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When the brake caliper mounting bracket bolts are tightened to the hub (on the passenger side only!), the new rotor binds against the bottom of the bracket on the outside (away from the center of the vehicle) and the wheel cannot rotate freely.

My vehicle is a 1999 Nissan Maxima and I purchased Centric rotors (Amazon claims that these rotors fit).

Brake Caliper Mounting Assembly

This image is not from my vehicle, but the part is prominently displayed.

The very odd thing is that the driver's side has no problem. I switched the rotor from the driver's side to the passenger's side and the problem persists.

Both new rotors are approximately 26mm thick; it appears that 3mm of rotor surface need to be removed for the part to fit on the passenger side. Minimum safe rotor thickness (per... the internet) is 20mm for the 99 Maxima.

What should I do?

  • Get 3mm of braking surface turned off the new rotor?
  • Return the rotors to Amazon and attempt to find thinner rotors?
  • Purchase a new, third party mounting bracket and see if it has a wider interior space?

What could account for this difference of alignment in the bracket? Is this intentionally manufactured as such? Perhaps the bracket has been replaced in the past?

Image Source

The rotor, pinned to the side of the bracket (bought a new bracket, no joy): Pinned Rotor

Backside of the rotor (a little fuzzy) - note the clearance on the bottom: Rotor Backside

Top of the rotor - no problems: Rotor / Bracket Top

Answer: I can only assume that something is wrong with the hub as the brand new rotor has a wobble in the spin when placed on the passenger side. The vehicle does not drive problematically at this time with the new pads / rotors installed and so I will leave it. If I follow up on this problem in the future I will add more to the post.

Edit: As it turns out the hubs on my vehicle are press-fit into the knuckle. This means that either something skewed the hub during its lifetime or it was not pressed in correctly to begin with.

  • Have you measured the brackets? Is one side smaller than the other? – HandyHowie Jul 18 '16 at 13:07
  • The rotors are both 26mm. The same rotor, which fits on the driver's side, does not fit on the passenger side. I have digital calipers but unfortunately not a micrometer. It appears that the driver's side bracket is approximately 29mm wide on the bottom while the passenger side is between 26-27mm on the bottom. – Shrout1 Jul 18 '16 at 13:19
  • So it is definitely not that the rotor is offset due to a problem with a wheel bearing? – HandyHowie Jul 18 '16 at 13:25
  • I don't think so, though that is a good thought. Would there be any other clear indications of an issue with the bearing? I should probably pick up a micrometer lol... – Shrout1 Jul 18 '16 at 13:31
  • You could put the wheel back on and give the wheel a wobble in different directions to check for play. – HandyHowie Jul 18 '16 at 14:12
3

Either rotor should fit on either side. Something is wrong. It could be that one rotor wasn't machined correctly, or that something is odd with the hub. Start by looking at both of them carefully, you may see an obvious difference. Failing that, if you have appropriate measuring tools, see if you can find a difference that accounts for the misfit.

If that doesn't work, then it is likely that the hub is off somehow and you'll need to sort that out.

One other thing to look at is the caliper itself, if it floats then it is possible that the caliper has hung up and could be freed and centered so that it would fit.

It might also be helpful to compare your old rotors. Are they identical, roughly speaking?

  • The more I look at it the more I agree with you. The opening on the "bad" bracket is exactly 27mm top and bottom. This means that the rotor is somehow askew, causing it to run through the bracket at an angle. There is no obvious damage to the hub, but the car has 175k miles on it, 160k of which I did not put on it. The old rotors were nearly identical in thickness and otherwise, so I've purchased some Napa "premium" rotors and I will fit those on. The caliper is just fine, the car was braking no problem prior to this brake job. Wear on the old rotors looked even. – Shrout1 Jul 20 '16 at 13:25
  • Also, I've fitted the same rotor on both sides of the vehicle and it binds only on the passenger side. – Shrout1 Jul 20 '16 at 13:28
  • Check the hubs. Is there any play or wobble? Also, if you still have them, look at the mounting surfaces on the bad replacements, it could be a faulting machining job. – dlu Jul 20 '16 at 13:28
  • That last check was very good thinking. That means something has to be different on the passenger side. It also pretty much eliminates a problem with the replacement rotor. Look carefully at the caliper mounts the problem must be either there or at the hub. With the mileage on the car it could well be wheel bearings. – dlu Jul 20 '16 at 13:32
  • it could be the bearings, but I've never noticed any play in the wheels when they're torqued on correctly and I've never heard any noise / complaining from the wheels when I drive. Car doesn't seem like it has any problems with the wheels when it's on the road. – Shrout1 Jul 20 '16 at 14:32
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You've been sold the wrong rotors. Don't machine the new rotors, that would be considered damaging them, voiding the return. Don't buy an aftermarket caliper bracket, you will have the same problem, or the wrong part. Just buy the correct rotors. Return the others.

