Smell from from Drivers Side Front Wheel Well, REALLY hot brake disc
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  1. #1
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    Smell from from Drivers Side Front Wheel Well, REALLY hot brake disc

    The fun just doesn't stop with this car.

    On my way to drop my friend off today I noticed that even though I'm boosting up to 11-12 my car just isn't moving anywhere. Took a look at the gas mileage and it was way below normal..

    So I stop, on my way to my friend's car I noticed a funky smell. So I start smelling the car and notice its coming from the drivers side wheel well.
    I touch the rim, its hot, touch the break disc its even hotter. WAY hotter then the one on the passenger side.

    So what could this be?
    I am overdue for a break change as my pads are worn out on the inner side and the fluid has never been changed since I've owned the car...60k kms

    Could the brake be sticking on the drivers side? So its constantly braking while I'm driving? Thus causing the brake disc to be a lot hotter than to the normal? But I did not notice a lack of braking power.

    Could it be a wheel hub?

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  3. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto5.5 View Post
    Could the brake be sticking on the drivers side? So its constantly braking while I'm driving? Thus causing the brake disc to be a lot hotter than to the normal? But I did not notice a lack of braking power.

    Could it be a wheel hub?
    Wheel hub issue would have been preceded by a lot of bearing noise, so it's probably just a dragging caliper. Not common, but it does happen and can be exacerbated by road salt. Parents had it happen on two of their Acuras. If you have access to an infrared "laser" thermometer you can tell if one side is significantly hotter than the other after taking a drive. But if you already smell a pungent odor, then it's probably a dragging caliper. Occasionally a bad rubber brake line can cause the caliper piston to not retract, but it's more likely a corroded caliper. Not a big deal. It's an inexpensive repair.

    Keeping the fluid fresh keeps the piston from seizing in a caliper, but the cali per can also seize on its external sliding points and pins. Be sure to use caliper grease or anti seize on these if you DIY.

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    Im going with a seized caliper on this one. Your rotors have a kind of mirror surface now, right? thats called glazing. The enemy of performance of brakes.

  5. #4
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    They are covered in little circles, not sure if that's glazed.
    This is just great my rear right brake is seized open, but this one seized closed.

    How inexpensive are we talking? What exactly do I need to do to get this back up and running?
    I will go out and buy new brakes and pads.
    I read that it is straight forward to change them at the front. Will that solve my issue? Or will I have to take apart the caliper and clean it? I don't need to go out and buy a new caliper right?

  6. #5
    murdered out Jetta, er, B5 Passat mrgreek2002's Avatar
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    I got a front caliper from the source for like $30 when my front passenger side one seized last year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto5.5 View Post

    How inexpensive are we talking? What exactly do I need to do to get this back up and running?
    I will go out and buy new brakes and pads.
    I read that it is straight forward to change them at the front. Will that solve my issue? Or will I have to take apart the caliper and clean it? I don't need to go out and buy a new caliper right?
    Even if you end up buying rebuilt calipers, they are about $50 USD front and 70 rear.

    First I would pull the wheel and check the sliding surfaces of the caliper. You can wire brush them and put anti seize or brake grease on them. If this doesn't fix the problem then your piston is probably seized up and you'll need a rebuilt caliper. I would do this before I buy any pads or rotors. If you put new rotors and pads on and your wire brush job and lube hasn't freed the caliper then you will ruin the new rotors and pads.

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    I had a piston seize up on me once - got lucky and it was mainly due to letting the pads wear down too far. The piston extended got a little cocked and wouldn't retract into the caliper. It wasn't fun, but was able to work the piston back into the caliper and get it functional again.

    That was college (no money, dorm room parking lot, etc). If I had to do it now, I'd replace the rotor, caliper, pads, and take a good long look at that wheel bearing. A little peace of mind for the relatively low cost of these parts.

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    Really, in these circumstances the important thing to do is get ALL brakes ba ck to an operational capacity. If you have a caliper s tuck open... Thats NO bueno dude. Has it always been that way? if so its likely someone compressed the rear calipers, something youre not supposed to do.

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    No, It hasn't always been that way I just noticed when I switched to my summer rims that that brake disc is not being used (rusting over) so I was like wtf..

    In addition my eBrake is barely working. It grips only the left caliper and only catches at the very top. So I guess that caliper was due for a replacement.
    The eBrake thing has been since I had the car.

