Procut On-Car Brake Lathe Questions

Scott Owner/Technician Claremont, California Posted   Latest  

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving everyone! I have a few questions for those that use a Procut brake lathe in their shop.

  1. What model are you using?
  2. How long have you had the tool?
  3. Can you comment on how the tool has increased efficiency?
  4. Would you recommend this tool?
  5. Any other comments are appreciate as well.

We currently have a traditional Ammco Brake Lathe and while it continues to produce great ROI, we‘re looking to add more efficiency and solve for some of the challenges we encounter with some applications.

Thank you for your time and input.

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Tanner Instructor
Wellford, South Carolina
Tanner Default
 

I had the PFM 9.2 DRO at one of the shops I worked at for about a year. We also had a PFM 900. It looked the same but the tripod it was on was slightly different. The old one lived through a fire that happened at that dealership when the entire place burnt down so I will say they are built tough. Unfortunately I don't believe the tool increases efficiency. I was in the rust belt when I used…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thanks for the insight, much appreciated Tanner!

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Brian Diagnostician
Seneca, South Carolina
Brian Default
 

Happy Thanksgiving to you as well - Our shop has the PFM 9.0 - I believe we have had it for 4 years now - The main efficiency boost for our guys comes in two main ways. 1. Less tear down (you only have to remove the caliper not the bracket if you so choose) 2. The set up with adapters seems to be easier for new guys to learn. - Yes, we are currently looking to upgrade ours to the warthog…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thanks Brian, helpful info!

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Adam Owner/Technician
Edmonton, Alberta
Adam Default
 

Hello and Happy Thanksgiving from here in Canada. I don't remember what model ours was at the GM dealers but most guys didn't use it. I always liked it but can't say it was always more efficient. As mentioned already rear driveshafts would have to removed at times, other times you we just better off with new rotors. GM brought it for the captured rotors on the Canyon&Colorado. Currently i…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
Scott Default
 

Thanks Adam, much appreciated!

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Dick Diagnostician
Manchester, New Hampshire
Dick Default
 

We currently have 3 Ammco lathes & 2 Pro cut ( not sure the models) The set up is not too bad & the finish is excellent

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thanks for chiming in, now get back to retirement! 😁

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Benjamin Owner/Technician
Woodstock, Georgia
Benjamin Default
 

Back in my Honda dealership days we had pro cut 9s. I remember sometimes having to tap on the thing with a wrench to get them to work. I remember the repair guy coming out often to service them because they kept breaking down.

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thank you Ben!

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Eric Instructor
San Luis Obispo, California
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I used one for close to 10? years at the dealer. It was upgraded to the newer model somewhere in the middle of that time. Sorry, don't remember the model. It was a required tool, sent by the factory. We all used it, the benchtop lathe was eventually donated to the community college. Truing rotors under warranty was common and on many vehicles you didn't have to remove the caliper mounts. Yes…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Very helpful, thanks Eric!

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Luis Technician
Lake Forest, California
Luis Default
 

We have the PFM X9. I love it quick set up on some vehicle don’t need to remove caliper bracket. After you get used to it, it will increase productivity. The procut rep gave us a demo before purchase. and gives you and excellent cut to prevent brake vibration.

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thanks Luis, I appreciate the added visuals. Did you guys get those tech service carts I see in the background from Rocky?

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Luis Technician
Lake Forest, California
Luis Default
 

hi Scott yes we did get those service carts from Rocky

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James Owner/Technician
Pike, Pennsylvania
James Default
 

Happy Thanksgiving Scott and All, We stopped cutting rotors over ten years ago, between labor time vs the price and profit on rotors it has been a no brainer here in the rust belt. Less comebacks is equally important.

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Luis Technician
Lake Forest, California
Luis Default
 

Here in CA...99% of the white box rotors from any vendor will come warped new out of the box. we had to resurface every white box rotor and drum cause they would vibrate and come back some in week some in months. matter of time but every single one would come back if resurfaced wasn’t done

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James Owner/Technician
Pike, Pennsylvania
James Default
 

Akebono, Textar, and Zimmerman are what we use primarily. No white box anymore not even for used car venders.

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Gilberto Instructor
Riverside, California
Gilberto Default
 

Happy Thanksgiving Scott. We have the none LCD model. I forget the model number. We have had it for at least 10 years. It's been a work horse and relative low maintenance. It's still going strong. We do not have a conventional lathe as drums have come down in price. Set up is usually pretty quick. Of course you get the headache vehicles every so often but the results are overall worth it. You…

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Scott Manager
Claremont, California
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Thanks Gilbert, I appreciate the feedback and advise.

