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Old 18th March 2009, 14:40   #1
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Default Toyota Corolla Brake Issues

Hi all. My Corolla recently had its brake overhaul. Got new front rotors and pads and new rear pads. Rear rotors were still within the recommended thickness so I was told to skip replacing them. While this was done I also got my lower ball joints in the front replaced. All this work at the A S S set me back quite a few bucks. And now, I have a problem.

Upon gradual braking from any speed the vehicle seems to be pulling to the left. The pull isn't alarmingly bad but still something I'd like to get sorted out.

When I apply the brakes with my hands off the steering wheel, the wheel turns right for about 5-10 degrees and the vehicle pulls to the left. The car remains dead straight when I let go of the wheel and accelerate or leave it moving. So I think we can safely eliminate wheel alignment issues.

I also have been having this *thud* noise from the the front right suspension if I go over a bump too fast. And the steering column emits this high pitch whine when I turn the wheel from end to end.

I went to the A S S again to report this problem yesterday. They pulled out both front wheels and cleaned and checked the brake piston and calliper movements. All seemed to be fine. There was this round metal plate which sat right between the brake pad and the brake piston. This plate was there on the front right side but was missing from the front left side. When I asked the technician he says that its only a dust cover and that couldn't be the reason for the pull. But I have ordered for that part anyway. It should arrive by Friday.

Everything else from the outset of it seems fine. But this pull is bothering me. Can someone tell me what else I can get checked? Technicians at the A S S seem quite clueless and shrug off saying the pull isn't too bad and its nothing to worry about. HELP!
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Old 19th March 2009, 09:34   #2
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44 views and not a single reply! That's a new all time low!

Come on guys. I could really use some good advice here.
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Old 19th March 2009, 10:17   #3
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Do you see any oil leakage? Especially where you park the car at home?
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Old 19th March 2009, 16:07   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
Do you see any oil leakage? Especially where you park the car at home?
No Sir!! Not a drop. I park under a covered car park. I would have definitely noticed oil leaks.
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Old 19th March 2009, 17:16   #5
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Should be a good idea to check the rear rotors and calipers again.
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Old 19th March 2009, 17:28   #6
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Should be a good idea to check the rear rotors and calipers again.
You mean for the rear wheels? Car's changing direction he said.
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Old 19th March 2009, 20:34   #7
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UPDATE : I had some free time in office today so I took off early and went for a thorough brake test. (I did this test myself, so it probably wasn't as thorough as it sounds ).

I came across some interesting results. The pull to the left is only pronounced when I gradually brake from any speed. If I jump on the brake just until the tyres lose grip the pull isn't so bad!! Which means there is some sort of inequality in the amount of brake force distributed between the two front wheels. In simpler words, the front right brakes more than the front left. Hence the steering turns right since the right wheel is is stopping harder than the left wheel and the car pulls left since the left wheel is not stopping as hard as the right wheel. So the car is dragged to the left by the faster spinning wheel!!

This narrowed down to 2 things. Either something is wrong with the brake hose connecting the FL brake. Maybe some debris clotting the lines. Or the missing metal plate!! Since the plate is about a millimeter or more in thickness the FL brake needs that much more brake force than the FR brake in order to compensate. Which it can't do because it isn't equipped with EBD. The discs are self adjusting only with respect to the pads on either side of the rotor. Not one rotor to the other.

So now I should start with replacing the missing plate and try. If the problem still persists then we are looking at a brake hose replacement. Lets hope its just the plate!! I don't want to end up shelling a bomb to fix this.

Will get the metal plate fixed by tomorrow evening. Hopefully things are sorted out by then.

I have attached a CAD drawing for better understanding.
Attached Thumbnails
Toyota Corolla Brake Issues-132.jpg  

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Old 19th March 2009, 20:36   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esteem_lover View Post
Should be a good idea to check the rear rotors and calipers again.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rudra Sen View Post
You mean for the rear wheels? Car's changing direction he said.
I doubt it having anything to do with the rear wheels. But then again I will get them checked anyway. I should probably have the rear rotors turned. Might get rid of some of the scoring.

P.S - Why aren't more people contributing to this thread?? I bet if the title said I was planning to super-turbo charge my car after an engine swap people would be all over this thread!! Brakes are highly under-rated on this forum!!)

Last edited by flipsyde : 19th March 2009 at 20:39.
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Old 19th March 2009, 22:38   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
This narrowed down to 2 things. Either something is wrong with the brake hose connecting the FL brake. Maybe some debris clotting the lines. Or the missing metal plate!! Since the plate is about a millimeter or more in thickness the FL brake needs that much more brake force than the FR brake in order to compensate. Which it can't do because it isn't equipped with EBD. The discs are self adjusting only with respect to the pads on either side of the rotor. Not one rotor to the other.

So now I should start with replacing the missing plate and try. If the problem still persists then we are looking at a brake hose replacement. Lets hope its just the plate!! I don't want to end up shelling a bomb to fix this.
This drawing is most useful. Had some questions for you: How old is your car (years and kms)? When was the last time you drained and refilled your brake fluid? Is it the Corolla with or without ABS? Toyota recommends changing the fluid every 2 years. Was the brake system ever maintained by non authorised service centre?

