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Vehicle: 2000 Chevy Blazer 4WD 4.3L V6 Engine

Current Symptoms (I suspect this might be the symptoms of 2 over-lapping problems?)

  • Brake light comes on. It then goes off if I press the brake to the floor. (Comes back on after restarting the vehicle).
  • Brakes are inconsistent. Sometimes I have to press them to the floor to stop, other times they only need pressed a little. This occasionally changes while driving, causing a bit of worry.
  • Very loud squeaking when turning right. This is the newest symptom and it started today.
  • I replaced the (front) Brake-pads less than 2 months ago, and I have a very good feeling they are worn again. Lots of dust on the (front) rims.
  • Engine-light came on with error code: 0174 - System Too Lean (Bank 2)
  • Occasional Hesitation on take-off. It almost seems like I'm holding the brake a little bit (I'm not) at first, then I give it more gas and it takes off (So it appears to other drivers that I wasn't paying attention that the light turned green lol).

History

  • 1 Year Ago - Brake-pads and master-cylinder replaced as part of troubleshooting brakes going to the floor. (Turned out to be a sneaky leak in the back).
  • 5 Months Ago - I got T-Boned on the Driver-side (from the middle of the back-door to behind the back-wheel). Broke the leaf-spring, blew the tires, and damaged the brake lines. Replaced all three (and a few other things).
  • ~2 Months Ago - (front only) Brake-pads were grinding. Never heard any squeaking from brakes. Replaced (front) Brake-pads and flipped the rotors. Also noticed that the "casing" on the CV-Joint was off.

Two Problems?

The reason I think it might be two different problems is that at first I thought the brakes were sticking (causing the occasional hesitation of take-off and theoretically causing additional brake-pad-ware) but after looking into the engine-error-code I'm thinking that is to blame for the hesitation. After all the engine would get louder if you hold the brakes and the gas at the same time wouldn't it?

Question

What would cause the brake-pads to wear down so fast? (And potentially not squeak, because I suspect that the squeaking I hear when turning right has to do with the CV-Joint and not the brakes, it's like nails on a chalkboard x10).

Speculation

I trust my Dad's decision to flip the rotors instead of replacing them, (I'll definitely look at them again when I get the chance though) so I'm going to guess for now that it's not them. The pads are obviously a symptom and not a cause (because I avoid braking heavy). When we changed the pads and flipped the rotors, the calipers looked a bit rusty (so I'm hoping it's them since I know how to change those).

Are there any other possibilities? I'm still fairly new to the inner-workings of a vehicle (more of a computer guy willing to learn as he goes), so just knowing what -could- cause something like this is helpful so I can at least research it further.

  • I forgot to post what was wrong. The back-right wheel assembly wasn't attached at all. The caliper was holding the whole thing on because in the accident mentioned in my history section broke the C-clip inside the differential that held the axle on. Not 100% sure why this was causing the front rotor to wear-down faster but I guess it makes sense. That all cleared up once we discovered that. – Shelby115 Mar 29 '16 at 15:20
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Most likely they wore out so fast because your rotors were rough. Rough rotors will wear brake pads out real fast. I suggest replacing the rotors. Some people polish their rotors (AKA "turning") but that requires a lath. They shouldn't be too expensive to just replace.

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    For clarity, turning is the correct term for machining performed on a lathe. But yes, I've never heard of anyone flipping rotors and I imagine that would not do anything to help pad life. Much better to turn or replace them. – Lathejockey81 May 8 '15 at 0:27
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It sounds as though you may have more than even two issues going on here.

When ever you replace your pads, you should as a minimum burnish the rotors. This means taking the glaze off of them so the new pads can bed (or break-in) correctly. Realistically you should have the turned (or machined) so there is a fresh surface for your new pads to ride on. As an alternative, new replacement rotors will cost you just a few dollars more than turning them will, so this is usually the better alternative, especially where safety is concerned. If the brakes are not bedded correctly when first installed, they can wear out very quickly. You can also get a vibration when braking which feels like a warped rotor. Neither is a very good alternative, especially since you just put new pads on.

Another area to look at is to see if you have a bad wheel bearing. If there is more deflection than normal (which should be zero with a good wheel bearing), your brakes can wear out faster. In extreme cases, if the wheel is allow to deflect enough, you'll start hearing odd grinding/squealing noises.

Your CV Joint may be having an issue. If it doesn't already, it soon will if the boot isn't in place. The boot is there to keep the grease in (which keeps the joint lubed) and keep the dirt/dust/debris out. It usually doesn't take long after the boot is ripped/torn/gone for the damage to occur. You can get noise from the CV Joint. It's usually a loud "clicking" noise when you go around a corner. (I'm not sure if your Blazer is one where the drive axle is rotating all of the time, or if it only gets engaged when the front end of the 4wd is actually being used.) This will be something you'll need to inspect, but if the boot has been off for some time, you'll probably need to replace at least the joint.

You state that there is a P0174 (System too lean - bank 2) code present. This is usually caused by one of several things:

  • The MAF (Mass Air Flow) Sensor is dirty or faulty Note: The use of "oiled" air filters may cause the MAF to become dirty if the filter is over-oiled.
  • There is also an issue with some vehicles where the MAF sensors leak at the silicone potting material used to protect the circuitry.
  • There could be a vacuum leak downstream of the MAF sensor Possible cracked vacuum or PCV line/connection
  • Faulty or stuck open PCV valve Failed or faulty oxygen sensor (bank 2, sensor 1)
  • Sticking/plugged or failed fuel injector Low fuel pressure (possible plugged/dirty fuel filter!)
  • Exhaust leak between engine and first oxygen sensor

(NOTE: These are the things which came from P0171, which is for bank 1, but it is a much more comprehensive list of "things which could be wrong")

You may also try to just delete the code and see if it comes back. Sometimes things just become a little out of whack for a short period of time. Nothing may be exactly wrong, so after the reset things will read as normal.

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