HELP PLEASE (I think I may have screwed something up) [Archive] - Forum


View Full Version : HELP PLEASE (I think I may have screwed something up)

02-16-2004, 06:09 PM
Well a lot of you saw how I painted my brake calipers... Well I didn't notice it until today but while braking at high speeds my car shakes. It shakes bad, not necessarily violently, but bad. So I took it home and checked my lug nuts to make sure they were tight, yep they were. I could have tightened too much tho. :(
I would say warped rotors but it just happened after I finished my project. :confused: Can anybody give me any ideas? Thanks in advance,


02-17-2004, 01:36 AM
Great :( I talked to my mechanic and he said that when I was tightening my wheels since I tightened in a circle instead of star shaped (stupid me didnt look in the manual) I guess I torqued the wheels (I forget how he phrased it) so he said to try to loosen it and try again (star shaped this time) and since I have been driving it a couple days, if it still shakes after I did it right, then it means I warped my rotors. :( So I tried it again tonight and it still does it. Where is the best place to get my rotors fixed for cheap, or buy new ones? :(

02-17-2004, 05:50 AM
No, I SERIOUSLY doubt that had anything to do with it.

When I torque down my wheels, I do it haphazardly.. I tighten them down any which way. I've rebuilt numerous cars and I've never heard that. Of course, it DOES matter how you torque down a cyl head.... but with a rotor and wheel... I doubt it.

Honestly, it's not that big of a deal. You can probably get new rotors for $25-30 dollars each from your local auto parts store.

I replaced the rotors on my 97 Grand Am SE around 80k miles. They would shake soo bad!

It's just quite possible that they were starting to warp, and that because you removed the wheel all together, it allowed the rotor some slack. Then, the next time it got hot, it just started to get heat cracks and warp. I seriously doubt it was anything you could have caused.

I just noticed this morning that the rotors in my 1997 Grand Am GT (different car) are now starting to shake too...

My grandfather totalled my white 97 GrandAm SE. So I'll probably just pull them off there since I bought htem only a year ago.

Your mechanic is an idiot to suggest that you were at fault.

02-17-2004, 06:04 AM
It's funny how people who can't follow simple directions on how to torque down wheels call mechanics idiots for blaming them when they warp their rotors.

How COULD it be your fault when something goes wrong! That's so OBSCENE of a thought that YOU could be at fault :rolleyes:

I'm not talking about you Luke...

02-17-2004, 07:00 AM
Gimli, I have restored numerous cars, rebuilt engines, rebuilt transmissions, everything that has to do with a car. I can tell you right now, that unless you grossly torque down some lug nuts more than the other ones, you're NOT going to warp the rotors. So long as all the lug nuts are properly torqued down, it won't make a difference in what order you torque them. A wheel isn't like a cyl head, or an intake manifold, that needs to be torqued down in a specific sequence.

The fact of the matter is that the GrandAm has cheap brakes. Yes, that's right. The brakes on the GrandAm.. while they are decent, are still cheap... if you look at consumer reports, or any of the other articles, they state that one of the biggest problems with GrandAms are the brakes. The rotors are cheap, they'll warp, crack you name it.

It's not that I'm "right". I've been wrong hundreds of times.. you learn from your mistakes. But I know enough about this to know that his rotors warped because of age, and simple wear and tear. (and the fact that they are of poor quality to begin with).

I had the original rotors in my 1985 Fiero GT 4-Speed that I drove for 163k miles.... never had them warped. I even once drove for two whole days with a loose rear wheel (one of the kids in the neighborhood had loosed my rear wheels for fun). I didn't bother to check the lug nuts because I assumed it was a failing CV joint (yes, the Fiero has CV joints in the rear).

NEVER warped....

02-17-2004, 12:21 PM
All I know is that before I took them off my car was fine and then after, it was shaking. My dad didn't like this project (even though it is my car) he said it wasn't worth it and now he's sure it was something I did. Now every time I want to do a mod he's going to point out "what happened last time." And of course he doesnt want me to install the new rotors so I'm going to have to go somewhere to get it done. Where are the best places to go to get brakes done? I know the dealership is going to charge like $150 per rotor plus $200/hour for labor. :rolleyes: Should I buy new rotors or just get them respun or whatever it's called? If I buy them new are they the same on all cars or is there a type for the GA? Thanks again.

02-17-2004, 12:44 PM
LukeD, it wasn't necessarily your fault. However, it may have been something else that you did. Did you touch the rotors, or drip any oil on them? Why did you remove the wheels to begin with? If any oil, or grease gets on the rotors, it can cause certain spots that won't catch as well.. which will cause spotting on your rotor.. which can also cause the vibrations.

Now, this is important, does it vibrate ALL the time, or ONLY when you brake? A rotor isn't going to become warped enough that it's going to upset the balance of the wheel during normal driving. However, you WOULD feel it noticeably while braking.

For what it's worth.... a family member wrecked my 97 Grand Am SE while I was out of town. The insurance company paid me, and I replaced it with another 97 Grand Am (but a GT).

I have not touched either of the front wheels since I purchased the car. I've had the car for about almost 4 months now. I just changed the rear drum brakes about 2 months ago. I went on a business trip and left my car at the airport. When I got back (late friday night), the brakes started vibrating when I brake. It never did this before. It's just the nature of the beast, these brakes just aren't the best brakes.

Chances are, if your brakes are warped (which they probably are if it's vibrating while you brake) then you will need to replace them. However, you may still be able to have them resurfaced. You will want to have them checked (you'll need to remove them). Inspect them for any small cracking that you see... these rotors are really crappy, even from the factory, and they seldomely last more than 80k miles with any spirited driving at all. You may see a few almost microscopic stress fractures. You'll want to replace them.

