Changed my brake pads, now I've got more Q's

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[thought I was just going to ask a few Q's, but this got pretty long... sorry........ ]

So using the information from the "Replacing Brake pads?" (http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?t=3523) and the "Torque Specification" (http://www.car-forums.com/talk/showthread.php?t=5199) threads and my Hayne's manual, I changed my brake pads today. Simple job like everyone says. SO WHY IN THE WORLD DID IT TAKE ME FIVE AND A HALF HOURS?!?!?!?!? :banghead: Granted, some of that time was spent buying parts at Advance auto, but DAMN! And you know what the worst part was?!? The flies! Those horrible things just kept buzzing around, I kept shaking like a freakin' epileptic! **Check out the end of my post for something else that went wrong. But I'm calm now and I do have some questions :laughing:

Brake fluid cleaner: does this thing really work? This by far was the dirtiest job I've ever done. I kept spraying the cleaner, and the grease and dirt just sat on the parts (calipers, torque plates, etc). I felt like I was making the disc even dirtier because of the runoff coming from those parts, yet they never got clean. What do you do to get the parts clean before you work on them? Do you even bother?

Same thing with using Emory cloth on the face of the disc. There was some rust on the rim and both the brake cleaner and the emory cloth kept causing that rust to get on the face of the disc. I didn't do anything about the loose rust, neither did I remachine the surface of the disc or anything. Will any of this be a problem down the line?

Brake fluid: okay, what got me started on this whole brake changing fiasco was that the car kept bitching at me that the brake fluid was low. I was anxious to get the light out, so I bought some specification brake fluid and topped it up (to the max point!!!) Needless to say, today, after putting in new pads, the fluid over flowed and remained above the maximum point. I already took care of this in a way I'm not even gonna bother to mention (I know it was wrong). So I'm wondering what should I NOT have done to reduce the fluid, and how might any of these wrong solutions cost me in the long run?

Also, I forgot to put grease on the shims (well, these pads came with just one shim per pad), even though the pads came with a little bag of grease. But these brakes are supposed to be anti-squeal, even (they say) removing the need for a break-in period. Is this something I need to go back and do? There hasn't been any squealing so far. I've done the "brake booster" test recommended by my Hayne's manual, and it seems to work okay. The car has been driven a little over a mile since I changed the pads.

Then, whoever changed the brakes last seems to have decided I didn't need those anti-squeal springs for the right side (they just weren't there). Do I?

Next, Hydraulic jack vs. emergency jack provided with car: I have the latter. Should I bother buying a hydraulic jack? Already tried one of those bottle jacks, I'll just say it didn't go well...............

Finally, again with the lug nuts, and nuts in general. When you use hand tools to take them out and put them back, you kind of start to see all this exposed metal on the corners (could be dirt getting cleaned off, could be the nuts getting rounded off). Is it a problem when your parts have this wear caused by repeated personal work done with non-professional manual tools?

Okay, that's about all the questions I have on what could be the most important car work I'll ever do. Please answer as many as you can. Thanks!

**The additional disaster as promised:

Why did the nicest man at Advance Auto, who just the other day told his co-worker "she does all her work herself" give me the wrong brake pads?!?! I'm panicking under the car for almost an hour, wondering how in the world I'm going to fit these fancy brake pads onto my disc (I figured they were just a "different" style), thinking I was finally in WAAAAAAAAAAAAY over my head, before I finally figure maybe I should give them a call. Nice guy seemed to be having a bad day when I came back. He immediately (sort of jokingly) denied he gave me the wrong pads. The only compensation I was offered was that he would exchange the ones I paid for, with a slightly more expensive one for free. I even had to pay for the two sodas I picked. Well BOOHOO for them, though. I already stuck the shim adhesive to the ones I tried to fit, so LET'S see how they're gonna pass THAT one off as new. BOO-yah!!!! Nah, I'm just kidding, I can't stay mad at them. They're pretty nice people (who have inhaled hundreds of MY dollars already this year, but let's not even go there.....)

posted by  JaneiR36

I did learn a lot! And thank you for answering all of my questions.

I couldn't afford a torque wrench as you recommended, but I did buy that four-way lug wrench. The side I used seemed to fit quite well, but I suppose it wouldn't hurt to keep an eye out and see if the nuts are actually getting rounded off after repeated use. For now, the edges just look "shiny."

I'll buy better brake cleaner next time (I made sure to buy the cheapest one this time around :laughing: ), so maybe that will work better.

You know, I heard of using turkey baster to siphon off some brake fluid if excessive. Seems pretty simple -- I wish I had thought of that!

posted by  JaneiR36

oh yeah, the man had punched "1986" into the computer instead of "1996", and that's why I got the wrong brakes. The only thing I'm still a little bummed about is that the brand I selected before (Bendix IQ) basically had this two for one offer where they replace your next set for free. I'm not sure what exactly were the terms of that offer, but that was one big reason I chose it. The one I eventually chose was a little more expensive, but unfortunately had no such offer. This small mistake cost me. :(

posted by  JaneiR36

The best way to take some fluid out of the master cylinder if you have put to much in is to ball up a papertowel and dab it in there and it will soak a good bit up. Be sure to put the papertowel in a bucket right beside the master cylinder. Brake fluid will kill paint.

posted by  DodgeRida67

That's so cool that you would say that, Dodge, THAT's how I removed it!!! Well, I didn't ball up the (clean) paper towel, I just kind of dipped it in at the corner so I could keep cutting off the parts that had been soaked in brake fluid, and then redipping. I just figured I had contaminated the brake fluid in some way so I wasn't even going to say anything..............

Oh, and speaking of paint! The brake fluid did spill on the paint a couple times, I just wiped it off. To be honest, it wouldn't make much of a difference on this car, anyway, the paint work is so jacked already. If anyone recalls, this car was actually bought after the previous owner got into an accident, and one of the things done was that cheapo paint service from Maaco. Well, four years later the whole darn thing is peeling off!!! (Mainly at the hood cover). For a minute there, I thought it could be attributed to parking the car outside in the heat and never bothering to maintain the outside, ie washing it more than once a season, and what is waxing anyway? (Actually, I'm about to find out about waxing, I bought this Eagle One wax that is free with mail in rebate and they actually make you work for their money, as in you have to use the product and mail your comments back to them to get your check :) ). But I digress. Anyway, the lack of maintenance is not the problem because another car seats outside in the EXACT same conditions and the paintwork is just fine. Oh well.

posted by  JaneiR36

Another easy way of removing brake fluid from the master cylinder is to bleed fluid from one of the calipers. I normally run some new fluid through the system when I change the brake pads anyway, so it's an easy job to run some fluid out of the caliper.

You need a length of bleed hose (readily available) and a jar. Place the tube on the bleed nipple, and put the end in the jar. slacken the bleed nipple, and have someone press the brake pedal down. When the pedal reaches the bottom of its travel, tighten the bleed nipple, and have them raise the brake pedal slowly. Repeat until the master cylinder is about half full. This method is less likely to contaminate the paint work on your car, as the fluid is effectively being removed from under the bodywork.

If you do spill brake fluid on paint, wash it immediately with hot, soapy water.

posted by  heebee

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