2002 Dodge Stratus New rims and new brakes-problem?

Tiny
CLARAMEJIA
  • MEMBER
  • 2002 DODGE STRATUS
  • 4 CYL
  • 4WD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 132,000 MILES
Hi,
I recently had new rims installed on my car. A few months later I needed new brakes. I paid $564 to replace the brake pads and also the arm? That holds the brake pad away from the rotor. Anyway when they were done they told me the rims were wrong size and they put a temp spacer on the brakes cuz they did not fit. Went to the tire place, they told me they never heard of such a thing. Now I have temp spacers on my brakes and I don't know who is right. The tire company or the brakes place. All I know is that the spacers are temporary and can be dangerous. I have never had such a problem! This is my first time at the brake place but I have been going to the tire company for years. I am inclined to believe the tire company. They actually called the brake place and told them they were wrong. Before I go back to brake place I want to be sure that they are wrong.
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Tuesday, June 2nd, 2009 AT 10:27 PM

7 Replies

Tiny
ZACKMAN
  • MEMBER
Please post the part number for the brake pads that they installed. Also tell me if it is a sedan or coupe.

The tire company is correct about the new wheels/tires that you have.
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Thursday, June 4th, 2009 AT 3:04 AM
Tiny
CLARAMEJIA
  • MEMBER
The part numbers are CEN143.63014 for the calipers, all four wheels and CEN145.7654 for caliper pistons for LR and RR. This is a sedan. It was new rims that I got for the car. Thank you
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Thursday, June 4th, 2009 AT 10:18 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
If the rims were hitting the calipers, is the only reason to install an adapter plate, as for the arm? No such animal, there are anti-rattle springs, and retaining clips as shown here, but niether pull the pad away from the rotor.


http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/62217_stata_1.jpg



http://www.2carpros.com/forum/automotive_pictures/62217_stratb_1.jpg

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Thursday, June 4th, 2009 AT 3:37 PM
Tiny
ZACKMAN
  • MEMBER
Merlin is right. If they claim that they had to replace or even "modify" the arm, they must have been smoking a strong one and they aren't sharing. You brake pads are attached directly to the caliper and the caliper is attached directly to the steering knuckle/hub assembly. Not to an arm.

The part numbers that you posted belong to caliper piston rebuild kit, not brake pads. Brake pads part number should be xxx869xx. X may be a letter or another number, but 869 is a constant number.

I would take the vehicle to another shop (call around for ones that perform free brake check).
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Saturday, June 6th, 2009 AT 1:04 AM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Don't overlook the fact that your custom wheels were installed when the old, partially worn pads were still on the car. New pads each have over 3/8" more lining which moves the caliper 3/8" out closer to the wheel. If you need proof, have the brakes or tire people take a front tire off, remove the spacer and put the tire back on. If the wheel is locked up or makes a scraping noise, remove the wheel and look for the witness marks, (scrapes on the caliper or inside of the wheel.

I suspect the brakes people were correct. The only thing they could do to cause a problem with original wheels is to install pads with linings that were too thick, and that isn't very likely. There just isn't that much extra room when the proper pads are installed. The fact that spacers solved some problem by moving the wheels out a little should be proof something is wrong. If you still have the original manufacturer-designed wheels, put one of them on and see if the brakes still interfere. If they do, it's a caliper installation or pad problem. If the original wheel fits fine, as I expect it will, it's a wheel problem. No wheel salesman is going to want to admit there is a problem with their product. And quite frankly, I've never heard of a "temporary" spacer. It is common to install spacers with after-market wheels. As a point of interest, selective wheel spacers are available for some truck models to solve an alignment pulling issue. These are also not temporary.

If you find shiny scratch marks on the inside of a wheel but not on the caliper, look for "casting flash" on the caliper. This is a raised sharp edge caused by molten steel seeping through the joints of the mold. This extra metal can be easily filed or ground off. It usually isn't done during the manufacturing process because it's an unnecessary step that would increase the cost.

When you change from what the manufacturer designed into the complete steering and suspension system, you risk changing the handling characteristics. It is important for your new wheels and tires to result in the same "scrub radius" that was designed in. Scrub radius is affected, in part, by wheel offset, wheel width, and outside tire diameter.

