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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I got this car about three years ago, it overheated the front brakes once after a trip up and down a 10,000 foot mountain about five years ago. Near the bottom of the decent the front brakes got extremely hot, smoking and smelling badly.

The car was towed to a reputable shop and checked out, nothing bad was found but the brake fluid was flushed and seemed to work fine at the time. I got the car and drove it to my house some 3,500 miles away, I had not problems on the trip home.

A week or so after I got home I drove about 100 miles from home, roughly 50 miles into the trip my steering wheel began to shake like an out of balance tire would driving 50 MPH on a HWY. I pulled over to inspect the car and I noticed once again the front brakes had overheated and smelled badly. I let it cool off briefly and continued the trip with no further problems including the trip back to my house.

At that time I decided to replace the calipers, rotors, front brake hoses and pads. I bought all Centic brand parts with Ceramic pads and installed them. I also flushed the brake fluid.

Now about three years later on the same 100 mile trip I got to the destination fine, spent about three hours there. After the three hour wait I drove across town on a 20 mile trip got 15 miles into it I got the same steering wheel shake, pulled over and the front brakes were again extremely hot and smoking. I drove the last 5 miles slowly to my destination and let it cool off for over an hour. It started raining, the brakes had cooled off so I decided to see if I could make the 100 mile return trip to my house. I made it home without issues.

My question is what do you think my problem is? I want to fix this and be able to rely on the van. Could this be related to the master cylinder or ABS brake system?

No codes are showing.

Sorry this is so long but I wanted to tell the whole story.
Thanks
Dan
 

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OK. Both brakes didn't heat up, right? The one that did has a bad caliper or needs service/lubrication. I have experienced a rebuilt/remanufactured caliper failing in less than a month, leading me to replace a hose, which wasn't the problem.

Now, if both front brakes are heating up, you have a system problem or a lead foot. Going for three years without a problem says something. It doesn't appear to be a system problem.

It could be as simple as the steel plates for the pads need a bit of grinding down, where they slide. That's normally done when they are new though. Wear notches in the caliper bracket?
Possible, but not likely at those miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Yes both front brakes are getting hot but I don't know if they are equally hot. I do have an IR thermometer I need to see what is going on.

I don't understand why some trips are fine and other trips get hot?

I was thinking about re- greasing the caliper contacts to see if that helps. I would replace the calipers if I thought that was the problem.

Thanks
Dan
 

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Brakes deserve being serviced yearly, for top notch performance, but who does that. :)

Yes, rotors do get hot, but which one is burning hot?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I am seeing smoke out of both sides, but don't know the individual temperatures. The smoke could be traveling from one side to the other. I have touched the wheels they seem equally hot. The pressure on the brake pedal is harder when the wheels are hot than it is when they are not.
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Dan
 

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When you come down the mountain are you using third gear?

Now that you are home, are you getting any vibration on braking? When you came down the mountain, you may be depositing pad material on the rotors.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
When you come down the mountain are you using third gear?

Now that you are home, are you getting any vibration on braking? When you came down the mountain, you may be depositing pad material on the rotors.
Yes I was using the engine for braking, I don't recall the vibrations but we were going a lot slower the speed I have been experiencing vibrations.
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Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #8
I just drove around the neighborhood doing nearly emergency stops from 30 - 35 mph down to 10 or so. I did this for about 5 every few hundred yards miles and got 350 F on the front brakes and 250 F on the rears. Braking was very good it was not pulling left or right and always releasing as soon as I let off the brake pedal (not dragging).

I lifted both front wheels and spun the wheels by hand in neutral, both turned equally as best as I could tell. No dragging on either side was experienced.
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Dan
 

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Hmm I wonder if cautiously turning off the traction control ( a CAVU day only) if it would make a difference.

I was going to suggest engine braking, that was the first thing that came to mind as I was reading the novella...
You know, they don't give us those additional options just for fun.

A curiosity none the less. I can't wait to hear what it turns out to be. AND I would be terribly rattled if it suddenly just 'went away'...
Be safe my friend.
 

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I'd pull out the front pads and make sure they are not tight in their guides, top & bottom. You might need to file the backing plates to achieve this.

Another action would be to coat the contact areas under the pad guides with a little smear of brake grease. If the replacement calipers are rusting underneath, that could be the cause of a binding pad, and the grease will prevent it next year. :) .
 

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Dan, these new "Centric" brand calipers, do you remember if they had steel pistons or composite?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Hmm I wonder if cautiously turning off the traction control ( a CAVU day only) if it would make a difference.

I was going to suggest engine braking, that was the first thing that came to mind as I was reading the novella...
You know, they don't give us those additional options just for fun.

