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Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

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Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Old 12-19-2008, 10:02 PM
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Default Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

This happens to me every once in a while as a DIY kind of guy, but it's ironic because if all this happened at an independent shop and they tried to give me the bill, I'd never believe it.

So I decide to do my front brakes, weather is nice and it's about time. It looks like the rotors are ok, so maybe I'll just do the pads which are shot. (I figure it'll cost me $40 / 2 hours of effort) Day starts with me borrowing my buddy's new aluminum jack, jacking up the front crossmember, jack "cup" breaks as I am jacking, jack shoots out, bashes my hand against the driveway. ($110 to replace jack, $5 in band-aids, 1 hour to find my old steel jack and get everything back up)

Take wheels off. The rotors aren't perfect but ok. In taking off the calipers I realize that one rotor has a LOT of play in it. Hmm. Turns out wheel bearing is bad. Bearings are part of the rotor assembly (2wd truck) so I may as well replace the whole damn thing. Back to the parts store for bearings, seals, rotors, and a shop manual. ($200 / 2 hours)

Get the new rotors, pack the bearings, get everything on the spindles. Go to put the calipers on. Having a heck of a time compressing the pistons. Finally get them down enough to put on, button everything up, go for a test drive. (3 hours)

Get back home, drivers wheel is a little warm, passenger wheel is HOT. Seems neither caliper is actually retracting all the way, guess that's why they were so hard to compress. Back to the parts store, 2 reman calipers, more brake cleaner, more anti-sieze, etc,. (another $100 / 1.5 hours)

Now it's 9 pm and I'm right where I started, 12 hours later. Pitch black outside but I'm determined not to waste two days on this. Have to jack it up, take everything apart, replace the calipers, load pads, bleed brakes, put wheels back, torque everything, and test drive. (total 2 more hours) Finally everything is working more or less properly, pedal is still soft but should just need bleeding after the 20 oz of brake fluid I dumped all over my driveway.

And that is how my 2 hour, $40 brake job took me 14 hours and $455 to do.
Old 12-19-2008, 10:21 PM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

thats priceless. Been there done that. My favorite is when you are going to do a simple oil change and you decide to spend the big bucks on mobil 1. Your out there messing around under the hood, the wife thinks your actually doing something productive. Everything is running smoothly until you fill the crankcase with new oil and it pours out on the ground cause you forgot to put the drain plug on.
Old 12-20-2008, 09:52 AM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Wife had a Sunbird that the waterpump went out on.. well it was transverse mount engine so I opted to have a shop tackle it.. well they have to jack the car up pull a tire to even get access ... whole job was 400.00 give or take ...But the replacement water pump was bad so they had to do it twice but only 1 labor charge...funny part was they purchased the water pump from the exact auto supply that I would have purchased it from.. and they only stocked one of the pumps at a time...lol...

Moral of the story... happens to both sides...

How is the driveway you did not get blood on it did you???


John
Old 12-20-2008, 10:45 AM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

How about a simple spark plug change that ends up being an entire top end rebuild? PO hadn't EVER changed the plugs on a AMC 360 ina Cherokee Chief w/ 70K. The two worst accessible plugs broke off in the heads and after numerous attempts w/ "easy-outs" [img]../images/emoticons/frown.gif[/img]I gave up and pulled the heads. Turned out the PO had installed the heat-riser valve the wrong anyway(it wouldn't open) so there were two valves that were fried plus a lot of carbon in the valley and.........a slight power loss I'd been curiuos about.[img]../images/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]

After a valve job, new lifters, a few pushrods, new distributor, water pump, carb, exhaust systemand few other things I got her buttoned upjust in time for a record 13" snowfall. All the work was done outside w/ no garage.Ran great, bombing around in the snow,till I filled the engine compartment w/ snow and found out the oldspark plug wires gave off a great light-show when wet. There's always something else.[img]../images/emoticons/wink.gif[/img]
Old 12-20-2008, 08:49 PM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Question.....when you were trying to compress the caliper pistons did you take the cap off the master cylinder?

Old 12-20-2008, 08:57 PM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Or, why you should never add brake fluid! If the master is low, either the pad are shot or you have a leak. But if the local lube n tune adds fluid and you then do the brakes, you get to know the joy of paint stripper running everywhere.......
Old 12-20-2008, 09:08 PM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Yeah....and with the cap completely off the fluid will actually squirt pretty far if you compress the piston to fast.
Old 12-20-2008, 09:23 PM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

How do we know? Yeah.
Old 12-21-2008, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

LOL yes, cap was off. When I removed both the calipers, I couldn't compress them all the way in despite having the hoses off and bleed screws out... which was curious, because the whole system looked better than I was expecting, but the truck is 11 years old so...
Old 12-21-2008, 08:57 AM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Did you use a big C clamp or were you trying to do it by hand. I have done brakes on 20 year old cars and never had that problem.
Old 12-21-2008, 09:59 AM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

I wondered about that myself. I use one of the ond shoes and a C clamp to retract the caliper and have never had one refuse to retract. I did once have a problem where the brake fluid had absorbed water and rusted the caliper bore. The caliper did not leak with the worn pads, but the new pads caused the seal to be deeper into the bore and into the pitted area. I had new pads, but also had two leaking calipers. I replaced 'em with the stainless steel sleeved ones
Old 12-21-2008, 11:16 AM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

on abs vehicles dont force brake fluid backwards into system !!!!!! use clamp off tool on lines open bleeder now you can bottom out caliper pistons while fluid drains into pan. when done installing bleed brakes !!! hope you dont need to breakout several more big ones.
Old 12-21-2008, 12:11 PM
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Default Re: Don't blame the mechanic... sometimes it all goes wrong

Started with a wood clamp I had lying around, that didn't work, moved up to a 5" C clamp, that didn't work, finally borrowed a 9" C clamp from a buddy, took everything I had to get the pistons to within 1/4" of flush or so.

No ABS, hatterasman, although I hadn't heard that before.

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