I strongly suspect a partially clogged line in the braking system, moisture in the fluid (it is hygroscopic) OR the small chance of an air bubble which is causing an unequal brake force leading to the car pulling to the left everytime you brake. ABS systems are very sensitive to fluid quality and the method used to change the brake fluid.

Get the complete brake system inspected (front and rear), fluid drained and refilled with fresh brake fluid at a Toyota authorised service centre.

Rgds,
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Old 19th March 2009, 22:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
P.S - Why aren't more people contributing to this thread?? Brakes are highly under-rated on this forum!!)
Trust me there are TBHPians who have spent a substantial amounts on upgrading their brakes. Look around in the forums. There probably wont be a member who will under estimate the importance of having proper functional brakes . Brakes = Under rated? Never. Brakes with "ooh ahh" and "wow" values? Maybe a little less than souping up engines and suspensions. That said, I dont believe any TBHPian would ever compromise on safety.

Cheers!
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Old 19th March 2009, 23:54   #11
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Since you replace your tierod ends (ball joints.) Did you aligned your vehicle??
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Old 20th March 2009, 00:15   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
This drawing is most useful. Had some questions for you: How old is your car (years and kms)? When was the last time you drained and refilled your brake fluid? Is it the Corolla with or without ABS? Toyota recommends changing the fluid every 2 years. Was the brake system ever maintained by non authorised service centre?

I strongly suspect a partially clogged line in the braking system, moisture in the fluid (it is hygroscopic) OR the small chance of an air bubble which is causing an unequal brake force leading to the car pulling to the left everytime you brake. ABS systems are very sensitive to fluid quality and the method used to change the brake fluid.

Get the complete brake system inspected (front and rear), fluid drained and refilled with fresh brake fluid at a Toyota authorised service centre.

Rgds,
I am the second owner of the car. The car is a 2003 model H2 run 65k kms. The Brake oil was recently topped up. Will have to check the the brake lines. This is a non-ABS model.

Quote:
Originally Posted by R2D2 View Post
Trust me there are TBHPians who have spent a substantial amounts on upgrading their brakes. Look around in the forums. There probably wont be a member who will under estimate the importance of having proper functional brakes . Brakes = Under rated? Never. Brakes with "ooh ahh" and "wow" values? Maybe a little less than souping up engines and suspensions. That said, I dont believe any TBHPian would ever compromise on safety.

Cheers!
I understand but the "WOW" factor is never there for brakes!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
Since you replace your tierod ends (ball joints.) Did you aligned your vehicle??
Yes I got them checked right after the replacement.
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Old 20th March 2009, 21:56   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flipsyde View Post
I am the second owner of the car. The car is a 2003 model H2 run 65k kms. The Brake oil was recently topped up. Will have to check the the brake lines. This is a non-ABS model.
Since you bought it pre-owned ('2nd hand' for oldies like me), did u check the car's service history? Was a brake system check/maintenance/part replacement done? Suggest a complete drain and refill of the brake fluid. A car thats done 65K kms over 5-6 years would warrant a brake system check and fluid system drain + refill. Dont skimp on brakes (& tyres). It can save lives. Brakes are not glamourous but what they can do or can not do could be the difference between life and death.

Sorry to sound morbid but I lost an old college friend to a brake system failure related accident.

Rgds,
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Old 20th March 2009, 23:43   #14
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Check whether the brake proportioning valve is clogged.
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Old 21st March 2009, 00:17   #15
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UPDATE 2 : Went to Toyota A S S today and asked them about the metal plate. For some reason the parts manager had ordered the wrong part!! So I asked them to remove the one dust plate which was there in the FR brake. And then decided to take it for a test drive.

Instant improvement!! The car pulled to the left still but it was so minimal I would probably shrug it off as it could have well been the tarmac tapering to the left. But to be fair there was some amount of pull.

As R2D2 suggested I got the entire brake system flushed and filled fresh. To be honest I didn't find much of a difference on the second test drive but then again now I know that's one less thing to worry about. I requested one of the senior service managers to take a good look at the problem.

After a 10 min test drive and a thorough visual inspection he gave me a list of thing that might need replacement in the front end. Here is how it goes :
- Both side front lower arm (These apparently are NON-OE but are in good condition)
- Both side front link rods (Again NON OE but in good condition)
- Front Struts/Shocks (Are not worn out to its bone but might need replacement soon)
- Lots of bushes (Stabilizer bar, Shocks/Strut, Steering Rack)
- Engine Mounts (Needs replacement by next service 10k kms later)

The funny thing is all this may or may not warrant replacement but other than the suspension components I don't see how the other parts are going to help with the braking issue.

I am seriously considering taking a second opinion from a reputed local service centre. Toyota A S S seems quite daft at diagnosis. Even I could have said something is wrong with the braking or the suspension or the steering rack which is causing the pull!!

Anyway all this means lots of cash which I don't intend to shell out on a used car. At least not in the near future. There is some noise coming from the FR strut which is the only thing I am going to look into.

O.T : Can someone refer me to a good mechanic in Chennai who can help me get the suspension fixed?
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