Steering wheel staking while braking?

Tiny
T5LARSON
  • MEMBER
  • 1997 HONDA ACCORD
  • 170,000 MILES
I have a 1997 Honda accord with about 170,000 miles on it. Over the last year I have been chasing a steering wheel shaking problem while braking. I have replaced the rotors and brake pads twice, replaced tires (balanced and aligned), replaced front axles. Every time I take it in they tell me the rotors need to be replaced because they are warped. After the rotors get replaced, the steering wheel stops shaking for a couple thousand miles then starts doing it again. The second rotors were higher quality rotors and I am one step below the slotted rotors. What could be causing the rotors to go bad so quickly? Wheel hub? What checks do I need to do to solve this problem?
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Sunday, April 29th, 2012 AT 12:34 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
It's real common for new rotors to warp, ... Once. Instead of replacing them, have them lightly machined to true them up again. This is more common on Chinese rotors. It has nothing to do with the quality of the part. It has to do with cast iron parts made in the U.S. Are "aged" for 90 days before they get their final machining. Chinese parts are cast, machined, and shipped right away, then they age on your car. That's when heating and cooling cycles cause them to warp. Once that happens and they're machined again, they usually hold up just fine.

The lateral runout should be measured on each front rotor before and after machining. If any is found after machining, either the setup on the brake lathe machined a warp into the rotor or there is some scale or debris stuck to the hub, or the hub is bent. When the calipers are reinstalled, a conscientious mechanic will carefully lube their sliding mounting surfaces with a special high-temperature brake grease. If there's a slight warp still in the rotor, the caliper may slide back and forth so freely, like it's supposed to, that you don't feel the shaking. As that grease wears away, the caliper can slide less freely and cause that wheel to tug on the steering linkage. The warpage may have been there all along but now you can feel it.
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Sunday, April 29th, 2012 AT 1:47 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
NOT TRYING TO BE A PAIN

HOW ARE YOUR BRAKING HABITS COMPARED TO. LETS SAY THE DRIVER'S ED TEACHER'S?

ALTHOUGH MY WIFE SHOULD TAKE THE COURSE AGAIN, SHE HAS THAT HABIT OF "1/4 SECOND POWER STOPPING". THAT'S WHERE YOU CONSTANTLY WANT TO KNOW THE CONTENTS IN THE BACK SEAT OF THE CAR IN FRONT OF YOU. BUT CONSTANTLY HITS THE BRAKES AS NOT TO HAVE THEM IN HER OWN FRONT SEAT. SHE HAS A FORD ESCAPE, NOT EXACTLY COMPARING APPLES TO APPLES

SOME PEOPLE CONSTANTLY KEEP THEIR FOOT ON THE BRAKE PEDAL, "RIDING THE BRAKES". COULD BE THE OTHER DRIVERS OF THE CAR. LIKE THE TEENAGERS?

MY DAD NEVER COULD UNDERSTAND WHY THE TRUCK TIRES WORE OUT SO QUICKLY. SURELY IT WASN'T US KIDS!

OF THE PADS YOU HAVE USED, ARE THEY THE HIGHER END OR LOWER END?

BACK UP AND LOOK AT THE OTHERS--THEY HAVE "PRODUCT DESCRIPTION" AND "CUSTOMER REVIEWS" ALSO.

KEEP US INFORMED

THE MEDIC
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Sunday, April 29th, 2012 AT 1:55 AM
Tiny
T5LARSON
  • MEMBER
I forgot to mention that the wheel only shakes between 25-45 miles an hour. Thanks for the quick response and I will look into these replies. For braking habits, some down shifting is used without braking, but most of the time is off the gas and coast then brake close to the light/stop.
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Sunday, April 29th, 2012 AT 3:21 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Here's a photo from rockauto. Com of your front wheel bearing assembly. The arrow is pointing to one of the access holes where water can splash up and cause spots of rust to build up on the back side of the rotor. Those spots have to be scraped off before the rotor is machined, otherwise they'll cause it to sit crooked on the brake lathe. That will machine a warp into it. Even if the cones on the lathe don't contact those spots, the rotor can be reinstalled in a different orientation and one of those spots can be wedged between the rotor and hub. That will hold it crooked on the hub. That will show up with a dial indicator on the wheel or the rotor as lateral runout. Usually you'll feel it when not braking as a shimmy in the steering wheel. Other dirt or scale can also get stuck in there causing the same symptoms.

You should also consider worn suspension components. It is real common for the friction to vary around the rotor creating a barely noticeable surging in the braking. That variation can tug on the suspension and steering components in a varying amount each wheel revolution. We normally don't feel that thanks to the weight of the car, but if a control arm bushing is worn it will allow the the control arm to move around and tug on the steering linkage and steering wheel. Things like that are less common causes of a brake pulsation but are fairly common on their own. If measuring lateral runout on the rotors and wheels doesn't provide any clues, we need to start considering these more obscure things.
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Sunday, April 29th, 2012 AT 4:50 AM

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