Brake Fail: Smashing your Rotors off with an Axe.


Broken Brake Rotors

A simple task that you’ve done a million times before can often take a horrible turn faster than you can say, “where’s my biggest hammer”?   I really thought this brake job was going to be a quick 30 minute pad and rotor slap, like it should be.  Not so much, let’s review.

Step 1: Jack up the vehicle in a safe manner. “Check!”

Step 2: Remove the wheels. “Check!”

Step 3: Remove caliper & caliper bracket bolts. “Check!”

Step 4: Tie up calipers with mechanics wire to prevent them from hanging from the rubber brake hoses. “Check!”

Step 5: Slide the worn out rotors off the hub. “Umm, not sliding. What the heck is going on here?”

Step 6: Clean oily substance off new rotors, and slide new rotors into place. “Whoa….back it up instruction guy! We need to hop in the Delorean and zoom back to step 5. These rotors are stuck, no joke.  What now?”

Step 7: Compress the caliper piston and replace the old brake pads with new brake pads.  Don’t forget to lube the sliders.  “This hammer is not nearly big enough.  Does anybody know where my axe is?”

Step 8: Slide the caliper brackets and caliper over the new rotor and reinstall the caliper bolts. “Ok guys, the rotors are really getting destroyed now. We need torches, cut off wheels, grinders, and a sawzall!”

Step 9: Reinstall the wheels, and torque the lug nuts to your vehicle’s torque specifications. “Hello? instruction guy….I hate you. This is the Worst job EVER!”

Step 10: Before starting vehicle, be sure to recheck brake fluid level and pump the brake pedal to set the pads in place. “……….disappoint………”

Jeremy Nutt

Hi, I'm Jeremy.

One thought to “Brake Fail: Smashing your Rotors off with an Axe.”

  1. I had a similiar experience with a drum that wouldn’t come off the rear of a 94′ XJ Cherokee. I tried on several occasions to remove the wheel and pull the drum. I kept thinking the brake shoes were holding it in place or that I was missing one of those push nut clips that sometimes holds them on and gets rusty and you miss seeing…But after several attempts and lots of hammer whacks, (The drum starting to worry me by looking a bit de-formed) I tried something that really worked…I had sprayed penetrant on it a couple times to no avail. But I didn’t try it with heat combined. So I just used a simple plumbers style propane torch and a can of penetrant. I evenly heated the drum for about 3-5 minutes so that it was very hot, then I turned off the torch and set it to the side. I then sprayed the penetrant onto the hot surface mostly near the lug studs. (Beware that penetrant is mostly flammable) It smoked and sizzled but I could tell that it was wicking it in around the lug studs very well. After a very liberal dose of penetrant and waiting about 5 minutes I fired up the propane torch again…After about 1 minute of heating the drum made a loud POP! And it literally jumped but remained on the studs. I realized I had heated the penetrant and made it expand and it pressed the drum off hydraulically! It worked great! Just make sure you dont use the penetrant and the torch at the same time! I used a product like PB blaster, reminding that the carrier solvent is the most flammable component. Once it is sprayed on the carrier evaporates and the oils are much less flammable but caution & a fire extinguisher shouldn’t be far away.

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