2001 Elantra Brake Job

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Hello,
First, thank you for reading this message - I really appreciate it.
I'm going to attempt to replace the front brake pads on my 2001 Elantra, but
first I want to get some advice from some of the experts in this group. I have purchased the brake pads, but my Dad says that sometimes you need a special tool or wrench to complete the job. Is that true with my Elantra? If so, what do I need? Also, he says that I should take the rotors to a local shop to be resurfaced, even if they look and feel smooth. Is that also required in all cases and does that require special tools?
Any tips you can give me before I start this thing would be greatly appreciated. I have done some minor mechanical stuff with cars in the past, but have only watched my Dad change his own brakes. I know what rotors and calipers and brake pads are but other than that, I'm lost. I do know when I'm in over my head though, I'm not a person who tends to break things and I'm not afraid to ask for help. If anyone thinks this is a bad idea please just say so, you won't hurt my feelings.
Thanks in advance,
Meg
PS - Does anyone know what a Flex Pipe is? A mechanic at the Hyundai dealer told me I'd need one soon. He wouldn't explain what it was but told me it would cost over $600 to replace! Has anyone heard of this? Thanx again!
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First thing to do is become a little familiar with the parts. You can open a free account with www.hmaservice.com and find a diagram of the brake assembly as well as some instructions. Every model is listed, except the 2001 Elantra. Take a look at a different year though, as the basics are the same.
As for resurfacing hte rotorsk most shops do that as standard procedure, but if they are in otherwise perfect dondition, it would not necessarily be needed. If they are grooved or warped (brake pulsating) they should be turned or replaced. You can buy aftermarket rotors fairly cheap.
Are you familiar with how to properly jack and support the car? Use a jack stand for safety, not just a jack. Be sre you have the tools you need before starting and it is always a good idea to have another car available just in case you need to run to the parts store and dad's car is not blocked in by yours on the jack.

Part of the exhaust. Go to an independent shop for a price too. Dealers tend to be very high by comparison on certain services.
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The advice about the HMA account is very good. I only wish that the Elantra had one of those "Haynes"-type manuals available. For things like brakes, they are indispensible. Maybe someday soon that will happen, now that Hyundais are getting more and more popular.
First of all, I will say that you have more guts than I do. There are a number of neo-do-it-yourself jobs I will do on a vehicle, from tranny fluid, to all my oil changes, to bulb replacements, a good sized list. And on a couple of occasions, I have replaced brakes (both front and rear) with the help of a fellow who, while also an amateur, has done it a number of times and is not intimidated by it. But I have no guts (yet) to do it myself.
But my son's '02 Elantra (basically identical) just had its front pads replaced. So I will give you what I learned from that.
Obviously, make sure you have a set of jack stands to put the vehicle on after you have jacked each of the front wheels up (never leave it on the jack while you work on it - just use it to pump the car up, then put the stand in place).
For any front disc brake job, you will need a large C-clamp to push open the caliper once you get it off, along with something (a small block of wood will do) to put across the surface of the caliper. This is necessary because the new brake pads will require the caliper to be opened significantly more than you will find it. I have also used a simple bucket to have a place to lay the caliper on so it doesn't have to hang by the brake hoses.
On the subject of the caliper, opening it wider will mean opening the cap on your master (brake) cylinder, and maybe removing some of the brake fluid, as opening the caliper does force more fluid into the master cylinder. Sometimes on these jobs, the fluid level (for me) has stopped close to level full, and sometimes I have had to siphon some off. If you do have to, throw out the old fluid, and replace it with new DOT4 brake fluid.
While there are a couple of special tools you definitely need for rear brakes, for front, you won't need much more than your lug wrench, etc. to get the tires off, a set of needlenose plyers (to remove the caliper), a mallet to get off the rotors, as they sometimes are on awfully tight, and some special brake grease that is used on the back of the pads and on a couple of pivot points.
Your dad is ABSOLUTELY correct in saying that the rotors need to go to a local shop and be re-surfaced (usually called "turned"). If you want proper braking, you must have a perfectly smooth surface for the brakes. Most auto parts stores have the necessary lathe, and will need the rotors for around 2-3 hours.
I am almost aghast at how many people seem to think this step is unnecessary - they just replace pads, and on they go. But for your brakes to work properly (something for safety's sake I think you would insist on), you would want a perfect mate to the surface of the pad. Warping, stones, etc. have virtually guaranteed that the surface will not be ideal for new pads until it is re-surfaced.
And incidentally, the parts store can also tell you (usually immediately) if the rotors even have enough 'meat' left on them to handle being turned. As long as the brakes haven't been changed before, and the current brakes haven't gotten down to "metal on metal," they should be fine. If they aren't, you just buy new ones and put those back on your Elantra instead.
And take note that even if they are "turn-able," they will be only one time. The next time, you will need to buy new rotors. Re-surfacing rotors in my area costs around $12 a rotor, and new rotors for the Elantra are down in the vicinity of around $25 apiece now.
After that, few surprises. One more thing - even as the price of rotors has come down nicely, so you can get a pretty decent set of Elantra brake pads for a pretty good price. That is one area that, while I do look for good value, I don't try to always get THE cheapest ones I can find, at least not with the front brakes. Most good sets also have a lifetime guarantee.
Now about your P.S. The flexpipe has been discussed on this board before. Yes, it is that expensive, mostly because of what is in it. See if someone can find you a used one. Or if you have more than one Hyundai dealer, shop around for price.
Sorry for the length. Hope this helps.

