300M brake rotor replacement

Had our '02 300M checked out yesterday when they did a regular service. They reported that the front brake rotors don't have a lot of life left
in them, but they couldn't fit me in to do the job yesterday while they had it there.
They said there is a lifetime warranty on the pads, but new rotors would cost me $220.
Do I have to have the job done by a dealer to maintain the warranty on the pads? And how much would replacement pads cost if the warranty is voided? What is a reasonable price for non-dealer replacement of both rotor? (They wanted to charge me $13 to replace the license-plate bulb. I bought a 2-pack for $2 and replaced it in 5 minutes.)
Perce
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

If those are the first time they've ever been replaced, I'd say that sound reasonable.
I've replaced mine once, and had the replacements resurfaced once, and they could use replacing again. And I don't put much milage on my '00 300m.

That's a little steep. At any parts store you'll pay at most maybe $60 each. More likely $40 each.

Pads should cost you maybe $45 for a set. Pay no attention to the warrany on the pads.
The pads and rotors should cost you $100 to $140 max for the parts. It's one of the easiest jobs you can do in your own driveway with only a few tools and a decent hydraulic jack.
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote: "They said there is a lifetime warranty on the pads, but new rotors would cost me $220."
The price for the rotors to me sounds kind of high since I just purchased rotors for a 1 ton pickup truck that cost less then that. Was the $220 for the entire job (both sides and parts) or per side with parts or one side or just parts? If both sides and all the parts that sounds about right.
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On 06/02/09 06:23 pm Licker wrote:

I understood it to be for the whole job: supply and installation of two rotors.
But, as you have no doubt seen, another poster has suggested that rotors may be purchased for $40 to $60 each and that installation is very simple. Indeed, rotors with a 2-year limited warranty are $40 each at a couple of the local parts stores, or almost double for ones with a lifetime limited warranty.
Without so far having looked at the service manual, I am guessing that the only extra step compared to changing a wheel is removing or loosening the caliper assembly to allow the rotor to be removed.
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

...and pushing the pistons back into the calipers (with a c-clamp or other method. Pay attention to how the pads come out - they fit into the caliper kind of like a puzzle - IOW - pay attention to the little ears on the pads and where they fit. One end of the pad stays in place while you rotate the other one out - revers putting them back in, but the ears have to be correctly placed.
Make sure the rotors you buy are the same outside diameter as the old ones. The aftermarket world was confused on that - some of the suppliers may still be confused. If you gave them the P/N for the larger (correct) rotor, you would end up with the smaller one, which will go on fine, but the full surface of the pad will not be swept by the rotor.
Also the aftermarket world was confused on the front pads. Some of them have fixed that, but if you see that the retainers on the front outer pads don't match up with the recesses in the caliper, then, if you still want that same brand and type of pad, go back and exchange them for ones for the '94 Concorde. I know this all may sound crazy, but it's true.
--
Bill Putney
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

I wouldn't pay more than $220 for a complete front brake job (new pads, new rotors, labor and taxes). And that's being generous.

I pay no attention and don't factor in the warranty fine print when selecting pads and rotors. If a pad cracks or falls apart or if a rotor is warped within a week of driving on it, then you bring the part back and get another one (neigher has ever happened to me).
These parts are designed to wear and their lifespan depends on your climate, your milage and driving habbits. After you've been driving on them for a year or two, you're going to completely forget that you paid extra for special warranty, and after 3 or 4 years when it's time for new pads or time to resurface the rotors, the extra $$$ you paid for the warranty will mean absolutely nothing.

