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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Folks, my brakes feel a bit "notchy". It's not just your usual pulsating shaking feel that we get when rotor is "warped" or has brake dust deposits on it. It almost feels like the rotors are grabbed and released, kinda skipping way.
Front rotors seem clean, but rear ones have heavy deposits of brake pad material on them and almost imprints of brake pads on them (can actually see the center gap between two sections of the pad visibly imprinted on the rotor - see picture).
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So, I was thinking that my calipers are giving it to the ghost. There's not sticking, however, they don't seem to be dragging either, rotors seem to be normal temperature, not hot, definitely colder than the front ones with an empty car.
Rotors are either Centrix or Raybestos (I forget which ones I installed last time around) good quality ones. Pads are Akebono and have plenty of life left on them. Proper bed-in was done on them since new.
Am I right in my diagnosis of dying calipers? Anything else I should be checking? Is there any sort of the front/rear proportioning valve that could also be causing issues like this?
 

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How long since the brake fluid was last changed?

Have you tried to clean the deposited brake pad material off the rotors?
 

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Yes, I think you may have caliper issues. When one presses against the rotor with more force than the other, it can cause what you are describing. Check for uneven brake pad wear.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well, new rear calipers rotors and pads didn't do it for me.
 

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Well, new rear calipers rotors and pads didn't do it for me.
I'm not really sure what you mean by "grabbing and releasing" - but if you're feeling it in the pedal as you increase your brake pressure you probably need to bleed your brakes. Honda recommends doing it every 3 years. Old fluid can absolutely cause some "notchy" feeling in the pedal. I had an RX-7 that would do it if I wasn't changing the fluid every year or two. You'd press down and feel "clicking" as the pedal went down. It got worse as they heated up. Every single time it was caused by fluid and or air. Bleeding the brakes with fresh fluid would fix it. Again, without sitting in the seat it's hard for me to say, but if you're more than 3 years since you bled them - it's cheap to try and you're due anyway.
 

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Well, new rear calipers rotors and pads didn't do it for me.
Then, maybe it's coming from the front brakes?

In all my years, I've hardly EVER changed a rotor. Unless crashed, etc., it may have some uneven buildup on it, but do you realize how strong a brake rotor is? Where would the forces come from the Warp it?

Now, the Caliper BOLTS, they can get seized in the caliper where it slides, causing things like you are experiencing.
But you knew that?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Then, maybe it's coming from the front brakes?

In all my years, I've hardly EVER changed a rotor. Unless crashed, etc., it may have some uneven buildup on it, but do you realize how strong a brake rotor is? Where would the forces come from the Warp it?

Now, the Caliper BOLTS, they can get seized in the caliper where it slides, causing things like you are experiencing.
But you knew that?
Yes, I know everything there is to know about brakes on this thing. And where did you see me say anything about warping? Thing is, if you get uneven wear or uneven deposits, turning rotors is not really an option anymore, because a) most aftermarket rotors are not thick enough to keep the required minimum thickness after turning; and b) because here it will cost you as much to turn them as it would to just buy a new set. And I don't feel adventurous or eager enough to manually sand them back and re-bed.

Caliper pins have been greased at every tire rotation, they're definitely not seized and never have been.
Now as far as rotors and pads, my PoS Pilot has been chewing through them in 1 year and around 20K kms. Chewing meaning wearing pads down to about 40%, but even before that happened, unevenly depositing the pad material on the rotor causing brake shimmy. I've tried everything there is to try, but it all came down to a new set of rotors eventually. All for the shimmy to return 8-12 months later. I've always used Akebono pads, because they always worked very well for me on all my other vehicles, and on the Pilot I've now tried them with every type of rotor, including OEM. This time around I said enough is enough and put in an all-Centric set (Centric rotors plus their Posi-quiet pads) to keep them within the same manufacturer group. If it happens again, then I'll put in the OEM rotors and pads next, they're the only rotors that lasted well over 4 years, I've had enough of this shit.
The reason I did rear calipers is because : 1) see the picture above - thick and uneven pad material deposit, and signs of brakes grabbing the rotors, fronts don't have that, they look much better and 2) it felt like the problem was coming from the back, not the front, felt like the back was dragging a bit.
Now I do have brake shimmy on the front as well. Because the current set of tires on this rig is already known to have caused me vibrations, I will wait until I swap in the winter set, and see if the problem goes away. If not, I will put in the front calipers, rotors and pads at that time.

