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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
HI All,
2016 EX-L AWD.
I changed out my rotors and pads on my front wheels last Sunday because it felt as though my front rotors were warped. It did not fix the problem, and in fact, it may be even worse now. I did notice while taking the calipers on and off, that one of the pins the calipers sit on, was a bit strange - the threaded end the 17mm bolt screws into was very very tight, as if the threads were cross threaded, but once I got it out and was able to screw the bolt in and out while in my hand, it was obviously not a cross thread issue. I am thinking perhaps that pin is bent? This is a used car I have only 5k miles on at this point, so no idea what may have been done to it in it's past life. The rotors and pads I took off looked good and in my head, I was actually thinking "uh-oh... they don't look like they're warped...". So.... long story short, but has anyone had the warped rotor feeling replaced those pins and had the issue go away? Not sure how one of those pins could get bent/damaged without something major happening to the car, but that is at least for now, where my suspicion is. I should mention, that they did (do) have grease on them, looked good and the caliper slid on it well while in my hand - really hard to check once it's bolted up though.

Thoughts?
 

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Just curious, did you feel the issue all the time or only when applying the brakes before you put on new pads and rotors? How about now. All the time or only when applying the brakes?
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Just curious, did you feel the issue all the time or only when applying the brakes before you put on new pads and rotors? How about now. All the time or only when applying the brakes?
I only feel it when applying the brakes. Yes, I felt it before I did this repair with the new rotors and pads - in fact, it is why I did the brakes, because it give the symptoms of warped rotors. I did not feel it when not applying the brakes before and I do not feel it when not applying the brakes now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Quick update. I'm still trying to sort this problem out. Violent shimmy when braking from speed (75mph ish). I replaced the front rotors and pads with a high performance drilled and slotted rotor set with carbon fiber pads. Found a caliper pin that was every tight and felt cross threaded or bent when disassembling the caliper. I bought new pins from O'Reilly's and high temperature grease from the Honda dealer and pulled it all apart this past weekend and replaced the pins on the front calipers. Shimmy and pulsing is still there. I disassembled the rear calipers and cleaned and greased the rear pins as well. To be honest, everything visually looks good and was working fine. Shimmy and pulsing is still there. I do notice however that the shimmy and the pulsing have changed quite a bit now with everything greased and I actually think the shimmy is coming from the back of the car and then causes the whole car to violently shimmy. It's weird. I've never had a rear set of rotors warp before. I ordered a new set of high performance drilled and slotted rotors with carbon fiber pads for the rear, and new pins as well. Once those arrive, I plan to install all of that and see what we get. On a related note, if it's not the rotors, I wonder if it could have anything to do with the front ball joints? I get a horrible clunking sound on small bumps at low speed on my little secondary road I live on (25mph ish). On the main road / highway, the car is actually driving pretty good right now, with that same slight pull to the right a lot of people have commented on. I'll update accordingly.
 

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1. Rotors don't warp, the phenomenon is pad material transferring to a hot rotor unevenly over time, causing the surface to become "wavy".

2. I'm not touching the drilled and slotted rotors, I hope they treat you well but I'd never install them on a road driven vehicle.

3. My best guess (if everything was lubed properly) is you either have rotors that aren't sitting against the hub face properly or the rotors may have excessive runout. Either of those mean the rotor "moves" laterally at the caliper that is mounted to the hub, thus providing vibrations.

4. A clunk in the front end could literally be ANYTHING. Ball joints, worn control arm bushings, worn shocks, loose bolts, sway bar end links, sway bar bushings, steering components, motor mounts, etc. Usually when I have had clunking I start with the sway bar and move through the rest of the suspension before looking at steering, than motor mounts.
 
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Mostly agree with post#5 except for "rotors don't warp". IME driving habits, over-torqued lugs and brake issues like sticky calipers or frozen parking brakes can cause similar rotor damage. Drove an old Toyota home one time with frozen rear caliper. It was a smokey, smelly drive home. Rotors were probably red hot. LOL
 

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I've never run across a bent caliper pin over the years, and I would theorize that a bent pin would prevent the caliper from moving smoothly, not a pulsation during braking. Usually a stuck pin will cause uneven pad wear since one side.

Years ago when we had two 76 Accords, I recall that the rotors has to be turned while on the vehicle. This was due to having to pull the main bearings apart to replace the rotor. The benefit, however, was very parallel braking surfaces. I think some shops still do that.

Now, the rotors are easily replaced, but I'm not sure how parallel the surfaces are with the aftermarket rotors. And it wouldn't take very much to cause a wobble. I've been told that not thoroughly cleaning the mating surface of the hub can cause some wobble. If you still think it could be the rotors, maybe find a shop that will grind your rotors on-vehicle.

