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Old 01-23-2008, 07:36 PM   #1
01SL1SATURN
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Default Knocking sound when brakes applied

When I hit my brakes to slow down I hear a clunking/knocking sound and it happens every second or so. It goes away when I release the brakes. It sounds like it is coming from the front of the car. I know it's vague, but any ideas?

...
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Old 01-23-2008, 07:41 PM   #2
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SL1SATURN View Post
When I hit my brakes to slow down I hear a clunking/knocking sound and it happens every second or so. It goes away when I release the brakes. It sounds like it is coming from the front of the car. I know it's vague, but any ideas?
I think your rotors are warped.
when you are moving very slowly and apply the brakes very slowly, do you feel the car jerk with every rotation of the tire? Do you still hear the sound?

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Old 01-23-2008, 07:53 PM   #3
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

I think rc1488 nailed it however we live in the NorthEast where build up of ice and crud from the roads can do odd things to the braking and balance of the tires.

When the tires are pulled, you can tell one way or the other.

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Old 01-23-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

I did a tire rotation a week or so ago. I heard it doing it before I did the rotation as well. I didn't notice the rotors being warped but I think it may be too small to notice.

I do think they may be warped because the car shakes if I hit the brakes heavily. The rotors I believe were replaced sometime in the past.

Pic of one of my rotors

Anything out of the ordinary? I know it's pretty much impossible to tell.

Quote:
when you are moving very slowly and apply the brakes very slowly, do you feel the car jerk with every rotation of the tire? Do you still hear the sound?
I will be going on a 60 mile highway trip tomorrow so I will be able to post back with details. I will pay special attention when the car is slowing down.

If I had to give you an answer, it is that it does jerk when going slowly with brakes applied. I can't remember for sure, but it does sound like something I've experienced.

How much are rotors and is it a hard job to do? What about the cost of a mechanic doing it, parts + labor? Thanks.

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Old 01-23-2008, 09:39 PM   #5
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SL1SATURN View Post
I do think they may be warped because the car shakes if I hit the brakes heavily. The rotors I believe were replaced sometime in the past.
Shaking...that was the word i was looking for. you need new rotors.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SL1SATURN View Post
How much are rotors and is it a hard job to do? What about the cost of a mechanic doing it, parts + labor? Thanks.
easy to do. if you can change your own brakes then you can change your rotors. you just need to do one more step and remove the caliper bracket from the spindle. im sure theres a how-to for rotor replacement. 35 bucks i think for a set of OEM's from advanced auto.
not sure about the cost of a mechanic doin it tho.

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Old 01-23-2008, 09:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SL1SATURN View Post
I did a tire rotation a week or so ago. I heard it doing it before I did the rotation as well. I didn't notice the rotors being warped but I think it may be too small to notice.

I do think they may be warped because the car shakes if I hit the brakes heavily. The rotors I believe were replaced sometime in the past.

Pic of one of my rotors

Anything out of the ordinary? I know it's pretty much impossible to tell.



I will be going on a 60 mile highway trip tomorrow so I will be able to post back with details. I will pay special attention when the car is slowing down.

If I had to give you an answer, it is that it does jerk when going slowly with brakes applied. I can't remember for sure, but it does sound like something I've experienced.

How much are rotors and is it a hard job to do? What about the cost of a mechanic doing it, parts + labor? Thanks.

Check out my website in my signature for very good prices on parts. Where are you in the Catskills? If you're gonna be near Syracuse anytime I'd be glad to show you how to do it yourself. A garage will charge anywhere from 2-2.5 hours of labor and you can do it yourself in an hour if you really take your time. Very simple with basic hand tools. You'll save a boatload of cash doing it yourself even if you have to buy a basic metric Craftsman socket set.

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Old 01-24-2008, 01:55 AM   #7
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Replaced mine 3 months ago. The hardest part is removing all four tires. Thank God I have a air compressor. Jack stand help also. other than that use a Haynes/Chiltons manual. No problems. (make sure you use anti seize) on the new rotors!

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Old 01-25-2008, 01:28 PM   #8
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Yes, it does make the knocking sound when going slow and applying the brakes. It ceases once I release the brake.

I think I'll replace them this spring. I'd rather wait until the cold winter/salty roads is over with before putting new ones on.

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Old 01-25-2008, 07:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SL1SATURN View Post
Yes, it does make the knocking sound when going slow and applying the brakes. It ceases once I release the brake.

I think I'll replace them this spring. I'd rather wait until the cold winter/salty roads is over with before putting new ones on.
Torque the lug nuts by hand when you do the replacement. Some tire store monkey probably tightened them all with an impact wrench. Even on a 4 lug hub, that can leave some unresolved stress in the hub and rotor, enough to warp it when it gets good and hot during a panic stop. You don't hear it much on S series but monkeys will be monkeys.