You need to have a decent hydraulic floor jack. I've got one that weights at least 100 lbs but a much smaller one will do. Probably cost $50 and you'll make that up the next time you rotate your own tires or change your summer tires for snow tires.
Invest in a cross-style tire iron. Chrome plated, at least a foot wide (maybe 1.5 feet). There are folding ones that fit in the spare tire compartment of the 300m (you should have one there anyways).
Position the jack (put a piece of wood between the jack plate and the car underframe jack point). Front jack point is just behind where the wheel well ends, about 6 inches from the outside edge of the rocker panel. Raise the car about an inch or two, then crack the lug nuts at least 1/2 turn. Then raise the car so that the wheel is about an inch off the ground. Remove the lug nuts and take the wheel off.
Now some people might want to put a jack stand under the front suspension somewhere in case the hydraulic jack fails. I don't unless the front wheel is going to be off for more than an hour or two.
Now I think you'll need a 10mm socket (6-sided, not 12) to remove the two caliper slide bolts. Might give you a problem just to put the socket on the bolt head because of rust. Might take some elbow grease to break the bolts free, but once free they should unscrew real easy.
Next the caliper rotates up and out. The pads will give you a hard time getting past the rust-ridge on the rotors. DON'T force the calipers out without freeing up the pads. You don't want to break the caliper piston (I think it's made of ceramic).
You won't have much room to manipulate the caliper once it's off because it's still attached to the car via the brake hose. Be gentle - don't dammage the hose. Always support the caliper so that there's no stress on the brake hose. Pry the pads off the caliper.
Now at this point you'll need a large C clamp and either a thin piece of hardwood or a short, wide metal plate. You want to use the clamp and the plate to compress the piston back into the cylinder. The plate will span the open end of the piston. Position the clamp directly over the center of the piston and press it down into the cylinder. Should go easy. Don't break the piston. Press down all the way until the plate hits the caliper housing.
Take the new pads and the small packet of blue goo that came with them. Spread the goo on the back of the pad on the area where it will contact the caliper or the piston.
If you bought new rotors, now is the time to put them on. Old ones should come right off. Might have to remove (destroy) 2 stamped metal retaining clips that keep the rotor on the lug bolts. Don't worry, you don't need to replace them.
Slide (or press) the new pads into place. Rock the caliper back into position on the wheel.
Put some grease (preferrably high-temperature grease) on the caliper bolts and hand-screw them into place. Rock or press down hard on the caliper to line up the bolts with the holes. Tighten the bolts real good (don't break them). Spin the wheel hub to make sure nothing's binding. Don't get grease (and ideally, no fingerprints either) on the rotor surface during this whole process. Wipe it clean and dry with some solvent if you do (gasoline, acetone, etc).
That's about it. Put the tire back on (put some wheel bearing grease on the lug bolts first). Tighten the lug nuts as much as you can (the wheel will want to spin while you're doing this. Lower the jack half way and tighten the lugs some more, then remove the jack completely and finish tightening the lug nuts.
That's it. You're done one side.
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I'd never trust my life, or foot, or arm to a single jack.
If you don't have a set of jack stands at the very least take the tire and wheel you just took off the car and slide it under the car in a place you think it could hold the car up and save your butt if the jack slips as a "just in case" back up plan.
Learned that simple option from an old timer body shop owner when I was a teen in the 70's working on cars in my parents driveway.
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MoPar Man wrote:

I'd recommend reconsidering that statement. Here are some reasons why, just from the past week:
http://www.dothaneagle.com/dea/news/local/article/slocomb_man_crushed_by_car_in_mishap/73906 / http://www.salemnews.com/punews/local_story_152003620.html http://www.newswatch50.com/news/local/story/Malone-man-killed-when-truck-falls-off-jack/ZBNFW5L2nkmx415nll5wig.cspx http://news.bostonherald.com/news/regional/view/2009_06_01_Man_killed_while_working_under_car/srvc=home&position=recent
The names and places change, but these stories are repeated over and over again. Each flattened person had thought that his jack was "good enough" and would never fail or fall. Until they were dead.
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John wrote:

Just to be clear here...
Changing the brake pads and rotors doesn't require that you place your body *under* the car (at least not when I do it).
The jack I use can barely fit under the car as is, so if it were to fail (lose pressure) then that corner of the car would settle down on the jack plate, and the front rotor wouldn't even touch the ground.
Basically, I don't jack up the car high enough to be able to get my body under it when doing a brake job, and I'd probably have to jack it a few inches *higher* than I normally would to be able to put the jack stands I do have under it anyways.

I've done lots of work on my older mopars in the past (geeze, 20 years ago) and they were raised about 2 feet off the ground and believe me, they were fully supported with stands at all 4 corners. And then some.
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On 06/02/09 09:35 am Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

I bought new rotors at AutoZone for $40 each and had just got one old one off yesterday when a neighbor who is an auto mechanic came over to see what I was up to. He said that without actually measuring the thickness of the rotor it looked fine to him, judging by the very small ridge around the edge. What I really needed, he said, was new pads: the friction material was very thin and was starting to separate from the steel plate. But replacing the rotors along with the pads was not such a bad idea, he said. The new pads I bought ($60) have friction material at least four times as thick as that on the old ones.
The more I think about what they told me at the dealership, the less sense it makes. The conversation went something like this:
Service Adviser: "Your front brake rotors are down to about 15%. The pads have a lifetime warranty, but you need new rotors."
I: "How much are they going to cost me?"
SA: "$220."
I: "You can't just skim the present rotors?" [I now see that this was a stupid question: if the rotors are already getting near the end of their life, skimming them is just going to make them thinner.]
SA: "We could skim them, but that's still going to cost you $60 dollars and would void the warranty on the pads." [How come he didn't tell me that skimming already-too-thin rotors doesn't make any sense? And how would skimming rotors help unless they were scored or out of true? -- of which there was no evidence.]
ISTM that what he should have told me was that the pads were getting near the end of their life and that although the replacement pads were free I'd still be up for the labor charge -- and that it would be advisable to replace the rotors while I was about it.
Perce
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"Percival P. Cassidy" wrote:

Rotors are almost always good for a 2 sets of pads. Unless you feel a pulsing in the brake pedal or a shimmy in the steering wheel when you apply the brakes, you don't need to change the rotors.

