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I just replaced my rear-passenger side Caliper, Caliper Bracket, Rotor, and Brake-pads due to the rotor, pads, and caliper bracket grinding together.

Vehicle: 2000 Blazer 4WD, recently had front brake troubles, fixed them and they appear to be fine. At that time we noticed the rear-passenger-side outer brake-pad was needing replaced.

  • Original Symptoms: The brakes were grinding horribly while driving at all speeds (not even braking) after just replacing the pads. The caliper bracket needed replaced because it had been grinding a bit too (I suspect that it was the screeching noise I heard while turning right). Brakes were also inconsistent.

  • What Changed: New Caliper, Caliper Bracket, Rotor, and Brake-Pads on the rear-passenger-side wheel, bled the brakes at that wheel as well.

  • Previous Symptoms: The brake pads and rotor are lightly grinding while driving at around +15MPH.

  • What Changed: Removed one of the "shims" (little thin metal-piece) from inside the caliper bracket (above/between the brake-pads).

  • Current Symptoms: The rear-passenger-side rim is still getting hot (like stove-top hot or hotter). When going around curves where the vehicle's weight shifts squeaking begins emitting from that corner of the vehicle and continues for a while, eventually dissipating.

History

  • Last Summer: Replaced rear brake-line as there was a leak and pedal was going to the floor. Appeared to be fully working after replacing and bleeding 20+ times.
  • Christmas Eve: T-bone accident on rear-driver-side. Replaced the Leaf-spring, some black charcoal box-thing, brake-lines and emergency brake.
  • Maintenance 2-4 weeks prior: Front-brakes were grinding due to bad CV-Joint. Fixed the front (both sides) Rotor and Brake-pads. Replaced CV-Joint. Rear brake-pads checked and replaced (inner perfect condition, outer a bit worn).
  • "Original" maintenance 1-2 weeks prior: Replaced rear-passenger-side Caliper, caliper bracket, rotor, and brake-pads.
  • "Previous" maintenance last weekend: Removed the "shim" (little thin metal-piece inside the caliper bracket above/between the brake-pads). We removed this after realizing the other side didn't have it and the problem hadn't been solved.

Edit: Updated question with vehicle history and better summation of events.

Could bad Ball Bearings be a culprit?

The only other thing I can think to mention is that before removing that "shim" the pads were pushed inside the caliper bracket more than I pushed them in originally (I pushed them to the edge). After we removed the "shim" it moved the pads back to the edge (and therefore no longer touching the rotor directly).

  • I've had this low-speed grind happen on a Touareg just after the discs and pads were replaced, but it went away after a few days or weeks. Were the discs cleaned with brake cleaner prior to installation? – Zaid May 31 '15 at 14:16
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Was the wheel/hub spinning freely while the brakes were off? (to rule out other causes of noise)

Are there any signs of things touching that shouldn't? (the stone-shield behind the brakes is a common culprit of this, as it can easily get bent slightly out of shape)

When replacing them, were there any noticeable differences between the brakes/hub/etc on that side and the other side? (you did change the ones on the other side as well, didn't you?)

It's also worth checking the condition of the brake lines - the rubber hoses can perish over time, and block the inside of the line. This then created an effective one-way valve - the pressure of you applying the brakes is enough to overcome the blockage, but the return pressure isn't, so effectively the brakes lock on.

  • It's definitely the pads & rotor. The rotor was getting so hot that it was changing colors where the outer pad met it. The outer pad was less than a centimeter thick. The stone-shield has nearly rusted away lol. We ended up removing the little metal "shim" clip thingy from the caliper-bracket. It sounds like it's not rubbing while driving instead I hear feint noises occasionally when braking and going over bumps. I'm hoping it'll just go away, I'll update my question in a few days with the details. – Shelby115 Jun 1 '15 at 11:13
  • It's also worth checking the condition of the lines - see edit above... – Nick C Jun 1 '15 at 15:47
  • I updated my question to be a bit clearer and include vehicle history. I'll try and answer your questions: 1) The rotor (with everything attached) spun when moving it by hand with the vehicle in neutral. 2) The only thing that was touching was the Pads to the Rotor, that seems to stop soon after we removed the "shim" see edit for more details. 3) We didn't actually take the other tire off this time (it was raining so we were restricted to a small garage), it doesn't have any symptoms either. That being said could something on the other side be causing problems? 4) Brake-lines we checked. – Shelby115 Jun 3 '15 at 3:45
  • The shim shouldn't be causing any problems, it's just there to stop the pads rattling. You MUST always change the pads on both sides of the car at the same time, otherwise you could end up with a dangerous mismatch between them - which might not be obvious in normal driving, until you have to do an emergency stop... Bad bearings should show up when you span the hub before refitting the new pads (hence why I asked that originally). In normal operation, the pads should appear to be touching the disc when you look at them, but you should be able to easily turn the wheel or hub by hand. – Nick C Jun 3 '15 at 10:37
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Turns out the culprit was ultimately the accident I had Christmas Eve. The C-Clip inside the differential holding the rear-passenger-side axle shaft broke during the accident and we hadn't known. This was what was causing the rotor to grind against the pads and caliper bracket.

Thanks to all who helped trying to find the needle in the haystack. We were just checking the brake-line theory when we noticed a shiney part of the axle-shaft sticking out.

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