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Old 10-07-2007, 03:04 PM   #1
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Skooled by local mechanic

so, 1993CivicVX and I did his rear brake overhaul not long ago:

replaced cylinders
new shoes
new hardware
thoroughly cleaned up everything

never quite had them sounding good. clicking. first the clevis on one side had fallen out and was grinding against the wheel shaft.

we reset it, seemed to be fine for awhile but still clicking on braking.

we examined them countless times, compared them to two other civics to make sure we had the adjusters on the right sides, springs correct, etc... nothing visually wrong.

well, jacinto had it to the mechanic recently for other stuff and had him take a look at the brakes.

i wasn't there but i understand he gave jacinto a very hard time for trying to do it himself, and later told me that i could have killed him, and he hoped i never did another brake job.

said the pistons fell out of the cylinders when he removed the shoes.
said: "NEVER, EVER, EVER, PUT GREASE ON THE BRAKES!"
I understand this was sort of a cardinal rule, to apply grease to the contact parts...
he justified this point by saying "that's what the spring is for." he claimed there is a little spring on the pivot for the ebrake arm which we didn't install, or had on backwards or something. i recall NO spring there whatsoever.

He also reamed us out heavily for applying high temp sealant to the backside of the cylinder. I didn't want to do this either, but the haynes manual clearly told us to.

Aside from that, we DID have the clevises on their correct sides, but apparently we hadn't adjusted them properly by hand before braking them to adjust.

I understood that you basically backed it out enough to hold the clevis in place, then take it out for a few hard brakes forward nad reverse, and it was set.

He was saying you had to put the drum on, then tighten "by feel" through the little hole in the back with the special tool, until the drum no longer turned, then back it off a bit.

What's the difference?
In any case, he claimed the adjuster was worn down to the threads.

He now replaced everything for jacinto, including new cylinders again (said the Advance stuff was junk), likely genuine honda expensive stuff, new shoes and hardware, etc..

the guy was a bit of a prick, in short.

obviously we somehow screwed up the job, but i've done it twice before with co mplete success.

this guy will no doubt charge jacinto about $300, just to spite him, is my guess.
we showed up and he said he had 1.5 hours left, to do "one more side and bleed the brakes." WTF! that's no more than a 30 minute job!

just thought i'd give you all an update. this depressed me very much. jacinto and i literally spent an entire saturday and most of the next sunday overhauling his brakes, only to have to pay the damn mechanic in the end.

i still firmly believe that a brake job is something anyone is capable of if they learn how to do it, and i still believe i am capable of it. still don't really understand what i did wrong...

sucks.

jacinto didn't arrive before he closed for the day. we found his VX outside wiht the window all the way down, no key, no invoice! he is still without the car and hopefully will pick it up tomorrow. we both are waiting in horror for the bill.

jacinto also suspects this guy broke his AC adjuster lever.

goose fraba.
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:40 PM   #2
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At some points in the drum brakes I've worked on, I've always applied a small amount of lube so things pivot smoothly. I don't see anything wrong with it.

He is right about the adjusters.

And I agree with the above response regarding the wheel cylinders. They're new so there is no reason to replace them...

Next time do the job with a manual by your side, do one side at a time, and find yourself another mechanic who isn't such a prick. The first brakes I did, I studied the manual, did everything very slow, and was fine. Brakes aren't hard, they just take some practice to getting good at working on them.
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Old 10-07-2007, 09:42 PM   #3
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That mechanic sounds like he was pissed off. I cant believe he just left the car with the window down and unlocked. I would have used the spare to drive it home and still shown up the next day and say "where the F is my car?" just to yank his chain.

Good to hear that you're not put off by the whole experience.