On my last 97 Grand Am, I got a set of NEW rotors from Discount Auto Parts for about $35 a piece ($70 total).

If you do it yourself, you will need the following tools + parts:

1 - New Rotors (obviously)
2 - Whole new set of front brake pads
3 - HEX head socket bit to remove the caliper bolts (you may want to get the entire kit which includes multiple sizes, I don't know which size you will need)
4 - socket wrench for the socket bit
5 - Machine grease (to lube the caliper pins / bolts)
6 - Brake Rotor Cleaner (spray can to clean the rotors and calipers after installation)
7 - A large "C-Clamp" to compress the caliper piston when re-installing the caliper WITH the new pads installed.

And that's about it. It's a fairly easy job when you know what you're doing. I'd suggest you get the Haynes repair manual.. it gives step by step instructions incase you're worried about screwing something up.

My dad is the same way. We'd like to think that our parents are omnipotent, but they aren't. They may know what's best, and they may not. I personally don't like the idea of shying away from a challenge. My dad used to tell me not to screw with my car cause I would break it and not know how to fix it. So one day he came home, and guess what he found in his garage? An old 1982 TransAm, completely torn down...

After about a week, the initial shock and screaming died down, and I learned how to work on it... I did break stuff.. but I learned a hell of a lot. Now, cars are where all my paychecks go.

I just suggest though, that you don't fiddle TOO much with your daily driver unless you have a backup car... you don't want to get stuck with no way to get to work.

02-17-2004, 01:19 PM
thanks Todd,

Yeah I was painting my calipers. I did spray this stuff on them though... If that gets on the rotors could it cause them to not catch? If so do I just wash it off with water?

02-17-2004, 02:15 PM
I don't believe the paint would have caused it. I have painted the calipers on my last 2 cars and many friends cars, always getting some on the rotor and I have NEVER, EVER noticed a difference. After a few minuted driving it always rubbed off, with no damage to the rotors.

02-17-2004, 03:49 PM
No, if you used that brake cleaner it would have cleaned everything off. Brake cleaner evaporates rather quickly.

It's possible it was just it's time...

Did you remove the caliper when you painted it?

02-17-2004, 06:49 PM
no I left them on to paint them.

I went to Big-O Tires and they took my car in (guy quoted me $45) to turn the rotors. The mechenic came into the waiting area where I was and told me they couldn't turn them (worn too much) so he gave me an estimate for new front rotors (with warrenty) and labor $230. Ouch! :eek: So I asked him if I bought my own rotors and brought them in how much for an install. He said $45. So I left and went to the dealership. Guess how much for GA front rotors? $166 each!!! Just for the rotors, not installing them. No way am I paying that. So I head over to my local auto parts store and they have 2 different kinds of rotors for my car, $23 each for some Korean made rotors, or $55 each for some good quality ones. So I got the $55 ones and went back to Big-O where I set up an appointment for tomorrow morning for them to install them.

02-17-2004, 07:55 PM
Regardless of what you may hear .... Over tightening your lug nuts is an excellent way to warp your rotors . They should be no more than 100 ft lbs and tightened in the pattern in the shop manual . Why do you think they would have these specs if it didn't matter . You proved it to yourself :D

02-17-2004, 07:58 PM
Good decision, the $55 dollar ones I'm sure are much better than the Korean ones.

By the way, there is no way in hell you could have warped your rotors beyond any recognition in just 2 days. This is something that's been happening for a while and just started to show symptoms.

02-17-2004, 09:15 PM
Check this out >

02-18-2004, 11:03 AM
Originally posted by Gt00
Check this out >

Good site! It is especially critical that wheels are torqued down in the proper sequence. The tolerances on rotor to hub interfaces have become quite tight in recent years, and any variation will result in transmitting brake pulse through the pedal/vehicle. They don't have on vehicle brake lathes for no reason.

02-18-2004, 02:43 PM
Well I took my car in to get Big-O to put on my new rotors and while they had the tires off they pointed this out to me. Parts of these front tires were all the way down to the metal. Time for new tires. The guy suggested an alignment but the thing is when on the freeway doing about 75 my steering wheel shakes some (maybe I didn't notice it before or maybe its just worse now) however it doesnt pull to either the left or right. Could it just be that the tires are worn down and not out of alignment?
I was about to get my tires rotated but its kind of too late now and the Big-O mechenic said it may not be safe to do so cause the rear end could slip. So I head over to America's Tire Co to check tire prices and they have my Eagle RSAs for like $83 each or they have some Yoko-(somethings) I forget which are W-rated for $100 each. Well my back tires are fine so I only plan on getting 2. So should I go back to RSAs especially if my back ones will still be RSAs? Can you have W-rated in front and V-rated in back? Thanks for the advice.

02-18-2004, 05:42 PM
Yokohamas are pretty good tires, so I have heard....

02-18-2004, 06:02 PM
OK , if your old tires are wearing unevenly ( like on the edges ) you may need an alignment . You don't want to spend money on new tires only to have the same thing happen to them . Also , it's not recommended to mix speed ratings on tires . Your vehicle may handle differently . Ask the tire shop ! ;)

02-20-2004, 04:36 AM
aluminum rims, if not torqued down right will not seat flat, may not WARP the rotors, but the rim will not be seated correctly and therefor you will get a good shake in the wheel, my neighbour has a ford exploder and he did this, all we did was loosen the lugs and torque em right, no problem.

That could have been 1 of your problems, but sounds like you got bad tires too.