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    Thread: Brake Service, Overhaul, Brake Pad and Disc (rotor) Replacement

    1. 12-18-2005 09:36 PM #26
      Quote, originally posted by chrisj428 »
      Parts are a significant part of the equation. However, there is labor involved. I would expect there would be even more labor involved for the technician to attach the rotors to the lathe, set it up and supervise its operation since that takes more time than replacing them.
      Good luck. In five years, I have never seen a set of VW rotors turned. My understanding is the composition of the material makes for an unturnable product -- hence their "disposable" nature.
      I think back to an old boss of mine, Bob Buffington. I learned many many things from him. One thing he taught me was "You play, you pay." This car isn't a Golf. It doesn't have Golf brakes. Given that a Phaeton's roughly 3x the price of a Golf, it's not unreasonable to expect the brakes would be priced accordingly. You're not going to get the oil changed in the car for $29.95 after the warranty's out, why would you expect to get the brakes done for $250????

      Chris, I have always appreciated and respected your contributions to this forum and you certainly have more knowledge about Phaeton maintenance than I do (no sarcasm intended). But I must, at least for now, disagree with you on this one.
      I have 38,000 miles on my Phaeton and the rotors look great. There is nothing exotic about the rotor material - it is high quality steel and a lot of it. What makes them unturnable?
      The fact that you have never seen vw rotors turned is not proof or even substantial evidence that the Phaeton's rotors cannot be turned.
      You said turning the rotors is more labor intensive. You also said in a previous post that replacing the rotors does not require much labor. If you replace the rotors, rather than turning them, you get the car out of the shop faster and that fact alone increases your profit because you can service more cars. You do make a profit on the parts you sell.
      Yes I do want to play and, if I must, I will pay. But I don't agree with the fact that you must pay 4 - 5 times what other people pay for a brake job on a vehicle of equal weight. Just because the Phaeton is expensive doesn't mean I shouldn't question high maintenance costs. I have owned vehicles weighing 8000 pounds and the brakes were actually smaller and the rotors were turned. The resultant brake job provided a good service life. The brake job typically cost me about $250 USD for new pads and turned rotors. Again, there is nothing exotic about the Phaeton's brake pads or rotors.
      Decades of experience with disc brakes, including doing my own brake jobs, causes me to disagree with what you are saying. I'm going to take the rotors to an automotive machine shop and get them turned. If I get pulsating stops after 5000 miles on the turned rotors I will gladly tell the forum Chris is correct and I'm wrong.

    2. 12-18-2005 10:36 PM #27
      I'll add my two cents and say that if you have some experience and a shop manual, the Phaeton brake job certainly seems to be within the realm of DIY by ordering the parts online. That being said I wouldn't waste my time turning the rotors. I've tried that on a few cars and they were all a waste of time. After several thousand miles for one reason or another I always ended up with something I didn't like about the braking performance.
      Nowadays when I do a brake job, rather than doing the job twice, I just replace the rotors. But by all means, please report back in a few thousand and after some hard stops from highway speeds. I'd be curious to see if the Phaeton would be the exception to the rule of not turning rotors.

    3. 12-18-2005 11:08 PM #28
      I did have a few vehicles that turning the rotors caused unsatisfactory results (pulsating stops from warping after a few thousand miles) and a few that worked fine with turning the rotors.
      When it is time for brakes, I want to turn the rotors to see what the experiment yields, more than any other reason. The Phaeton's brakes are expensive and quite large, even for a 5200 lb vehicle. You don't want to take pulsating brakes into the winter months but a full summer of driving on turned rotors is enough to let me know without endangering the car.

    4. 12-19-2005 03:21 AM #29
      I'm my lifetime I've done 1000's of brake jobs. A lot of them still had good rotors that did not need to be replaced or turned.
      If there are no pulsation issues and all you need are front brakes, slap a set of new pads up front. However it's very important that you measure rotor thickness and make sure it's at or above minimum thickness. With the new pads installed drive the car and apply the brakes a few times and seat the pads in. Each time stopping the car harder than before. Don't overheat the brakes. After a dozen or so stops you'll notice that the brake pedal feels solid again. Done.
      Werner

    5. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      12-20-2005 01:04 PM #30
      Quote, originally posted by AusSalzburg »
      ...it's very important that you measure rotor thickness and make sure it's at or above minimum thickness...