I think you mean that the old pads were 75% worn compared to the new pads.
Meaning that there was maybe 1/8" of pad material left.
$60 is a bit steep for a set of pads.

He wants to sell you new rotors regardless the condition of your current ones. And he wants to charge you almost 3 times the retail price for them.

Because the rotors weren't worn enough to begin with. There is a minimum thickness number stamped on all rotors. The service guy knows that turning them (the technical term for skimming or resurfacing them) won't bring them down to that level. So he's not going to lie to you that he can't turn them.

It should only cost $10 each to turn rotors. This guy is hosing you big time.
He's trying to scare you about the warranty being voided because of turning the rotors. He'd rather you pay $220 for an $80 pair of rotors.

Because he wants to sell you new rotors. Your existing ones are fine.

If these pads were under lifetime waranty, then clearly they are not going to make much money on you if all you do is get them replaced (for free) and just pay the labor. They want to extract more money from you, and selling you new rotors for 3x the street price is how they do it.
And like I said, changing the pads (and rotor if necessary) is one of the easiest things a driveway mechanic can do and save a ton of dough while doing it. On a scale where you look at the $$$ you save and the effort, time, and hassle, doing your own oil change ranks on the low end of the scale, and a brake job is at the high end.
Let me guess. He made you second guess yourself and you let him replace the rotors for $220. What did the whole thing cost? Just under $400 with tax?
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MoPar Man wrote:

No wonder they call some of them stealerships...
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Someone wrote: "He made you second guess yourself and you let him replace the rotors for $220.'
If you buy parts from a dealership they cost more then from places like Autozone. I just purchased two new rotors and pads from my wife's Dodge through the dealership and the cost was 128 dollars for both rotors and pads. This is with a discount since she works there.
If he was quoted 220 dollars for the front brake job I would believe that is probably right since the parts are probably about the same as my wife's car and the rest would be labor charge. Not sure what the shop manual calls for in regards to labor but my old 3/4 ton truck calls for 1.8 hours to change the rotor and pads.
Bottom-line it is cheaper to do it your self then to pay someone else.
As far as the dealer wanting to replace the rotors and not turn them without measuring them your neighbor can say they look ok but can he be sure. Rotors have a minimum machine to specification. Sometimes it is cast on the rotor if not you have to look up the factory specification to determine.
I have done many of brake jobs in my driveway as a kid and young adult. I no longer even attempt any repairs unless I absolutely have to. I purchase the parts and I call one of the mechanics that work at my wife's dealership over for some good food and a suitcase of beer. I watch him fix the vehicle while I start on the suitcase. When he finishes then he helps me finish it. Cheapest labor I ever paid for and I don't even get dirty any more.
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Licker wrote:

A suitcase of beer?
I am unfamiliar with that unit of measure.
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A suitcase of beer?
Is a 24 pack that has the handle in the box you carry it like a suitcase. It cost about 18 to 19 bucks for the brand he and I drink. Cheaper brands go for about 14 dollars.
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On 06/11/09 09:38 pm MoPar Man wrote:

I assumed that the $60 was to remove, turn and replace the rotors.

