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97 Escort Brake Sounds

06-08-2010, 03:32 PM
I pay pretty close attention to how my brakes sound these days, having sometimes let them go for too long a time. I hadn't had the brakes serviced in some time, but the moment they started making noise I took them to a general service center recommended by a co-worker and which has been in business since 1964.

The repairmen said that I'd brought the car just in time to avoid metal hitting metal, as they put it, and they did replacement of all four brake pads, repacked the bearings, and removed the rotors and drums for machining. Yet when I got the car back the brakes still made a metallic grinding noise, which I was told would go away in a little while.

It didn't go away, and even began to make an additional "clacking" sound when brakes were applied hard. I took it back in and they said that they resurfaced the rotors at no additional cost to me.

But the sound persists, though they said it ought to go away in a week. Aggressive stops make no difference: the metallic sound happens every time, though not always with the clacking sound. I plan to take the car back again but am trying to get some advice about what they might be missing.

One site claimed that "aftermarket" pads could cause the grinding sound because they're of inferior make. Any opinions?

06-08-2010, 06:03 PM
The brake "clacking" is a very common issue when pads are replaced dry. Seen it many times and especially on the ford pin style calipers. There is a product called "Disc Brake Quiet" that is a fluorescent orange color that basically glues the pads to the caliper ears and piston. Also some anti-seize on the pins is always a good idea.
If you pull the pins on the caliper and slide the pads out, simply apply the Disc Brake Quiet to the backside of the pad where the piston contacts and the outer pad were the ears contact. When replacing the pins into the caliper, dip the end into anti-seize and slide it in(should spread throughout the whole pin when slid back in).

As far as the metallic grinding noise, it could be due to a rust lip that wasnt ground out during the resurface, but could also be caused by cheap brake pads. If you pull the pads out to do the glue and anti-seize application, use a semi-rough sandpaper to scuff up the pads in a circular (non-directional) pattern. When done with the process, take the car up to speed and lay into the brakes a few times to get them nice and warm, this helps take the initial layer off the pad and levels it with the rotor.

06-12-2010, 05:01 AM
Welcome to the Forum!

There should have been some shims between the caliper piston and the brake pads. This will eliminate a resonance set up between the two. As mentioned, Disc Brake Quiet, will achieve the same result. It won't do any good to keep cutting the rotors. You will have the problem until the frequency resonance is eliminated on the caliper piston. There are some spring clips that go through the pins. These keep the brake pads from clacking. Many times they will be left out simply because the tech. that worked on them thinks they will have no effect on the brake action. This is wrong. Granted, they will not be a safety factor but will be a noise factor. Ask them: "Are the shims and spring clips in there?" If not, he can get a disc brake hardware package from the local parts place. It should have the shims and springs.

06-13-2010, 04:22 PM
Yes... it sounds like the parts were changed dry. The "glue" usually comes with the new parts but is easily overlooked.

Also, sometimes the quality/composition of the new pads has a lot to do with the amount of noise.

06-19-2010, 02:03 PM
Thanks for all your help. I will definitely pass on these suggestions to the repair service. I'm amazed that they took such half-measures in getting rid of the sound after the first complaint. It ends up costing both of us extra time and trouble now that they have to work on it again.

More importantly, I'm glad to find out that I haven't been putting my life at risk in driving the car with this noise going on.

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