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      05-13-2017, 01:29 PM   #1
deansbimmer
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DIY "Warped Brake Rotor" Fix - Pad deposits explained

Hello all,

I see many posts from owners concerned about a shaking steering wheel in their M3 as they apply brakes. Having just repaired a 2011 M3 with this issue I decided I would take a couple pictures and briefly explain the process which is very DIY friendly.

When asked about shaking steering wheel or vibrations under braking, the common response is that the rotors must be warped and should be replaced. Unfortunately this is a conventionally accepted response but is usually the wrong answer. As a result the owner will replace his rotors at a parts only cost of $500-600, but after a few thousand miles will be facing the exact same situation since it is caused more by driving style and how the car is used.

First lets start with some education. I won't explain the whole story since it is lengthy and has already been noted in many places online. Try these links:

STOPTECH PAD DEPOSITS LINK

STOPTECH PAD DEPOSIT REMOVAL


Those links will explain what this DIY post is going to achieve.

This particular M3 was running OEM pads which are prone to leaving uneven deposits in certain usage scenarios. This M3 would shake so violently under braking that it would have caused a dangerous situation in an emergency or panic brake situation. It also causes unnecessary wear to the suspension and steering system. Since this M3 had rotors that were recently replaced and practically measured no wear, we wanted to save them so we employed this method.

The first step was to purchase new pads. We are going to use Hawk Blue racing pads to remove the uneven pad deposits, then are going to install and bed new Hawk HPS street pads, a bump up from stock BMW pads. This is considered a down and dirty method. There may be more elegant solutions but nothing is as DIY friendly and fool proof as this procedure.

1: Safely jack up the car, remove wheels etc. to gain access to the pads.



New pad selections shown. An 18mm socket for the caliper brackets are all you need.






2: After installation and reassembly, either drive your car normally for a couple of days until the vibrations have been resolved, or go out and perform a number of stops to remove the deposits. We are NOT trying to heat up the brakes to bed them in.

Don't run these pads longer than necessary. They are very aggressive and will remove quite a bit of rotor material if used long term. Your wheels will be filthy and after this process you will want to thoroughly clean your wheels and wheel well as the dust that is produced is mostly steel which will rust and leave spots in your wheel and paint finish.


These products (or similar) will aid new pad installation. Lube your caliper guides and use the anti squeal on the final pads you intend to use. Here we have the freshly "ground" rotors with the newly installed HPS pads, ready to be bedded.




3: How to bed brakes is explained in the links above so I won't go into that, but at this point you must bed-in the new pads before putting the car back into normal use. If you don't you will run the risk of experiencing uneven pad deposits again in the near future. Here I have just bedded in the new HPS pads and you can see the light blue tint of the new pad deposits placed evenly upon the rotor's surface. Don't wash these or get them wet until they have cooled.


After this process, our M3 is back up and running with brakes that have not even a hint of vibration or shudder. Since we didn't have to buy new rotors we've also saved about $500. The M3 has pretty robust brakes from the factory so it is very rare to actually see rotors that have truly warped. It is still possible however, so if you've run through this process and you still have problems then it possible that you will just need new rotors (or you are experiencing a different suspension issue). Hope this helps the community.


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      05-13-2017, 03:32 PM   #2
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Interesting read, never considered this before. Almost like a DIY disc resurfacing...
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      05-13-2017, 09:53 PM   #3
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Excellent write up and thanks for your contribution to the E9X forum. I know I and many others appreciate the effort gone into providing this to our members.

Great work!

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      05-14-2017, 07:32 AM   #4
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Nice write up Dean, thanks. I'm curious on what actually creates the deposits, or rather what driving style. Lack of hard braking, to much/long hard braking, lack of proper wheel cleaning, or what?

Thanks
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      05-14-2017, 09:20 AM   #5
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Well I can speculate but I am not as educated on the matter as the folks at Stoptech or Hawk so my opinions may be subject to correction. I know dealers and most shops will install new rotors and just hand the car back to the owner without having bed the pads in at all. I know that was the case with our M3. On top of that, most M3's don't see track duty or even frequent heavy braking which can help maintain an even deposition of pad material. Lots of stop and go traffic on hot brakes can definitely deposit pad material unevenly on the rotors and I think that's what usually causes uneven deposits for most people- coming to a complete stop on hot brakes, holding pressure on a hot pad will leave isolated deposits.
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      05-25-2017, 08:47 AM   #6
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Nice thread! I have fairly new OEM rotors and I am getting pretty bad steering wheel shake. I figured there is little chance they are wrapped and assumed there was some un even pad deposit going on, just wasn't sure how to fix.

Looks like I'm going to be trying this, and if this doesn't work, probably something suspension related.
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      05-25-2017, 11:45 AM   #7
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For anyone interested in doing this to their rotors, I will rent out my Hawk Blue pads for $40/1 week (+$100 refundable deposit) to use for this repair.

