2001 Ford Puma Brakes

Tiny
MIA100MAX
  • MEMBER
  • 2001 FORD PUMA
  • 74,000 MILES
Hi, I noticed a grinding noise from the front brakes for the first time today so drove straight to quikfit. The guy there jacked it up and took off both the front wheels. He said the brakes needed doing and also new callipers and said it would be £460.00. I told him to do it. He then rang me about 2 hours later and asked me to go back as there was another problem. When I got there, he said the brake fluid hoses were corroded and leaking brake fluid so he would have to replace them on each side and that tey eete copper but had been painted black to disguise the problem. I would of thought I would of noticed if break fluid was leaking, but have not had anything leaking from under car? He said I could not drive the car unless these were done. He Has now said it will cost £630.00. Does this seem right to you. I only paid £800 for the car 2 months ago!
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Friday, September 13th, 2013 AT 10:42 AM

4 Replies

Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
One of the things mechanics really hate is having to call customers to tell them more parts or services are needed, but often those things can't be seen or known until we get into the job. Some shops plan ahead for those surprises when they give you an estimate, but then they risk losing your business to a competitor down the street who starts out with a lower estimate.

In this case I don't know the climate you live in and we don't have that car model here so I have to make some generalizations. Ford products here DID used to have much more than their share of brake caliper problems but today they don't seem to be any worse than any other car brand. It is not automatically necessary to replace them at every brake job but years ago we did rebuild them, which didn't cost much to do. The issue is rust and corrosion can build up on the piston. As the pads wear down the piston works its way out of the caliper. That is how they self-adjust. Any dirt or corrosion that forms just moves away from the rubber seal over time. It's when the mechanic has to push that piston back in to make room for the new, thicker pads that the dirt gets stuck under the seal and causes the piston to bind. Even if he is able to force the piston in, (many unknowledgeable do-it-yourselfers use a c-clamp), that dirt will cause the piston to hang up resulting in a brake that won't release and won't apply properly. It is the main cause of new brake pads wearing out very quickly.

If that is what your mechanic ran into he was right to sell you a pair of rebuilt calipers. Replacing both insures even braking. Rebuilt calipers today cost WAY less than they did 20 years ago so it doesn't pay for the mechanic to rebuild them himself. My concern is how and when the mechanic determined new calipers were needed. Once the wheels are removed, I use a regular screwdriver to gently pry each piston back into the caliper. They should move relatively easily. If I can't move them at all, rebuilt ones are called for. There are some shops here in the U.S, particularly the chain stores and mass merchandisers that sell you calipers with every brake job because the mechanics work on commission. Independent repair shops and dealerships don't do that so there is no incentive for mechanics to sell more than what is needed.

Assuming the calipers did need to be replaced, the hoses have to be unbolted from them. Most are held on with "banjo" bolts. Those are hollow bolts the brake fluid flows through. The bolt goes through a hole in a brass fitting on the end of the rubber hose. It is sealed with a pair of copper washers, one on each side of that fitting. It is customary to replace those washers because they are soft and are meant to squish and form around grooves in the fitting to create a tighter seal. Reusing old washers rarely causes a problem, but replacing them is cheap insurance against a leak. To have a leak there now when you obviously didn't before suggests the mechanic is looking for you to pay for an easy fix when he could just flip those washers over and reuse them, or he could replace them. That alone is not a legitimate reason to replace an entire hose.

Rubber flex hoses must be replaced when the outer covering is frayed or torn because it won't be long before the inner, high-strength part is compromised and will rupture just when you'd really like to have brakes. The problem is that's not exactly what he said was wrong with them. I wish I could see for myself why he wanted to replace the hoses. We look for signs of that fraying when we do the initial inspection. If we see that, the hoses are included in the initial repair estimate.

As far as the black paint, that is a non-issue and he had no business saying someone was trying to hide something. A little spray paint isn't going to stop a fluid leak any more than I am going to stop a meteor. Very often people paint their brake calipers to stop them from rusting and looking unsightly through the spokes of their wheels.
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Saturday, September 14th, 2013 AT 12:36 AM
Tiny
MIA100MAX
  • MEMBER
Hi caradiodoc,
Thank you so much for the reply. The hoses I mentioned were higher up and he said they were copper but had rusted and were leaking. He had a sort of pair of pliers? Attached to the bolts I think you mentioned but the hose I am trying to describe was above this. It was these that he said had been painted, not the callipers. I was thinking last night whilst trying. To sleep :-( and I do not remember them being wet when he took the wheels off for the first time to show me but when he called me back, they were wet and he said it was the brake fluid leaking out. If this was the case, would they not have been wet when he took the tyre off in the first place as I had just driven there, braking quite a lot. Hope that makes sense! Also, could I also ask you another question. I loaned my car to a friend for a couple of hours the day before. When I had last driven it, there was absolutely no noise from the brakes at all or when turning the wheel. When I got in the car the next day after they had used it. I turned to get out of the drive and immediately heard a strange noise, then when I drove off and braked for the first time, the grinding noise was terrible. Could they have done something whilst driving to cause that? I only ask because my daughter drove her car for a month before getting her brakes done, she said it started off as very quiet and gradually got worse. Mine was out of the blue and Incredibly noisy, even when just turning the wheel round corners whilst driving. Thanks again for your advice, it is really appreciated.
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Saturday, September 14th, 2013 AT 2:55 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The series of events you described for both your car and your daughter's car can be considered normal. Typically the linings on brake pads never wear perfectly evenly so when they do wear far enough for one of the metal backing plates to starting rubbing against the steel rotor it's a light grinding you hear at first. It gets worse as more of the pad wears away. If they were wearing fairly evenly that grinding will get worse real fast as in a few miles to a few days. That grinding could have started while your friend borrowed the car.

To add to the problem, Ford typically uses brake rotors made of soft metal to reduce road noise that is transferred into the cab. The disadvantage is you won't hear that initial light grinding. By the time you do hear it the rotor is ground down so far that it also needs to be replaced. There is a published legal minimum thickness rotors can be allowed to wear down to. Beyond that they must be replaced.

The metal brake lines you mentioned are made of steel, not copper. It is well-known in the profession that copper tubing is commonly used in home plumbing but it would never hold up to the much higher pressures in a brake hydraulic system. Many steel lines have a black anodized coating to resist rusting. It is possible for those lines to last the life of the car but if they use salt on the roads like they do where I live, those lines will rust and start to leak in 10 - 15 years.
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Saturday, September 14th, 2013 AT 11:09 AM
Tiny
MIA100MAX
  • MEMBER
Thanks so much, you have been great.
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Saturday, September 14th, 2013 AT 12:35 PM

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