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Tom, great message, but one thing I wanted to clarifiy for the OP, so he/she isn't forcing the issue: The caliper itself DOES NOT expand or contract (well, OK, it might a little under temperature). It's the PISTON, or PISTONS on some cars, inside the caliper that move in and out. Most assuredly, you will have to use the C-clamp and piece of wood to push the piston all the way in to the caliper to get a new set of pads to fit.
I hate stepping on your toes here, but I pictured the OP sitting on the ground trying to figure out why the damned caliper wouldn't move.
Eric
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Rev. Tom Wenndt wrote:

I'm not sure why you feel the need for this, as the HMA site gives all the instructions you need, plus detailed diagrams.

IMO, replacing brake pads is actually one of the easiest DIY mechanical jobs one can do.

As Eric said, you are not "opening the caliper", but pushing the brake piston in. Personally, I don't use a C-clamp. I put a block of wood over the piston and pry it back in place. It moves slowly, so don't force it. Either method will work.
If the car has ABS, the piston cannot be just pushed in, you need a ~$10 brake piston tool and a socket wrench with an extension to twist the piston back in. This tool is also needed for all Elantra rear disc brakes, ABS or not. When you start twisting the piston, watch the rubber seal to make sure it releases from the piston. If it's stuck, it can tear when you twist the piston. If need be, coax it loose with a popsicle stick or similar blunt object, then turn the piston in.

You don't need to remove the caliper for most brake jobs. I assume what you're using the pliers for is to remove the clip that holds the brake line, not the caliper. The caliper itself is held in place by two bolts (12mm, IIRC) that run in bushings that allow it to slide laterally. Work the bushings back and forth to ensure that the caliper can slide freely. If need be, these should be greased with a high-temp brake grease, by pulling back the seals and applying grease onto the bushings. Given the age of the vehicle, I'd expect that lubrication will be necessary.

