New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Car Maintenance-Brakes

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Really not a good place for this, but I am looking for some brake rotor and pad recommendations.

I have a 2004 Chevy Malibu, which replaced a 1998 Malibu.

I currently have 40k miles on the car. Front and rear disc brakes. Occasionally (more often then not now) I get a shimmy in the wheel under moderate braking. If I slam on them I stop w/o any shimmy, but under everyday conditions it just sucks. This car is not known for having the best brakes, They are considered undersized for the vehicle weight and prone to warping/overheating. My parents have the same car and went though the stock pads & rotors at 35K miles.

On the old car, which had rear drums, I always put OEM quality ceramic pads. My last brake job I used the cheaper rotors from Advanced auto (as opposed to the Quiet Stop). I could never get the squeak out of those...

This car had 8k on it when I bought it, and I will have it for at least another year and a half. I'll be getting new tires in preparation for winter, but first I want the brakes to match. I guess I drive a little aggressive, but not overly severe. Stock brakes suck, I'm looking for an improvement.

Here are my thoughts so far:

Rotors

Brembo

I thought they were known for making quality brakes, but the reviews say they rust easily. To me, rust=noise&wear

Pads

Hawk Performance Ceramic 3/5 Stopping Power
Hawk HPS Street 4/5 Stopping Power
Akebono ProACT Ceramic 2/5 Stopping Power ("Premium")

Satisfied GRANSPORT GS-6 CARBON CERAMIC PERFORMANCE PAD SETS



Basically, I want to stop with no shimmy. For this to happen I need a rotor that can handle the heat generated from an undersized brake system and not warp. I don't want noise (squealing) either. Dust really doesn't bother me that much, but seems to indicate cheap pads. Same with rotor rust. If it rust the instant there is rain, the brakes tend to suck (grab) until I wear it off. I know we have some car enthusiasts here, please chime in with simalr situations or favorite brake components.

P.S. I do this sort of work myself...
post #2 of 12
I have a 2001 Malibu, and if I don't torque the front wheel lug nuts to spec, I get some warpage and shimmy in the brakes. I can't tighten the lugs by feel at all on that car, gotta use a torque wrench.

Speaking of brakes, how does one keep the ski brakes from interfering with edging when the skis are laid over at an extreme angle?

(there, made it about skiing by hijacking the thread)
post #3 of 12
MC's suggestion to use a t-wrench is the best first step. GM has problems with warped rotors when they get hot and aren't evenly torqued. If your pins get a little rusty on the stock PBR floating calipers, sometimes they won't release and re-center completely, causing a pad to drag slightly and keep the rotor hot. If you're pushing them hard, they can warp easier. Once warped, under light pressure you'll get the pulsating pedal from then on. If it's not bad, sometimes turning the rotor will get rid of it, but I prefer to replace the rotor.

Personally I like the Hawk Streets. Currently running them on one car and very pleased. The Hawks replaced "Cool Carbon" pads (out of business), and are close in performance. The CCs were technically track pads, but worked well with a stock Brembo rotor and 4-piston Brembo caliper. They'd chew the rotor fairly fast, and made a little noise under light braking, but stopped instantly.

I converted my SRX to a fixed caliper set up using the STS-V Brembo calipers and rotors. The stock right front PBR wouldn't pull back from the rotor and the running squeal was driving me nuts. I used stock Brembo pads for initial install - performance is better than stock, but I'll switch to Hawk streets next change.

I think Brembo OEMs their rotors from Zimmernan, but I'm not certain. Anyway, unless you're going to make an investment in calipers and a split rotor/hat setup, any quality rotor should work for you. Even the stock rotors will go 45-60k without warping if you don't run them too hard and torque properly.

Good luck!
post #4 of 12
I wouldn't worry about rust on rotors. It's just surface rust, it goes away with one or two stops. My OEM rotors on my Integra rust every time I wash the car, but it's gone as soon as I drive down the street.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by medmarkco View Post
MC's suggestion to use a t-wrench is the best first step.
True, I never really bothered with the torque wrench with this car. However, on the old 98' malibu, the tires were rotated and seasonal swapped at a garage w/ a torque wrench. Never made a difference there...

Quote:
GM has problems with warped rotors when they get hot and aren't evenly torqued. If your pins get a little rusty on the stock PBR floating calipers, sometimes they won't release and re-center completely, causing a pad to drag slightly and keep the rotor hot.
Calibers dragged on the old car resulting in uneven pad wear. These are going to get some good anti-sieze/lube while I am under there. I have checked, these calipers operate smoothly.

