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Old 01-27-2011, 08:16 AM   #1
Joe..Cool
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Default Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

So this morning on my way to work I stopped at a traffic light and noticed something burning. I though it might be the car next me exhaust's, but I looked in my side view mirror and saw smoke coming from my left rear tire area.

I pulled over and looked and could not see any flames and the it kinda smelled like plastic or rubber. I did continue another couple miles to work and once I got there I did not see anymore smoke but the smell was still there and the rim was really warm to the touch.

I did change the brakes on all four axles with new pads and rotors, so I have been driving it for a couple of days and this is the first I seen or smell any burning.

Any idea what it could be?

I plan on taking off the wheel before I leave work this afternoon. Just to see how bad it is and then limp home on the side streets.

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Old 01-27-2011, 08:59 AM   #2
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

4 wheel disc or disc drum?

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Old 01-27-2011, 09:44 AM   #3
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

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Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
4 wheel disc or disc drum?
Sorry I forgot that, 4 wheel Disc brakes. I also bleed the brakes to, could it be leaking brake fluid causing the smoke?

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Old 01-27-2011, 10:46 AM   #4
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

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Originally Posted by Joe..Cool View Post
could it be leaking brake fluid causing the smoke?
Either that or the caliper is sticking and cooking the pads. Did you grease the pins?

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Old 01-27-2011, 10:48 AM   #5
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

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Originally Posted by hotrod205 View Post
Either that or the caliper is sticking and cooking the pads. Did you grease the pins?
I did put a little on them, but not a lot.

If the pad is cooking, is there anyway to get the car home without a tow truck?

Also, if I do need a new caliper, should I replace them in a set? And does AZ or Advanced carry any good reman brands?

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Old 01-27-2011, 10:58 AM   #6
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe..Cool View Post
I did put a little on them, but not a lot.

If the pad is cooking, is there anyway to get the car home without a tow truck?

Also, if I do need a new caliper, should I replace them in a set? And does AZ or Advanced carry any good reman brands?
Did you put new rotors? If so did you clean off the shipping grease? New rotors (especially the garbage we get from China now) can smoke pretty good for awhile if you don't spray them down really well.

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Old 01-27-2011, 11:01 AM   #7
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

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Originally Posted by underthehood View Post
Did you put new rotors? If so did you clean off the shipping grease? New rotors (especially the garbage we get from China now) can smoke pretty good for awhile if you don't spray them down really well.
Yes new rotors all around, I did wipe them down with some break cleaner. I did not scrub them though.

Since I did put new pads and rotor should I have adjusted the E-Brake cable?

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Old 01-27-2011, 11:18 AM   #8
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

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Since I did put new pads and rotor should I have adjusted the E-Brake cable?
Yeah, at least make sure it wasn't dragging. If it was dragging that would definitely cause it the same as if the caliper was stuck.

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Old 01-27-2011, 11:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Dang it! Well I will take a quick look before I leave work and if it is dragging I guess I will tow it home then.

Could I disconnect the cable from the caliper, just for the ride home?

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Old 01-27-2011, 12:11 PM   #10
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Just curious on the pins what kind of grease should I use? I used some that I had in my grease gun that I use for ball joints.

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Old 01-27-2011, 12:11 PM   #11
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe..Cool View Post
Dang it! Well I will take a quick look before I leave work and if it is dragging I guess I will tow it home then.

Could I disconnect the cable from the caliper, just for the ride home?
The e-brake cable can be disconnected. Completely independent of the hydraulic system.

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Old 01-27-2011, 01:45 PM   #12
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

When you replaced the pads, how did you seat the rear calipers--did you use a c-clamp or did you turn them in with the special tool (or a pair of pliers).

It definitely sounds like a dragging brake.

If you drove there like that, you might as well drive back--just go kinda slow. That kind of dragging can glaze the pads and/or warp the rotor--you should replace both if they're cheap ones, or if they're expensive, sand a few thousandths off the pads with fine grit sand-paper to remove the glaze and check the rotor for any runout--if there is any, you have to replace--resurfacing won't fix it.

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Old 01-27-2011, 02:14 PM   #13
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Quote:
Originally Posted by PlasticCarsRock View Post
When you replaced the pads, how did you seat the rear calipers--did you use a c-clamp or did you turn them in with the special tool (or a pair of pliers).

It definitely sounds like a dragging brake.

If you drove there like that, you might as well drive back--just go kinda slow. That kind of dragging can glaze the pads and/or warp the rotor--you should replace both if they're cheap ones, or if they're expensive, sand a few thousandths off the pads with fine grit sand-paper to remove the glaze and check the rotor for any runout--if there is any, you have to replace--resurfacing won't fix it.
After working on the the rear right side, I figured it out about a minute into it I put the clamp on the piston and when it got tight I knew something was not right. I pulled out the Haynes manual and looked it up and used a pair of pliers to turn it back in all the way.

The pads and rotors are not the cheapest you can get at AZ but a step up. I don't mind buying a new set, as long as I get it fixed so it does not happen again. Warping was the reason why I replaced them in the first place, plus it was time, the pad all around were getting thin.

