Guest

Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 5:58 am

Hey folks,

Recently, my left front brake has developed a little squeak. Naturally, I was thinking that the pads needed to be replaced. So, I took the car in to get it checked out.

Long story short: I spent three hours today sitting around in the tire/brakes/front end store waiting for them to tell me that they wanted $500 to fix stuff (pads and rotors) that wasn't broken. I have recently gotten into doing my own oil changes, and so now I'm wondering what it would take to fix my own brakes. Does it take a lot of skill? Is the cost of the equipment prohibitive? How about drum brakes? (I've got discs in the front and drums in the back)

Anyone who wants, chime in.

Thanks,
'Speed
 
LY744
Posts: 5185
Joined: Sat Feb 03, 2001 11:55 pm

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:27 am

If replacing the pads (on disc brakes anyways) is all you need to do, then it shouldn't be a problem to do them on your own (a set costs about $25 Canadian). Assuming you have step-by-step instructions (like the ones that can be found in one of those nifty DIY car maintenance guides, they've got them for most cars out there), and a set of wrenches and some other basic tools, this can be accomplished within an hour or two. Nice to have an extra set of hands handing you the tools and what not.


LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
Tom in NO
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:34 am

I recently laid out about $255 for a brake job (squeaky brakes on my Caravan) New pads, turn/machine the rotors, and clean and lube the calipers. I would imagine that putting new pads on wouldn't be too difficult, but the rotor and caliper work might be a bit more of a chore.

Tom at MSY
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
galaxy5
Posts: 1952
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 10:09 pm

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:40 am

Dude, its easy as pie, hell, were do you live? i'll help ya do it. But try this website first.

http://www.allpar.com/fix/Brakes.html
"damn, I didnt know prince could Ball like that" - Charlie Murphy
 
FLYtoEGCC
Posts: 929
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 6:42 am

First of all, check whether anything needs to be done at all. I drive my dad's Ford Fiesta and noticed the front-right had developed a squeak. My dad said he'd noticed as well, and when he rang up the mechanic who sees to our cars, the guy told him that it was normal. My guess is that if we'd have taken it to a garage or repair centre, they'd have replaced the whole works and charged a small fortune for it. Can't remember what the reason was for the squealing, but ask someone you trust, and consult various manuals to check it out first.

And if you end up doing it by yourself, make sure you do it right!!  Big thumbs up
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
Guest

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:01 am

Galaxy,

If you were up in Boston, I'd take you up on that.

Anyway, I didn't end up letting that garage do the work. I figured that $500 to fix stuff that isn't broken would be a bit irresponsible. So, the brakes are good for now, but they aren't going to last forever. I'm just wondering about next time.

'Speed
 
saintsman
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Joined: Fri Mar 15, 2002 12:34 am

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 7:17 am

Squeaking brakes? try oiling them  Big grin

Actually try cleaning them. Probably covered in dust.


I've always been amazed that you get places that just do brakes in the States. A garage like that wouldn't last five minutes if it just did that over here. Most places here do everything. The only specialist places do tyres and exhausts but even the big chains are doing everything. Mind you they are no different when they tell you everything needs fixing!
 
Illini_152
Posts: 959
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2001 6:00 am

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:07 am

Normal-

Hardest part I've found (with disk brakes anyway) is getting the darned caliper attachment bolts off. If you have couple of jackstands, and a service manual (Haynes does NOT count! Check e-bay, a lot turn up there) and a good breaker bar, should be cake.

Basic steps are- remove wheel, detach caliper, bottem piston in bore, remove pads, install pads, lube sliders, reattach caliper.

Now, drum brakes, ahh, well, definatly get a service manual.

Shouldn't take more than an hour or so.
Happy contrails - I support B747Skipper and Jetguy
 
LY744
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:07 am

My understanding is that brake squeak usually comes from a piece of metal embedded in the brake pad that gets exposed once the pad is worn out to a certain extent. This produces the squeaking noise, intended to alert the driver of the impending need to get new pads. Correct me if I'm wrong here.


LY744.
Pacifism only works if EVERYBODY practices it
 
FLYtoEGCC
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:53 am

Dust can cause it, as far as I understand it. Also, AFAIK it's possible sometimes to get a small stone wedged in somewhere, that can cause squeaking - but if it's been doing it a while, it's probably not the case. Usually, it does mean they need replacing, but it's wise to check first with someone you can trust - no point paying for something that doesn't need doing!
Come fly with me, let's fly, let's fly away...
 
IMissPiedmont
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 1:46 pm

Disc brakes are so easy that any novice mechanic can do them. And the pads, calipers and rotors are fairly cheap, less than $100.00 for my truck for all.

And Tom in NO, just how old is that Caravan? It's very rare for any vehicle built in the last 4 or 5 years to have rotors that can be turned.

Oh. The hardest part of disc pad replacement is depressing the piston without getting air in the line.

Cleaning out the calipers? Oh boy, what a bill of BS that one is.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
vafi88
Posts: 2981
Joined: Sun Apr 08, 2001 10:32 am

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:00 pm

It's pretty easy first of all.

500$ is WAAAY overpriced.

Getting the pads off and the other stuff is pretty simple, basically unscrewing a few bolts, then you have to depress the piston (watch the break fluid tank so it doesn't overflow by any chance), then what you do is put on new pads and replace the caliper.

That shouldn't cost you more than 30$ MAX, unless you're getting something like platinum diamond implanted pads or something like that...

