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      01-30-2013, 01:06 PM   #1
Mr.D
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On-going Brake Issue

Fellow Members,
I've been dealing with an issue that neither BMW Techs nor Myself can get our heads around. Wondering if any of the more technical members can chime in. Any help is appreciated:

Over the past 12 months, I have been dealing with an on-going issue with my brakes, whereby my front rotors warp and as a result, I witness heavy vibration in my steering wheel upon deceleration from high speed.

During this time, BMW has replaced my rotors 3 times. In each of the cases, the issue subsides for about 1,000 miles, but then resurfaces.

The last replacement of my rotors occurred about 1 month ago. At this time, BMW also replaced my front calipers citing "Calipers Seize under High Temperature use" on the Work Order.

Alas, this issue has resurfaced, effectively ruling out the Calipers as the main cause.

FYI - my car is completely stock save for my wheels/tires (which are straight and balanced), front spacers (purchased from Rogue Engineering) and centering rings.

Essentially, my front rotors are continuously warping. I have never had this issue occur with my previous 3 M cars. I am completely perplexed.

Any and all thoughts are appreciated.

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      01-30-2013, 01:55 PM   #2
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What pads are you using and how agressively are you using the brakes? Are you tracking the car? This information may help us understand what is happening. I don't think it is the spacers as that would create vibrations under all conditions and affect tire wear.

I seriously doubt you are warping the rotors but are in fact getting uneven brake pad transfer to the rotors. It behaves the same - really. Check out the technical articles at Stop Tech's website. BTW, IMO most service techs just treat the symptoms and not the cause, ie it's easier to replace parts.
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      01-30-2013, 02:04 PM   #3
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I would start with a process of elimination. I would go back to stock wheels/tires (if you still have them) without spacers and try that for awhile. If there is no problem, then I would swap the stock wheels/tires out for your aftermarket ones (if you can without spacers) and try that for awhile. If there is still no problem, put the spacers back on. By doing this you should be able to find out the cause of the problem (if it is caused by one of those items).

Last edited by B-52Gunner; 01-30-2013 at 02:10 PM.
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      01-30-2013, 02:11 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies. Answers are below:


- pads are stock
- car hasn't been tracked in the past year while all this has occurred
- process of elimination has occurred and issue remained when stock wheels/tires were put on

The potential source as the pads being an issue is also non existent. During all three replacements BMW has tested the rotors and confirmed warping.

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      01-30-2013, 02:14 PM   #5
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Are you getting any CELs? I'm wondering if it could be related to the ABS pump.
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      01-30-2013, 02:25 PM   #6
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Rear brakes are working fine? I'm just thinking maybe the fronts are doing all of the work resulting in excessive heat. I know it's a stretch but you never know.
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      01-30-2013, 02:53 PM   #7
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Do you still have the spacers on the car?Are your wheels non hub centric that you must use centering rings?
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      01-30-2013, 02:54 PM   #8
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My other M3 (actually a Mazda3) had a similar issue. The rotors would glaze from only seeing light usage around town from my wife. I had the rotors machined and the vibration went away.

You or the tech probably need to bed the brakes in.
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      01-30-2013, 02:56 PM   #9
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No light comes on.

However, I do notice that braking power/pressure is inconsistent. Sometimes when I apply the brakes at a low speed to come to a stop smoothly, I witness over pressure and the car stops in a jerky manner. Again, never had this issue on any past cars.
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      01-30-2013, 02:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gearhead999s
Do you still have the spacers on the car?Are your wheels non hub centric that you must use centering rings?
I have Volk TE37s which are E46 M3 fitment. They are not hub centric.
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      01-30-2013, 03:00 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjae1976
My other M3 (actually a Mazda3) had a similar issue. The rotors would glaze from only seeing light usage around town from my wife. I had the rotors machined and the vibration went away.

You or the tech probably need to bed the brakes in.
This is what I thought the first time they replaced the brakes. Hoping they are not that incompetent to incorrectly bed the brakes 3 times in a row.

I am now going to another dealership to have the issue dealt with, just to rule out incompetence.
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      01-30-2013, 06:30 PM   #12
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It has to be related to the pads. I'm not sure what the cause is but I bet running some track pads for a while would clean the rotors up and the problem would go away. You could then run an aftermarket pad.
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      01-30-2013, 07:10 PM   #13
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Any chance you are dragging a pad so that the rotor is heating up all the time you are driving and not just when you are braking?

with this when you stop you will also have a hot pad in contact with one part on the rotor when you stop.

just a thought
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      01-30-2013, 08:26 PM   #14
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Is it both sides or one side?

