Question about 1999 Pontiac Grand Am GT

3 Answers

Front brake pads worn uneven, rotor fine

Hello, not long ago I posted about little/no braking power from the rear, ebrake not engaging. I followed suggestions to adjust rear drum brakes and bleed brake lines. My braking has improved noticeably. I noticed the other day a squeaking sound from my left front tire whenever I'd go over 50km/hr (30miles?). There were no rubs or wet spots so I took the tire off and undid the caliper to look at the brake pads. Everything is clean and dry.
1)The brake pads seemed to rest against the rotor which seemed odd to me but my manual says to compress the caliper before undoing so perhaps that is normal?
2)Next the inside pad has about half the meat on it the outside pad does. It is much thinner yet these are wagner pads and rotors installed almost exactly one year and less than 5000 km or 3000miles ago.
3)The rotor seems fine, evenly worn and no scarring or gouging. No shimmy when I brake with any pressure so I doubt its warped.
4)My other grand am has the same pads and rotors with almost 40,000 km (25000-ishmiles) on them and they are not nearly as worn as the inside pads on this car.
5)Last thing of note is if I stomp on the brakes from 30-40miles an hour there is enough force to stop the car, send water bottles flying off the seat, tip my drink in the cup holder, but not enough to throw me against my seat belt. I would not stomp my brake like that in my other car unless I had to because it has way more stopping force my seatbelt would dig hard into my shoulder as I flew forward tho it is an 03 grand am gt with 4whl disc brakes.

Is this because the back brakes weren't helping braking until I adjusted the rear? Should I take my car in to professionals? Or is this nothing amazing and I should replace my front pads and if things seem normal move on? I'm not sure what to do. If it's safety issue for advanced skill level I don't mind taking it in but last time I took it to a shop they said oh front brakes sure when you do brakes you need to do pads, rotors and calipers plus some metal clip all at once and they wanted almost 1000. I realize that's like 50$ USD but these guys hadn't even seen my car I just happened to be there with a friend and asked how much doing front brakes cost.

Thanks for any help, I really appreciate it, I'm really stuck. I dont want to be unsafe but I get tired of being bent over.

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Wow... Replace the calipers or remove and clean the pistons in the calipers. Sounds like they are not releasing like they should. When you look at the brake pads they will look like they are touching but they shouldn't be. Reason why the inside pads are worn more is because they are the ones that rest on the caliper pistons and the first to make contact to the rotor. Anyhow...sounds to me like the calipers are not releasing all the way. One other thing you can do is remove the caliper, compress it with a c-clamp, make sure the dust boot is in good repair, remove the c-clamp, have someone push the brake pedal gently while you watch, when the piston comes out an inch or so compress it again with a c-clamp. clean any brake dust or debris from around the dust boot and give it a shot of lube. Repeat this a few times and see if it will loosen up and give you better brake performance. Or you could just sell the car.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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1st off, stay away from Wagner brake pads. You need a good Ceramic or Semi-Metallic in Raybestos, Satisfied or Carquest branded brakes (Blue or Red box are just fine). Your inner pad should always wear a little more than your outside one, especially in a floating caliper, which is what yours is. The escessive wear is from no rear brake assitance for a while, thus causing excessive heat and glazing on your front rotors, meaning they do not grab nearly as well under emergency situations as they once did.

Also, before you go and replace your brakes, have your wheel bearing inspected for improper wear or failure along with your strut bearing and ball joints. They are a lot less likely to cause your scenario, but worth checking before replacing the brakes again.

You should get 50-80,000 miles out of a GOOD set of brakes with no noise or warpage.
Should you need to do your brakes again, do them yourself, but follow these steps one by one and don't skip any of them.

1.) Remove your rotors and have them resurfaced.

2.) Replaced your pads with some good ones, stay away from WAGNER! They are junk!

3.) Install some disc brake quiet or abutment clips on your new pads to ensure a proper placement and fit in the caliper and aganst the piston.

4.) Wash your brake rotors with Soap and Water (dishsoap and water solution - just like you are doing dishes). Yes, you heard me right, use soap and water. Most peeple don't realize how this conditions the cast of the metal to ensure good "seating" of the brake pads and eliminates any chance of noise.

5.) Reinstall all parts and go to a parking lot. Run you car up to 30mph in reverse and slam on the brakes 3-5 times. Your rear brakes will adjust with the proportioning valve, to where they need to be in order to contribute the proper braking force for your system.

6.) Use brake fairly hard for the 1st few days. Cut your braking distance in 1/2 from what you used to do. When you put your foot slightly on the brake pedal, it applies 8 pound of force to the pads, causing heat and glazing. It is better to hit them hard and for a shorter distance then to ride them a long time down a hill or coming to a stop. I used to teach brake classes for technicians and no I did not work for Raybestos, Wagner or any particular Auto parts supplier so it was impartial advice and testing.

7.) After a few days and your brakes are broken in, drive normally and enjoy not having the noise any longer. You will get a good, long life out of these brakes. Guaranteed.

Hope that helps.

Ciao!

Kevin

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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Caliper pins and sliders are most likly frozen.

Posted on Jul 28, 2009

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