The disks and the drums should be cleaned, but don't air spray that because it carries Asbestos in it, and you DON'T want that getting into your system.

Get a can of break cleaner and clean it with that. Unless your drum disks are REALLY thin, you don't need to replace them.
I'd like to elect a president that has a Higher IQ than a retarted ant.
 
DLKAPA
Posts: 7962
Joined: Wed Dec 03, 2003 10:37 am

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 2:24 pm

Like vitaly said, doing brake jobs is extremely easy. When I get bored in auto shop, I do 'em just for the hell of it.

The only part that is a little difficult is when you go to retract, that takes some strength.

Other than that, I think it's been pretty well covered.

And all at once the crowd begins to sing: Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same
 
Christian
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 8:58 pm

If you gonna remove the drumbrakes, I have to tell you that ONLY remove one side at the time. You WILL forget how it was assembled. Take of the drums on each side, and after that only remove one side...

If you're lucky you can get the brakes pre-assembled from the factory. Very good indeed, but it's more expensive.

I'm a car mechanic so I do now this...
If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough
 
Tom in NO
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 10:53 pm

Imisspiedmont,

It's a 96.

Tom
"The criminal ineptitude makes you furious"-Bruce Springsteen, after seeing firsthand the damage from Hurricane Katrina
 
Fokker Lover
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:07 pm

Changing brakes is easy, IF you have the right DNA. Everybody knows that women are made up of XX, and men are made of XY chromosomes. What they don't tell you is there is also something called the XYM chromosome. That's a man with a mechanical gene. You might not think it's very important, but that one gene contains all schematics, blue prints, parts lists, wiring diagrams, and trouble shooting codes for every piece of equipment EVER invented. That's how we are able to take apart, repair, and put things back together without ever even once reading the instructions. The quickest way to tell if you have the gene right now is to look around your room for a nut or bolt. If you can automatically know without thinking that you need a 3/8" wrench, not a 7/16" to remove it, then you have the gene. If not, go ahead and write the check. Because that's what XY's do the best.  Big grin
10,000 years ago we would have eaten you. Today, we drag you along and allow you to pollute the gene pool.
 
doug_or
Posts: 3118
Joined: Sat Mar 18, 2000 9:55 am

Drums

Wed Apr 28, 2004 11:50 pm

disks are no prob. If you have any doubt in your mechanical abbilities, make sure you have a friend who can save yer a$$ before doing the drums. IMHO the drums are ususaly worth taking to the shop unless you have some spare time and really WANT to work on your car for fun.
When in doubt, one B pump off
 
Christian
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Joined: Sun Oct 17, 1999 1:38 am

RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:56 am

Fokker Lover: I think I have that chromosome. How big is a 7/8" and a 7/16" compared to millimeters???
If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough
 
Fokker Lover
Posts: 523
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Thu Apr 29, 2004 2:38 am

Funny you should ask that Christian.
The M gene also gives you the ability to know that a 1/2" wrench will fit a 12mm bolt in a pinch, or a 3/4" wrench is an exact match to a 19mm bolt (head size).
A 3/8" will fit a 10mm if you beat it really hard. The XYM gene is also the one that makes you want to spit, fart, laugh at the Three Stooges, pee outside, and blow things up. It also has a built in map and tracking device, so you never have to ask directions no matter how lost your wife thinks you are.
If an appliance or vehicle breaks down at your house, and you reach for a tool box instead of the telephone or checkbook, you most likely have the gene. What ever you do, don't get it confused with the XYD (dumb jock) gene. That one makes you memorize sports stats from a hundred years ago, and worry about the latest teams that have no affect on your life what so ever. It also makes you want to spit, fart, laugh at the Three Stooges, pee outside, and blow things up. The only thing is, they can't figure out how to actually make things blow up. That's how you tell the difference between the XYM and XYD genes. Both are similar to the XYN (Nascar) gene, but that's a whole new thread.
10,000 years ago we would have eaten you. Today, we drag you along and allow you to pollute the gene pool.
 
mirrodie
Posts: 6789
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Thu Apr 29, 2004 12:56 pm

i have a 90 regal and always run into my problem when I have to pucsh that piston in. apparently a tool is made specifically for this?
Forum moderator 2001-2010; He's a pedantic, pontificating, pretentious bastard, a belligerent old fart, a worthless st
 
IMissPiedmont
Posts: 6200
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:10 pm

The special tool is called a 6 inch C-clamp. About $3.95 at Ace or Home Depot.

The trick is to open the bleed valve just enough to prevent air from entering, yet allow you to s-l-o-w-l-y depress the piston. Never depress the piston without doing so. If you know how to bleed brakes properly, or have a friend who does, take the bleed valve out and squeeze kile hell. It's easier and quicker.

Tom in NO. Yep, they can be turned.

PS: great advice on drums above. If you insist on trying, use a Polaroid or digital camera to take pictures of the opposing side, then reverse the picture when re-assembling. Better yet, spend $50.00 and let a pro do them. That way you get insurance if they fail.
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
 
FDXmech
Posts: 3219
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RE: Doing Your Own Brakes

Thu Apr 29, 2004 1:54 pm

LY744 is correct. Disc brakes, by design will squeak to alert the driver the brake pads need replacing.

But this wear squeak occurs when the brakes are NOT applied. In other words if the brakes squeak with your foot off the brake pedal but goes away with the brakes applied, they're worn.

You're only as good as your last departure.

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