  Since the job offer was extended to me, I decided to go ahead and knock those pesky brakes out so that I could have a safer trip to and from work.  Not that the shorter trips didn’t warrant the need for new brakes but an hour and a half drive is very different from a mile and half drive.

Our adventure begins with the obvious needs:

  • New Front Brake Pads
  • New Front Rotors

This is usually a pretty simple gig, I hear, requiring any of my favorite tools to remove the tire and a 17mm socket of my driver choice, plus the replacement parts.  I had replaced the rear brakes a few months before, I know that they should be replaced in pairs, etc.  So Kyuubi is up on the lift, front tires off. First thing I do is knock the old pads out.  Such an interesting find, the outer pad don’t look that bad on the driver side and the inner pad still has a bit of material on it. The passenger side was a bit more of a challenge, the top caliper pin had rounded off because it was stuck.  This is actually a very important piece of information that I undervalued until the next day.

Thinking that there would be more than one way to skin a kitty, I pulled the caliper off the hub and knocked the pads out anyways.  Again, the outer pad had a bit of material on it, but the inner pad was completely shot and half ground into, complete with heat spots.  I thought to myself, “hmmm, perhaps I can just push those pistons back in, pop the new pads in from here, add new rotor and bolt it back up.”  This … was mistake #1.  After I had done that, I found that the wheel would no longer freely spin, it was locked up.  So I took it all apart again, to see if I had missed something.

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After being educated by a few friends and parts-store guys, I came to realize that I was going to have to replace the passenger side caliper.  I didn’t understand it at first, but when the caliper pins are installed correctly, you should be able to pull the caliper towards the outside of the vehicle and see the mounting bracket appear to counter squeeze, bringing both pads the same distance to and from the rotor. I had to fiddle with the new caliper to understand how this works, although it really didn’t matter because the old one wouldn’t do it.  It won’t do that … if the pin is seized, like in my case.  This causes a problem where only one pad wears down on that wheel, which explains my findings.  How ever, this raised my concerns, because although the drive side was okay on wear, it was uneven.  It wasn’t too late!

The best way to prevent this from happening on the other calipers is actually quiet simple.   Its as easy as lubing it up.  Those pins have to be lubricated and healthy.  This means if they come up all rusty and gummy, then we need to clean them.  I went a step further and bought a new pair for $8, seemed like a good value.  I also bought some caliper grease, said to make the braking quieter and extend the life of the components.

So, I’ve greased the new driver side pins and the shims on the pads.  I’ve bolted everything but the wheel back on, everything seems to move and glide freely. Visual confirmation of successful installation and hopefully components that will last a bit longer.

About Ashley Young

I'm a North Carolina transplanted girl reaching my 30's. A few years ago, I procured my first DSM that would eventually mature many of my skills. This website is dedicated to the stories, adventures, and lessons that the car has brought to me over the years.
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