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Old 05-13-2019, 10:59 AM   #1
beaverplt
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Default An interesting brake rotor conundrum

Hi all,

I recently needed to replace a front wheel bearing on my SL1. I figured I would do a brake job at the same time. Everything went swimmingly or so I thought. When I test drove it after I heard a slight rubbing noise. It turned out I had twisted the brake line on the passenger side so it was rubbing on the wheel. I fixed my error and went for another drive. I barely got out of the garage when I heard a horrible grinding sound, metal on metal. Took the wheel off and saw the rotor was grinding on the inside of the caliper bracket. The caliper bracket was in it's proper place, but I could see the caliper itself had shifted in. Other than removing the caliper and turning it so the brake line was in its proper place, I did nothing different. Assuming I did something wrong, I disassembled all the brake parts and reassembled them carefully, making sure I double checked each step. I ended up with the same result. I've done dozens of brake jobs for myself and friends. I've never seen this. Any Ideas?

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Old 05-13-2019, 11:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

My guess? Crap on the hub broke loose and is now doubled up on other crap on the hub making the rotor turn un-true.

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Old 05-18-2019, 08:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

I tend to agree with Fetch-

I replaced MC, rotors & calipers on my 2000SW a month ago. On both this car, and my '97SW (recently abandoned), i had experience of changing a wheel -- as for installation of new tyre -- and then discovering that the braking was messed up because 'crud' (corrosion byproduct debris) got between the rotor and hub. In one case the rotor spun off center/bent, causing pulsation at brake pedal; in second case, there was scraping/rubbing between the rotor and SOMETHING in vicinity.

This time,
When i removed the calipers & rotors, i noticed that the outer face of each Hub had a coating of probably .007" surface rust , variable. I spent about an Hour+ on each front hub SANDING the surface clean/smooth. I also used a screwdriver as a chisel to scrape the surface rust flaking from the Steering Knuckle. I felt the flakes might be sourced from the knuckle.

After the assembly (i replaced the caliper brackets as well as the calipers), there was No Longer any scraping happening, seems like new brake system.

It is possible that corrosion products on the Wheel might have similar effect.

Last edited by TomM96; 05-18-2019 at 08:15 PM.. Reason: fergat un

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Old 05-20-2019, 01:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

You Salt Belt folks will appreciate this video from The South Main Auto Channel about removing a rusted-on brake rotor and cleaning up the hub with some different sanding tools. Lot of drama at 3M:5S+


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i-sLcnOaLW8&t=21s

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Old 05-21-2019, 11:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

I was wondering why I was not seeing any replies. Turns out I didn't hit the email notice button.
Anyway. the video was fun to watch, but thank God my problem isn't that extreme. Unfortunately, I haven't had time to look further into this. I did check to see if the rotor is turning true and it is.

I temporarily "fixed" the problem by putting washers behind the rotor. That at least pushed the rotor far enough out from the bracket to keep it from grinding. Obviously, that is not a solution. Hopefully, I can get to it this week.

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Old 05-21-2019, 04:22 PM   #6
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

This start off statement makes zero sense.

You said:
"Took the wheel off and saw the rotor was grinding on the inside of the caliper bracket. The caliper bracket was in it's proper place, but I could see the caliper itself had shifted in."

Putting washers behind it make no sense unless as like Fetch said, crud wedged somewhat behind, or (in my opinion) you need a new fresh look at what you have , OR you need a new rotor (without using any washers).

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Old 05-21-2019, 05:44 PM   #7
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

I'm not sure I phrased things correctly if they're not making sense.

The grinding happened with a new rotor. As I said initially, I did a brake job when I replaced the bearings. For me a brake job always includes new rotors because they're inexpensive. I tried putting the old rotor back on, but got the same thing. I'm discounting the crud idea because crud behind the rotor would push the rotor out to rub on the outside part of the caliper bracket. As I mentioned in the initial post, the rotor was rubbing on the inside (that is toward the center of the car) of the bracket. It's as if the rotor is too far onto the hub. (I measured it vs the driver side and they measure the same). I'll take the tire off and get some pictures.

I have the feeling it's something simple that I'm just not seeing. Hopefully, I'll have a "DUH" moment soon.

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Old 05-21-2019, 09:23 PM   #8
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

Did you replace the pins and boots?

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Old 05-21-2019, 09:50 PM   #9
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

--- Sorry, I misread your first post, you stated it clearly.

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Old 05-22-2019, 08:02 AM   #10
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

Quote:
Originally Posted by beaverplt View Post
I'm not sure I phrased things correctly if they're not making sense.

The grinding happened with a new rotor. As I said initially, I did a brake job when I replaced the bearings. For me a brake job always includes new rotors because they're inexpensive. I tried putting the old rotor back on, but got the same thing. I'm discounting the crud idea because crud behind the rotor would push the rotor out to rub on the outside part of the caliper bracket. As I mentioned in the initial post, the rotor was rubbing on the inside (that is toward the center of the car) of the bracket. It's as if the rotor is too far onto the hub. (I measured it vs the driver side and they measure the same). I'll take the tire off and get some pictures.

I have the feeling it's something simple that I'm just not seeing. Hopefully, I'll have a "DUH" moment soon.
Are you sure you put the caliper bracket on correctly?

