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Old 04-22-2011, 01:47 AM   #1
mattachuz
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Default Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

hey guys,

I had my drums serviced a while back, 5k miles or so ago, and they are starting to grind when i stop sometimes.

i called my mechanic and told him what happened and he said just bring it in and he will sand it or do whatever he needs to.

so i figured my front rotors have been warped forever id have him fix it. He said he could turn them and make them straight, is that true? and am i getting ripped paying 150$ to have the front axel worked on? (pads and rotor work)

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Old 04-22-2011, 08:34 AM   #2
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

I couldn't tell you what prices are for service but consideration for repeat business gives customers discounts over the long haul. Repair shops are businesses to make money so parts and labor doesn't come cheap. NYC repair shops are charging around $90/hr labor, dealers $120/hr. Do the math for your area. I think you're getting a good deal.

Rotors and drums have a finite life; cast into each rotor/drum is the minimum thickness or diameter before discarding for safety. A qualified brake repair person can tell if a rotor needs machining to create two new flat parallel surfaces as if it were a new one. Removing material on a brake lathe is time consuming. Removing material to refinish will restore rotors or drums to like new condition. When the minimum thickness (rotors) or maximum diameter (drums) are surpassed these parts are discarded. Only a brake specialist can tell by using measuring tools to either machine rotors/drums or replace them. Usually, new rotors/drums can be machined for reuse as long as wear shows little imperfections to allow minimum removal of material that presents a new flat surface for maximum friction between pads/shoes against rotors/drums. A decision is made whether to machine used rotors/drums against the cost of new inexpensive parts. $25 for a new rotor is cheap and close to what machining may cost.

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Old 04-22-2011, 10:55 AM   #3
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

For what it's worth.

my wifes car had the brakes done last year but the old owners let the car sit for the winter. The fronts have warped.

I pulled the front rotors off, had Orielys auto parts check them out and resurface them. 12 bucks out the door. Car stops smooth now.

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Old 04-22-2011, 11:12 AM   #4
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

Saturn does not recommend resurfacing brake rotors (per FSM). They can be used with new pads if not cracked, warped or heavily grooved and over the minimum re-use thickness (24mm). New rotors are cheap and easily available. Re-surfacing a warped rotor will make it straight, likely under thickness, and it will soon warp again.

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Old 04-22-2011, 12:07 PM   #5
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

I'm not sure where you read in the FSM against resurfacing because there's a whole section about measuring run out, drum diameter, and rotor thickness as well as machining for reuse or to minimum thickness or diameter before discarding. If I'm not mistaken, if run out cannot be machined then a rotor is discarded.

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Old 04-22-2011, 02:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

thanks for the reply, I figure for what im paying they will either replace or repair rotors accordingly.

on a 2nd topic is replacing the rear drums and using disc instead a plausible possibility?

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mi: 199,xxx

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X = dest
O = ON way

home- Clovis, ca

Pismo Beach: xx
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Old 04-23-2011, 02:53 AM   #7
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

Rear discs add on is a good consideration but the gains may be minimal in actuality and more for personal vanity. Truth be told, has anyone actually done a formal brake test comparing before and after conversion with tuned brakes before and after the conversion to prove any advantage rear discs have over drums?

One case in point. My L300 has all wheel discs but the fronts needed rotors and pads at 50k (approximately) miles. The rears have plenty of pad material and I have about 65k miles now. More wear occurs on the fronts than the rears. The same has been described with the S-series with front discs/rear drums. Just these two facts alone seems to me a moot point for adding rear discs.

About the only advantage rear discs have over drums would be freedom from adjusting rear drums if the star adjusters don't work properly.

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Old 04-23-2011, 07:55 AM   #8
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

Matt, every year or two, Im replacing the rotors on our L300 b/c they warp. I havent had any rotors 'turned' since I was 16 or 17...dont make 'em like they used to!

If you do not already have the know-how, you should really learn how to do the L-Series front brakes; they are easy peasy, lemon squeezy. I could do them with a blindfold on and my hands tied behind my back! And it would save you a TON of money to DIY. 10 minute job, each wheel. Serious.

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Old 04-23-2011, 09:17 AM   #9
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
I'm not sure where you read in the FSM against resurfacing because there's a whole section about measuring run out, drum diameter, and rotor thickness as well as machining for reuse or to minimum thickness or diameter before discarding. If I'm not mistaken, if run out cannot be machined then a rotor is discarded.
I checked it again and you are correct on this fact. However, with a new thickness of 25mm, and machined limit of 23mm thickness, and likely worn thickness of 24mm max with a warped rotor, there is almost nothing left to machine off. There is also the fact that a rotor can be warped when hot and flat when cold, as I experienced recently on my front brakes. So how could this be corrected by machining? They were fine until you made a couple of stops, then started to pulsate. It was also no problem in the winter due to the cold, but as the weather warmed up they went squiggly much easier.

I have never had brakes resurfaced on any of my cars in over 40 years and over a million miles of driving. I also have never paid anyone to work on my brakes as I do this all myself. I have discovered improper work on used cars I have purchased, that makes me happy that I do the work myself.

With reasonable quality Chinese rotors available for less than $30, the economics of resurfacing isn't good. The rotor will be near minimum thickness and will soon warp again.