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
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Hi Scott. I have used a wide variety of the Ammco 4000 series bench lathes since 1978, from V pulley multi-speed versions, through single speed serpentine belt drive versions. They always performed well, provided that the cutting heads and cross feeds were maintained and properly adjusted. They worked best when mounted on heavy wooden benches rather than the metal stand, or when extra mass was…

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Scott Manager
Claremont, California
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Excellent Martin, thank you for such a wonderful background information, this really helps a lot.

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Steve Technician
Erie, Pennsylvania
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1. PFM 9.2 2. 4 years 3. When it can be used, it is very efficient. Negative rake bits, proper set up and application of silencer pads allow me to get great results on solid (non vented rotors). Caliper bracket cleanup can be done easily while the cutting process takes place. Easy to maneuver and set up. 4. Yes 5. Alas, in the rustiest of rust belts it is a rare and beautiful thing that I see a…

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Steven Mechanic
Spokane, Washington
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When I worked at a tire shop, we had a Pro-cut on car lathe. I don't remember the model number. We also had a regular brake lathe. The only time the on car lathe was used was for rotors that are captured. That's the only reason to use it in my opinion. It doesn't save time for the usual rotors that can just be taken off. A brake caliper bracket has two bolts. How much time are you really saving…

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
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Hi Steven. In a larger environment such as a dealership where we had both the Pro-Cut PFM 900 and three bench lathes, the on-vehicle lathe was consistently faster to set up than the bench lathes. Why you might ask? Because incurred LRO due to abuse of the bench lathe arbor, adapters and prep required, was offset by shorter set up time for the on-car lathe, which is very quick to set up with a…

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
Commack, New York
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I find more rotor issues when beating them with a hammer to remove them, then hub runout issues. If they are stuck to the hub on car machining is less invasive. I prefer to machine on car as long as there is a good contact pattern from the pads and there is enough meat. I have never machined more than .5MM from a rotor. Rear non-vented (solid) rotors can 'sing' even with silencers installed. I…

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
Samuel Default
 

Hello Mr. Scott Brown, My first thought is "WOW, they are still cutting rotors?" I agree with James Allen Smith. I stopped cutting rotors YEARS ago. I am in the Northeast rustbelt. I am sure that has affected us and our decision due to seized sensors, build up of rust, torches being needed to remove rotors, etc. At any rate, even when purchasing OEM, I have found that the composite metals used…

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
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Your argument is not legitimate without measuring RO and/or correcting it. Your conclusion may have lead you to the best method for your circumstances, but you simply don't know when it isn't based on science (measuring and modification, in this case). I am certain that you do not have worse road conditions for braking than we do, but I do recognize that rust in the fins inhibits cooling, The…

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
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The fact that the rotor is .020" thinner has no effect on anything. The fact that it likely has considerably more runout after having been machined is what's causing your problems

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Matthew Mobile Technician
Bartlett, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

I have cut OEM rotors for the first brake job and they were still thicker than the premium rotors... and better metal. Don't get me wrong, I replace a lot of rotors, but the brake lathe still has a place in every shop IMO.

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Martin Instructor
Burnaby, British Columbia
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Exactly Matt. The refinished OEM equipment rotor, still often exceeds the specified nominal new size for the rotors in SI.

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
 

I suspect you received the wrong part number replacement rotor. I have never seen an aftermarket rotor that did not meet the dimensional specifications of a new OE rotor.

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Matthew Mobile Technician
Bartlett, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

Brands other than Centric lol, your products are the good stuff. I have found most AM rotors are only .030-.040 above min specs, or have a wider cooling fin section. My point is that OE rotors may have well over .100 above min specs, so they can often be cut once and still be the same thickness or thicker than some aftermarket.

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
 

I don't work for Centric anymore (gotta change that) but even then...I've played with LOTs of rotors, and have never seen one from any supplier that is dimensionally different than the OE. Bad cataloging and bad part consolidations?...sure, all the time, but they're always the same thickness as OE (within reasonable tolerances). Just about every rotor made in the last 15 years has a difference…

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

PFM 9.2 DRO. We bought it new about ten years ago. It has been absolutely reliable, with never a failure. I believe that having one is essential to professional brake service, since there is simply no other efficient way to always have a correct end result. It is very easy to use, and allows us to offer a very cost-efficient solution to some incorrectly performed work from other shops…

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Samuel Technician
Somers Point, New Jersey
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Your logic and point of view works for your situation.....I am sure you could have expressed the same point without being derogatory. You referred to ANYONE in the industry that does not do it your way lame and a "non-professional". Good luck to you.

