Replacing Brakes - Honda Odyssey

piddlerdad3April 25, 2006

Nothing major here, but i need to replace the disc brakes (front) on my 2001 Honda Odyssey minivan. Anything special i need to know about? should i turn the rotors? i've heard different theories. the squealing has just started, so the rotors are not really "damaged" and i sense no pulsating while braking that would lead me to be concerned with warpage. the van rides very smooth. We bought this vehicle used, and i suspect this will be the 2nd time the front brake pads will be replaced. Van has 95K miles on it.

Also, before they started squealing, i was hearing a similar but not so intense noise from the back brakes. i'll be checking them. will i need to grease wheel bearings when doing the drum brakes on the back? anything i need to know about back there? i've replaced brake pads and shoes before, and on each vehicle i seem to find new surprises.

i plan on buying the pads / shoes from a local auto parts store (O'Reilly's in Dallas area). anything else i need to purchase besides the pads themselves and maybe some lubricating grease for the caliper pins? i have money to buy inexpensive hardware and parts kits for the brake job. but i don't want to overlook them or be ignorant when i go to the store; and i want to do this right.

i don't have much time to spare to waste a bunch of trips back and forth when doing this & too broke to take the van to a mechanic right now.

Thanks for any help, dennis

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The smoothness of the ride has nothing to do with the un applied brakes.
Squealing ? This may be due to old glazed pads/rotors, not necessarily worn out pads.
A very high pitched scraping is indicative of the pads wear sensor touching the rotor.
Noises tend to be overly open to interpretation; it is best to visually check the pads - pull the wheels as necessary..
An easy way is to monitor the brake fluid level, but this is not nearly as accurate as the physical examination of the pads..
The rotors do wear out, this takes some time (maybe 100K miles), they must be measured..

For most cars, the bearings are "packed for life"...

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 12:10PM
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Thanks, Earthworm.
You answered 1 of my questions about the wheel bearings. i'll look at my owner's manual to see what is recommended - if the rear bearings need repacked. I'm not really looking for a diagnosis though.

I'm replacing my brake pads on the front because i've already taken the wheels off and checked. I have more practical how-to questions. just a check with some folks who are more knowledgeable than i am who might do this more than once every three years.

1) do i need to turn the rotors? (this question means that some people have told me different things and i want to get some opinions on whether i should turn them). i know they wear out, but if i take them to O'Reilly's and they tell me they're within spec, do i trust them when they say i must have them turned? i don't like doing things just to do them. i have some calipers myself. if i can find on the caliper the spec written down, i'll check them myself and save a trip to the store with them.

2) anything else i need to purchase besides the pads themselves and maybe some lubricating grease for the caliper pins? something i need to replace that i might not realize when i just swap out the pads?

Thanks so much for the patience with my quesitons. just want to be prepared and spend my time wisely.

take care,

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 7:34PM
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IMO, turning the rotors is passé, but, with high mileage, they must be measured.
It was visually obvious that the ones on the VW Passat(well over 100K miles) where 90-99% worn out; the measurement confirmed this..
If you take the rotor in to a "speedy or cheap" place for a "free" measurement - rest assured, they will try to sell you new rotors.
Even if the rotor has some grooves, as long as it is thick enough and is not warped, I would leave it in place.
Another thing to do is check the Honda schedule on changing the brake fluid.
For most cars, this should be done every 50K or so..

    Bookmark   April 25, 2006 at 8:19PM
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Many thanks. i've had other folks tell me same thing, but i wasn't sure so now i feel better about just replacing the pads and getting on with my life. i'll replace the rotors if they measure out of spec, but won't have them turned if they are in spec.

somehow i got word happy with "calipers" in my last post. measuring calipers with calipers? not sure if i was thinking. too many terms for me i guess.

I really appreciate your help.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2006 at 5:10AM
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Well, i managed to fart around and get the driver's side brake pads replaced on the front end of my Honda Odyssey. i'm not very fast, especially when doing something on a car for the first time. i used to watch doodle bugs for hours during those old summer vacations, so that might explain why i don't have much time to spare. i use it all up not accomplishing anything at all.

Anyhow, has anyone noticed that Honda does not want you to be able to remove your front rotors? at least on my minivan. I was looking for the minimum thickness spec on the rotor itself, and it must be on the inside closest to the axle. i never found it. To remove the rotors, there are a couple of Phillips head screws torqued and melded into a countersink that is machined on the face of the rotor (the hub part). Okay, now, let's just think reasonably. To remove the rotor, i must remove the Phillips head screw - which has been untouched for 95k miles and 6 years. Oh, yeah. that will be happening alright. i go to use my variable speed drill with torque on low to start bumping the screw and hopefully unfreezing the silly thing. Guess what! yep, 2 more rounded Phillips head screws are now in existence. Gee, the same engineers who gave me doors that automatically open and shut on their own also designed the front rotors with Phillips screws.