New Hawk blues run about $150. Saves someone doing this a little bit of cash on the pads since you're only going to use them once for a few days.

Last edited by deansbimmer; 06-01-2017 at 10:02 AM.
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      05-26-2017, 08:28 AM   #8
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Creative! Probably easier to change pads than it is to to pull rotors, take them to machine shop and have them turned like in the old days. Fortunately, I have not suffered this issue with either OEM or Stoptech Street pads, but I don't track my car or ride the brakes.
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      05-26-2017, 09:32 AM   #9
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It is definitely easier than attempting to resurface rotors on a lathe. Many who have attempted that have found out the hard way that not every shop has a brake lathe capable of turning rotors as large as the M3. The average Accuturn/Hunter/Ranger/Bosch lathes don't swing wide enough. You'll have to visit several shops before finding one with a capable lathe. Furthermore, if you do find one you'll have to argue with them to get them to turn 'em because they'll tell you they're floating rotors and un-cuttable.
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      05-31-2017, 12:15 AM   #10
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Good DIY. I don't think you're supposed to lube the caliper bushings. They are supposed to be dry so they don't cause any sticking over time and swelling of seals IIRC
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      05-31-2017, 08:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BzsBimmer View Post
Good DIY. I don't think you're supposed to lube the caliper bushings. They are supposed to be dry so they don't cause any sticking over time and swelling of seals IIRC
There is a bit of a controversy over that.

'Swelling' of the seals doesn't happen if you use the correct caliper grease shown. Swelling is a big buzz word but it just never happens in the real world.

Yes, BMW TIS instructs us to install the guide pins dry but I've seen MORE issues due to dry pins in the form of galled pins, uneven pad wear, pad and caliper chatter, and rusted guide pins that require replacement. If they had been lubed none of those would have been an issue. Additionally, if the dust cap is present on the back of the guide pin sleeve then dust cannot contaminate the area.

Other makes and manufacturers instruct greased guide pins- the caliper designs are universally the same. I've always kept them lubricated and have never had any of those problems- but then again I service calipers frequently. I suspect BMW gave that instruction to cover their butts for owners who don't service their brakes but once every 10 years.
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      05-31-2017, 03:10 PM   #12
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Interesting process. Have you ever looked at a Flex Hone brush? They're about $40 on Amazon and attach to any power drill. Dave Zeckhausen at Zeckhausen Racing recommended it to me as a good way to switch back and forth between track and street pads of different compounds.
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      05-31-2017, 03:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dparm View Post
Interesting process. Have you ever looked at a Flex Hone brush? They're about $40 on Amazon and attach to any power drill. Dave Zeckhausen at Zeckhausen Racing recommended it to me as a good way to switch back and forth between track and street pads of different compounds.
Yes! I keep those on hand as well. They are great tools once you learn how to use them to achieve consistent results with a hand drill. The calipers/rotors would have to be removed anyway with the Brush hone, so in the case of this DIY I wanted to remove any possible cause of inconsistency from uneven material removal (brush hone), and used the track pads to cut the rotors down evenly to ensure a vibration free job. A brush hone would not be the best solution to remedy severe pad deposits such as were on this M3.

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      05-31-2017, 03:43 PM   #14
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I have to second that deans method is the best one. I used the hawk blues on my st-60 fronts. Much easier then taking rotors off and having them cut.
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      05-31-2017, 05:07 PM   #15
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Anyone recommend a source for Hawk Blue pads?
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      05-31-2017, 06:09 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdott View Post
Anyone recommend a source for Hawk Blue pads?
https://www.zeckhausen.com/catalog/

I'd consider the offer Dean is providing. Low cost alternative to having to buy a set for the rare occasion you need to clean the rotors.

From a value perspective, renting vs owning makes sense here. Of course if you're going to track the car, buying makes a whole lot more sense.
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      05-31-2017, 06:29 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdott View Post
Anyone recommend a source for Hawk Blue pads?
Cheapest http://www.ebay.com/itm/Hawk-Blue-90...VZHg7b&vxp=mtr
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      05-31-2017, 07:26 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BzsBimmer View Post
https://www.zeckhausen.com/catalog/
Of course if you're going to track the car, buying makes a whole lot more sense.
Quote:
Originally Posted by msan View Post
Thanks!

Will be hitting the track so thought i'd buy my own set, but now i'm looking at other options such as the HT-10 or PFC08.
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      07-23-2017, 12:33 PM   #19
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All your photos are down! Could you please repost them? I would like to see how I could salvage my rotors before I buy new ones!
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      07-23-2017, 03:56 PM   #20
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Sorry about the photos guys... I've made dozens of tutorial threads on several forums over the last 15 years that now have broken photos, as do thousands of other forum users. Thank Photobucket for changing their third party hosting terms and trying to extort hundreds of dollars from their users.

Unfortunately, The photos are gone. Luckily, they don't show anything visually that you can't get from the text. It was just more fun having them.
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