In its simplest terms, scrub radius affects how the front of the car responds to one tire hitting a bump and how well the steering returns to center by itself after you turn a corner. More importantly, front wheel drive cars have a highly modified scrub radius designed in as part of the braking system. All modern cars have brakes with a dual hydraulic system. If a leak develops in one half, the other half is strong enough to safely stop the car. Older rear wheel drive cars have separate front and rear hydraulic systems, but front wheel drive cars have such a high percentage of drive-train weight in the front, a leak in the front hydraulic system would make the car very hard to stop because the rear brakes only do 20 percent of the stopping. To address that issue, all manufacturers use a "split-diagonal" hydraulic system. One front and the opposite rear brake are on the same hydraulic circuit. When half the system fails, only one front brake is working. With a scrub radius typical of a rear wheel drive car, that one working front brake would tug the steering wheel out of your hands causing a severe safety issue. By redesigning the scrub radius for this split-diagonal system, the tire with the working brake will want to pull hard toward the center of the car offsetting the tendency to pull the car toward that wheel. The result of this careful engineering is a car that stops relatively efficiently, in a straight line, and is easy to steer while only half of the brakes are working.

When wheels are installed with a different offset, width, or tire diameter, the scrub radius changes. You very likely will not notice the change because both front brakes are working and are balanced, but if there is a failure in half of the hydraulic system, you could be in for a huge surprise the next time you try to stop. Now you have a mismatched brake pull one way and a scrub radius pull the other way that are not equally offset by the other wheel.

Your wheel salesman can tell you if any measurements are different than on your original wheels. When a wheel manufacturer's goal is simply a change in appearance, they are very aware of sticking to original design measurements, but they are also willing to build and sell what customers want. The insurance adjusters are the people who really love anything that potentially changes the handling of a car. And lawyers are experts in spinning these modifications into much bigger issues than they probably are, even if you are not at fault in a crash.

One last thing to consider; it would be smart to double-check the lug nuts periodically. It's important to use a click-type torque wrench. Most Chrysler cars, with steel wheels, call for 95 foot / pounds. This insures the wheels won't fall off, studs and nuts won't be stripped, a 90 pound girl can get them loose to change a flat tire, and most importantly, they are all tightened evenly to prevent warping brake rotors. Aluminum (mag) wheels are soft and can crush a little resulting in loose wheels. A loose wheel will wobble on the studs and distort the friction surface that holds the nuts tight. No lubricant should be allowed on the nut-to-wheel contact points either. A LITTLE grease on the threads of the studs is acceptable but never use anti-seize compound. Also, don't use any lubricant at all on anodized studs. They have a yellowish or bluish plating and are usually found on Asian cars. They might also be shiny silver, not the normal dark color.

Caradiodoc
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Friday, June 12th, 2009 AT 3:23 AM
Tiny
MERLIN2021
  • EXPERT
Caradiodoc: I though I mentioned that in my first sentence?
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Friday, June 12th, 2009 AT 3:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
I'm confused. Not sure what you're referring to about the "first sentence". As your brake pads wear over time, the brake caliper moves away from the wheel. That is the self-adjusting characteristic of disc brakes. You had your new wheels installed, as I understand it, long before you had the brakes replaced. That means the wheels were installed when you had partially worn brake pads, and the caliper was not so close to the wheel. Now, with new thicker pads, the caliper starts out closer to the wheel and will gradually move away again as the pads wear.

Your wheels should fit again just like before after the new brake pads wear a little, but until that happens, I would just leave the spacers in place. I know I wrote a lot of information, but unless something wasn't installed correctly, I firmly believe the brakes are not the problem, it's the wheels. Put one of your old wheels, (or the spare tire) back on, even without a tire, and you will see there is no interference problem. I was a suspension and alignment specialist at a big Dodge dealership for nine years. After that, I taught alignment, electrical, and brakes at a community college for nine years. I've never seen brakes cause the problem you described unless one of the caliper mounting bolts was bent, and then the wheel couldn't even be installed due the severe interference. Students seem to find cars to work on with every kind of modification imaginable, and they were always looking for ways to make custom wheels fit properly. One of the most common headaches was wheel weights on the inside lip of the wheel hitting suspension components. There are stick-on weights with double-sided tape to solve that problem.

