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Old 12-11-2012, 04:35 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Brake pad smoking-HELP!

I figured I'd start another thread since this is a separate issue and I wanted it to be noticed.

I replaced the rear brake pads on my 05 Montego on Sunday. That evening I drove around and test the brakes out. They did great. The next morning on my commute they did fine as well. However, on my way home yesterday I noticed that half way through my commute the driver's side rear brake was smoking. I hadn't been driving at high speeds or anything. I had driven maybe 5 miles at about 30mph when I noticed the smoking. So I pulled over and could smell burning brakes when I got out of the car. The brake and the rotor were fairly hot(not red hot or boiling hot or overheated, just very warm) and I could see small wisps of white smoke coming from the brake pad. I figured I might have gotten grease or something on the rotor and it was burning off, so I waited a little while and it stopped smoking. I then finished my drive home. When I got home there was no smoking, the pad and rotor were no longer hot(same temp as the other rotors on the car), and the smell was gone; so I assumed all was good.

Fast forward to today. My morning commute went fine but on the way home at almost the exact same spot the driver's side rear brake started smoking again. So I pulled over and checked it out. Same thing as yesterday. Rotor somewhat warm and slight wisps of smoke coming from the brake pad. So I once again waited for it to stop smoking and then finished my drive home. When I got home it was just like yesterday-the burning smell was gone, the rotor wasn't hot, and the pads weren't smoking anymore.

So what's the deal here? The other rear brake is doing fine and my brakes still feel fine-no grabbing or anything like that. I did not lubricate the slide pins on this caliper because I thought they didn't need it. Could that be the culprit? I plan on taking everything back apart tomorrow to check it out. What should I look for to figure out what is wrong?
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Last edited by 04 SABLE; 12-11-2012 at 04:38 PM.
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Old 12-11-2012, 05:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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The holes in the piston (used to turn the piston in before replacing pads) may not be lined up properly with the pins on the back of the inner pad.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:32 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Alright, I didn't feel like waiting until tomorrow to check it out so I went and took it apart a little while ago. The pads and the rotor still look fine and the rotor isn't warped or anything like that. The brake fluid and the caliper appear fine. The holes in the piston were lined up with the pin on the back of the inner pad. I did notice the metal tabs that hold the brake pads were holding the pads a little too tightly, so I loosened them up a little and cleaned them off. I checked out the slide pins again. The upper one moved very freely. It could turn fine and when I pulled it out it slid right back in without issue. The bottom one is a different story. It was very stiff and had some slight resistance when turned and had a tendency to stay out when I slid it out instead of sliding back in like the upper one. Even after lubrication it still was very stiff and didn't slide very well. I reassembled everything and drove a few miles to check everything out and everything seemed fine, no smells or anything like that.

So is that bottom slide pin causing my problems here? I noticed when I lubed it that it had a few areas on it that look slightly worn.

Thanks for the help.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I'd sure suspect it. If movement of the caliper is binding up on that pin that sure would account for the overheating.

It also is a much better solution to your problem than trying a different road home.
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Old 12-11-2012, 06:55 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lgbpop View Post
It also is a much better solution to your problem than trying a different road home.

Yeah! I couldn't help but get a sense of deja vu when it happened in the same spot today.

Will just replacing the stiff pin work or should I get a new caliper bracket and slide pins?
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Old 12-11-2012, 07:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I'll defer to someone more familiar with your specific brake hardware; but, assuming by slide pins you mean the pins that the caliper moves on, the pins themselves should be enough. Replace them as a set. Lubricate them well when installing.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:18 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Use anti-seize compound instead of grease to lube the slide pins, esp. the rears. I would guess sticking slide pin(s) or caliper.
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Old 12-11-2012, 08:51 PM   #8 (permalink)
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This is the lube I used. Should I be using something else instead? I've read in a few places that advised against using anti-seize.
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Old 12-11-2012, 09:05 PM   #9 (permalink)
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What you used is fine, but in my opinion, not as good or long-lasting as never-seize. I've been using it front/back for years. Normally, the rears are the forgotten axle, lol. They don't get the attention, service and repairs the fronts do. I've had seized slide pins front/rear (more on the rears), but not 1 since I've been using anti-seize. 3M sells a copper-based anti-seize compound labeled as brake lube. I use nickel, copper, whatever I have on hand.
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Old 12-12-2012, 08:02 PM   #10 (permalink)
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After lubing everything yesterday I drove 40 miles today and had no smoking, heat, or smell. I'm kind of thinking the problem is caused by that stiff pin and using the parking brake because both of the days that the pads smoked I had just used the parking brake but today I never used it.

On the rear brakes on this kind of car when you put the parking brake on the slide pins extend fairly far out of the caliper bracket. When you take the brake off they should slide back in and recenter the caliper over the rotor, but I think in my case the wear on the bottom slide pin is causing it to get caught which doesn't allow the rear caliper to recenter. So it causes the pad to rub slightly against the rotor and after driving for a few miles enough heat builds up and the pad starts smoking.

I'll replace the pin in a few days and see if that takes care of things.
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