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Thread: Any one having problems with Raybestos/United Brake Rotors?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
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    Douglasville (ATL), GA
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    Any one having problems with Raybestos/United Brake Rotors?

    Just wondering if anyone else has used Raybestos or NAPA United brake rotors (same rotor, different box). If so, has there been any problem with warpage within a short time of installation.

    Here's the deal...I used to work for NAPA, so I bought most of my stuff there. And I always thought that United rotors were a very good quality, comparable to OEM. Well, almost every set I have got from them has ended up warping within less than 6 months of install. And I'm not hard on my brakes either.

    I have installed them on the following vehicles with problems:

    94 T-bird LX with stock front brakes -- replaced several times there after with no improvement

    94 SC with Mark VIII front brakes -- Have installed at least 3 sets over 20,000 miles due to warpage

    91 SC with stock brakes -- these actually held up for for about 20,000 miles until I installed the Mark VIII brakes

    91 SC with Mark VIII brakes -- same one as above -- about 10,000 miles on these and they are warped already

    96 Contour -- OEM rotors were fine when I replaced the brakes at 61,000 miles, but were too thin to turn, so I replaced them. This set was then replaced at 72,000 miles, and now the car has 78,000 miles and they are warped. (and this is my mother's car -- she drives like a little old lady!)

    Seems like I also had this problem on a 94 Cavalier too, but I cant remember.

    Not to mention that the 3 T-birds all had new pads, calipers, hoses, and hardware installed.

    Now common sense would say that there is a problem with these rotors. But all the parts stores say that they will typically not warranty rotors against warpage since "warpage is caused by problems with the vechicle, not the rotors."

    I still have some contacts with BPI (the company that makes Raybestos/United) as well as some other brake manufacturers, so I will talk to them too. I just want to figure out what's going on here.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Magnolia Texas (Houston)
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    Dan I work at a NAPA Auto Care Center and we do a lot of brakes here's the first thing you learn: New rotors are not straight. Some aren't even flat. Never put on any rotors out of the box except for MAYBE some really nice aftermarket brand name like Baer or Wilwood. Even those should be checked first.

    Always turn new rotors before installing them, you'll never feel a better pedal outside of a new car test drive.

    Feel free not to respond to me as usual.

    Vernon

  3. #3
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    Apr 2002
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    Douglasville (ATL), GA
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    I did machine all of these prior to installation, using a few different lathes different times at that. Lately I've been checking them for runout with a dial indicator once I get them on. Usually will have < .001" runout. And I also slotted most of the T-bird rotors.

    They felt great at first, but after a while the vibration begins, then gets worse and worse until I finally replace them.
    Last edited by Dan Lineback; 01-14-2003 at 10:33 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    Magnolia Texas (Houston)
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    468
    Well if that's the case I have no idea how you could warp so many brakes so quickly. I have some of the same cars with the same brakes and I'm really hard on them and don't experience this with the Mark 8 pieces, the stock ones I did they are complete crap. I really can't see how this is possible by everything you said. In any case I recommend not slotting or drilling rotors, it doesn't improve performance and it does weaken them. Take a look at some of the good brake companies web sites for further evidence and reasoning etc. I know www.willwood.com goes over it because I was just poking around over there a few weeks ago looking at their Subaru SVX kits for a customers car.

    At this point I have to ask, do you use those dust sheilds? The disk that go between the rotor and the wheel to keep pad dust off the wheels? They will cause brake overheating if driven out of the hood.

    Driving a hot rotor through water or snow will warp them due to the rotor cooling to quickly and at an uneven rate. Maybe you didn't but what about your mother? Same goes for commercial car washes on the go.

    Do you have the bad habit of driving with one foot resting on the brake pedal? That's another cause of this problem.

    Are you lubricating the caliper guide pins, and with what? Silicone grease is recommended.

    Maybe some exotic non-metallic pads that don't conduct as much heat into the caliper and fluid?

    Loose front wheel bearings will overwork the brakes.

    That's all I can think of, if nothing rings a bell then hell if I know.

    Vernon

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2002
    Location
    Straffordville, Ontario, Canada
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    357
    Ford put out a 2 day course on T-bird / Cougar brakes for mechanics, because these cars have very picky brakes. Turning rotors on these seems to be a lost cause. Even if you machine them on the car, they don't seem to last long after before the shakies start. I'm using white box rotors on mine with good success. Here's what I pay attention to:

    Make sure the wheel hub is clean where the rotor sits on, and also, the mating surface of the rim. If there is corrosion, clean them up with a die grinder with small wire wheel. Coat these surfaces with a light grease to prevent corrosion.

    NEVER USE AN IMPACT TO TIGHTEN THESE WHEELS. I won't even let a garage run them up with the Rotunda torque bar. Hand tighten to 90 ft/lbs with a click style torque wrench only, in a cross pattern.

    Hope this helps.

  6. #6
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    Apr 2002
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    Douglasville (ATL), GA
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    The rotors on the Contour were not slotted, so that rules that out as a common cause.

    No dust shields.

    Driving thru water/snow (what's that?)/carwashes: Our driving habits haven't changed any. We drove the contour in the rain, etc with the original brakes, and I almost never drive my '91 in the rain.