You might be able to trouble shoot a dragging brake with your hand(be careful) or a cheap Harbor Freight infrared heat sensor. Try driving for a while with out using the brakes and coast to a stop and check. Might even try it after using the brakes and see if they are the same.

Some brakes are prone to build up. I have a Civic that does it alot.
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      01-30-2013, 09:20 PM   #15
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I've had pad transfer vibrations with my OEM brakes/pads (all OEM) and tracked it plenty when I lived in Europe with it. After Nurburgring weekends I would notice the pad transfer grinding/vibration issue for a while and after about 300miles or so under normal driving the uneven pad material would wear away with no vibration. My current AP BBK has vibes and I and a tech are working through it and it's probebly pad transfer issue like with the OEM brakes, but I've never tracked it since I put the AP kit on.

So with that I never experianced warping rotors, OEM or AP's. But pad transfer being uneven does cause alot of vibrations. Also OP, you mentioned you don't have progressive braking, that the braking feels hard and causes the car to jerk when stopping which could be a leading cause to something else happening.

I think take the advise from one of the other reply's here and revert back to OEM, wheels, pads, everything again for a while. Go to another dealer and have them address the jerky braking feeling and go from there.

Did you get to see the measurements taken with a dial indicator that the BMW tech probebly used to see if the rotors were over .003" of run out? Normally rotor disc run out can be up to .003" and you should not feel any vibrations below that value, assuming there is no uneven pad transfer materail on the disc surface.

Also if not checked already, have the tech measure the run out of the hub bearing. If that were an issue, it probebly would translate into an unbalanced feeling in the wheel(s)/steering wheel but I wonder if its just slight enought to cause eventual vibrations in the brakes. Just an idea to not leave any stone unturned.

Good luck.
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      02-03-2013, 06:45 PM   #16
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On my last car (w/ Brembos) I had a wheel bearing go bad that caused serial brake pad/rotor issues until we discovered the prob. Its probably been checked on yours by now, but just an idea.
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      02-04-2013, 08:08 PM   #17
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I dont know if this will help at all, but on my E39 M5, the front thrust arm bushings were a big issue. I had a stoptech bbk with vibration, tried all different pads, race pads to clean the rotors, re-bed according to stoptechs site, etc... Even changed the rotors to brand new oem rotors, still there.

The day I pick up the car after its already sold and am driving to deliver it to the new owner, the car drives amazing! The bushings were the culprit the whole time. Big, well known issue with the E39.

I wonder if it could have anything to do with them on your M3. Good luck, I know how incredibly annoying having brake vibrations is.
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      02-05-2013, 04:25 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.D View Post
This is what I thought the first time they replaced the brakes. Hoping they are not that incompetent to incorrectly bed the brakes 3 times in a row.

I am now going to another dealership to have the issue dealt with, just to rule out incompetence.
Are you counting on the shop to bed the brakes in for you? That's not standard practice and, in fact, many service shops have never even heard of the bedding process. The fact that they're diagnosing the cause as "warped rotors" only serves to reinforce my suspicion.

I suggest you bed the brakes yourself, following this technique:
http://www.zeckhausen.com/bedding_in_brakes.htm

I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by the results.
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      02-05-2013, 04:42 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoli007 View Post
I dont know if this will help at all, but on my E39 M5, the front thrust arm bushings were a big issue. I had a stoptech bbk with vibration, tried all different pads, race pads to clean the rotors, re-bed according to stoptechs site, etc... Even changed the rotors to brand new oem rotors, still there.

The day I pick up the car after its already sold and am driving to deliver it to the new owner, the car drives amazing! The bushings were the culprit the whole time. Big, well known issue with the E39.

I wonder if it could have anything to do with them on your M3. Good luck, I know how incredibly annoying having brake vibrations is.

That's interesting, I wonder if E92 M3's have had any issues with thrust bushings? I had my front end checked out several times and everything seemed nice new and tight from what the tech told me. What kind of visual or hands-on inspections can be done to check them ourselves?
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      02-06-2013, 10:44 PM   #20
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E9X rotors are really robust! I doubt they're warped.
Its either uneven brake pad deposits, or a problem with the calipers
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      02-06-2013, 11:45 PM   #21
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A few brake experts believe that rotors don't warp, it's almost always brake deposits. Did you change your pads?
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      02-24-2013, 04:00 PM   #22
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I get this vibration sometimes. Could it be related to the wheel sensor in any way? Could the vibration be the brakes pulsing? Why are the brakes smooth as can be other times?
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