  • Appreciate the advice! Annoying that they fit on one side and not the other. – Shrout1 Jul 18 '16 at 15:05
  • Before I try to return the rotors I'm going to check if the caliper bracket at my local Autozone has the correct tolerance. Just need my micrometer to show up and I can test it out. – Shrout1 Jul 18 '16 at 16:27
  • Take the good and bad rotors to Autozone (label which is which!). Buy one from them which will be correct - you can check it while in the store - and return the incorrect sized one to Amazon for a refund. – PeteCon Jul 18 '16 at 17:10
  • Pete - if the caliper bracket they have doesn't accommodate the new rotor then I will do exactly that. Thank you for the suggestion! – Shrout1 Jul 18 '16 at 17:30
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I am probably too late to help you with your problem now but I just experienced the same issue as you did. I figured out the problem. Everyone was wrong with their theories but the closest answer was the bearing. The inner race of the inside wheel bearing was not set in the rotor from the manufacturer deep enough therefore preventing your rotor from sliding all the way on the spindle. All you need to do is rent a bearing set tool from the part store and hammer the inner race of the wheel bearing in until you here the race seat.

  • Great answer. You can also use something like a brass drift to pound it into submission as well. Definitely an issue to on the look for when something like this occurs. – Pᴀᴜʟsᴛᴇʀ2 Jul 24 '16 at 22:05
  • To be fair to the other posters I actually changed the title of this question after I posted it :) I appreciate your input! Oddly, the rotor on the passenger side has "wobble" in it, induced by I don't know what. It wobbles about 7-10mm despite the rotor being completely new. The bearing doesn't complain when I drive the car and the brakes don't judder. So I have no idea what the cause is! Thank you for the suggestion. – Shrout1 Jul 25 '16 at 13:58
  • @Ratman I wish I could mark two answers! I'm going with dlu's answer because it is more generic and I haven't determined the root cause of the problem. The car drives just fine with a slight wobble in the rotor. Odds are I need to replace the wheel hub and everything will be dandy. Thanks very much! – Shrout1 Jul 27 '16 at 14:39
1

Inspect your passenger side for something bent that could cause your bracket to not line-up where it should. Since you said that the passenger side bracket is of a slightly different size, it may be the wrong bracket.

Often, there are "option" brakes available that require a different bracket, maybe somebody needed to replace that bracket and got the wrong one, and you ordered the same replacement. Return to the part store and ask them to look-up other brackets available for the '99 Maxima. With and without ABS, and traction control. To give you an example, in order to get the correct parts for the rear brakes of my '94 Sentra that doesn't have ABS, I need to request the rear brake pads for a '92 Maxima and the rear rotors for a '93 Pulsar with ABS. As far as the parts store is concerned, my Sentra doesn't seem to exist. :)

  • 1
    Thank you! I've looked more closely at the bracket and it seems to have been correctly manufactured. Now I need to inspect the driver's side again more closely to determine if the brackets are actually identical. I'm installing thinner rotors for now and hopefully the vehicle will continue to perform without problems. There hadn't been any major performance issues with braking, though I wasn't aware that my rear pistons were frozen until I attempted this brake job. – Shrout1 Jul 20 '16 at 13:27
  • @Shrout1 Inspect everything on the front passenger wheel. Something may be bent and preventing your perfect bracket from lining up. – tlhIngan Jul 20 '16 at 20:50

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