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Old 10-26-2009, 10:15 AM   #1
sensible
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2001 SC1
Question Shaking when Braking

Hi. My wifes 2001 sc1 shakes noticeably when braking. You can feel it through the steering wheel. Car does not shake otherwise only when braking. What do you think is the most likely problem or what it might be. I'm going to have to bring it to Mechanic or Dealer so I want to get an informed idea before hand. Thanks.
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Old 10-26-2009, 11:39 AM   #2
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

Warped rotors. Time for a front brake job. Best.
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:06 PM   #3
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

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Originally Posted by sensible View Post
Hi. My wifes 2001 sc1 shakes noticeably when braking...... only when braking. What do you think is the most likely problem or what it might be.....
Brakes? If they haven't been regularly maintained (whatever it means to you) perhaps any good brake shop will be able to look over the brake system and not necessarily the dealer. Brakes are brakes and any repair shop capable of brake repairs can determine where the shaking is from; warped rotors, uneven wear of disc pads/shoes, etc..
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:12 PM   #4
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

Thanks guys. It does sound like warped rotors based on searching similar posts.
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:48 PM   #5
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

It's pretty straightforward and cheap to R&R the front pads and rotors on a Saturn, you can check out a youtube video of the procedure by searching on Richpin06a & front brake job on that site.

Purchasing a pair of new rotors and pads from Rockauto.com shouldn't cost you much more that $60 to $75.

I don't know how many miles are on yours, but one of my OEM GM rotors warped at ~55K miles and caused terrible front end vibration when braking from 50+ mph.

Good luck!
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Old 10-26-2009, 12:52 PM   #6
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

I have the same problem. But I just recentley did a front brake job in April. Front pads and rotors. Got the pads from autozone. Put them on, and then about a week or so later, got the pedal vibration, and got them cut. Well the vibration is back. I get the shake over about 50mph. What should I do?
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:34 PM   #7
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

I had a experince with my brakes on my 1994 Saturn that had a lot of shaking. I had done a brake job on my car, after doing it noticed that i had a big vibration coming from the front. I drove around town like that for a couple of days thinking it would go away (silly me). Well it didnt so i took the wheels off to see what was going on and noticed that the discs had spider web cracked. I guess the part store gave me the wrong discs and when i was putting the wheels back on it caused the discs to crack. (last time i used auto zone). Not saying that this could be your problem. just wanted to make you aware :o)
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Old 10-26-2009, 01:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

I have a 1997 Saturn SL and the cars front end would vibrate when braking. So I replaced the front brake rotors and pads that I purchased from advanced auto. The vibration went away for a few months and then returned.
The rotors must have heat warped and advanced auto did an exchange on the rotors. What I finally noticed upon inspection of the rear brake shoes- they had very little if any wear on them after over 100,000 miles. They are supposed to be self adjusting. I manually adjusted them after lubricating all of the moving parts. The front brakes were providing most all the stopping friction, causing the rotors in the front to over heat. Now I manually adjust the rear brakes periodically and the front rotors don't heat warp any more.
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Old 10-26-2009, 04:51 PM   #9
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

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Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
Brakes? If they haven't been regularly maintained (whatever it means to you) perhaps any good brake shop will be able to look over the brake system and not necessarily the dealer. Brakes are brakes and any repair shop capable of brake repairs can determine where the shaking is from; warped rotors, uneven wear of disc pads/shoes, etc..
1 year ago and 10,000 miles i had both front rotors replaced and ceramic pads installed. Is that too soon for these cars to have problems so soon? And the one year or 12,000 mile warranty just passed.http://www.saturnfans.com/forums/ima.../new/frown.gif
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Last edited by sensible; 10-26-2009 at 04:58 PM.
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Old 10-26-2009, 08:55 PM   #10
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