I don't know what arm they were referring to. There is no such thing as an arm that holds the pads. Merlin2021 is correct about there being a large, very unusual anti-rattle spring on the outside of the caliper. I could see that making a noise if it was bent or misshapen. I have a hard time sometimes understanding other professionals, and I insist that my students use correct terminology when they tell me what they found or repaired. I purposely get confused when listening to their descriptions so they see the problems they can cause. I do know what they're trying to say, but when these future professionals get it all screwed up, what do you think is going to happen with the typical consumer such as yourself? Unfortunately, when professionals provide a thorough and accurate description to a customer, it's so full of technical jargon that customers become frustrated and feel stupid. Most good mechanics know this and want to find a balance between a clear, simple-to-understand description and a concise over-complicated one. Some people call that "dumbing it down", but think of it this way; do you really want your doctor to give you the same description of his diagnosis as he would to a colleague? Of course not. You and the second doctor understand things differently and that's normal. Your mechanic is in the same position. It's real easy to get lost and confused when all the technical stuff is thrown at you, and I've seen many instances when customers tell their friends they'll never go back to that shop because, ... When in reality, they didn't do anything wrong except explain something poorly.

I don't think any of the people who worked on your car deserve blame. The wheels obviously worked fine with partially worn brake pads. The brakes people obviously knew something was wrong right after they did the brake job. They observed a problem immediately after performing the routine service or they wouldn't have installed the spacers. The first thing any mechanic would do is pull the wheels back off and inspect his work. His natural assumption would be that he did something wrong. As for you, and most customers, who don't understand all the little details of how disc brakes work, it would appear to be common sense that the new brakes are the problem since the noise started right after they were installed. That's why I explained it the way I did, but that still might not help. You should remember that there's two variables; new brakes vs. Worn brakes, and custom wheels and original wheels. The only combination that is going to cause a problem is new brakes and custom wheels. Another way to look at it is what if you had the brake job done first, then a week or two later you had the new wheels installed? The noise would not have started until you got the new wheels. Then it would be the wheel installer's problem and they wouldn't be able to blame it on the brake job.

The only concern I have is I would ask the brakes guys what they mean by "temporary spacers". There are spacers made by various companies exactly for the purpose of installing custom wheels that don't fit every application perfectly. They are not temporary, they stay in place permanently as long as you have those wheels. I have seen people stick washers on the lug nut studs to move the wheel out a little, (I've done it myself), but no professional would ever let the customer drive away like that. The washers make nice gauges to determine the thickness of the spacers required, but washers will work into the openings in the back of the cast wheels and allow the nuts to become loose. I visualized temporary spacers made out of thick cardboard; that sent shivers up my back! Ask the guys what they used for spacers and if they feel they can stay in place.

It might be helpful too to know that custom wheels are rarely made just for your car model. There's thousands of car models and every wheel manufacturer wants their products to work on as many cars as possible. It's not practical to make thousands of different wheels, then hope the ones you need are stocked in the tire store. I love old Dodge muscle cars; my "misguided" cousin thinks Fords are great. The same custom wheels will fit both of our cars, but Ford and Dodge original wheels will not interchange. The custom wheels are purposely shaped to work on as many car models as possible, but they will never be the exact perfect fit that the car manufacturer designed. One of the trade-offs is you might need to use the stick-on balancing weights I mentioned. Another trade-off is you might need spacers. That's very common and should not cause a problem but they absolutely must be the correct spacers for the car and must be compatible with the wheels. There's a small chance you might need a pair on the rear wheels too if they have disc brakes. The standard drum rear brakes don't usually cause a problem. Also, rear disc brake calipers are always smaller the those on the front so interference problems are much less likely. Any store that mainly sells custom wheels and tires should have a pretty good selection of spacers in stock. They are going to see interference problems on a regular basis.

Caradiodoc
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Saturday, June 13th, 2009 AT 5:03 AM

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