poor kid doing car work?

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here's the deal. right now i'm facing about a $700 break job on my '95 taurus, since i need to replace the front and rear brakes -- calipers, rotors and discs/drums. of course, i'm a college student and don't have
that kind of money, let alone money for a new car. i need to be able to do the job on my own. is it that difficult? is there anywhere i can find "instructions"? i tried looking at a chilton's manual and felt i was in way over my head. but people have told me brake work is "easy" enough for me to do on my own, and then have someone else check it. is this feasible for me to do this job, without killing myself out on the road or doing it?
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Sean wrote:

Take off each wheel and inspect the rotors. The rotors look like a shiny disk of steel. If they are scored or grovved badly replace them.
rotors are about $20.00 each
brake pads are 39.00 a set for the good one, or about 25.00 for the cheap ones
good luck
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Taif Road Warrior wrote:

shop said i need to replace everything.

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Sean wrote:

contribute to the shops retirement/party/beer fund. Any shop that instantly says "everything is bad" is on my short list for padding there own pockets. Did they even have all four wheels off the car? Don't forget to get that "Life time warranty" and not read the fine print.
Let me guess, chain store garage that sells tire too? Suckered you in with a cheap oil change or such and now your car is fubar. Surprised they did not tell you your CV's were bad too...
In the four taurus i have owned, i only changed one caliper.
discount front rotors and brake pads should be between 50 and 100 dollars if you shop around at discount parts houses.
You will need a floor jack, jack stands, metric tools set, allen or hex tools for caliper bolts, C clamp to push the caliper back in. If you cannot beg/borrow/ steal then you should be able to get all of the above for $100 or less if you shop around and buy cheaper tools. If you got a harbor freight around check them out.
Bob

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Many shops say this. There are a few reasons. First, the more they do, the more they can charge for. That's obvious. Second, if they replace everything, there's little chance of you coming back in six months to complain that their brake job didn't last.
Let's diagnose a bit, shall we?
What makes you think you need brake work, noise? Does the car pull left or right when you hit the brakes? Did it stop reasonably well before this problem occurred? Does the petal pulsate or does the car shake when the brakes are applied?
If you only have a noise from the front or the rear, then most likely it's just pads (or shoes if you have rear drums). However, if you have let the noise go for a while, you may also need rotors (or drums on the rear if equipped). If the rotors are deeply grooved, replace them. They're not a lot of money, and they just slide on and off. You might have to hit them with a rubber mallet to brake them loose, then they'll just slide off. Also, if you have pulsing or shaking when you hit the brakes, you need to replace the rotors. Usually it's just easier and better to replace them than to have them turned. Especially since they're not very expensive for the Taurus.
Once you have the calipers off, which is a two bolt operation, you'll have to compress the piston back into the caliper. If you have a big C clamp, you can use that, but they make an inexpensive clamping too for that. If you have rear calipers, they don't compress back into place, but rather turn back into place. You can buy an adapter for your 3/8 drive ratchet that will allow you to turn the piston back into the caliper.
Once the caliper pistons are all the way in , put the pads in place, put the caliper in place, grease the pins, and tighten them up.
If you have rear drums, take them off one at a time. You'll be intimidated by all the springs and stuff, but don't fear. Just carefully remove everything and lay it out in order. When you put the new shoes on, put the hardware back in the same way it came out. If you forget, go look at the one on the opposite side. :-)
Usually, the only reasons you have to replace a caliper is if one leaks, or if the car is pulling when you hit the brakes.
Lastly, where are you located? Perhaps someone here is close enough to help you. I will if you're in the DC area.
CJB

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cj and everyone else, thanks for the advice. the reason i think i need to have the stuff replaced is this: i went back home to visit (car-clueless) family last week and noticed that the wheels started grinding when i pressed the brake pedal. i went to a shop up there and they gave me the estimate i quoted. i had nowhere to work on it since my parents live in an apartment complex without a garage or parking lot (i have a private driveway at my place).
i only drove the car enough to get me back home (only way i could get back). by the time i did, there was massive grinding and vibration when i pressed down on the brake pedal. sounds like it's coming out of the front, but for all i know there could be noise in the rear, too, and i just can't hear it (the front noise is deafening).
i live in the-middle-of-nowhere pa, about three hours from dc/baltimore. i went to the parts shop earlier today and the fellow was nice enough with some tips and suggestions, but i still have a ways to go.
CJB wrote:

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Sounds like pads and rotors will do it. If you're smart enough to get a college degree, you should be able to do this.
CJB

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cj, i might want to take you up on your offer of assistance since i'll be in the dc area soon. e-mail me at the above address.
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I'd set out to reply to this thread a couple of times.... proof reading my replies lead me to believe I wasn't heading in the right direction. I'm glad I waited but I'm about to go way off topic (if you want my opinion on the brake conumdrum, ask.... it might not be pretty but it will be honest).
There are ever so many posts where people seem surprised that somethng wears out or beaks. There are ever so many posts where people are upset because a shop has recommended work and there are no obvious symptoms to substantiate the recommendation. If I had a dollar for every time I've said "brakes are getting thin..." only to have a customer dump on me.... It wasn't me that made the linings worn, but I did mention that there was a brake job in his future and that sooner is better than later.
We see constant references to bad shops and bad techs... they most certainly do exist. I don't believe they exist in the abundance that some seem to feel.
Some problems stem from the perception of what a car is.... In reality, our cars are nothing more than pieces of machinery.... machinery that requires constant inspection and proper periodic maintenance and having worn parts replaced in a timely manner.
When a concern is first noticed is the time to have it addressed... driving any one system to destruction only serves to increase repair costs. .The continued quest for low cost and cheap maintenance will doom one and all to increased overall costs.