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

Apparently you need to read again what I wrote.

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
 

Marlin is not wrong, nor is he being derogatory.

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
 

An on-car lathe is not about efficiency or saving time, it's about achieving perfection in that it is about the only way to get the rotating assembly to zero runout. Some consider it faster since you can leave the caliper bracket on the vehicle...wrong. What about all the rust between the rotor and the hub that's already there? That rust is going to continue to "grow" throughout the life of…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thanks for the input Pat, I appreciate you sharing your thoughts.

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Duane Diagnostician
Middle River, Maryland
Duane Default
 

What do you recommend treating the clean rotor and hub with? Thanks!

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Luis Technician
Lake Forest, California
Luis Default
 

After cleaning rust by hand with a wire brush or red scotch brite, some use air grinder with red cookie. The problem is what is everyone using to treat the area that was just clean. I usually use some light thin layer of high temp grease on the center hub area. I found that if I don’t use anything rust build up gets worst. What aftermarket rotors come galvanized to prevent rust build up. Some…

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
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Yes, removing rust and leaving exposed a bare surface results in accelerated rust. In fact, a solid surface rust layer is an effective protection against rust. I use light penetrating spray oil; greatly reducing friction between components is not a … idea, as shifting will cause wear and the wheel studs can receive excessive shear force.

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
 

No conventional type bolt or stud is designed to be loaded in shear...ever. The fastener clamps components together, and that clamping force is what creates the joint. If for any reason the bolt or stud experience a shear load, the joint has failed. ANY shear force on the wheel studs is a joint failure...and if left alone, will become a catastrophic one in short order. Bolts are not pins.

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

I guess that you wrote all of that to say that I should not have used the word "excessive"! ;-)

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
 

Well, it implied that some was OK...did it not?

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Marlin Technician
Estacada, Oregon
Marlin Default
 

y e s

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Pat Technician
Carson, California
Pat Default
   

I use paint. Problem is, the system is not perfect. While most hate those stupid screws that Honda, VW, and many others use to hold the rotors to the hub...and the only designed purpose they serve is so that the rotor doesn't fall off the hub while it's bouncing down the assembly line...they are very useful so that the rotor doesn't get knocked around on the hub during tire rotations or…

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Duane Diagnostician
Middle River, Maryland
Duane Default
 

Thank you for the reply. Much appreciated.

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Duane Diagnostician
Middle River, Maryland
Duane Default
 

Thank you for the reply. Much appreciated.

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Rudy Technician
Montebello, California
Rudy Default
 

I used one(both the first and second versions of them) for about 4-5 years. I never liked it. IMO it was not faster to set up, there were always little idiosyncrasies that had to be dealt with on different vehicles. Realistically its gonna come down to your techs. If they dont like it,its going to collect dust. When I first got here to Nicks shop,we had a lot of comebacks for pulsation. We…

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Scott Owner/Technician
Claremont, California
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Thanks Rudy,

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Matthew Mobile Technician
Bartlett, Illinois
Matthew Default
 

Scott, We have a few different models at the college, including the latest model. Personally, I love them. I can see the argument that it does not increase efficiency, however it greatly improves quality and reduces comebacks. I would see this as a premium service to customers, shops that want to sell the best service. That being said, almost every OEM and large chain has them in their…

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Chris Technical Support Specialist
Commack, New York
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100% agree thin cuts will burn the bits before the pass is done. Not enough metal escaping to release the heat! My rule of thumb was no less than .008" and cut inner and outer edge each pass. Trying to fix one side and not cut the other affected finish quality

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Stephen Educator
Bethel, Ohio
Stephen Default
 

I had one at the school I taught at. It is what now would be about ten years old. Don't remember the model number. While it did a great job, one of the problems I have with turning any rotor is there just isn't enough meat left one them to begin with. I have seen factory rotors on new vehicle at discard specs. It will help true the rotor to the hub and help eliminate pulsation issues. As far as…

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Andrew Technician
Norwood, Minnesota
Andrew Default
 

We used to have a Pro Cut, not sure what model, it was an older one without auto compensate. It was at the shop when I started there 18 years ago, and we got rid of it 8 or 10 years ago. It almost never got used, mainly because the surface finish wasn't anywhere near as good as we could get with our bench lathe, which was a Hoffmann. And being in the rust belt there just weren't many times when…

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