I agree that doing one side at a time is good for reference. A digital camera can be the next best thing. I like to take several pictures at each step the first time I do something tough.
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Old 10-08-2007, 07:22 AM   #4
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It sounds like he was upset that you tried to get away without hiring him to do the work the first time.
greese and brakes are a bad mix, and if you used enough that he noticed then it might have been to much, I'll use a small amount of thick high temp greese on the parts that rub on each other, but only a very thin layer, I also would never buy brake parts from advanced auto, altho they should work I've also returned countless parts to them because of defects, more then all the other parts stores combined.
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:03 AM   #5
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The mechanic isn't a very socially cobbled guy as it were. He was upset because having a botched brake job is unsafe. I don't think he was upset that I didn't pay him in the first place. The first time I bought my car to him he left the window open. He's just a quirky guy. I'm a bit afraid of him to be honest.

I got the car back today. $228.71 Not so bad. 2.5 hours to do the job. was afraid it was going to be more because he had to buy a new adjuster as well as new brake cylinders. What does a normal rear brake job cost?
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Old 10-08-2007, 10:30 AM   #6
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Well for the work he did, it sounds like he charged you a fair price.

I appreciate that their was something not done correctly, if their was a pin without a spring attached. However, I don't think it was at all reasonable for the guy to get all upset about it.

I have used a small dab of grease on the backing plate, where the shoes rub, ever since I had one where the shoe wore a hole through the backing plate, because their wasn't any grease. However, if in doubt, I wouldn't put any grease, only because grease and brakes don't mix.

I would just try to get a before picture with a digital camera, so you can make sure they go back together the same way they were before you took them apart.

As far as adjusting, he is correct in that the way he described is the best way to get the brakes initially adjusted. However, it does have an autoadjuster which would have allowed the adjuster to work the shoes out to adjustment, given a little time and use. If you adjusted them so that they were reasonably close, it would have probably been fine.

One difficulty I always have with the adjusters is the fact that on one side of the car they turn clockwise to tighten and on the other they turn counter clockwise. I always have a hard time remembering which side was which, even though I've just taken them apart. I suppose I would suggest writing it down, but then I'm just the pot calling the kettle black.

I do think I would find a more friendly mechanic to work with. You don't really need to be working with someone who is going to give you a working over, verbally. It is not a sign of their qualifications or knowledge and from what I've seen, although he's a mechanic, he still puts his pants on one leg at a time, just like the rest of us.

Congratulations on your success, just chalk it up as a learning experience, so next time it doesn't have the noise.
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Old 10-08-2007, 01:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Palmer View Post

I have used a small dab of grease on the backing plate, where the shoes rub, ever since I had one where the shoe wore a hole through the backing plate, because their wasn't any grease. However, if in doubt, I wouldn't put any grease, only because grease and brakes don't mix.
That is what I was referring to. I've seen backing plate almost worn through on three of my cars so far, so I don't think the dab of grease will hurt.
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Old 10-08-2007, 02:30 PM   #8
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thanks fellas.
will not screw it up next time.

i hope to personally never have to use a mechanic again as long as i live.
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Old 10-09-2007, 02:05 PM   #9
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did you have the drums resurfaced? I've seen bad cuts on drums where if the brake was applied the shoe would hit drum and walk to the edge causing springs to fall out or wheel cly to pop out leaking fluid everywhere or make a clicking sound every time the shoe would walk to the edge and then pop back in place. the drum was probably resurfaced but cut like a old style bearing race instead of a nice flat cut. I don't use grease but use anti seize on backing plate and pivot. adj brake until a slight drag on drum.
I've also seen a spring just break and grind down to nothing just from parts failure.
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Old 10-09-2007, 03:02 PM   #10
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The problem with grease in a wheel is that is does not stay where you put it and with a drum it ends up on the drum surface then it will either catch fire or lock up and catch fire. A little on the threads of the adjuster inside is ok and I would not worry about the dust cuz it can only stick so much on the grease before it is completely covered. Adjusting it after puting it back together is critical because you could develop excessive piston travel and damage the piston seals and getting the ebrake assembled properly is also critical so that it releases and prevents drag and brake heating. I did my girlfriend front and rears on her accord and a year later the dealer wanted $700 to do them again so go figure.
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