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Uneven Brake Pad Wear


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13 replies to this topic

#1 delli50

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 08:47 AM

hope that someone on this board can help me diagnose the problem...
car is a 96 legacy, brighton wagon with 2.2 and auto tranny. it has about 295,000 kilometres on it.

it seemed to me that i had a warped rotor. i could feel it when i braked hard, but it felt a little different every time. thought it was the right side and when i disassembled the wheel i was right about that, but maybe not about the rotor being warped. the pads on the right side were worn down to the bottom of the wear groove that runs through the centre. these were semi metalic pads that were about 1.5 years and 18,000 kilometres old. the worn pad looked funny. didn't seem all that solid and wasted away when i put a wire brush to it to examine the material more closely. so obviously i got new pads.

when i took the other side apart, the pads were hardly worn and the pad material looked much different from the worn side.

i had no trouble taking anything apart on both sides. the pins were lubed and appeard to be able to slide as needed.

anyone got any ides as to whats going on here? most of my experience is with vw's and when this happens, it's usually a seized slider. this is a different system. the caliper doesn't float like a vw's. i'm at a loss.

any help is appreciated.

regards,

mark

#2 johnceggleston

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 09:13 AM

did you put these pads on or were they on there when you got the car? maybe the previous owner replaced just one side to save labor. how long have you had the car?

it does sound like a stuck/frozen caliper. i had that once on a 95 legacy. only the driver side engaged when appling the brakes. the shop banged it loose cleaned it up, replaced the pads , turned the rotor and put it back together. worked great.

i also just replaced the pads on only one side (i know this is not good) because the slide pins were all gummed up and one of the 2 pads on the right rear was worn out. i replaced just those 2 pads, i had some usable ones from another change, cleaned and lubed the slide pins. i'll replace all rear pads as soon as i'm sure i've corrected the problem. no sense wearing out new pads.

#3 ericem

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 09:54 AM

I would bet on the sliders as well. If they are not cleaned properly and the seals are broken or missing, moisture will get in and such. Make sure the sliders are all lubed up correctly with a good synthetic brake slider grease.

#4 grossgary

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 09:58 AM

try different pads too. i've seen pads wear in a year...granted it's normally the same on both sides, but it seems like some lower end pads have a good habit of wearing very fast from what i've seen and this is across subaru and non subaru vehicles.

i do vote for the capliers though as well. get everything cleaned and greased properly, no warped rotors, new pads (possibly better quality) and see what happens. i wouldn't worry unless it's recurring. i suppose there's a real off chance the piston could be sticking in the caliper bore, but that is very, very rare for a subaru. replacing the caliper would fix that.

#5 gbhrps

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 03:56 PM

Delli50,
I see that you're from a little farther north than me, but still in the land of salt on the winter roads of Ontario. I've seen the same thing you are experiencing and it finally revealed itself as a slightly sticking piston on the one side of the car. It didn't grab enough to squeal or pull the car to one side, but it didn't release enough when you took your foot off of the brake pedal and the pad wore quickly from constantly rubbing against the rotor. When I popped out the pistons from the calipers, that one side was moderately corroded from water in the brake fluid, much more than the other side. Cleaning the pistons with 0000 steel wool, doing the same to the caliper bores, a good flushing with fresh brake fluid, reinstalling everything and bleeding the entire system with fresh brake fluid sloved the problem. I'm now on a 48 month schedule of brake fluid flush and rebleeding on all of my vehicles. Just a thought. Good luck!

#6 porcupine73

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 04:43 PM

In addition to the possibilities already mentioned such as stuck caliper, pins, etc., sometimes if there is enough dirt/corrosion between the pad ears and caliper bracket, the pads get stuck against the rotor instead of getting knocked back. Usually it would be just one pad worn much more than the other on the same wheel in that case though.

#7 delli50

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Posted 13 October 2007 - 08:43 PM

[quote name='johnceggleston']did you put these pads on or were they on there when you got the car? maybe the previous owner replaced just one side to save labor. how long have you had the car?

it does sound like a stuck/frozen caliper. i had that once on a 95 legacy............................



thanks for all of the replys
.
i did put new pads and calipers on when i got the car a year and a half ago, by the way this has benn a great car!
the rotor on the bad side did look good when i took it off. the pins also were free, so maybe the caliper is sticking. it did go back into the bore easily when i pushed it back with a c-clamp,
i've got it back together now. i'll put it on a jack stand apply the breaks and try to turn the wheel with the tranny in neutral. i assume that if its sticky, it will be hard to move.
it it free wheels, i'll just keep all the new parts in and lube every thing up well and see how it goes. if i find a problem, i'll post again tomorrow on this thread.
thanks for all your hrlp. this is a great board and subaru is a great car.

