Pulsing brakes

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Pulsing brakes

Postby Kiskadinna » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:41 pm

Hey, I've got a 2000 ford ranger with 140k on it - I had pads replaced and the brakes serviced in May - recently I have noticed a pulsing when braking.
Initial research and talking to others tells me this may well be the rotors, which I'm perfectly willing to replace. I don't want to assume this only though, so am I missing something? Is there something else I should be considering? Thanks for the advice - I'm no whiz with auto repair, just know enough to be dangerous.
-Erik
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Postby Smackaduck » Tue Oct 14, 2008 7:46 pm

Define pulsing. Does the wheel shake when braking.
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Postby Kiskadinna » Tue Oct 14, 2008 8:14 pm

No shaking in the wheel, it's definitely in the pedal. Slowing at highway speeds (off ramp) usually gives a stuttering feel. Less than five miles an hour there seems to be a catching feeling - as though it may be hitting a pad at one point in it's revolution.
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Postby fowl_wishes » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:39 pm

Are they factory brake pads on the vehicle?

If so it is most likely a warped rotor. Which is actually a misnomer. The rotors do not normally warp, it is a misaligned rotor that eventually causes a pedal pulsation.

You can have the rotors removed and resurfaced fairly cheap at a repair shop. Or you can replace them.

The best option is to find a shop with an "on the car" brake lathe. That makes the rotor true to the hub.
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Postby devildog28 » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:42 pm

Just replace the rotor. At 140k to much of the rotor would probably have to be ground off to flatten it.
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Postby fowl_wishes » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:45 pm

devildog28 wrote:Just replace the rotor. At 140k to much of the rotor would probably have to be ground off to flatten it.


Not necessarily. I have seen plenty of vehicles with 130k+ with good amounts of rotor left. It is very rare to actually wear into a rotor unless you wear your pads down to the backing plate.
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Postby Kiskadinna » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:49 pm

so far so good - it sounds like I may be on the right track. What's the harm in replacing the rotor myself rather than resurfacing - assuming I can get a decent price on a good rotor whats my estimated cvost difference having someone resurface? Bottom line is I've got the time this week and the tools, and maybe I'm el cheapo and like to get by on my own if I can help it.
Thank you all for the response so far.
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Postby fowl_wishes » Tue Oct 14, 2008 9:58 pm

IF you do it yourself you would save anywhere from $40-80 in labor t a shop. That is depending largely on the hourly rates in your area.

As far as work it is fairly simple. Pull the caliper. Then pull the caliper bracket if there is one (cant remember on that model). The rotor may be stubborn to get off, but a few good licks with a hammer should solve it. Then just reverse for replacement.

Just make SURE that you clean the face of the hub between the hub and the rotor very well. Even the smallest piece of trash or rust can cause misalignment issues.

Will you be putting new pads on it as well? If they are factory pads at 140k it would probably be a good idea to get the glazed pads off.
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Postby Kiskadinna » Tue Oct 14, 2008 10:07 pm

I wondered about that - I had new pads put on 6,000 miles ago at a local shop.I had read recommendations to replace the pads - I would like to think they should be fine, but what do i know?
Prepping the face - wire brush a decent idea, or just generally making sure its clean in general?
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Postby fowl_wishes » Wed Oct 15, 2008 5:09 am

Kiskadinna wrote:I wondered about that - I had new pads put on 6,000 miles ago at a local shop.I had read recommendations to replace the pads - I would like to think they should be fine, but what do i know?
Prepping the face - wire brush a decent idea, or just generally making sure its clean in general?
-Erik


If the pads are that new I wouldn't replace them unless they show signs of cracking or premature wear. Which is unlikely.

A good idea is to get soem sandpaper or emory cloth and rough the face of the pads a little. That will help the pads seat into the rotors.

But I will warn you, if they were bi-metallic pads. They will probably squeal when you put them back together and for a while until they seat in.
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Postby ajmorell » Wed Oct 15, 2008 9:21 am

Kiskadinna wrote:I wondered about that - I had new pads put on 6,000 miles ago at a local shop.I had read recommendations to replace the pads - I would like to think they should be fine, but what do i know?
Prepping the face - wire brush a decent idea, or just generally making sure its clean in general?
-Erik


If the rotors are in fact warped you should replace both. The rotors being warped will groove and wear your pads funny as well. The last thing you want is to replace the rotors and then have the pads ruin your new rotors. Pads are cheap enough that you should just replace them IMHO.

As for rotors only being warped because they are misaligned...not always. There are several vehicles out there that are known to warp rotors and it is actually because of the caliper design. Two vehicles that come to mind are the first-gen Oldsmobile Aurora and the 99-02 Jeep Grand Cherokee. Excessive heat can also warp rotors. If this is the first time you have experienced this problem then it's likely that it isn't the calipers...probably due to overheating them or like fowl_wishes said they were misaligned. As fowl_wishes said you'll want to rough up the pads with some sand paper...that should help seat them and prevent squealing to an extent. It's also a good idea to lube the slide pins on the caliper while you have all that apart.
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Postby devildog28 » Thu Oct 16, 2008 1:34 am

Just put new pads on since you'll have them off anyways. Rotors get warped more from heat than mis-alignment. If you have the least bit of skill do them yourself. It's only some lugnuts and two bolts per caliper/bracket. Just so you know the grease goes on the BACK of the pads :thumbsup:
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Postby supr87gt » Thu Oct 16, 2008 7:02 am

If you've got the money just replace all of it.

$30 for front pads
$45 for front rotors

If you've got basic hand tools you can figure it out. You'll need a c-clamp more than likely to push the piston back into the caliper (unless it twists in like some vehicles). Put a jackstand under the vehicle so you dont lose an arm or hand or anything like that.
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Postby Higgins » Sun Oct 19, 2008 10:00 pm

dont forget about the back brakes...you can also experience "pulsing" from those...got a 140k on my f-150 and my my back rotors are pulsing...but i spose you got rear drums...just a thought
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Postby Kiskadinna » Mon Oct 20, 2008 4:14 pm

Thanks for the responses - guess I should have posted up sooner. Worked just fine, replaced the front rotors and pads - no more pulsing.
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