My understanding was that $220 (excluding tax) was for the whole job.
Moreover, as I wrote already, I bought the rotors ($40 ea.) and pads ($60 for the set of four -- ceramic with lifetime warranty) at AutoZone. I did the job myself in my driveway -- with a little advice from my auto-mechanic neighbor and the unsolicited loan of his torque wrench.
Perce
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote: "My understanding was that $220 (excluding tax) was for the whole job. Moreover, as I wrote already, I bought the rotors ($40 ea.) and pads ($60 for the set of four -- ceramic with lifetime warranty) at AutoZone. I did the job myself in my driveway -- with a little advice from my auto-mechanic neighbor and the unsolicited loan of his torque wrench."
So parts cost you around 100 dollars plus tax. How much time did it take you for do the job? Your time should include, getting parts, tools, jacking up the car, actually doing the job, and putting everything back up, clean up. now Multiply that by your hourly salary and see how much your labor cost to do the job. Let say from start to finish took you 3 hours. You make 25 dollars and hour then the total job would have cost 175 dollars for you to do it yourself. So you saved a about 45 dollars.
Like I said also it is usually cheaper to do it yourself but sometimes its not worth the hassle. What the dealer was charging was about right for a front axel brake job. If you take in consideration the parts or higher then AutoZone and them labor charge is probably around 70 to 100 dollars and hour.
What you gained by doing it yourself is experience on doing this type of job in the future and self satisfaction of a good job. Congratulations on a good job.
That still does not answer your question in why the dealer wanted to change your rotors. Did he measure them? Did you measure them when your removed them to see if they could have been reused. What about hard spots (discoloration onthe surface). Did you see any on the old rotors?
There have been plenty of debate on whether rotors should be replaced or turned during brake service. Different manufactures make different recommendations. GM states the rotors should not be turned or changed at every pad replacement unless there is issues with severe scoring with depth in excess of 1.5 mm or 0.060 inch, pulsation from excessive lateral runout of more than .080 mm or .003 inch, thickness variation in excess of 0.025 mm or 0.001 inch, or excessive corrosion on rotor braking surfaces. Technical bulletin #00-05-22-002 by GM.
So the bottomline is why did he want to change the rotors? Was it to make money or because his mechanic actually seen something wrong with the rotors? Many shops want to replace the rotors to help prevent return customers because of things like brake puslation and other issues that may occur after a brake job. chane everything the first time and do not have to worry about a return job.
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Licker wrote:

Yes. In my case, I bought a set of rear pads and rotors a few months ago for my 300m. Bought it at Canada Tire. Total (with tax) came to just about $100. The parts were "on sale".

Haven't done it yet. That's the beauty of doing it yourself. You choose the time, right in your own driveway. No need to deal with the schedule of a shop, of leaving it with them for an undetermined period of time, and arranging transportation while they have the car.

Takes less time to get the parts than it does to arrange for the job to be done at a shop (you go in, wait to be served, talk to the guy, have him draw up a quote, sign it, come back later, wait to be served, talk about the job, be shown the final paper work, sign the paperwork and pay for the job).

The tools required for a brake job are among the most simple and sparse set of tools for any significant servicing you can do to a car. Anyone that drives a car should at least have the tools required to raise a corner of the car to take off a wheel and a lug wrench to actually take said wheel off. Beyond that, an ordinary wrench or socket to remove caliper bolts, a C clamp or small vise, and that's pretty much all the tools you need.

A small $35 hydaulic shop jack (the kind with 4 wheels and a tubular handle) is all you need to do the job quickly and safely. Anyone who changes or rotates their own tires should already have one.

Two hours after dinner.

You are presuming that someone is already paying me while I would otherwise be sitting on my couch, watching TV with a beer in my hand?

I believe I just shot that point all to hell.

Changing you timing belt is probably not worth the hassle, especially if it's the first time (and the last time) you're ever going to do it on the car in question. Doing a brake job is a much different story.

What the dealer did wrong was practically force the guy to buy new rotors for almost 3 times the going retail price. How do you square that?
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MoPar Man wrote: "What the dealer did wrong was practically force the guy to buy new rotors for almost 3 times the going retail price. How do you square that?"
As I said parts a the dealership always cost more then places like AutoZone. For reference the list price for 2001 Chrysler 300M is around 80 dollars at the dealership. As far as the dealership wanting to change the rotors I can not speak for said dealership since I was not there. Maybe the dealership measure the thickness of the rotors and found them to be near the minimum thickness. Maybe the dealership found hard spots (discoloration) on the rotor and turn them would only remove them for a short period and would return after a few hundred miles. If he changed the rotors he would likely have less problems with the owner returning due to brakes pulsating, pulling or other braking issues.
When I was younger, before I tackled any job, I considered how much time it took me to complete the task. I know what I make per hour and I figure if I can pay someone cheaper to do them what my time is worth. So instead of getting hot and sweat in my driveway, I could be fishing or drinking beer while enjoying the finer things in life.
I never waited around any shop why my vehicle is being worked on as I make arrangement with the shop to work on my vehicle while I am at work.
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Percival P. Cassidy wrote:

That is why warranties and dealer services have been absolutely worthless to me over the years and I became a DIY'er. They warranty the pads, but what good is that if the conditions they put on what YOU have to do and pay for for the warranty to be honored costs more than doing your own maintenance or even paying a competent independent shop to do your maintenance.
And it's a moot point of whether to have them turn rotors that are below the limit - it is illegal for a shop to turn rotors below the limit stated by the manufacturer - it is considered a legal limit - not just a *recommended* limit.
--
Bill Putney
(To reply by e-mail, replace the last letter of the alphabet in my
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