[EMS Discuss] Replacing rotors - A nice day at the shop

Cord Slatton cord42 at gmail.com
Thu Jan 16 19:58:27 PST 2014

Great read Ben and very glad you played with fire successfully without
setting yourself or the shop on fire! :D

On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 2:04 PM, Bob Miller <kbob at jogger-egg.com> wrote:

> Well done, sir.  (Both the brake job and the low-key publicity.)
> On Thu, Jan 16, 2014 at 5:40 AM, Ben Hallert <ben at hallert.net> wrote:
>> I posted this to my Facebook thing this morning, wanted to share it here
>> too; are there opportunities to chat up the shop to our friends we can be
>> taking to help grow the community?  Just a thought....
>> ----------
>> I had a productive day at the shop after work yesterday!  For the last
>> few weeks, my car has grumbled at me about half of the time I used the
>> brakes.  I say grumble because it didn't quite match any other description;
>> it wasn't scraping, it wasn't screeching or shaking, it was just...
>> grumbling.  "Grrrr..."  I figured there must probably be a pebble stuck
>> between a pad and the rotor or something and it was slowing properly, so
>> when I got around to it I took it to the Eugene Maker Space (
>> http://eugenemakerspace.com) to fix up.
>> Pulling off the front right wheel, I went to loosen some bolts that hold
>> the caliper on when I discovered the source of the problem:  Somehow, one
>> of the two bolts was _missing_.  Completely gone!  I could rotate the
>> caliper in place with little effort because it was only half attached,
>> yikes.  This is unacceptable!  Whoever did my brakes last was clearly a
>> complete and utter careless moro-  I paused.  On contemplation, I realized
>> that I was the last one to touch these because I had replaced the pads a
>> few months ago.  In a sudden spirit of "can't we all just...  get along?"
>> reconciliation, I magnanimously decided that failing to properly tighten
>> that bolt was an understandable mistake and certainly not worth obsessing
>> over.  Let's let bygones be bygones and all that.  A quick walk down to
>> Autozone got me a replacement bolt and we were off and running.
>> A backstory on these brakes; as I mentioned, I had replaced the pads but
>> I had known for the last year or so that I really needed new rotors.  The
>> rotors are the big metal discs that the brakepads squeeze against to slow
>> you down and they can get worn.  When they get worn and get grooves in
>> them, that wears the pads out quicker and it's a dirty cycle.  I had
>> actually needed to replace my pads twice, both when I was broke, so I had
>> incurred extra expense overall as a result.  As someone once told me,
>> 'there's few things more expensive than being poor'.  But this time, I had
>> planned ahead and had gotten new rotors and by damned, I was going to
>> replace them.
>> To get the rotors off, you remove the calipers (the things that squeeze
>> the pads against the rotors), a thing that holds the pads themselves, and
>> then just pull the big metal plates off the hub.
>> This sequence really looks better in writing than the reality because of
>> that last step.  "Just pull the rotors off" implies that the rotors have
>> not rust-welded themselves to your car as mine had done.  I knew the theory
>> but had somehow never actually pulled rotors before so I spent the next 45
>> minutes alternately hitting it with a mallet, watching instructional
>> YouTube videos, then hitting it harder with the mallet.  After watching a
>> less useless video, I did something new: I grabbed a shop torch and started
>> heating parts of the rotor near the center (where it was bound up).  If it
>> hadn't been for the helpful encouragement of some guy back east, I would
>> have been worried about setting my car on fire but apparently this is 'the
>> thing to do' so after heating and hitting and burninating, I eventually got
>> it off.  I've got to say that having a shop with shop resources was pretty
>> nice.  Need a torch?  Sure, here we are.  Clean floor to crawl around on
>> under car?  Beats a cold and wet driveway!  Penetrating oil for removal and
>> clamps for resetting the calipers?  We gotcha covered.  One of the best
>> parts of the whole thing was that I was really kinda stranded until I
>> finished the job.  If I was at home and the rotor wasn't coming off, I
>> would be totally tempted to go inside and play on the computer until it was
>> too late (Better put the wheel back on, I'll try another day!) but being
>> stranded in West Eugene was a good motivator to just get it done.
>> After a couple hours total, I had both rotors replaced (with fresh new
>> pads, why not) and hadn't set my car on fire even once.
>> Community shops like this are awfully nice to be a part of and I look
>> forward to our upcoming move.  We've currently got woodworking tools, metal
>> lathe, a welding table, 3D printers, a soldering station, community
>> workspace for big projects, and more.  We're in the process of finding a
>> bigger place to allow for growth and increase our capabilities and it's
>> going to be an exciting evolution.  I'll post more details as it develops
>> and invite anyone who's interested in learning more about the space to
>> contact me.
>> Now...  how well did I tighten that new bolt?  I guess I'll know what to
>> do if my car starts grumbling again.
>> ------------
>> - Ben
>> _______________________________________________
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>> Discuss at eugenemakerspace.com
>> http://eugenemakerspace.com/mailman/listinfo/com.eugenemakerspace.discuss
> --
> Bob Miller                              K<bob>
>                                         kbob at jogger-egg.com
> _______________________________________________
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