I disagree. Aside from the fact that turning the rotors is rarely necessary, one problem with Elantras is that the rotors rust in place. Removing them generally requires cutting them off. This is virtually guaranteed to be the situation on an '01 car, if it has the original rotors. To try to get them off with a hammer would require so much force that you'll damage the rotors and possibly the wheel bearings. Given that, unless the rotors are warped or severely worn, leave them alone and just replace the pads. The new pads will bed into the existing rotors after a few stops. Contrary to popular misconception, there is nothing wrong with doing this and there is no loss of braking performance.
If the rotors need replacement, it's a somewhat more involved job, but not especially difficult or expensive. Replacement rotors are generally under $30 each. There are two large Phillips screws that hold the rotor to the hub during assembly at the factory. More than likely the heads will snap off them when you try to remove them, as they will be rusted in place. If that happens, it doesn't matter, as they are there to make it easier to handle the hub assembly at the factory and are not necessary otherwise (the rotors are held in place by the wheels on the Elantra). Once you have dealt with the screws, you can try giving the rotors a few whacks with a mallet (rubber, plastic or wood faced) to see if they'll come off, but it's very doubtful. If they won't budge, it takes 10-15 minutes per rotor to cut them on both sides down to the hub with a hacksaw, then split them with a screwdriver or cold chisel driven into the cuts (it's easier than it sounds). Once you do that, the sections of rotor come off pretty easily with a few hammer taps. You'll probably need to brush and perhaps file off some of the rust on the hub in order to get the new rotors to seat properly. Don't get too aggressive, just clean them up enough to get the new rotors on. Once they're in place, reassemble the brake with the new pads and you're good to go.

Sorry, but that's simply incorrect. In fact, the increased surface area of a worn rotor actually increases stopping power compared to one that's perfectly smooth. As long as the braking action of the car is smooth now, with no pulsation that would indicate warped or unevenly worn rotors, there is nothing to be gained by replacing them unless they are simply worn too thin, which is unlikely unless this car is already on its second set of pads, or more.
I had to replace my rotors at the first pad change, due to a defective original brake pad causing one to wear improperly. Part of the rotor was not contacted by the pad at all, resulting in a 1/2" raised ridge near the periphery that would have caused a problem with new pads. Had it not been for that, the rotors would have been fine. One unexpected advantage to the new rotors I installed (Pep Boys standard rotors) is that they're far less prone to rusting than the stock rotors, which rust rapidly when exposed to moisture.
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"> I am almost aghast at how many people seem to think this step is

brakes

on),

stones,

new

Sorry, but that's simply incorrect. In fact, the increased surface area of a worn rotor actually increases stopping power compared to one that's perfectly smooth. As long as the braking action of the car is smooth now, with no pulsation that would indicate warped or unevenly worn rotors, there is nothing to be gained by replacing them unless they are simply worn too thin, which is unlikely unless this car is already on its second set of pads, or more."
I think the real answer here is that it depends on the condition of the rotors. Check to see that the braking surfaces are smooth and are not rusted. If smooth and clean, and your brakes do not vibrate when applied, there's no advantage to resurfacing the rotors. In fact, it's a disadvantage. You'll be removing material from the rotor, which will decrease its ability to dissipate heat, and you'll also be reducing your ability to have the rotors resurfaced in the future-- there's a minimum thickness specification.
-- Message posted using http://www.talkaboutautos.com/group/alt.autos.hyundai / More information at http://www.talkaboutautos.com/faq.html
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Thank you all for the valuable information. It's helped me to decide to let my mechanic perform the operation - that and Dad came up with the cash to pay for it. I am going to watch the mechanic do the job though and maybe next time I'll tackle it myself.
Thanks again! Meg
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wrote:

Very wise decision, your life could depend on your brakes performing right.
By all means learn how to work on your cars, but some jobs have to be left to the professionals.
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wrote:

Well intended advice, but bad advice. Learn how to do a brake job before issuing scare-tactic advice like this. Learn what's involved, and learn how improbable the disaster you suggest is, before advising like this. Brake jobs are very simple to do correctly. Leaving it to the professionals may sound like it has meaning, but it does not. If you can remove your gas cap, and re-install it, you can do a brake job. It just requires a small amount of willingness.
--

-Mike-
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Maybe an appropriate middle ground would be to do one's first brake job under supervision?
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On Tue, 15 Jan 2008 18:28:52 -0500, "Mike Marlow"

Have done several brake jobs over the past 50 years, my (good) advice still holds.

Correctly is the operative word here. I once tried out a car from a private seller, nice looking vehicle and a bargain price. Cruising at about 40 mph, I tried the brakes, the car rolled over after pulling to the left harshly. Turns out the seller had done his own brake work.

And experience, and GOOD advice.
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I disagree. If you had offered advice on how to do the job I'd have agreed. I don't agree with a blanket statement that a brake job is best left to "professionals". Your advice above, only suggests that she should never attempt a brake job because her life depends on it.