      I think that is the key point to the whole discussion - if brake pads need to be replaced, then rotor thickness (and rotor runout) should be measured. Runout refers to any deviation from perfectly flat on both sides of the rotor.
      If there is no runout, and the remaining thickness of the rotor is greater than 50% of the available service wear, then (personally) I think that the pads could be replaced and the original rotor could remain in service.
      If the remaining rotor thickness is less than 50% of the available service wear, then any discussion of putting the rotor on a lathe and machining it - or even leaving a perfectly flat rotor in place - is academic, not practical. This is because it is reasonable to predict that the rotor will reach its service wear limit before the newly installed pads wear out - which means that it is kind of pointless to leave the rotor in place, it would make better economic sense to replace the rotor at the same time that new pads are installed.
      Michael

    6. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      12-22-2005 10:55 PM #31
      I went up to my VW dealer (Volkswagen Richmond Hill) this afternoon to collect some additional information about brakes on the Phaeton. The Phaeton technician, Mark, and his apprentice, Blake, very kindly offered to take a front wheel off my car and show me how the whole brake system works. I learned a great deal from my visit - hopefully I can pass some of that information on here.
      All VW brake discs (rotors) have the minimum service thickness either cast into the side of the rotor, or laser-engraved on the side of the rotor. The front brake rotors on a NAR Phaeton are 34 mm thick when they are new, and the allowable wear limit is 31 mm. You can see the wear limit cast into the middle of the rotor in the third photo, below.
      Front Brake Assembly



      To properly evaluate the condition of the brakes, three measurements must be taken:
      1) The thickness of the disc,
      2) Runout (deviation from flat) of the disc, and;
      3) The remaining thickness of the brake pad.
      I managed to get some good photos of the first two measurements, but forgot to take a picture showing how to measure the brake pad thickness. It is quite easy to measure the pad thickness, you just use a vernier caliper. The photos below show how to measure the disc thickness and runout.
      Put the micrometer on the disc, and note the reading

      (Normally the reading is observed with the micrometer still on the disc)
      This is the thickness of my front left disc after 16,000 miles of use.

      Next, the runout gauge is attached to the brake caliper

      The disc is rotated until the lowest point is found, and then the dial is set to zero
      The easiest way to rotate the disc is to just turn the wheel on the opposite side.

      The disc is then turned several times until the highest point is found.
      The disc on my car has 3/1000 of an inch of runout (.076 mm)

      None of us could find any limit for runout published in the VW service documentation. However, the amount of runout on this disc seems to be insignificant when compared with the amount of runout allowed for an aircraft brake disc.
      The last thing to measure is the thickness of the brake pad. A new pad is 13 mm thick. The warning light on the instrument cluster comes on when the pad has worn down to 3 mm thickness, and the minimum allowable thickness for safe operation is 2 mm. The pad is measured while still in place using a vernier caliper (this is what I forgot to take the picture of). You can see in the photo below that the pad on my car is about 1 cm thick.
      Brake Pad

      Many thanks to Mark, Blake, and Blaine for all their help putting this post together.
      Michael
      Last edited by PanEuropean; 10-07-2012 at 09:03 PM.

    7. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      12-22-2005 11:16 PM #32
      I also asked what could cause brakes to squeak or squeal. It seems there are several different causes. The brake pad could be either worn down to limits, or wearing in an irregular manner.
      It is also possible that the metal splash guard that is on the inboard side of the brake disc could be bent (perhaps due to hitting something on the road) and rubbing up against the disc. The photos below show the splash guard.
      Splash Guard on Inboard Side of Brake Disc

      Note normal gap between splash guard and disc

      View from lower aft area

      Brake vibration can be caused by small amounts of anti-corrosion compound (which is applied to the rotor when it is manufactured) still remaining on the disc. In some cases this may also cause a noise. This is uncommon, however, VW has issued a technical bulletin explaining how to remove any residual coating. It is quite easy to check a Phaeton brake disc to see if any of this coating remains - just look at the disc through the holes in the wheel. Normally this problem is only encountered during the first week or two of ownership. The technical bulletin describing how to resolve this problem is attached to the bottom of this post.
      It is important that the bolts that hold the wheel on the car are tightened by hand, using a torque wrench. The bolts fit directly into the brake disc, and if they are overtorqued, or not torqued in the correct 'star' pattern, the disc could be slightly deformed. This would result in diminished performance and uneven disc wear.
      Note that the wheel bolt fits directly into the brake disc

      This is why the wheel bolts need to be tightened using a torque measuring device (torque wrench, or torque measuring adapter on air gun)
      Last edited by PanEuropean; 10-07-2012 at 09:04 PM.