If you think it is suspension related, I'd check the lower A-arm/ball joint for movement. Jack up a wheel, grab the top and bottom of the tire and try to rock it. Should be dead solid. You could also get under the car and pry between the knuckle and the A-arm near the ball joint to see if you have movement. Same for the A-arm bushings and the frame. If you are getting a violent shimmy and it is due to one of the bushings/ball joints, I would think you could find movement.

Good luck.
 

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FWIW, I have a 2012 EXL AWD and had the same symptoms you described of front brakes shuddering when braking from high speeds. I did the same thing you did and swap out with new rotors and pads but still the same issue. A couple months later I'd brought it in to the Honda dealer for state inspection and they mentioned that the lower control arm bushing was leaking (this was an issue with the 2012 model) and replaced it. The symptoms went away....
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks all for your thoughts. I'll let you know what I find as I keep sorting it out - I'm currently waiting for my new rotors to get shipped so I can install them.

I like to idea of going through the suspension and looking for looseness - I've read about the "Active Suspension Dampeners" or whatever it is Honda is calling the shocks on these 3rd gens and have seen some other comments about clunking / rough ride, so I've been trying to pretend it's just that... but I guess I'll need to get under there and look for more stuff to tighten... I have actually gone through a few things on the front end and haven't found anything loose - yet.

Question - what's the concern about slotted and drilled rotors? I like the idea of giving the rotors some additional cooling, so thought I'd give them a try. They seem fine at the moment - aside from whatever is causing the violent shimmy of course.
 

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Question - what's the concern about slotted and drilled rotors? I like the idea of giving the rotors some additional cooling, so thought I'd give them a try. They seem fine at the moment - aside from whatever is causing the violent shimmy of course.
Some folks notice an increase in wear and dust.
 

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Question - what's the concern about slotted and drilled rotors?
The theory of drilling and slotting is they provide slightly superior cooling, keeping your pads cooler longer into periods of excessive braking. I tried looking up a scientific analysis of just how much more cooling you get with them, but it seems to be totally case by case. They may also give your brakes a more "biting" feeling. You're wise to pursue this with the Pilot, because its generally agreed Honda undersized our rotors.

On the proven downsides, slotted or drilled rotors will mechanically wear your pads faster, and cause more dust than the same pad on a normal rotor. In the less proven category, you might find they are noisier, or add more vibration during braking (not the pulsations you're describing). Finally, in the anecdote category, you'll hear of poorly designed cross-drilled rotors cracking when they get too hot.
 

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Question - what's the concern about slotted and drilled rotors? I like the idea of giving the rotors some additional cooling, so thought I'd give them a try. They seem fine at the moment - aside from whatever is causing the violent shimmy of course.
-Increased wear
-Increased noise
-Increased dust
-Increased vibration (I've driven numerous vehicles with drilled or slotted rotors, about half had the same distinct vibration that is different from the pad deposit (aka "warped") rotors
-More prone to having a rotor fracture, especially with cheap brands
-Worse heat dissipation since there is less material, so worse heat performance for the rotors and pads. We aren't driving on a track and don't have cooling ducts providing air to help cool the rotors.
-They look really crappy after one season in the salt around here when all of the voids start to rust
-What you can buy for your Pilot will likely perform worse than a really good pad and blank rotor combination
 

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-Increased wear
-Increased noise
-Increased dust
-Increased vibration (I've driven numerous vehicles with drilled or slotted rotors, about half had the same distinct vibration that is different from the pad deposit (aka "warped") rotors
-More prone to having a rotor fracture, especially with cheap brands
-Worse heat dissipation since there is less material, so worse heat performance for the rotors and pads. We aren't driving on a track and don't have cooling ducts providing air to help cool the rotors.
-They look really crappy after one season in the salt around here when all of the voids start to rust
-What you can buy for your Pilot will likely perform worse than a really good pad and blank rotor combination
^^ what he said.
 

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I put a set of Hawk drilled and slotted rotors on my 03 Pilot because I was towing with it. At 12,000 miles they had a vibration and shimmy under breaking. Replaced the rotors with just standard vented and new pads, breaks have been normal since then.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Update:
All my parts finally came in, and I was able to install the new rear rotors, pads and hardware. 2016 EX-L AWD. The shimmy / vibration is still there, although it is much less than it was most of the time - but when it's bad - it's actually violent so something is certainly wrong. Braking is also smoother at all speeds now as well. It seems as though the vibration / shimmy is starting at the rear of the car, but honestly it's just so hard to tell so I can't be sure. It's much better at around town driving speeds, where before I was getting a very rough stop as if a rotor was binding every rotation, it is now smoother without much pulsation in the pedal or steering wheel. I'm at a loss as to what is causing this, but I have to start turning attention towards something being wrong either in the suspension or in the brake system itself - not sure where to begin - ideas?

On a separate note: these are the kits I've installed front and rear, and I will tell you what - you could pretty much stop this car in it's own length from 60mph now - wow!

134928
 

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Did you make sure the face of the hub is totally flat? You may want to put a runout gauge on to see if the rotor is "wobbling" as it rotates. If that's all good the next suspect would be the caliper itself.