Why to rotors warp? There are two mechanisms at work. The first is the rubbing of the pad on the surface. This removes a little bit of the iron from the surface on every stop, and also smears the surface a bit in the sliding direction. The adding up of all that smearing tends to produce a compressive stress in the circumferential direction. When this compressive stress gets to a certain level the disc pops into a warped shape. It can be described as a "sombrero" or "potato chip" type of shape that is the result of the rim being in compression. Basically it buckles. The second mechanism is excessive heat. It does basically the same thing, but by overheating the metal. I once returned an almost new Malibu to a rental agency in LA with badly warped rotors. This was from descending the switchback road down from the summit of Mount Palomar while surrounded by large numbers of incredibly fast moving "Superbike" motorcycles. (California has unwritten zoning to separate the Cruise bikes from the rice rockets, enter the latter at your own risk).

So you can warp rotors the long slow way (wear) or the short fast way (heat) and you get the same result. Machining will not remove the compression stress that makes them warp. They may be flat off the machine but they won't stay that way.

Machining rotors is a waste of money. If they are OK and you need new pads, go ahead and pop them in and don't touch the rotors. If they are grooved, cracked, worn below minimum thickness or warped, put new ones on.

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Old 04-23-2011, 01:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

I can't disagree with your thoughts as there are many variables with brake systems that apply here. It was a little disconcerting to find out that our L300 OEM rotors are made with only 2mm(?) of working material. I wonder what thicknesses are in other rotors and if there was/is a trend to have less material that results in more discards sooner. I may have to research the manuals for specs. Perhaps these thicknesses are the same and replacing asbestos with semi-metallic material wears them out sooner. It would make sense as braking improved with power assist, then changing over to discs and finally ABS for the most effective braking capability possible. Just using power assist and disc brakes hauls a car down from any speed quicker than old school brakes. Faster deceleration does mean a much higher coefficient of friction; more effective braking would mean more wear sooner than later. Coupled with our "I can multi-task" attitude with distracted driving, braking instantaneously would equate to wearing down our brakes much sooner in heavily populated areas.

With some members here posting of machining rotors/drums, I think its safe to say there is still room for reusing parts as long as they don't exceed minimum dimensions and cost effective. Some of us are in financial stress and saving a few dollars here and there justifies machining despite the low cost of replacement parts. Saving $20+ by machining a pair of rotors can mean some more food on the table for some.

I too decided to simply replace my front rotors rather than have them cut. It wasn't worth it for me. I could have taken advantage of connections to have rotors cut free but it wasn't worth the time, effort, and distraction. Alone time with my car and tunes playing nearby can be thought of as an island without distractions for some quality time just like others surrounding themselves with family for the same quality time. Different strokes for different folks.........

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Old 04-23-2011, 08:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

in the long run its cheaper to do it yourself I agree with that, but upfront I dont have tools, im unsure if the jack that comes with the L is anygood for anything but changing a tire. so I might need a jack too.

I did too notice the heat was a factor in warping, I'm not sure what the mechanics going to do about that, Its warrantied though so if it happens again I can take it back.

...
mi: 199,xxx

trips:

X = dest
O = ON way

home- Clovis, ca

Pismo Beach: xx
Morro Bay: oo
San Francisco: x
Los Angeles: ooo
Anahiem (disneyland): xxx
Tulare: o,(x-atleast 15)
Visalia: x

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Old 04-24-2011, 01:10 PM   #12
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

The jack is fine if you have adequate jack stands and a solid surface to work on. You will need a breaker bar and STRONG socket wrench, along with a special allen-key socket for the brake caliper bolts. When I say strong socket wrench, I mean strong. I bent the metal arm on mine (craftsman) and almost broke a mechanism on another. I used the jack to move the wrench up to get the caliper bolts off, as they were held on with 500+ pounds of pressure from rust. I can deadlift 380 and couldn't get em...you need pbblaster and of course the rotors ($29.99 each), pads ($24.99 for set of 2), and brake hardware ($15.99). Add a buck or two for bad grease and you did the job on your own for about $100 bucks. You gotta be careful though, on the brake lines mine just burst on a 2000 because of corrosion on this p.o.s. car so check em!

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Old 04-24-2011, 11:04 PM   #13
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Default Re: Warped rotors.. both axel brake job

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jonnyferrari View Post
The jack is fine if you have adequate jack stands and a solid surface to work on. You will need a breaker bar and STRONG socket wrench, along with a special allen-key socket for the brake caliper bolts. When I say strong socket wrench, I mean strong. I bent the metal arm on mine (craftsman) and almost broke a mechanism on another. I used the jack to move the wrench up to get the caliper bolts off, as they were held on with 500+ pounds of pressure from rust. I can deadlift 380 and couldn't get em...you need pbblaster and of course the rotors ($29.99 each), pads ($24.99 for set of 2), and brake hardware ($15.99). Add a buck or two for bad grease and you did the job on your own for about $100 bucks. You gotta be careful though, on the brake lines mine just burst on a 2000 because of corrosion on this p.o.s. car so check em!
I dont have any salt over in this end of the country and the car was from the area originally shipped so i'm thinking itll be okay. Mechanic will let me know tommorrow

...
mi: 199,xxx

trips:

X = dest
O = ON way

home- Clovis, ca

Pismo Beach: xx
Morro Bay: oo
San Francisco: x
Los Angeles: ooo
Anahiem (disneyland): xxx
Tulare: o,(x-atleast 15)
Visalia: x

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Old 04-25-2011, 04:08 PM   #14
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I dont have any salt over in this end of the country and the car was from the area originally shipped so i'm thinking itll be okay. Mechanic will let me know tommorrow
Well after 2 and a half hours all the brAkes were worked on. Gotta push the pedal a little harder now for some odd reason. Its a smooth quite stop now though

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