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No real argument. I do think that there are bad shops in "abundance", but abundance is relative. This city of about 100,000 has quite a number of bad shops as evidence by the number of times the state has fined them, or closed them down for varying periods up to and including permanent. Those are the shops your hear about and read about. Now, if you took those shops and compared it to a list of all the shops in the area, it would amount to a drop in a bucket. But your good shops do not get the notoriety that bad shops get.
I have noted that certain types of shops are more prone to being identified as "bad shops". Notably, those which specialize in things like SMOG repair, and those which have a high turn over in employees, especially those which specialize in LOF. Those which pick up the freeway trade are also suspect, but not all inclusive.
It is human nature to knock those with bad reps. Unfortunately, just as with lawyers and used car salesmen, bad mechanics and bad shops, those few in number, give all the rest a bad name. And yes, I did know a good lawyer once. I also knew a good used car salesman.... my father between periods of military service... who went back in because he hated lying to the customers. Of course, that was back in the days when they would pack a crankcase with sawdust and grease so the customer got down the road before the smoke started to pour up through the floorboards.
So, don't take it as a personal attack on you, but people letting off steam over those few shops which are con artists. The ones who treat women customers a lot worse than male customers, unless it's obvious the male has zero automotive knowledge.
As for parts wearing out, I agree... PMI.... preventive maintenance inspections! Don't wait until there is no tread left at all before replacing a tire. Same with brake pads, and a lot more. The life you save may be your own, or you child's life, or mine for heaven sake!
On Mon, 13 Jun 2005 02:02:45 GMT, "Jim Warman"

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I'm reminded of the recent TV commercial for for some auto parts chain where the guy's wife complains about a strange noise - sounds like a rod knocking - and he turns up the radio to cover it up.
I'm very fortunate. The local Ford dealer has an excellent service department. The tech will take you on the shop floor and show you what's wrong and why a part must be replaced. They have never tried to sell a "repair" that wasn't needed. A few times they've told me something is getting marginal and should be repaired in a thousand miles, and I tell them to fix it now. The best part is their labor charge is only $74.00 per hour, which is really low for this area. I know of a couple shops that charge $100.00 per hour.
One of the $100.00 shops is an independant that only works on GM cars less than 6 years old. "Fords are different and older card are too hard to work on because everything's rusted."
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Taif Road Warrior wrote:

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wow $700 for brakes, glad I do them myself, maybe you know someone who works for beer?

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I cant imagine that all four calipers would need replaced. Do you live in the rust belt? Maybe thats why they recommend you replace all four, but I bet they want to install them because they charge you $100 for a mexican rebuilt caliper.
Do you have a shop manual? I taught myself to rebuild engines by doing small stuff first, then used the manual to overhaul my motor. If you read through a brake job and it sounds hard, its probably will be. You have an auto mech program at school? Take it there or get a student to look at it.
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When in doubt.... GET A SECOND OPINION... You'd do it if some doc said you need your left lung cut out, right? If it bothers you, tell them it's more than you expected and you need to go figure your finances, then go elsewhere for a second opinion. Personal experience says, unless the calipers were allowed to wear down to the point where the rotors were damaged, you'll go through a bunch of them before you need calipers replaced. My Firebird with 4 wheel disc brakes went about 9 years before any of the rotors needed to be replaced.
wrote:

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wrote:

After reading the rest of the posts, here's my take on it. The front pads wore out, and went steel-on-steel with the rotots. The rotors and pads are definitely FINISHED and need replacement. Now, of this happened on both sides at roughly the same time, they simply wore out - and the calipers are LIKELY OK. If one went bad long before the other, a caliper is likely stuck. The chances of both sticking at the same time are remote at best - but not impossible.
You need to find a friend with a bit of know-how to help you out - hopefully one who has jack, stands, and tools. Then pull the front wheels and remove the calipers - squease them back and make sure they are not sticking. Then pull the caliper frames and pop off the rotors. Get new rotors and pads - and rebuilt calipers if they are sticky. NEVER replace only one - it is false economy. If in doubt, replace them - they are relatively cheap insurance.(or find a helper who is confident enough to rebuild them - it's about a half hour job with about $30 worth of rubber parts).
After you have the fronts done, check the rears - they USUALLY outlast the fronts 2 or 3 to 1.
If you have not done any mechanical work yourself before, do NOT attempt it totally on your own. It is a simple job - with lots of simple ways to screw up, possibly costing you extra money - or even your life.
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OK, I've started the job but I have two problems.
1. I jacked up the car and put it on stands. But the tires won't come off. 2, In addition, on one tire two of the lugnuts are stuck. (On one of the stuck lugnuts, the outer shell came off because it was cracked, and the inner nut remained.)
Advice?
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wrote:

SERIOUS headaches. Ended up DRILLING the studs out of my daughter's Neon with cobalt drill bits.
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Often when the lugnuts are put on with an air wrench, the threads get stripped. Just get a long handle to put on your lugwrench to increase your mechanical advantage. Slide a long pipe over the handle and you just made yourself a "breaker bar"
As to the wheels not coming off, get a rubber mallet and bang on the wheel. They're just stuck from heat and or corrosion.
CJB

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Read an item not long ago about differences in metals (rims v drums kinda situation) where the lugs actually become "welded". If so, it's gonna take more than added leverage.
On Tue, 14 Jun 2005 15:36:22 GMT, "CJB"

Hey! Spikey Likes IT! 1965 Ford Mustang fastback 2+2 A Code 289 C4 Trac-Lok Vintage Burgundy w/Black Standard Interior Vintage 40 Wheels 16X8" w/BF Goodrich Comp T/A Radial 225/50ZR16
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