Quote:
If you're pushing them hard, they can warp easier. Once warped, under light pressure you'll get the pulsating pedal from then on. If it's not bad, sometimes turning the rotor will get rid of it, but I prefer to replace the rotor.
I never really thought I pushed them too hard, and I know my mother doesn't (she has the same car). My dad used to turn the rotors, but the last time he did they warped as soon as they went back on the car. Parts are disposable.

Quote:
Personally I like the Hawk Streets. Currently running them on one car and very pleased. The Hawks replaced "Cool Carbon" pads (out of business), and are close in performance. The CCs were technically track pads, but worked well with a stock Brembo rotor and 4-piston Brembo caliper. They'd chew the rotor fairly fast, and made a little noise under light braking, but stopped instantly.

I converted my SRX to a fixed caliper set up using the STS-V Brembo calipers and rotors. The stock right front PBR wouldn't pull back from the rotor and the running squeal was driving me nuts. I used stock Brembo pads for initial install - performance is better than stock, but I'll switch to Hawk streets next change.

I think Brembo OEMs their rotors from Zimmernan, but I'm not certain. Anyway, unless you're going to make an investment in calipers and a split rotor/hat setup, any quality rotor should work for you. Even the stock rotors will go 45-60k without warping if you don't run them too hard and torque properly.

Good luck!
That is really the issue here, what is a good "stock" rotor? Like I said, last time I bought rotors it was between the $30/each OEM rotor and the $60/each OEM+QuietStop rotor. I went cheap and was very unimpressed. Thanks for the opinions on the wrench and the pads though. I have 3 or 4 torque wrenches availible at home, but non that I own personally. Looks like I will be purchasing some new tools too .
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Morrison Claystone View Post
I have a 2001 Malibu, and if I don't torque the front wheel lug nuts to spec, I get some warpage and shimmy in the brakes. I can't tighten the lugs by feel at all on that car, gotta use a torque wrench.

Speaking of brakes, how does one keep the ski brakes from interfering with edging when the skis are laid over at an extreme angle?

(there, made it about skiing by hijacking the thread)
I guess it can't hurt to start here, but I give it little hope. The 98' Malibu always had tires changed (winter & spring) plus rotated with a torque wrench. It still shimmied after the 1st few weeks with new brakes. My sister has been driving that car for the past year, somehow she has gone through 2 sets of pads. I think it was probably the sticky calipers...



On the skis brakes, I think you may need a lifter under your binding. Or just ski more powder, you'll never notice them dragging.
post #7 of 12
All OEM brake rotors warp when you use your stock car like a race car, and most brake shops don't seem to have any idea of how you could upgrade them without spending ridiculous money. Try trail braking on a twisty road and your rotors will last about 15 minutes.
post #8 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by krp8128 View Post
...
That is really the issue here, what is a good "stock" rotor? Like I said, last time I bought rotors it was between the $30/each OEM rotor and the $60/each OEM+QuietStop rotor. I went cheap and was very unimpressed. Thanks for the opinions on the wrench and the pads though. I have 3 or 4 torque wrenches availible at home, but non that I own personally. Looks like I will be purchasing some new tools too .
Based on your original post, you probably don't want to make a large investment in this vehicle if you might sell it after 1.5 years. Over that time, more "basic" components should perform without the pulsating coming back. (Depends on the miles you put on, but high miles is usually on highway and less braking so could be a wash.)

Some key brands for rotors are: ATE, Brembo, EBC, PBR, Zimmerman. You really don't want to bother with the added expense of slotted , drilled , cadmium coated, frozen rotors - will not be a good return on your money for your existing setup. Brembos are probably going to run you around $150 - $175 for a front pair and around $120 for the rear. PBRs and ATEs will probably be half of that.

I'm not sure what the magic formula is for warping rotors. It isn't always related to aggressive driving. I have family members who aren't aggressive drivers and some of their vehicles have developed the chatter/pulse prematurely and others haven't. However, running them to the point where you can smell the pads burning, or the rotors glow slightly in the dark will almost always warp a stock rotor.