...
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:12 PM   #11
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

It just now grasped that this started when the wheel bearing was changed. Is there a chance (of course there is!) the bearing isn't installed correctly in the knuckle?

Also, don't discount the "crud" theory so quickly. If the rotor is spaced out unevenly it will wobble and some parts of the rim may be inward more than usual, even though the crud is spacing the hub generally in the outward direction. Clean the crud and do a quick/easy check of the lateral run-out of the rotor; let's move on from that as a possibility.

PS: was the axle hub changed at the same time as the bearing? If so, it may be a defective or poor quality hub...

Okay, I browsed through the thread again. You already checked run-out and used a new rotor. So, I am back to bad bearing/install, bad hub, and now bad rotor as being the prime suspects.

Last edited by billr; 05-22-2019 at 12:20 PM..

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Old 05-22-2019, 12:47 PM   #12
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

No need to apologize Tonnenberg, I wasn't insulted.

Oldnuc, no I did not replace the pins and boots. The boots were still in good shape and I always clean and put a light film of grease on the pins.

I put everything back without the washers and took the attached pic. I circled where it's grinding in blue and the top caliper bolt in red. I noticed the caliper bolt boot seems to be stretched out more than it should.
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File Type: jpg brake rotor_LI.jpg (31.8 KB, 29 views)

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Old 05-22-2019, 12:59 PM   #13
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

HuH?
Where is the space where the inner pad is supposed to be?
I'm not under my car just now, but looking at the photo, it seems like the brake pad carrier itself should.....did you put a worn out pad back in there or forget to put in a pad at all or what?
I would pull off the opposite side wheel and photo/compare the 2 sides.
Something is showing very wrong with that photo.

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Old 05-22-2019, 01:13 PM   #14
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

I agree, something does not look right.

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Old 05-22-2019, 01:58 PM   #15
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

Brake shops know from experience and practice what to look for beyond the majority of diyers. Here's where second guessing may help.

Caliper reversal may not have contributed anything to this problem - the caliper seemingly not floating as its designed to float on its two pins to allow both brake pads to wear evenly. Every disc brake use floating calipers and relies on the two greased pins for automatic alignment. What isn't mentioned or brought up in most discussions anywhere may be examining and cleaning out the caliper holes where the boots are. If the two holes in the caliper body is full of old and new grease and can't go anywhere, a possible scenario may occur - the holes create a hydraulic lock or cannot compress dried out grease as the caliper floats and tries to move towards the pins. The holes may be full of old grease and blocking free sideways movement of this floating caliper that can't float anymore. The two pins are bolted to the caliper mounting brackets so the caliper freely floats across the lengths of both pins for automatic alignment. When brakes are applied, the caliper piston is forced out of its caliper housing. The extended piston comes out and bears against one brake pad. The caliper isn't fixed in one place and floats on pins so the caliper moves against the piston. The piston moves one way while the caliper moves in the opposite direction until both brake pads are forced against the rotor. The caliper self aligns on the slide pins, occurring a few thousandths of an inch every time the brakes are applied, imperceptible to the naked eyes. If the caliper holes where the two pins slide into are full of grease and preventing the pins from going all the way in, it may be dried and blocking caliper movement. If blocking caliper movement, this is the same as locking the caliper to one side and wearing out one brake pad sooner than the other side. Removing the caliper and cleaning out the two slide pin holes of old dried out grease may be the cause of this problem.

When disc brake calipers operate, they can be manually slid across the length of their slide pins (without brake pads) to show why they're designed with this configuration. With brake pads on, its difficult to see how slide pins and caliper holes need to be carefully serviced to have the best performance and long term trouble free reliability.

If this is about the two slide pin holes blocking full travel of this caliper or not, the brake pads should be replaced.

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Old 05-22-2019, 02:06 PM   #16
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

I don't think this is a brake problem. I think when you replaced the bearings the hub moved in somehow.

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Old 05-23-2019, 11:45 AM   #17
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

First, thanks so much for all the replies.

Tonnenburg. My first thought reading your post was "OH MY GOD. Ran down and looked and I did install the pads on both sides correctly. Whew!
I've attached the pics from the driver side. One big difference is I had to install a new caliper on this side as the old one had a leak.

Fdryer. I'm going to remove the caliper and clean those holes out. Will let you know how they look.
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File Type: jpg brake rotor driver 1.jpg (94.1 KB, 80 views)

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Old 05-23-2019, 12:01 PM   #18
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

Take the passenger caliper off and see if the bracket moves, based on the pic the bracket doesn't look fully seated to me. If it's not fully seated on the knuckle it will hit the rotor.

Wonder if it's bent? If you had to use a hammer to get it off you may have bent it out of shape.

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Old 05-23-2019, 12:14 PM   #19
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

I'm in the group saying the pictures look grossly wrong; like there is no pad at all in there. I know, you put them on "both sides"... does that mean both sides of the rotor or both sides of the car?

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Old 05-23-2019, 02:08 PM   #20
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Default Re: An interesting brake rotor conundrum

beaverplt, when you stated doing dozens of brake jobs, does this include flushing and bleeding brake systems? Replacing parts may be the easy but there's more to brakes than just replacing parts. Did this brake system have fluid replaced, flushed, bled?

If you are in doubt, you can always goggle 'how disc brakes work' and find procedures as well as videos explaining discs brake basics. The more you know....

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