So what. Many people - perhaps hundreds or more, have driven cars I've done brake jobs on with no problems. If you rolled a car by braking at 40mph, then you did a lot more than just "try" the brakes. Or, there was something else drastically wrong with that car. No matter though, because the fact that someone did a faulty brake job is not reason to tell another person that their very life depends on it and to go to a professional.

My point exactly.
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On Wed, 16 Jan 2008 10:03:22 -0500, "Mike Marlow"

It sems that Meg's father is inclined more to the above point of view, i.e. get some experience by either helping or watching a pro do it.
Just for the record my first car was 1935 Morris Ten, since then my kids and I have owned, like most folks, several makes and models.
To keep them running with the lowest expenditure we have done the following amongst other jobs.
Replaced radiators, hoses, brake linings and pads, batteries, spark plugs, oil and filters, distributors. iginition coils, rebuilt carburettors, rebuilt alternators (brushes), rotated wheels, constant velocity joint.
Jobs left to more experienced mechanics include timing belt, clutch replacement, if my 2001 Elantra requires that type of work probabaly use the dealer, they have been quite good so far.
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What, no water pumps? I remember replacing the water pump on my '71 Ford V-8 and could not remember how the belts (3) went back on. I got in my other car and drove around town looking for a similar model on a used car lot. Found one, marked the belt sequence, went back home and finished. It was also dark and very cold and I had no garage.
Today, I'm older and fortunately make a little more money so I"m willing to pay for some repairs. I no longer crawl under cars in the cold. Or the heat. But I'm also a little less likely to get screwed over by a shady shop because I know the basics.
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wrote:

Yes, at least a couple, also the power steering pump. tore it down just to replace a faulty O-ring that caused the fluid to leak.

Ditto, my four score years have come and gone, so if I get under the car I have to cry for help to get back out!
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My four score and ten have also come and gone but one may still be apt to see me crawling under my car or truck occasionally.
A couple of days ago I pulled a rear wheel off of my car in order to examine the wear on the brakes. They were worn and ready for replacement. At that point I put the wheel back on took it to a shop and had them replaced. It can be a hassle when one must take the rotors off at home and carry them to shop and wait for them to be turned. They did need to be turned because they were warped.
Old_Timer
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Old_Timer wrote:

If that was the case, you'd have been better off to replace them. Rotors are so cheap that turning them is pointless.
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wrote:

Somewhat off topic, perhaps, but I could not resist responding.
It was on New Year's day many years ago that I and another teenager replaced the differential gears on his Model A Ford, outdoors and in the snow.
It was a first ime experinece for each of us working on a differential. We parked my 32 Chevy behind his Model A and one of us would crawl under the Ford for a while and the other would be in the Chevy with the heater going and then after some time we woud trade places.
Those were the tough old days.
Old_Timer
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personal brake job on my elantra weekend before last - new front pads ~ 1 hr. Most time spent getting out and putting back tools. Total cost $24 for "lifetime" pads from Autozone. Note - Rotors a bit grooved, toss them next time. 500 miles and multiple stops at various speeds - they work fine.
Professional brake job last quote $300 for the same job.
Observation on watching the professional. Unless it's Dad the only thing he will try to really show you is why you should pay him to do it.
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wrote:

Aw, c'mon Meg. You can do it. My Meg has done it. As has my Amy and My Sarah. None of them are what you'd consider to be grease balls, and they'll probably never do another (well... maybe Amy will), but they've all done brake jobs. It's a walk in the park. If there's one reason why I believe it's worthwhile for you to do one, it's to gain the first hand knowledge of what's involved (read: how simple it is), so you don't get hosed by a shark later on. Call me foolish, but I like the idea of all of my kids gaining the confidence and the knowledge of what goes into some jobs, if for no other reason than to protect them from getting taken advantage of down the road.
Don't care if any of my kids ever change their own oil, do a brake job, or ever do anything on their own cars, ever again. Just happy they know what's involved in some of these tasks and will make informed decisions in the future.
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