I'm not familiar with "quiet stop" rotors. I thought that was a trademark for Raybestos' pads. Personally haven't used Raybestos, so can't give you any feedback. If what you want is quiet/low dusting braking, Raybestos QS pads and a basic rotor will probably work until you sell the car. If you're looking for a higher friction coefficient and shorter stops, then the investment in Hawk HPS street pads and the Brembo rotors might be worth the extra money to you. If you select rotors with a painted hub hat and keep them clean (i.e. don't let highly corrosive brake dust cake on), then the rusting will be primarily on the swept surface. The cleaner you keep the rotors, the less rust you'll have. The Brembos swept surface oxidizes quickly after washing/rain if the water is allowed to dry on the surface. Comes off with first brake application. You can paint the rotors with high heat paint if you want to prevent rusting of the non-swept areas. (The pads will cut the paint off where they contact the rotor.)
post #9 of 12
I might be something even more minor than you think. As already noted lug torque is critical, but if there is rust behind the rotor, the rotor itself may not run true (called lateral runout).

I'd pull your tires and spin each rotor and check to see if they spin without any noticable wobble. Short of attaching a special tool to measure this wobble, secure something that lightly comes in contact with the rotor and spin it. If you get a scrape at one point and no contact on the rest of the spin, pull the rotors and clean the areas they attach to, or you have a warped rotor.

I have Bremos on my Saturn (presently slightly disaled in my barn) and loved them. The car has 265,000 on it and those rotors have been on for about the last 100K or so. The Brembos are the slotted and drilled rotors. I had a parking brake cable freeze on me once and by the time I could get out of traffic and stop, the rotor was a nice color orange. It never warped. I was amazed.
post #10 of 12
What Unka Louie said plus:

Rotor warpage most often occurs because you sit at a stop with brakes engaged after stop-and-go driving has heated them up to a hot state.

There's always the "Italian" rotor tune-up where you make several hard stops from highway speeds and then drive around without using the brakes for as long as possible so they can cool down evenly.

BTW, most shops use air wrenches with those extensions that are supposed to work like a torque wrench. They are highly inaccurate.

And if your ski brakes drag, bend the arms up a little more.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kneale Brownson View Post
BTW, most shops use air wrenches with those extensions that are supposed to work like a torque wrench. They are highly inaccurate.
BJ's Wholasale Club Tire. Yes, they use an impact driver w/ a torque bar. But then they go around and check with a wrench, and usually the wrench requires a 1/4 turn or so before it clicks at the correct torque.

Regardless, I will be re-torque as a 1st resort. At 40k miles though am reasonably sure the rotors are getting to the end of their efficient life, and would rather have the piece of mind that I can stop NOW.
post #12 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by krp8128 View Post
At 40k miles though am reasonably sure the rotors are getting to the end of their efficient life, and would rather have the piece of mind that I can stop NOW.
I replaced a set earlier this summer on a Honda that had 115k miles on it with original pads and rotors. Stopped great BTW.

You got some good advice in this thread, but no one mentioned the most important detail. If you look up OEM TSBs for brake service, you will find almost none that allow for new or turned rotors without using a powered on car lathe. The knuckle/wheelbearing itself can have runout and parrallelism issues, and only by mounting the brake rotor and machining it as a unit (on the car) can you have the best chance of preventing pedal pulsation in the future.

With respect to rotor brand, I've found cheap rotors that are well made and expensive ones that were poorly made and vice versa. Always look at them before you buy. If the casting came out badly warped and it was then machined true, that doesn't bode well for the future. You can use Mark I eyeballs to check for that by looking at the edge along the vents....sometimes it is really bad.

Daily driver, non performance automobile, I'd buy a "premium" parts store semimetallic. It isn't a race car. Bedding pads is critical. Ensure the rotors have the transport varnish cleaned off them (use ~1/3 can of brake cleaner or so) and make sure the pads are clean and chamfered when you put them on. Use a bench grinder/dremel/whatever for the chamfer, wear a respirator. Make sure you use a good anti squeal glue or grease on the parts of the backing in contact with the caliper. Most pads can be bedded by making consecutive rolling stops with moderate (not light) pedal force in 5 or 10mph increments up to 60mph or so...then allow them to cool while rolling for several minutes before stopping. Fancy performance pads should come with specific bedding instructions, if they don't, you are probably just paying for a brand name.

Painting/plating rotors is asinine unless we are talking about show cars. The rotors will certainly corrode faster if the car sits a lot after short trip drives, especially in winter...but cheap rotors are still a better deal. You can buy a half dozen parts store discs for the price of a pair of nice plated ones.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Tuning, Maintenance and Repairs