    I don't rest my foot on the pedal, nor does my mother.

    I lube the calipers with Sta-Lube synthetic caliper grease.

    Brake Pads: Now this does seem to be a common thread in most of these situations. I have been using United Ceramix pads on the Contour, and on the SCs with the Mark VIII brakes. I used regular organic pads on the 91 when it had the stock brakes (and the rotors didn't warp). However, I don't think that the use of ceramic brake pads can have any adverse effects. Afterall, they are OEM on many Hondas, Mercedes, BMWs, and some other imports. Also, I did have the warpage problems when using organic and semi metallic pads on my 94LX.

    Wheel bearings: I have actually had some issues with the front wheel bearings on the 91 (they are brand new, but are loose), but the bearings are fine on all the other cars.

    I clean up the face of the hubs and coat them with anti-sieze lube before putting the rotors on.

    I also use a torque wrench on the nuts to 100 ft-lbs. I think specs are 90-115 ft lbs.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
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    frederick,md...still
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    433
    i had my sc factory rotors turned 4-5 months ago at a parts store our work deals with,they were turned at 60,000 miles when i bought the car.when they were done last time, the car had 105,000.i also put pads all the way around.i thought it sucked turning them 40,000 miles after the last turning.the car had a slight shake at the time of my last turning, i wouldnt have even fooled with it,but i was going on a pretty long trip,so i did them.the parts store charges 11.50 per rotor,thats pretty good i think.they wont do them unless there in specs.i drive like a normal person,tighten the lugs with a impact,why arent mine warping faster?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Magnolia Texas (Houston)
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    Well Dan with the wheel bearing car I can say Ah Ha, that will deffinately cause brake overheating. The rotor keeps pushing the pads apart. This means extra pedal pressure and longer stopping distances for a certain pedal pressure.

    On the ceramic pads, maybe. Ceramic as you know is an excellent insulator of heat. I recall reading where it was explaned that the calipers and fluid inside them are part of the heat removal equation and the engineers account for that in designs. We all know about Fords penchant for using the smallest brakes possible until it is forced to admit they don't work in the real world. T-birds and Cougars didn't get the Mark 8 size brakes until '97 but they did get them. First gen SHO's went throught this same problem until '93 I think.

    You seem to have covered all your bases so try different pads on the one you'll be using the most and see if it helps. I can recommend Performance Frictions Carbon Metallic that is carried at Auto Zone, I don't know if they have them for Mark 8 brakes yet. Last time I check a few years ago they didn't. But the performance is excellent.

    Vernon

  9. #9
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    Apr 2002
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    Ormond Beach, Florida, and Upper Mongolia (On weekends)
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    Ditto on the Performance Friction

    Dan, I can attest to Vernon's claims, as I've run them for about 6-7 years now. I too had to sort out chronic warpage in the early 1990's when I first bought the car, and it led me to evaluate everything I was doing (similar tech info I gleaned at the time, that was almost verbatim to what Katoom and Vernon discussed in their posts) and be circumspect about doing it.

    The OEM Ford rotors are composite, which is partly why they are so finicky. Any chance the Raybestos rotors are also composite? I have had a CHEAP ($28 each) pair of Auto-Zone made -in- China rotors on my car for the last 5-6 years. I have YET to turn the lastest set. The car brakes absolutely like a new car, and continues to do so. And to think I almost gave up once upon a time.

    I can tell you this; I DID buy a pair of Raybestos rotors in my early SC days of rotor problems (trying to find the "fix" ) and yes, they did warp prematurely on me. I remember that the Performance Friction pads changed everything. After them , and following all the proper torqueing rules (as Katoom said -only a click type torque wrench) the problem went away for good, with the cheapo A/Z steel rotors.

    I know just how you feel having experienced it in 1 car, so having it multiplied by all your cars must really be frustrating. Good luck Dan
    Last edited by onequiksc; 01-15-2003 at 01:12 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Location
    Toms River, NJ 08753
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    Dan

    I followed your recommendations, and I ordered myself a pair of the Performance Friction pads from Autozone, and a pair of the $29 rotors. I had a 4.6L for 2 years and didn't have too much problem with warpage but the brakes did wear out fast, replaced front rotors at 57K and then had them turned at 82K. But I also did 800 miles a week to and from work...

    I was looking at KVR pads but they are just too much money..75-80 a pair..ouch...

    I hope these work and hey if they don't no biggie since the rotors are cheap, but you guys saved me some $$$$ I was going to get myself those Raybestos brake rotors..I am glad that I didn't get them.

    Thanks!!

    Drew

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2003
    Location
    Eastern (nee Western) PA
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    I seem to get about 5000-10000 miles out of a set of part store brake rotors before they are noticeably warped. And I don't abuse my car. I think the problem may be partially caused by runout in the hubs (corrosion and warpage making an uneven surface). Next time I do this job, I would like to replace the hubs at the same time and use high-quality rotors and pads. I'm sick of warped rotors all the time.

    Maybe I should be more careful about my lug torque as well.
    God bless!!!

    1990 SC auto ... red outside, gray cloth inside ... ~205,000 miles (and climbing) ... driven daily!

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