A curiosity none the less. I can't wait to hear what it turns out to be. AND I would be terribly rattled if it suddenly just 'went away'...
Be safe my friend.
It hard to use engine breaking in FL, but when this has occurred I was trying the best I could to do that and stay off the brake pedal.

I don't think it is going away by itself, but I need to find a solution. I don't trust the car to be reliable at this point!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
I'd pull out the front pads and make sure they are not tight in their guides, top & bottom. You might need to file the backing plates to achieve this.

Another action would be to coat the contact areas under the pad guides with a little smear of brake grease. If the replacement calipers are rusting underneath, that could be the cause of a binding pad, and the grease will prevent it next year. :) .
I'm going to do this ASAP.
Thanks
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #14
It hard to use engine breaking in FL, but when this has occurred I was trying the best I could to do that and stay off the brake pedal.

I don't think it is going away by itself, but I need to find a solution. I don't trust the car to be reliable at this point!
Can you turn off traction control? I think I will do as Carbuff2 suggests first.
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Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Dan, these new "Centric" brand calipers, do you remember if they had steel pistons or composite?
They are the phenolic pistons, calipers were their top tier gold color coated and loaded calipers.
Dan
 

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It could be as simple as the steel plates for the pads need a bit of grinding down, where they slide. That's normally done when they are new though. Wear notches in the caliper bracket?
Possible, but not likely at those miles.
If this is only happening after heavy braking, then expansion (due to heat), tightness and lack of lubricant could be the sole cause. Like said above, the steel plates for the pads could be filed/ground in the bracket contact area, to provide more clearance. That's often done by a Shop (and myself) when doing a brake job.

I would say do that, service the brakes, and hope for the best. Happening to the two front brakes, no effects on the rear (think left front/right rear and right front/left rear) is a bit of a puzzle.

When doing a brake job I use high temperature copper antiseize in the contact areas, even for anti-squeak on the piston face and silicone brake lubricant for the pins where rubber is involved. That's an old Honda trick.
3M Brake Lube/Anti-Seize 08945 Copper
Details
High Temp Anti-Seize Compound. Factory recommended by Honda for use on brake pad backing plates to reduce noise and friction, high temperature threaded parts to prevent seizing and stripping, and mating dissimilar metals to prevent corrosion.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
If this is only happening after heavy braking, then expansion (due to heat), tightness and lack of lubricant could be the sole cause. Like said above, the steel plates for the pads could be filed/ground in the bracket contact area, to provide more clearance. That's often done by a Shop (and myself) when doing a brake job.

I would say do that, service the brakes, and hope for the best. Happening to the two front brakes, no effects on the rear (think left front/right rear and right front/left rear) is a bit of a puzzle.

When doing a brake job I use high temperature copper antiseize in the contact areas, even for anti-squeak on the piston face and silicone brake lubricant for the pins where rubber is involved. That's an old Honda trick.
3M Brake Lube/Anti-Seize 08945 Copper
The first 100 mile trip it did this on may have been related to heavy traffic and braking on the interstate, this was before I replaced everything so I don't really know how well the pads and pins were lubricated.

The most recent event was on local non HWY roads, some traffic but not particularly heavy braking. This event bothers me because it was less than 15 miles at mostly 30 - 40 MPH in city traffic.

I did not extra lube the new pins and pads when I replaced the calipers, I figured the manufacturer had done it right? Next step is to clean and relube the pins and make sure contact areas are not tight and have good lube. I hope that does the trick.
Thanks again
Dan
 

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Discussion Starter #18
If this is only happening after heavy braking, then expansion (due to heat), tightness and lack of lubricant could be the sole cause. Like said above, the steel plates for the pads could be filed/ground in the bracket contact area, to provide more clearance. That's often done by a Shop (and myself) when doing a brake job.

I would say do that, service the brakes, and hope for the best. Happening to the two front brakes, no effects on the rear (think left front/right rear and right front/left rear) is a bit of a puzzle.

When doing a brake job I use high temperature copper antiseize in the contact areas, even for anti-squeak on the piston face and silicone brake lubricant for the pins where rubber is involved. That's an old Honda trick.
3M Brake Lube/Anti-Seize 08945 Copper
My current caliper lube is Permatex Ultra Disk Brake Caliper Lube (Synthetic), I may get some of the 3M.
Dan
 

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My current caliper lube is Permatex Ultra Disk Brake Caliper Lube (Synthetic), I may get some of the 3M.
Dan
That ^^^ should be fine....
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Thanks Atwell, I will give it a try seeing how it's already here.
Dan
 
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