regards,

mark

#8 delli50

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 02:45 PM

thanks for all of the replys
.
i did put new pads and calipers on when i got the car a year and a half ago, by the way this has benn a great car!
the rotor on the bad side did look good when i took it off. the pins also were free, so maybe the caliper is sticking. it did go back into the bore easily when i pushed it back with a c-clamp,
i've got it back together now. i'll put it on a jack stand apply the breaks and try to turn the wheel with the tranny in neutral. i assume that if its sticky, it will be hard to move.
it it free wheels, i'll just keep all the new parts in and lube every thing up well and see how it goes. if i find a problem, i'll post again tomorrow on this thread.
thanks for all your hrlp. this is a great board and subaru is a great car.

regards,

mark[/QUOTE]




well, put it altogether, went for a short ride, lifted the front end and spun each wheel separately. the left side felt free while the right seemed to be sticky. guess i need a caliper.
will look for one locally tomorrow. preliminarily they are $120 new online from a cdn supplier http://www.bestpricecarparts.com/ and $25 from a nearby wrecker.
thanks for the help.

mark

#9 Reveeen

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Posted 14 October 2007 - 03:02 PM

Try "John Stewart Power Brake" in Stony Creek Ontario for a rebuilt.

#10 delli50

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Posted 15 October 2007 - 01:10 PM

Try "John Stewart Power Brake" in Stony Creek Ontario for a rebuilt.


i gave them a call. this will be a good resource to remember for future projects.
they quoted me $52.96 plus tax and shipping. very reasonable but they needed mine to rebuild as they didn't have one on the shelf.
called a local auto supplier, maslack here in sudbury. they had one for $60 plus taxes with exchange. much better than canadian tire who wanted considerably more.
will be picking it up tonight on the way home from work.

regards,

mark

#11 delli50

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 08:38 AM

here's an update....got a rebuilt caliper, put it on and bled the system. so, new brakes in the front with the passenger's side having a new rotor, pads and a caliper. a day later i had occassion to take the car on about a 30 km. ride to the golf course for some late season golf. at about 3/4 of the way i got that awful smell of a burning brake pad. once i got to the course and parked, the right front whell area was smoking. you could feel the heat and the smell was awful. so, i guess i got a poor rebuild. i've never seen this happen before but i'm told that it does happen. the piston is not fully releasing when i take my foot off the brake.
had to drive it home like that after golf when it was cooled down. expected to find the same when i got home. big surprise... it wasn't hot. took it out again later that evening and found that when i arrived back home it was a little warm compared to the driver's side. called the parts store and they ordered another. also said that they would warrant the pads and rotor if any damage was done. i haven't had it appart yet but am getting frustrated over what was to be a simple job.

#12 Reveeen

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Posted 19 October 2007 - 10:11 AM

Sometimes squeezing off the flexible brake line (so the brake fluid doesn't run out, when changing a caliper) can collapse the inner portion of it causing a "problem" much as you describe, and/or cause an apparent caliper "problem".

#13 OB99W

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 07:51 AM

i did put new pads and calipers on when i got the car a year and a half ago, by the way this has benn a great car!
the rotor on the bad side did look good when i took it off. the pins also were free, so maybe the caliper is sticking. it did go back into the bore easily when i pushed it back with a c-clamp[...]

I can't tell exactly what procedure was used from what you said, so you may already be aware of the following.

It's important to not push possibly-contaminated brake fluid back up the brake lines when compressing the caliper. Whenever I do that job, I clean the bleeder screw and put a short length of hose on it first, and put the open end of the hose in a jar. I tighten the clamp the slightest bit, loosen the bleeder, then continue compressing the caliper. If the brake fluid coming out of the hose isn't perfectly clean, I leave the bleeder open, and gently step on the brake pedal, pushing through more fluid until it looks okay (of course, I make sure to keep the master cylinder reservoir sufficiently full). I then tighten the bleeder. Once the rest of the brake job is done, I'll rebleed just to ensure no air was introduced. This method takes a bit longer, but I've never had a caliper piston seize or even get tight after a job done this way.

If you're replacing a caliper, it's just as important to do the above. Otherwise, any contaminants in the fluid can wind up in the new caliper, and even bleeding afterward might leave some behind.

By the way, I'm not suggesting that you didn't get a badly-rebuilt caliper -- that also happens.

#14 delli50

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Posted 20 October 2007 - 10:53 AM

this was a newly rebuilt caliper. when i got the car about a year and a haly ago, i flushed the hydraulic brake system when i did the front brakes, so the fluid was fairly clean. when i disconnected the hose from the old caliper, some of the fluid dripped from gravity. it looked clean and clear.... not stained dark like old fluid.
i think that i just got a poor rebuild.
new one arrives monday, but it won't be till wednesday till i get the chance to install it.

regards,

mark




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