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Old 01-25-2008, 08:25 PM   #10
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

I totally agree with virnin that the tire shop warped your rotors. In fact, the monkeys were so bad that I used to try to plan brake jobs around tire replacements.

The lugnuts should not be tightened in a circular manner. You should stagger the order, for example: top-bottom-left-right. Also do it in two waves, first to seat the rim against the rotor, then let the jack down and finish tightening them.

Now I use a shop that only does tires. (not brakes) Maybe that's why they correctly tighten the nuts?

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Old 01-26-2008, 01:28 AM   #11
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paperboy View Post
I totally agree with virnin that the tire shop warped your rotors. In fact, the monkeys were so bad that I used to try to plan brake jobs around tire replacements.

The lugnuts should not be tightened in a circular manner. You should stagger the order, for example: top-bottom-left-right. Also do it in two waves, first to seat the rim against the rotor, then let the jack down and finish tightening them.

Now I use a shop that only does tires. (not brakes) Maybe that's why they correctly tighten the nuts?
most shops have torque sticks, however if the sequence is wrong then that can lead to the warped rotors. I would ask the shop if they have them, and if they do, to use the 100ft/lb 19mm. if they dont have them, suggest they get them

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Old 01-26-2008, 05:26 PM   #12
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Quote:
Originally Posted by 01SL1SATURN View Post
Yes, it does make the knocking sound when going slow and applying the brakes. It ceases once I release the brake.

I think I'll replace them this spring. I'd rather wait until the cold winter/salty roads is over with before putting new ones on.
It certainly is understandable to wait until spring for the repair but the other end of the coin for you to consider is the additional stressors you put on the suspension and alignment parts of the car when the car is braking and wobbling harshly. Point being that other parts suffer like rubber mounts, bushings and bearings that may face shorter service life.

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Old 01-26-2008, 05:51 PM   #13
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Plus, your brakes are more likely to lock while on slick surfaces, therefore decreasing your ability to avoid an accident.

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Old 01-26-2008, 11:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Well now I am kind of afraid I did the damage.

When I rotated my tires, I loosened them up while the car was on the ground, then jacked it up. Then I rotated the tires.

What I did was I tightened the lug nuts by hand to prevent cross threading. I tightened them until I couldn't hand tighten them anymore. When I tightened them with the torque wrench I did do the criss-cross thing. I tightened them down by putting a little weight into them. I then jacked the car down and made them nice and snug. I used the torque wrench that came with the car. I basically leaned into it to tighten them with my body weight.

I don't know, I'm worried I messed it up. I'm no expert on cars, just a guy trying to save some $$ and learn some experience. I do remember the brakes pulsating anyway even before I did the tire rotation. I only noticed the sound because I had my window down and music off. I usually have music on pretty loudly. It is certainly possible I just never noticed it and it was happening before I did the tire rotation.

Not sure if it's normal but my brakes are pretty bad compared to other cars I've driven. I have to stomp on the brakes to get some braking response. I don't slam them down, but the pedal seems to need to be pushed down a lot further than other cars to get comparable braking force. I am usually easy on my brakes especially since the manual tranny helps. I do the whole easy braking thing instead of heavy braking.

BTW, the front rotors and brake pads were replaced at around 80,000 miles along with the tires. Seems pretty crappy for them to warp in ~15,000 miles.

...
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Last edited by 01SL1SATURN; 01-26-2008 at 11:34 PM..

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Old 01-27-2008, 10:18 AM   #15
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

I'm sorry I called you a monkey.

If you say the rotors were pulsating even before you did the rotation, then they were already on their way out anyway. From your description I don't think you did anything wrong.

Btw, what is that thing you are calling a torque wrench? Do you mean the jack handle wrench?

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Old 01-27-2008, 10:51 AM   #16
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Yes, the jack handle wrench. My bad.

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Old 01-27-2008, 09:17 PM   #17
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Majority of the time you won't notice a warped rotor visible. Mine made a clunking sound then the steering wheel started to shake while applying the brakes, then the sound and shaking got worse. I would replace them ASAP just because it will only get worse. I would have done something sooner myself, but I was in a situation where I was pretty tight on money. I had actually gotten to the point where I think because of the warped rotors I had to replace my brake pads prematurely.

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Old 01-28-2008, 03:45 AM   #18
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

Could it be the ABS kicking in? They don't normally clunk every second or so, but maybe it is not functioning right. Just a wild guess.

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Old 01-28-2008, 05:24 AM   #19
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Default Re: Knocking sound when brakes applied

For all of you that think that tightening the lug nuts to a specific torque will keep them from warping. I don't think so. I've never used a torque wrench on a lug nut and I've used an impact wrench plenty of times. All of this should mean I have problems with rotors warping and I don't and never have. What you are saying makes perfect sense but, my experience says it's also wrong.

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