Front brakes overheating too easily
Hi. I'm not necessarily looking for a silver bullet answer. More so interested in people's thoughts and ideas.
This is my wife's car and I've had nothing but issues with the brakes. I bought it a year ago and put new Napa premium pads and rotors on it. I also did rear shoes, drums and fluid flush. The brakes didn't have a problem they were just getting low and I'd rather do them then.
Right away it had an issue. After just a few brake applications it had a very loud, high pitched squeal under light applications. Would go away when stepping on it harder. I didn't have much time to look at it so I just threw a set of the 'Quiet Edition' pads from Napa on it. This was only a week or so after first doing them. These new pads didn't help so I brought it back in and machined the rotors. On the lathe I noticed one of the rotor faces was not true on the inside where the fins are. Both outer faces were true but there was major thickness variation on the inside. Put new pads and rotors on it and the squealing went away.
Fast forward 10 months and maybe 2500miles. We were driving down a slightly muddy dirt road and the front brakes got ROASTED to the point of MAJOR brake fade. I wasn't going faster than 20mph. I shifted down to Low and tried to allow for as much time between brake applications as possible. It had a pretty good downgrade but less than half a mile long. I was expecting the brakes to get pretty hot, especially with the bit of mud, but was NOT expecting brake fade... After allowing them to cool I went to the shop and replaced front calipers, rotors and pads with Napa 'premium' parts.
Just a couple days ago the new brakes got quite hot again. This being less than 200miles after doing the pads,rotors,calipers. This time it was on a paved road with light/medium slope for 2-3 miles. I didn't have to come to a full stop. Was only doing occasional light/medium braking to maintain the 30mph through a residential area. Prior to the down slope I drove for a few miles without any braking so they should have been cold.
When we stopped for food I noticed the brakes were stinking something awful. There was no brake fade, no major bluing of the rotors or smoke but they were way hotter than they should have for such a small car. There was a lot of brake groan as I was coming to a stop. Even without applying the brakes.
The first time the brakes got roasted I had my winter tires on steel rims on the car. This last time I had the summers with different steel rims on the car. The first day was only about 50F and maybe 70F on this recent time. Both times the left and right brakes were pretty equal for temp. Rear shoes are adjusted up and do work. There are no issues for normal driving conditions. Only issue is the car can't handle sustained braking. Car does not have ABS.
I don't want to keep dealing with this car so I'm thinking of just throwing a master cylinder and both front caliper hoses at the car.
So I'm wondering what people's ideas are. How would you handle this if this were a customer's car coming into the shop and they have to pay full retail for all parts, labor and diagnosis after they have already paid a bunch of money getting brakes done?
The first thing that came to mind reading the description of what is going on was a master cylinder not retracting all the way causing pressure to stay on the front brakes. I personally wouldn't throw parts at it just last week we had a 1961 Falcoln in here with a similar complaint. The power brake conversion was the cause of his front brakes locking up just driving around on a cruise night. We…
Wow, that's quite the ordeal. Cool idea on pulling back the master. Working on restomods is quite the artform. I prefer the "simple" problems of new stuff! I hear what you're saying about throwing parts at it. I hate doing that but this is a cheap car with cheap parts. The only thing that makes any kind of sense is that there's a restriction in the hydraulic circuit. Then the pressure can't…
I would quite simply put another brand of pads & rotors on the car squeaking sounds like pads are too “hard”
Compare/post the temp of the rotors. Get it act up then loosen the caliper bleeder if the wheel spins easily it's in the hose or up stream, if not it's in the caliper.
Have you checked the runout on the hubs with a dial indicator? What was the actual rotor temp whe "hot"? Sounds like you are going to have to do some diagnosis when the problem occurs instead of throwing parts. Catching it in the act will be the key! Willie
I can't help but think the rears are causing this still. I know you've said they appear to be adjusted and working, but are they actually working well enough? Side note: Small world, same province, same last name, same company name (almost!). I think I've been mistaken for your shop once or twice in the past, haha.
The simplest cause is bad brake pad materials, but if you put good quality parts on it that's ruled out. You're going to want an infrared gun and actual rotor/caliper temp measurements for this. Don't drive the thing if you can't push it easily in neutral. The first thing I would do is check the condition of the rear brakes, probably drums on this vehicle? Although they don't contribute nearly…
I didn't see total vehicle mileage in your post but . . . Especially on a high mileage vehicle, when the caliper pistons are depressed in their bores, if the bleeder valves were not opened first, trash and debris that travel down into the calipers due to gravity can be pushed upstream and possibly cause blockage in the ABS hydraulic control unit and consequently cause brake drag. Some of the…
As Robert Miller stated, you probably forced crud into the master/abs pump. That coupled with cheap parts is a problem waiting to happen. Change the brake hoses first and flush the fluid. Replace the pads and rotors with quality parts and make sure the slide pins are free. If you're still experiencing a problem, you may need to replace the master and/or ABS pump if so equipped.
Wow, this site really is awesome. Thanks for all of the replies! Lots of awesome information. And thanks for everyone trying to get me to stay on the path of diagnosing vs throwing parts. Being the wife's car and having limited time to work on things I was getting frustrated... I found the problem! Back to me being cursed with this stupid car though! Freakin wrong pads! I guess they're a touch…
So, were they the wrong part number, or were they improperly manufactured?
I'm guessing probably wrong part number. I know there are a few different options for this vehicle. Was pretty rushed when I did them and guess I just threw them in without checking.