Brakes pulse, shaking the steering wheel and car.

ctag

fill it with wires!
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Hello :hi:

I'm ctag, your friendly neighborhood Honda noob. I have this 98 Civic EX that got new brakes a year ago. That included rotors, pads, drums, and shoes (and wheel cylinders!). I cannot remember, but there's a small chance the brakes shook like this before doing the replacement. Anyway, right now the brakes pulsate when I'm slowing down. It's most noticeable at very low speeds, as I approach a stop the car will lurch a bit in time with the wheels turning and when it's bad, I can hear some scratching. At medium speeds (25-45mph) it's not very noticeable at all. At interstate speeds the whole car and steering wheel will shake when I apply the brakes.

The CV axles aren't the greatest. But there's none of this vibration without the brakes, and I can turn both wheels full lock without any clicking or issues.

I've tried:
  • Having the (almost brand new) rotors turned at a shop. That didn't fix anything, but the shop also wasn't very good.
  • Resetting the rear drums by brake checking hard with the handbrake. The rear drums do pulse a little bit if I apply only the hand brake.
  • re-bedding in the brakes by doing the 15 cycles of up to 40mph and then brake harder than usual. That actually seemed to work... for about 30 minutes.
Did I just get dud brakes? Is there a chance this is caused by a hub going bad? How do I tell?

Thanks!
 

spo0ned

New Member
usually, such things happened when rotors aren't flat.
there's an option to try brake rotor grind machine that works with disc on a hub

30479
 


ctag

fill it with wires!
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5+ Year Member
Thanks for the suggestion.

I've tried having the rotors turned, but haven't found a shop with an on-hub tool like that.

Recently someone suggested that it may just be the suspension pieces wearing out. I'm not sure how to tell if the ball joints are going bad, or what part would cause this kind of pulsing.
 

spo0ned

New Member
actually, there's an easy way ho to figure that it's time to change ur ball joints. U need to jack up the car and move the wheel if there's a backlash, then it's time to change it.
but when ball joints are done u should hear some kinds of creaks.
 


ctag

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Thanks, I'll give it a shot. Jack the car up and then try moving the wheel left and right? By hand or with the steering wheel?

I've visually inspected the ball joints recently, and they look OK, even if the boot looks like it might have cracked in one of the seams. No creaking or anything...

I forgot to mention that I've also tried going back and properly torquing the lug nuts to 85 ft/lbs, from advice I got on the car's build thread. That may have helped a bit, but not much.
 

ctag

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I jacked the car up, locked the steering wheel, and tried pushing each of the front wheels left or right. They moved a bit, but that appeared to be just the steering rack letting it move a little.

Yeah, I loosened the wheel, and then re-torqued the wheel lug nuts to 85ft/lbs. Though if them being improperly torqued caused this to begin with, then the hub/wheel or whatever may just be warped at this point.
 

ctag

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Well the civic's at the shop today.

A friend was riding with me and pulled the handbrake. He immediately said "Yeah the pulsing is from your drums." Since he could feel it transmitted to the handbrake lever.

So I dropped the car off and asked the mechanic to check the drums and turn them. He was upset that I'd even ask for them to be turned, and assured me I was most likely in for entirely new drums... Sigh.

At work now, I'll update when I get the car back.
 

ctag

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... The mechanic called back. He said that one of the wheel cylinders failed, and the other side cooked. They want to replace everything for $400 :???:
 

Mr.Baker

Mr. Search
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... The mechanic called back. He said that one of the wheel cylinders failed, and the other side cooked. They want to replace everything for $400 :???:
So do it, have it done.
Your time is worth something and drum brakes suck to work on.
 

ctag

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So do it, have it done.
Your time is worth something and drum brakes suck to work on.
Solid advice. They did the work, I paid $450 all said and done.

The rear brakes are now pulse free and smooth! But now I can feel that the front brakes are pulsing (a little) and shaking the steering wheel (a little, at highway speeds). I must have royally screwed something up when I did the brakes myself two years ago for both the front and the rear to be whacked out like this :???:
 

Mr.Baker

Mr. Search
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5+ Year Member
But now I can feel that the front brakes are pulsing (a little) and shaking the steering wheel (a little, at highway speeds). I must have royally screwed something up when I did the brakes myself two years ago for both the front and the rear to be whacked out like this :???:
I wouldn't say that.
It really depends on driving style and to some extent what brand of brakes you used as to how much you'll get out of them.
After 2 years, the front may need to be done now, rotors and pads.
 



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