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    Update:
    So my Mechanic says I need:
    New Front Rotors and Pads
    New Rear Rotors and Pads
    A Front Drivers Caliper
    A Rear Passenger Side Caliper.
    Brake Fluid (already have)

    ~3 hours of labor on this.
    FML

    Does getting a used caliper vs a new one make a huge difference?
    Can I do all of this in my driveway? Brakes are straightforward but what about changing the calipers?

    I'll probably go ahead and change the brake lines as well if the fluid will be drained.
    I know you are supposed to drain the fluid from all sides, the front and the rear, but he said there's no point to draining in the rear b/c air won't go back there. Does that make sense?

  12. #11
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    Not on bleeding the rears.

    I always have a hard time justifying a fix using old parts when the original old parts have already caused a problem.

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    I had mind swapped out for the same reason. Now still getting more dust on front wheel than before. I am thinking there might be something wrong with the ABS pump

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    Quote Originally Posted by keithermadness View Post
    Not on bleeding the rears.

    I always have a hard time justifying a fix using old parts when the original old parts have already caused a problem.
    What do you mean 'not on bleeding the rears'?

    Well using old-er parts is a lot cheaper probably. And its not like the parts that are being used are super old either. These things are supposed last the life of the car are they not?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto5.5 View Post
    The fun just doesn't stop with this car.

    On my way to drop my friend off today I noticed that even though I'm boosting up to 11-12 my car just isn't moving anywhere. Took a look at the gas mileage and it was way below normal..

    So I stop, on my way to my friend's car I noticed a funky smell. So I start smelling the car and notice its coming from the drivers side wheel well.
    I touch the rim, its hot, touch the break disc its even hotter. WAY hotter then the one on the passenger side.

    So what could this be?
    I am overdue for a break change as my pads are worn out on the inner side and the fluid has never been changed since I've owned the car...60k kms

    Could the brake be sticking on the drivers side? So its constantly braking while I'm driving? Thus causing the brake disc to be a lot hotter than to the normal? But I did not notice a lack of braking power.

    Could it be a wheel hub?
    I had my master cylinder go and the left side front and right rear brake would start closing down on the rotor. This got to the point that it stopped the car.

  16. #15
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    So I got quoted pretty much $700 for all of that.

    FML

  17. #16
    murdered out Jetta, er, B5 Passat mrgreek2002's Avatar
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    Give the source a call, used calipers should be fine. I've been running a used front caliper for a year now with zero problems.

    Also talk to maxx for cheap rotors and pads from WorldPac.

  18. #17
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    I Pm'ed him, no response. That IS with used calipers lol.

    I think I'm just doing the front rotors/pads and replacing the front caliper.
    I'm not spending that much on this.
    By the end of the summer I'll replace the rear pads and the rear caliper.

  19. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Toronto5.5 View Post
    What do you mean 'not on bleeding the rears'?

    Well using old-er parts is a lot cheaper probably. And its not like the parts that are being used are super old either. These things are supposed last the life of the car are they not?
    Yes, if they've been properly maintained. I suspect that having brake issues like these is that the brake fluid is hosed. Something has cause extensive corrosion. Brake fluid should be completely flushed every two years, regardless of the mileage. If it's just that the sliders have corroded, then boots have been torn and/or it has seen a lot of road salt.

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    OKAY so... after hammering all of this out for a week....
    New Calipers all around
    New Brake Discs/Pads all around.
    Flushed the brake fluid.

    Still same problem... Terrible smell from the drivers side wheel well and the disc gets hot right away.

    What the hell do i do next...

    I put the front end of the car on jackstands and tried rotating the front wheels by hand... there is no difference they turn about the same amount..
    I put it in 2nd gear and let it just run for 5 minutes without touching the brakes. The Drivers side disc is hot again while the passengers side is completely cold.

    What could be causing this?!
    Last edited by Toronto5.5; 08-07-2010 at 03:35 PM. Reason: More troubleshooting

  21. #20
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    More update...

    Everything seems normal now.. No More smell, it is equally as hot on both sides..

    What the shit....

  22. #21
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    Were the caliper sliding pins cleaned and lubed? They can cause the outside pad to rub.

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    Well they were clean to begin with only lubricant on them. No, I didn't add more to it. There was plenty there.

    But when I buy actual good front brakes instead of the short notice ebay shit I put in I will lube em up more thoroughly.

    And no the eBay brakes are not the problem, I had OEM on there before and that's how it started.

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