    8. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      12-23-2005 12:26 PM #33
      Archival Note: Related topic - Opinions wanted about aftermarket brake pads

    9. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      01-05-2006 04:07 AM #34
      Just to keep all the brake related photos in one place - below are photos of the standard front brake assembly for NAR W12 Phaetons and V8 Phaetons worldwide (the smaller brake), and the standard front brake assembly for the W12 and V10 TDI in ROW markets.
      The larger brakes are used on the heavier Phaetons outside of NAR because the top speeds of these cars are higher outside of NAR. There would be no benefit from installing the larger brake on the NAR Phaetons - the only difference would be a significant increase in the cost of overhauling the larger brakes.
      Michael
      NAR Front Brake - W12 and V8
      used worldwide on all V8 Phaetons

      ROW Front Brake
      Used outside of NAR for W12 and V10 TDI Phaetons
      Last edited by PanEuropean; 10-07-2012 at 09:06 PM.

    10. 01-05-2006 12:18 PM #35
      Michael - If you look at your picture, the interlocking circles of the Audi Logo appear to be on the component above your rotor. Is VW using interchangeable parts on the Phaeton with Audi?

    11. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      01-05-2006 10:58 PM #36
      It's kind of hard to read anything specific into the logo of any one of the VW group companies (VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, etc.) appearing on a part. It could be that the same part is used on an Audi car, or, it could be that one of Audi's subcontractors manufactures that part specifically for the Phaeton. I've seen some parts in my Phaeton that have Seat or Skoda logos on them, even though it is obvious that the part could never be used in a Seat or a Skoda, because those products are much smaller vehicles.
      Maybe a better way to look at the question, from a parts point of view, is that any VW AG product could have a part on it that is made by any subcontractor to the group, or, the part could also be used on any other carline of the group. For example, the rear spoiler controller on a Bentley Continental GT has a VW logo on it, because it is (essentially) the same thing as the rear spoiler controller for the New Beetle Turbo. The functionality might be different, though, because the GT has a higher top speed than the NB Turbo - at least, outside of NAR, anyway.
      Michael

    12. 02-08-2006 03:05 PM #37
      18.5K and I need new brakes on my front wheels. They will cost $860.00 for pads and rotors. It's expensive to stop this beast:~( The good news is that I got a check pad warning on my infotainment system so I brought it in early for my 2K. The infotainment system has also been acting up in the last few weeks and they need to replace the battery. This car is an energy hog. Boring post I know, but the new guys need to know what to expect.

    13. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      02-08-2006 03:58 PM #38
      I guess much depends on the ratio of city to highway driving, the geography (hilly or flat) and the individual style. My VW dealer inspected my brakes - again - when I brought my Phaeton in for the 32,000 km (20K mile) service last week. They didn't bother to measure them, because there was no apparent change from what you see in the photos above. The tech estimated I would get between 50 and 70K miles out of the original pads and rotors, based on how I have used the car so far.
      Michael

    14. 02-15-2006 06:49 PM #39
      My brakes squeek right when I hit the pedal, or just when the car comes to a complete stop. It is not a continuous squeek. Is this normal, and what do others experience, if anything?

    15. Member Paldi's Avatar
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      02-15-2006 07:06 PM #40
      Quote, originally posted by dzier »
      My brakes squeek right when I hit the pedal, or just when the car comes to a complete stop. It is not a continuous squeek.

      Mine too now with 21,000 miles or so. The squeek started before the new wheels were installed so that's not it.

    16. 02-15-2006 07:14 PM #41
      I just turned over 34k miles.