Needless to say, the rotors are still on the van, as i don't enjoy fighting with something that I'll only end up destroying. I measured the rotor on the driver's side and it's at 1 and 1/16 inches. does anyone know if this is in tolerance? i seem to have misplaced my X-Ray vision goggles or I'd be able to get this answer on my own.

As for the rotors, when they wear out, i'm sure i'll figure out some way to get them off.

take care,

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 1:37AM
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Rotor spec for your car is 1.102 nominal, 1.024 minimum thickness. That means when machining my preference is to not go closer than .030 of the discard or 1.054 for the unofficial minimum machining thickness.

Rotors of course can be machined off the car and have been for decades. However the preferred method for your car is to machine them on the car. That provides automatic correction for any wheel hub run-out. That's one of the reasons they are fastened to the hub with those two screws. The other reason of course is so that during initial assembly they don't fall off on the assembly line before the calipers are installed.

But when you need to remove them, how does a tech do it? I have two methods. One is an impact screwdriver that operates by inertia. There are spiral groves in between the inner and outer portions of the tool, and when you hit it with a hammer and force it to collapse, the inertia of the outer half not wanting to start turning, forces the inner section to try t turn and tighten or loosen a screw depending on the tools setting. Almost every motorcyle tech will be familliar with this tool, they have existed since the 60's at the least. In fact mine is probably the oldest tool in my tool box, having purchased it in the early 70's. But it does not always work, sometimes the screws are simply too tight, and I break the screwdriver bit pretty often. That forces me to use the second method, which ruins the screw. I take a large center punch, and start by making a deep pin hole into the edge of the screw, without hitting the rotor. Once the hole is there, I move the punch to an angle to force the screw to turn by driving it with the punch and hammer. With practice this is really simple and has never failed to remove one of those screws. On a few occasions I have even been able to re-use them.

Lastly, 1 1/16" translates to approximately 1.060 (about .030 for 1/32) IMO you would not have been able to machine those rotors successfully, as they would be getting too thin to allow for enough material to deal with the heat generated by braking. Plus six years old on a vented rotor, the rust that builds up in the middle cooling vanes prevents the rotor from cooling efficiently. Plus, the same rusting makes the rotor structurally weaker and prone to "crushing" which is one of the primary causes of rotor thickness variation. All those things together make it unadviseable to have not replaced these rotors when doing the brakes. At the same time we haven't talked about how good the calipers really are, and the caliper slides, how free are they? What about the rear brakes, did you check them? The parking brake assembly? How is the fluid, should it have been flushed? There is so much more to replacing brakes, than just simply slamming a set of pads. That's why you will never see my quote things like the "$99.00 brakes, additional work extra routine".

    Bookmark   April 27, 2006 at 8:51AM
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Hello John,
Thanks for the detailed response, esp. the explanation of how to remove these rotors. I dont' mind the idea of the screws, just can't figure out why designers avoided using a hex-head or star screw or anything but Phillips. An application with so much torque / tightened well, and around so much heat that melded the screw to the rotor ... I just don't add 2+2 = "Phillips head" in this case.

You raise some valid concerns - and yes, the brakes are done on the front and i did not replace the rotors. After i measured them, i decided to risk leaving them and seeing what develops. since they are within spec (granted near minimum), how long could i safely go without concerns?

The calipers are in good shape. The pistons on both sides pressed in without problems and the lines are not leaking. The slide pins are freed up now. Unfortunately, the top pin
on the driver's side was rusted and very much stuck in the slide barrel on the caliper mount. I removed it and used very fine sandpaper to buff the rust off while the pin was in a vise. I took the sandpaper and wrapped it around a pencil and pushed it down into the slide barrel while turning. After working this quite a few times i could not see any rust. I could see some scarring from the rust on the slide pin; but when i put it back together, the caliper slid freely. The pins are greased again and seem fine.

The brake fluid will be flushed by a reliable shop that i use for whatever I would normally mess up. You are correct, i think it should be flushed after 95K miles. The rear brakes i haven't gotten to yet. i think i will do these myself, as i'm still pretty broke. I'll be checking them in May sometime.

    Bookmark   April 29, 2006 at 12:43AM
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Is there anything tricky about replacing the REAR pads on a 2002 Odyssey? Is there any special technique required to back off the caliper? I noticed that there is a drum brake in the center of the wheel as well, probably for the parking brake, and didn't know if that complicated the job. I'm practiced in replacing the pads on a number of other vehicles but didn't know if these would be different.

    Bookmark   June 1, 2006 at 5:53AM
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**You raise some valid concerns - and yes, the brakes are done on the front and i did not replace the rotors. After i measured them, i decided to risk leaving them and seeing what develops. since they are within spec (granted near minimum), how long could i safely go without concerns?**

You'll make it clear to the sceen of the crash. Sorry, couldn't resist. I'd use them if it were mine. Odds are they'll last till the next time it needs brake pads which in my case is about 60k to 70k miles. jmo

    Bookmark   June 2, 2006 at 8:22AM
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is there a way to replace pads without having to bleed brakes ? I'm new at brake jobs . trying to keep it simple .

    Bookmark   February 26, 2011 at 1:56PM
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