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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Folks,

I have a 2004 Element EX ABS 4WD with 54K on it. I have recently noticed that the right rear brake rotor was grinding. I looked it over and noticed that the rotor was blue burned and pitted, as was the left rear, probably due to two seized caliper slider pins. My mechanic last fall at inspection time alerted me to the fact that the front pads were just passable for NYS inspection, so while I was repairing the rear brakes, I decided to replace the front pads and rotors and bleed the hydraulic system as well.

I pride myself as a being a decent mechanic, but after I replaced the pads and rotors on all four wheels, I noticed that after a 5-mile drive at highway speeds, as well as a 2 mile in-town drive, the front rotors still had the cross hatch pattern from the manufacturer, while the rear rotors were turning blue! The temperature of the rear rotors was in excess of 400 Degrees F! I bled the hydraulic system at all 4 wheels again, but still have the problem. The pedal feels good, but it is pretty obvious that the rear brakes are doing all the stopping.

The Official Honda repair manual suggests replacing the Brake Modulator ($900.00). I am curious if this problem may be a just stuck proportioning valve in the hydraulic system. I'd like to know if any of you folks have experienced this problem and what type of cures I should be looking into.

Thanks in advance for your help!
TR
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Not much out of the ordinary. Just a typical 4 wheel brake job:

1. I cleaned up the pad frame,
2. removed some rust built up under the anti rattle shims,
3. cleaned and lubed the slide pins,
4. replaced the rubber boots that surround the slide pins,
5. pressed the pistons back in their bores,
6. applied some anti squeak to the backs of the pads and re-assembled the system.
7. bled the brakes

The problem appears to be with the front brakes not working, and the rear brakes taking all the load, but I don't know why. When I vacuum bled and pressure bled the front brakes, plenty of fluid came out.
 

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It may also be the master cylinder. Test that for proper pressure from each of the ports first.

Dom
 

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Probably not the master, Dom... unless the world has changed because of ABS, the hydraulic circuits are in an 'X' configuration, with one each rear and front on a circuit. One failed master circuit would result in lopsided brakes.

I'd vacuum-bleed everything again, and do an on/off cycle with the ignition a couple of times in the process to cycle the ABS actuator. I have a hunch we're dealing with air in the ABS actuator.
 

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If the fronts aren't working (causing the rears to do all the stopping) you'd really feel it when slowing down quickly.

If the fronts aren't working stopping distances would be super long.

I'd pull the rear (and fronts) to be certain they are functioning properly.

If you loosen the bleeder screw slightly, the piston in the caliper should retract easily by hand....no clamp or other "extra" pressure should be necessary.

I'm guessing the calipers are the problem (assuming realatively normal) braking performance from 50 or so mph.

Bleeding and cycling the ABS would be a good idea just in case.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Brake Crisis Solved!

You guys are gonna love the solution to the rear brake dilemma.
I received the incorrect rear brake pads! The pads I received were identical in every way to the ones that I removed with one little exception: There are 2, 5mm diameter protrusions, about 3mm high, on the backs of both the inboard rear pads! As luck would have it, one of these little darlings just happens to coincide with the rim of the caliper piston. I didn't notice it as I was assembling them the first two times because the piston was pressed all the way back in its bore.

The suggestion about opening the bleeder screws and checking for mechanical interference was spot-on! I guess that I took too much on faith that the parts people (who shall remain nameless, but a major chain whose initials rhyme with AA) have their act together. I feel like a bonehead! I destroy things and put them back together for a living and should know to never to take anything on faith when it comes to cars, women, and explosives.

Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
TR
 

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I destroy things and put them back together for a living and should know to never to take anything on faith when it comes to cars, women, and explosives.

Thanks for all your help and suggestions.
TR
Not necessarily in that order though. :D
 

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The suggestion about opening the bleeder screws and checking for mechanical interference was spot-on!
Yup. It is an easy/cheesey/handy way to check calipers: Not only do you check by feel for any rubbing/intererence issues, but also with the bleeder open you flush fluid (and junk) out of the caliper than might otherwise escape the regular bleeding process.
 

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...I received the incorrect rear brake pads!... I guess that I took too much on faith that the parts people (who shall remain nameless, but a major chain whose initials rhyme with AA) have their act together....
540z I just put rear pads on from those guys a few weeks ago. What brand and part # on the correct pad? And the incorrect if you still have the box. I'm pretty sure they gave me the correct set. I made sure to compare them to the old set but I might have missed something.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
MME4ME,

I don't have the box, but the AA part number on the receipt for the rear pads was NAD536, Wearever Silver 3601420, but the pads I received were basic $18.99 organics, not the $27.99 Wearever Silver models listed. I replaced them with NAPA part number AD7418 pads.

So what probably happened was that the "new guy" (this guy had clueless written all over him) at the AA parts store had to chase down the parts in the stockroom, while the counterman just sat on his butt, grabbed the box of pads and sold them, not bothering to compare what was on the box with what was listed on the computer. It must be my bad for trusting some numbskulls to do their jobs. But don't get me on a rant about people doing their jobs anymore. I'm still out the $49.00 that the destroyed brand-new RR rotor cost, not to mention about 4 hours of diagnosis and running around.

'Nuff said, I hope this information helps. And don't mind the venom, I'm relatively harmless.

TR
 

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NAD536? Uh... That's what my box says. And you're saying these pads don't fit or they didn't give you the NAD536?
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The pads in the box weren't correct for my vehicle, whether the parts placed in the box at the factory weren't right, or the application was wrong. The inboard pads had two pins on the backside instead of just one, like the Original Honda pads. If your rear brakes haven't given you any problem since you put the NAD536 pads on, they are probably OK. You can disassemble them and look if you really need to be certain. Knowing my luck, however, I just got the wrong pads in the right box.
Good Luck
TR
 
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