There are no real guidelines on when brakes wear and then need inspection so the repair shops may say "bring it in and we'll check things out for you" or recommend brake checks every 5,000 miles. I drive mine about 8,000 miles a year while others do that in a month. When I rotate my tires I inspect the brakes to combine tire rotation with brake inspection. This works for me. I get to see the brake wear and then determine what to do next. Mileage is the same but the time is different. Adhering to a regular schedule for periodic inspection never hurts and allow a relationship to develop between car owner and shop for the benefit of both. Assuming all responsibility on your shoulders to determine maintenance intervals brings other issues like when to have brakes checked. This may result in your dilemma that can go in one of two ways, either an expensive repair for waiting until something happens or an easy adjustment. Any brake repair can have problems at any time. Can you guarantee that nothing gets into the brake systems? Water contamination? Brake fluid leaks? Line ruptures? Premature wear of rotors or pads? One camp will say nothing should occur in 10k miles while others would say its too late and something wore out and now it will be an expensive repair. Being pro-active means either paying someone to look after your car or you do it. No being pro-active.....................................
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Old 10-26-2009, 09:07 PM   #11
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

it is feels more like its shuddering under braking this can be due to the brakes not being bled after being service or not being bled properly. And then that can lead to warped front rotors, also if you have rear disks and your caliper pins rust up back there than can warp the fronts too. having experienced both issues in the past.
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Old 10-27-2009, 12:09 PM   #12
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

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Originally Posted by Leafy View Post
it is feels more like its shuddering under braking this can be due to the brakes not being bled after being service or not being bled properly. And then that can lead to warped front rotors, also if you have rear disks and your caliper pins rust up back there than can warp the fronts too. having experienced both issues in the past.
Well I had the brakes inspected..Nothing looked majorly wrong...They resurfaced front right rotor and left rear drum and pulsation while braking has dissappeared,,,, I will have to keep an eye out for it to make sure this wasn't just a band-aid-fix.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:26 PM   #13
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

Has it fixed the problem. I have the same shaking problem. Especially when I brake on the highway, the vehicle shakes and I feel it in the pedal and the wheel as well. I just recently got rotors and drums. I had the front rotors cut, but not the drums.
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Old 10-27-2009, 02:48 PM   #14
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

I have a '98 SL2 at 164,000 miles with front disc, rear drum and the original rotors, which had been turned 2 or 3 times by Midas. Had vibration when braking for maybe the last 6K or 8,000 miles (don't remember). It wasn't too bad so I lived with it. Last week after reading about DIY brake maint. here on Saturnfans, I finally bought new rotors from Kragen and replaced them myself. Kept the ceramic pads (installed by Midas maybe 20,000 miles ago?) because they looked to be in good shape. Used wire brush and putty knife to clean rust off the hub surface where the rotor mounts, trying to make it as flat as possible. This time I did bed-in the new rotors with 10 hard stops from 60 to 10mph.

Braking is now very smooth, but haven't driven it long enough to know if it might come back. Some articles I've read on brakes say that true rotor warping is rare, but it's easy to get RTV (rotor thickness variation) which leads to brake pedal pulsation or vibration while braking (basically same symptoms as warped rotors). Articles say causes of RTV are:
  • Failure to bed in new rotors properly
  • Overheating front brakes then stopping, so pads imprint on hot rotors
  • Rotor not mounted flat on hub, causing too much runout
  • errr.. I forgot what the other causes were.. maybe pads not mounted straight and parallel?

This past weekend I adjusted my rear drum brakes and bled the lines. Parking brake didn't seem to be activating right rear so I took off the shoes and all 3 springs on that side and had to figure out how the adjuster works (using Haynes manual). Now I see the appeal of rear discs...
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Old 10-28-2009, 10:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

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Has it fixed the problem. I have the same shaking problem. Especially when I brake on the highway, the vehicle shakes and I feel it in the pedal and the wheel as well. I just recently got rotors and drums. I had the front rotors cut, but not the drums.
Well now after the resurface job and tire rotation the brake no longer pulses in the pedal or steering wheel BUT NOW the car pulls to the left with a slight bumping feel from the front left. Not sure if my alignment got messed up or a rim is out of balance. Please Help.
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Old 10-28-2009, 12:57 PM   #16
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

I'm a relative novice to brake maintenance, but you said the shop only turned your right front rotor and left rear drum, right? I'm assuming this is because the left front was not warped (or didn't have Rotor Thickness Variation).