I will getting off work in a couple of hours and I will check it out. I was thinking of taking the toll road home, no real traffic and smooth speed all the way home.

Any idea what kind of tools I would need to take the e-brake cable off? I know the bolts for the calipers is 10mm. I just can't picture the spring assy in my head.

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Old 01-27-2011, 02:52 PM   #14
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

I don't remember exactly what holds the parking brake cable. When I replaced my rear calipers, I couldn't get it undone easily, so I removed the bracket that connects it to the caliper and re-used the old bracket instead of the one on the rebuild caliper.

If I were you, I'd replace or rebuild both rear calipers if they're original or of the same age--if one is sticking now, there's a good chance the other one isn't in great shape, either. No need to replace the pads or caliper on the other side, though.

The problem may have appeared now because rotating the piston lined it up in such a way that already-present corrosion is now interfering with the motion of the piston. Or perhaps it's because the piston is not extended as far as it was before. Either way, a rebuild or new/rebuilt caliper is necessary. Normally, I'd recommend rebuilding it yourself, but the parking brake mechanism is more complicated than just a seal and dust-boot in a normal caliper--they rust up and basic rebuild kits do not include the necessary parts to rebuild that part of the caliper. You can probably get one that does, but they're much more expensive and for the work involved, it's probably better to just get one "professionally" rebuilt (they're not all that expensive).

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Old 01-27-2011, 06:45 PM   #15
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Well I just got home after a long trip home. I did not see any smoke when I stopped, but I did hear some squealing noise at low speeds.

Looks like I won't get to it until tomorrow morning. Nothing like taking a day off from work to work on your car.

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Old 01-27-2011, 07:11 PM   #16
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Basically, what they said. Smokin' wheel usually means sticking caliper piston. You said that you used a C-clamp on it originally ... did you clamp it a good way? Put a lot of torque on the clamp before you figured out that you had to screw it back in? It's an easy mistake to make if you don't know to look for it, and can kill the caliper pretty badly. Might need a new one. At least they aren't TOO expensive.

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Old 01-28-2011, 06:51 AM   #17
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Oh, before you spend money on new caliper(s), do you use your p-brake? This could also be caused by a sticking p-brake cable... check those for proper movement with no binding. Caliper is more likely, though.

If you don't have smoke, it's still easy to check... touch your wheel as soon as you stop driving (and compare it to the other side) if it's really hot, it's still dragging. (Or use an infrared thermometer, if you have one, on the rotor or caliper itself--don't touch them!) I had a stuck-on rear caliper last year and while it didn't smoke, after a trip on the highway the 16" alloy wheel was hot enough that I wouldn't want to hold my hand on it. Nothing smells quite like overheating brakes... once you get used to that smell it's always easy to diagnose.

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Old 01-28-2011, 12:31 PM   #18
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

So here is the update.

I took the rotor and pads off, the rotor is discolored and with be replaced. I did notice on the pads some uneven wear, so a new set of those.

Now with the caliper off I had the wife pump the brakes and I did try to turn it back in and it stopped about a quarter of an inch from all the way in. I did notice when I first jacked up the car and tired to spin the wheel it was hanging up like the brakes were on. I check the right side rear and it would spin freely for a couple of rotations.

The parking brake moves freely with no binding that I can see, but I will adjust it after I replace the calipers.

So I am off to the parts store to pick up some new parts, I will be replacing both calipers. I don't think the right side needs it but, better safe than sorry.

I did read in the Haynes about using some sort of scan tool for bleeding the rear brakes. Will I need to take it in for this, once I am done replacing the caliper?


WageWor: I used the C-clamp on the right side and it was only by hand, I know better than to apply torque on the calpiers. It should move freely back in.

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Old 01-28-2011, 04:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Quote:
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I did read in the Haynes about using some sort of scan tool for bleeding the rear brakes. Will I need to take it in for this, once I am done replacing the caliper?
No. You can bleed the rear brakes just as you would on any traditional car. If you do not have abs, there's nothing the scantool could even do. If you do have abs, it is only necessary if you activated the ABS directly before shutting the car off. If this is the case, you will not be able to bleed the rear brakes (no fluid will come out and the pedal will remain hard). The alternative to using the scantool is to start the car, drive it above 5mph (just fast enough for the abs self test) then park it (without activating the abs). You can now bleed the rear brakes. The pistons are homed (what the scan-tool would do) every time the self-test runs and every time after abs activation when you release the brakes and begin to accelerate.

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Old 01-28-2011, 05:25 PM   #20
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Default Re: Left rear Wheel Area Smoking!

Thanks PCR!

Well I am done putting it all back together and bleeding the brakes for a 2nd time.

I went on a short 2 mile trip just to check and see if anything was dragging. I felt the rims after the trip and they all were cool. I did hear some light scratching noise, just like you would hear with the car jacked up and free spinning the wheel by hand. Is that normal?

I did recheck the parking brake and at about 5-6 clicks it fully locks the wheels. No binding when it releases.

Thanks you guys for all your help, now for a longer trip back to the auto parts store to get my core charge back.

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