Never had to chase these brakes/vibration issues with any other vehicles I owned and currently own. Used to changing pads once every 2-3 years and rotors, pretty much never or once every 6-8 years or longer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I'm not really sure what you mean by "grabbing and releasing" - but if you're feeling it in the pedal as you increase your brake pressure you probably need to bleed your brakes. Honda recommends doing it every 3 years. Old fluid can absolutely cause some "notchy" feeling in the pedal. I had an RX-7 that would do it if I wasn't changing the fluid every year or two. You'd press down and feel "clicking" as the pedal went down. It got worse as they heated up. Every single time it was caused by fluid and or air. Bleeding the brakes with fresh fluid would fix it. Again, without sitting in the seat it's hard for me to say, but if you're more than 3 years since you bled them - it's cheap to try and you're due anyway.
It doesn't feel like an air issue. And it only really feels when I'm breaking at slower speeds, almost feels like one of the wheels is dragging or like it's skipping the grip of the pads. The feeling is not in the pedal but on the vehicle overall. I ain't kidding about the square wheel, BTW, I have issues with the tires I have in the back and will toss them at the end of season. At this point, I'm just gonna wait until I throw on the winter set and see if I still have this issue.

Thanks for the fluid flush suggestion, yes, the fluid is way darker than it should be, so, it's due. I was gonna do a complete flush, but I misplaced my Honda cap from the Power Motive bleeder and there was no chance in hell I could get it fast enough. And also because I have stainless steel hoses incoming in a couple more weeks, I figured I'd bleed them when I either do the front calipers (if I have to replace them) along with the hoses or, if the fronts stay, then, whenever I replace the hoses.
 

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It doesn't feel like an air issue. And it only really feels when I'm breaking at slower speeds, almost feels like one of the wheels is dragging or like it's skipping the grip of the pads. The feeling is not in the pedal but on the vehicle overall. I ain't kidding about the square wheel, BTW, I have issues with the tires I have in the back and will toss them at the end of season. At this point, I'm just gonna wait until I throw on the winter set and see if I still have this issue.

Thanks for the fluid flush suggestion, yes, the fluid is way darker than it should be, so, it's due. I was gonna do a complete flush, but I misplaced my Honda cap from the Power Motive bleeder and there was no chance in hell I could get it fast enough. And also because I have stainless steel hoses incoming in a couple more weeks, I figured I'd bleed them when I either do the front calipers (if I have to replace them) along with the hoses or, if the fronts stay, then, whenever I replace the hoses.
Makes sense to me. I swear, I hate the brakes on these things. 20k miles and it’s shimmying. I’m guessing it’s the fronts or maybe those rear tires. Who knows? Ours is a garage queen with 65k miles on it in basically mint condition... yet the vibrations from brakes are coming back after 20k again. Ugh. Plus I’ve got a throttle dependent vibration between 70 and 80. It’s not the tires, CVs visuslly look perfect, control bushings are new, and vcm is disabled. Brand new Michelin’s didn’t change it a bit. I swear, after a few road trips I’m half tempted to pay someone to parts canon it and fix it OR just trade it in on a new car. That new MDX looks pretty nice and the brakes look almost appropriate! I’ve never chased so many stupid nvh driveline / chassis issues.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Well, new front calipers (original), new rotors and pads (Centric). Stainless steel hoses (PowerStop) all around and a flush. Long Saturday doing all that, but at least we had very nice weather which made it almost enjoyable.
Basically, brand new brakes all around the car (with the exception of master cylinder/servo and a pump which I've tested per Honda manual and they passed with flying colors.

Let's see how long it will last this time around.
 
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