Question about brake noise.

Discussion in 'General Motoring' started by Osgood Z'beard, Feb 18, 2006.

  1. Hi:

    My brakes recently started "rasping" pretty loudly. As I recall there's
    some sort of strip embedded in the pads that start doing this to warn
    you to replace them soon, so I'm wondering how much "grace" there is
    before the pads are completely gone. (I've been using the brakes very
    lightly, and mostly slow with compression by downshifting as I'm afraid
    to touch them.) I haven't been able to get to the mechanic, so was also
    wondering if pad replacement is something I could do myself. I've
    replaced drum brakes before, but don't think I've ever replaced a set of
    disc pads. Is there anything exotic that would require a mechanic?
    I've a 4door Saturn coupe (SL?) that's about 1998 vintage. It has about
    60K miles on it.

    So, two questions:

    1. How much grace do I have?

    2. Can I replace the pads myself, or do I need to pay a mechanic?

    Anything else that's important, that I haven't thought of?

    These usenet groups are a blessing, aren't they? How did we ever get
    along without them?

    Osgood Z'beard, Feb 18, 2006
  2. Osgood Z'beard

    Mike Surwill Guest

    Your "grace period" is kinda short, because the sound you hear is metal
    rubbing on metal. The sooner you change them out, the better you will be.

    As for being a "shade tree" fix that you can handle, I would make that a
    qualified "yes", assuming you have had experience in doing other cars. When
    you compress the brake calipers, make sure you don't overflow the brake
    cylinder tank, that that will be a mess.

    Also, check the disks carefully for major wear or grooves. Saturn didn't
    make these things too thick, and it don't take much damage to force you into
    replacing them ...
    Mike Surwill, Feb 18, 2006
  3. Osgood Z'beard

    Private Guest

    60k miles is typical.

    1-Buy a manual.

    Do not let the caliper hang on the brake hose, hang it from the spring with

    The caliper bracket bolts may be rusted and hard to remove, use quality
    wrench and watch your knuckles, use nevr-seize for install.

    IMHO rotors (discs) should be replaced at every pad replacement. Buy good
    quality pads and offshore (cheap) rotors. New rotors are very little more
    than the cost of turning your old ones which will leave them thin and likely
    to warp and cause chattering and uneven braking.

    Make sure the long bolts the caliper slides on are rust free (and clean the
    caliper holes) and coat the bolts with a good quality nevr-seize.
    Private, Feb 18, 2006
  4. Osgood Z'beard

    ernie Guest

    Replace them SOON. Saturn disk are easy to change. If you don't have
    a manual
    there is there is a FAQ site that is part of a Honda group that is very
    Honda and Saturn disks or not all that different.See
    ernie, Feb 18, 2006
  5. Osgood Z'beard

    marx404 Guest

    Just some more info to help you. Goto your local auto parts store and pick
    up a Haynes manual, it'll help make the job easier and worth the $15.

    Also, you can upgrade your brakes for better performance and problably
    chaper too. Get Akebono brake pads, they are virtually dust free and grip
    better. If you are replacing the discs too, go with Wagner (which is OEM) or
    Brembo discs.

    marx404, Feb 19, 2006
  6. I would have to agree with the person telling you to buy a haynes or
    chiltons manual. It will walk you through it step by step. All you will
    need as far as tools once the wheel is off is an 18mm socket, a 14mm
    socket, some extensions, and a ratchet. You also will need to get some
    caliper grease and some LOCTITE.

    Use the grease on the caliper pins, and use the LOCTITE on the caliper
    mounting bracket bolts. Also, make sure you torque them down tight. As
    tight as you tighten your lugnuts. If not using loctite and torquing down
    good, bad things could happen. But if both steps are taken, good braking
    for thousands of miles to come!!!
    TheLastDonSC2, Feb 20, 2006
  7. Osgood Z'beard

    Private Guest

    I have done this job several times. At no time have I seen evidence of the
    bracket mounting bolts loosening or losing clamping force. My experience
    has been that heat and moisture combine to cause these bolts to corrode and
    seize. They require a good wrench with a long handle to remove (especially
    the first time). I am a believer in Loctite when needed, but in this
    application I use nevr-seize thread lubricant as it increases the clamping
    force and prevents further corrosion so the bolts can be removed without
    heating the next time removal is required. YMMV.

    I am not familiar with the properties of caliper grease but suspect it is
    similar to any of the common nevr-seize type thread lubricants. I have had
    good service using nevr-seize on the caliper slides and also on the wheel
    studs. I apply it to the studs carefully and not to excess before mounting
    the wheel. I try not to allow any to get on the cone surface of the nut or
    wheel. as always when replacing wheels you MUST recheck bolts torque after
    50 miles. YMMV.

    just my .02
    Private, Feb 20, 2006
  8. Thanks for all the excellent advice. I got some aftermarket ceramic
    pads at NAPA. I have a big breaker-bar wrench, so imagine that should
    do the trick along with my sockets and extensions. Don't have the money
    to change the rotars right now... you know how it is. Down the read I
    may need to replace everything with top-of-the-line stuff, but for the
    moment I'm just trying to keep my wheels on the road. Pretty nerve
    wracking driving with the hand brake and gear compression, so can't wait
    to do the replacement. (I can use the brakes if absolutely necessary,
    but am trying not to for the moment.)

    Will let you know how it goes.
    Osgood Z'beard, Feb 21, 2006
  9. Osgood Z'beard

    blah blah Guest

    You dont need ceramic pads, you're not running 200mph. Buy wearever gold
    pads and china made rotors. Pads should be around 30, rotors should be
    around 25 each.
    blah blah, Feb 21, 2006
  10. Well, I bought the cheapest pads they had it Napa. (SAFETY-STOP "with
    ceramic formulation") They happened to be $44. Should I take them
    back? Where would they have Wearever Gold? I thought rotars were like
    $500? If they're only $50 I might as well replace those, and not worry
    about scoring the old ones. Seriously, only $25 apiece?
    Osgood Z'beard, Feb 22, 2006
  11. Osgood Z'beard

    Lane Guest

    I thought rotars were like $500?

    I think most people [who don't do the brake work themselves and only take it
    to a shop] may think this as well. The rotors that I buy are around $18
    from Autozone if I recall correctly. I've noticed no difference between
    them either on my daily driver or on my race car and some premium rotors I
    used to buy at more than 3x that cost.

    Most people would do the rotors at the same time as pads, because often old
    rotors are worn full of grooves. If you don't get them resurfaced or
    replace them, they'll wear those grooves into your new pads and give you
    less-than-optimum braking until they do.

    I've been using Napa pads for years (Rayloc lifetime) on the street car with
    great results. I love them because there's virtually no brake dust from

    Lane [ lane (at) ]
    Lane, Feb 22, 2006
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