So maybe the right rotor doesn't have any pad material on it yet becuase it hasn't been bedded, while the left one still does, so the left caliper is grabbing the rotor harder than the right caliper? Or the left caliper lock and guide pins on front left disc need to be lubricated? I thought when you turned a front rotor, you always turned both front rotors, but again until recently I used to just accept whatever Midas told me as the gospel truth, even though twice Midas put my calipers on with the flex brake line routed the wrong way so the tire rubbed it when turning.

Only way to test this theory is to have both front rotors turned again. If you're comfortable removing them yourself (have to unbolt caliper brackets to get the rotors off) and have access to a 2nd car, some auto parts stores will turn them for you fairly inexpensively, but call ahead to verify if and when they can do it and what the price is. If you go back to the same shop that serviced the brakes, they might turn the other rotor (or turn both) for free.

Or as you said, alignment could be off, or tread uneven, left tire underinflated, or left wheel nuts not properly torqued. Or left outer CV joint starting to go? Years ago on my 2nd set of tires, I took my Saturn to the dealer complaining the alignment was off because the car was pulling slightly to one side. They said alignment was fine and one of my front tires had a tread issue. They rotated the tires and car then tracked straight.


Quote:
Originally Posted by sensible View Post
Well now after the resurface job and tire rotation the brake no longer pulses in the pedal or steering wheel BUT NOW the car pulls to the left with a slight bumping feel from the front left. Not sure if my alignment got messed up or a rim is out of balance. Please Help.
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Old 10-29-2009, 07:39 AM   #17
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

Quote:
Originally Posted by jcasekim View Post
I'm a relative novice to brake maintenance, but you said the shop only turned your right front rotor and left rear drum, right? I'm assuming this is because the left front was not warped (or didn't have Rotor Thickness Variation).

So maybe the right rotor doesn't have any pad material on it yet becuase it hasn't been bedded, while the left one still does, so the left caliper is grabbing the rotor harder than the right caliper? Or the left caliper lock and guide pins on front left disc need to be lubricated? I thought when you turned a front rotor, you always turned both front rotors, but again until recently I used to just accept whatever Midas told me as the gospel truth, even though twice Midas put my calipers on with the flex brake line routed the wrong way so the tire rubbed it when turning.

Only way to test this theory is to have both front rotors turned again. If you're comfortable removing them yourself (have to unbolt caliper brackets to get the rotors off) and have access to a 2nd car, some auto parts stores will turn them for you fairly inexpensively, but call ahead to verify if and when they can do it and what the price is. If you go back to the same shop that serviced the brakes, they might turn the other rotor (or turn both) for free.

Or as you said, alignment could be off, or tread uneven, left tire underinflated, or left wheel nuts not properly torqued. Or left outer CV joint starting to go? Years ago on my 2nd set of tires, I took my Saturn to the dealer complaining the alignment was off because the car was pulling slightly to one side. They said alignment was fine and one of my front tires had a tread issue. They rotated the tires and car then tracked straight.
I brought the car back to the same place, they rotated the tire back to the original location and now car tracks incredibly straight, no brake shake , no thumping sound.
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Old 10-29-2009, 11:40 AM   #18
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

I am beating myself over this one. I guess I am going to have to suck it up and take it somewhere to have them look at it. Im thinking it could be a tire unbalanced, or the rotors warped. I don't think that is the rotors, since I just had those cut, but I could be wrong. Its driving me nuts. LOL
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:33 PM   #19
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

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Originally Posted by AQuinn19 View Post
I am beating myself over this one. I guess I am going to have to suck it up and take it somewhere to have them look at it. Im thinking it could be a tire unbalanced, or the rotors warped. I don't think that is the rotors, since I just had those cut, but I could be wrong. Its driving me nuts. LOL
Just buy new drums, I saw you did not have your drums "cut" but only the fronts. At least where I'm from, its just about the same price if not even maybe cheaper to just buy new rotors/drums than having existing ones cut down even more. I wouldn't bother with resurfacing ever on a car with brake parts as cheap as our S-series. If you have a pulsing in your pedal, its brake related. If you replace your drums, the problem is guaranteed to go away, that is if the front rotors are thick enough to be usable still.
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Old 10-29-2009, 02:59 PM   #20
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Default Re: Shaking when Braking

So do you think if I got the drums cut it would go away? Since I already had the front rotors cut?
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