Do you have a Go Pro or similar? Maybe see if you can attach it behind the wheel pointing at the suspension/brakes and you can get video of what's happening.
 
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I'm wondering, respectfully, if you've not quite reassembled everything correctly. Please take my ideas as gentle suggestions to investigate, not suspicion of your skils :)

Ideas:
  • Not to cast any doubt on your skills, but are you confident you're tightening your lugs uniformly and in a star pattern so the rotors are centered correctly?
  • Same gentle sanity check, check that the main caliper bolts (not the slide pins) are tight and not cross threaded.
  • Could you have reversed the caliper slide pins on one or more rotors? (on most cars they are not interchangable)
  • Jack up each wheel, grab on top and bottom and rock back and forth. Do the same grabbing left and right sides of the wheel, but on the front wheels, be aware you could be turning the steering rack. If there's any play, your issue is not brake related, but may only show up under braking.
  • Are your pads installed correctly, with the proper retention clips and grease?
  • Did you remove the factory Honda rotor retention screw (its totally unnecessary, get it out of there).
  • You can safely ignore any hydraulic issues, I've never heard of lines/fluid causing significant pulsation like you're describing.
Good luck!
 

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KMC-1, as I mentioned before I would check all your suspension bolts and bushings. A loose bolt or bushing might explain your issue.

Also, is your "clunk" still there? That might be a clue.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
I'm wondering, respectfully, if you've not quite reassembled everything correctly. Please take my ideas as gentle suggestions to investigate, not suspicion of your skils :)

Ideas:
  • Not to cast any doubt on your skills, but are you confident you're tightening your lugs uniformly and in a star pattern so the rotors are centered correctly?
  • Same gentle sanity check, check that the main caliper bolts (not the slide pins) are tight and not cross threaded.
  • Could you have reversed the caliper slide pins on one or more rotors? (on most cars they are not interchangable)
  • Jack up each wheel, grab on top and bottom and rock back and forth. Do the same grabbing left and right sides of the wheel, but on the front wheels, be aware you could be turning the steering rack. If there's any play, your issue is not brake related, but may only show up under braking.
  • Are your pads installed correctly, with the proper retention clips and grease?
  • Did you remove the factory Honda rotor retention screw (its totally unnecessary, get it out of there).
  • You can safely ignore any hydraulic issues, I've never heard of lines/fluid causing significant pulsation like you're describing.
Good luck!
Thanks so much for the feedback / ideas guys!
Now I will not pretend I'm a professional mechanic by any means, but I am handy with tools when I need to be (I don't actually like doing it, I'm just cheap and like to know stuff is done right lol).
See my answers below:
  • Not to cast any doubt on your skills, but are you confident you're tightening your lugs uniformly and in a star pattern so the rotors are centered correctly?
I did the star pattern on the lugs, and I did a graduated torquing of all the bolts; seated/finger tight, then 25% of full torque value, then 65%, then full torque value. I used a torque wrench on all bolts, even the caliper bracket mounting bolts. To be honest - I've never been so ginger in doing a brake job on a vehicle before but am being extra thorough in trying to isolate this problem.

  • Same gentle sanity check, check that the main caliper bolts (not the slide pins) are tight and not cross threaded.
No cross threads and I double checked to be sure the caliper brackets are seated correctly and have full contact as well.
  • Could you have reversed the caliper slide pins on one or more rotors? (on most cars they are not interchangable)
To be honest, this one is tricky. I did reference the assembly guide instructions to be sure I'm putting them in the correct order - and I think I have this correct. I didn't just pull one out and put another back in just in case someone before me may have made that mistake. They all appeared to be correct. They are all new hardware, new rubber bushings and fresh Honda grease. I double checked the calipers are sliding easily on the pins once assembled as well. No apparent binding.
  • Jack up each wheel, grab on top and bottom and rock back and forth. Do the same grabbing left and right sides of the wheel, but on the front wheels, be aware you could be turning the steering rack. If there's any play, your issue is not brake related, but may only show up under braking.
Ohhhh... I LIKE this idea! Thank you..... this is where I'm beginning to think I need to start looking and this seems like a quick easy way to look for an issue.
  • Are your pads installed correctly, with the proper retention clips and grease?
They are, I used the grease on the retention clips to lubricate them and anti-vibration where the calipers grasp the pads. All retention clips and tension springs were used.
  • Did you remove the factory Honda rotor retention screw (its totally unnecessary, get it out of there).
Hmmm.... No, I not only kept that screw in - I actually took the step of torquing it to spec... hmmmm....
  • You can safely ignore any hydraulic issues, I've never heard of lines/fluid causing significant pulsation like you're describing.
I would tend to agree with you on this, I would think if something in the hydraulics is that far out it would be showing up with other problems and/or setting off a system fault in the ABS pump circuit.
 
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