    17. Member chrisj428's Avatar
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      02-15-2006 07:28 PM #42
      David,
      I'm inclined to say the squeak, while not "normal", is most likely nothing to be concerned about.
      Frequently, I find brake noise of the nature you described is a result of brake dust buildup on the components. Taking the vehicle to a DIY carwash and carefully power rinsing the bits behind the rims usually does the trick.
      Be forewarned, however, you now have four very wet brakes. Stopping is going to be a bit dodgy (i.e., longer than you normally expect) until they dry out, so plan accordingly.
      --Chris

    18. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      02-15-2006 08:47 PM #43
      Hi David:
      Different things can cause the brakes to make a squeaking or squealing noise. There is more information about this on an existing post entitled "Brake Service, Overhaul, Brake Pad and Disc Replacement" - so, to keep all the information together, I am going to merge this new discussion into that existing thread.
      Michael

    19. 02-15-2006 10:07 PM #44
      Quote, originally posted by PanEuropean »
      I guess much depends on the ratio of city to highway driving, the geography (hilly or flat) and the individual style.... The tech estimated I would get between 50 and 70K miles out of the original pads and rotors, based on how I have used the car so far.
      Michael

      43,000 miles and the brakes are looking good. I do mostly highway driving and live in a very flat area. I think I could get 70k miles out of them. However, my brother-in-law drives his Phaeton mostly city and in the mountains of central PA. He has 12,000 miles on his vehicle and his brakes look worse.

    20. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      02-16-2006 02:29 AM #45
      Archival Note:
      A discussion about the time interval (2 years) that applies to changing brake fluid - Flushing the brake fluid?
      A discussion about the air scoop on the front brake assembly: Front Brake Air Scoop


      Modified by PanEuropean at 1:54 AM 3-10-2007

    21. 03-05-2007 02:25 PM #46
      At my 40,000 mile service I was told my front and rear brakes are at 20%. What have people been paying for brakes in the Chicago area?

    22. 03-05-2007 02:36 PM #47
      I would also like to know what people think about the need for new rotors. One dealership said I would need just pads and another dealer said they always change the rotors.

    23. Senior Member PanEuropean's Avatar
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      03-05-2007 05:51 PM #48
      Hi Brian:
      I can't help you with the pricing information, because I live in a different country (Canada), besides, I have not yet needed to get brakes serviced. The last time my brakes were inspected (30K miles), both front and rears had about 70% pad material still remaining. As you can probably guess, I mostly use the car for highway trips.
      The question of replacing rotors at the same time as pads has come up before. Here's the 'executive summary':
      - most car manufacturers now make rotors of lighter, thinner material, to reduce unsprung weight.
      - the design life of the rotor is the same as the design life of the pad.
      - new design rotors can still be turned on a lathe, but very little material will be left once the rotors are turned. Thus, their life expectancy will be greatly reduced.
      - sometimes, the rotor will still be within service specs (still thick enough) when the pads are replaced. But, it is unlikely it will have more than 50% of remaining wear still available. Thus it is pointless to change the pads only, because the rotor will wear out before the newly installed pads have worn out.
      If you would like to review the previous discussions, complete with photos, etc., please click here: Brake Service, Overhaul, Brake Pad and Disc Replacement.
      Michael

    24. 03-09-2007 03:31 PM #49
      My "check brake pad" light came on recently and it seems I need to replace the front brakes. What I was wondering is if I can order the parts myself and have my good friend who owns a repair shop install them. I don't claim to know that much about the mechanics of cars so I wanted to see if this was something that could be done by someone other than the VW dealership. Also, how much are the parts since I have to buy pads and rotors?
      Any help would be appreciated.

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      03-09-2007 04:06 PM #50
      Quote, originally posted by W12Dave »
      My "check brake pad" light came on recently and it seems I need to replace the front brakes. What I was wondering is if I can order the parts myself and have my good friend who owns a repair shop install them. I don't claim to know that much about the mechanics of cars so I wanted to see if this was something that could be done by someone other than the VW dealership. Also, how much are the parts since I have to buy pads and rotors?
      Any help would be appreciated.

      I don't see why your local repair shop can't do the work. These brakes are rather large but no different (as far as I know) than other VW brakes that have sensors built into them. Remember that you're replacing the pads and rotors but not the calipers so you're not getting involved with the hydraulics at all. Not that that would necessarily be a show stopper anyway.
      When my turn comes I'm planning to have my shop's mechanic do mine.
      BTW, depending on how good a friend he or she is, you might want them to order the parts as s/he will get the wholesale discount from VW or whomever they get them from.
      I like to hear from anyone who has used non-OEM pads (perhaps ceramic) to hear about their results. I'm dying to find a way to maintain the great braking characteristics while lowering the massive amount of brake dust.

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