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Squealing brakes whilst driving

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New User

Jun 4, 2016, 2:42 PM

Post #1 of 3 (844 views)
Squealing brakes whilst driving Sign In

Hi, I have a 1973 VW412le Variant 1700cc with 80000 miles on the clock. I'm in UK. I recently changed the front brake discs (rotors) as the old ones were worn beyond their limit. I also fitted new calipers and brake pads and wheel bearings...the rotors and calipers were new old stock genuine VW parts. Since fitting them there is a squealing, mostly from the front offside (it's a right hand drive car)wheel, but sometimes from the nearside also. Mostly it is when turning right, but also when driving straight ahead. As soon as brakes are applied the noise stops, but begins again on releasing the brake pedal. The bearings are adjusted correctly, the rotors are not warped, there is no grit stuck in there, the backs of the pads have a smear of copper grease on, the brakes are not binding, I have changed the new aftermarket brakes pads back to asbestos pads, and still the noise persists. The noise appears to start after driving a few miles and the wheels/brakes are warmed up, but even after a long journey the wheels and calipers are not excessively hot. The only curious thing I have discovered is that the sprung steel cross shaped pad retaining spring, when the car is jacked up with the wheels off, whilst spinning the hub the squeal is audible, but if I push on the centre of this spring with my finger the noise stops...let go and it returns. Pull the spring slightly outwards away from the wheel and the noise gets louder...only minute movements make a significant difference.....I'm all out of ideas...anyone got any thoughts on what the problem could be? Any help would be appreciated...I've worked on and restored old cars for many years, but this one has me baffled!

Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 4, 2016, 5:16 PM

Post #2 of 3 (836 views)
Re: Squealing brakes whilst driving Sign In

Gotcha mostly but they never sold this exact model to the US that I knew of. Doesn't matter. Strong chance that NEW rotors had a coating for storage and was supposed to be either washed off with strong soap and water or is like lacquer thinner called by brand name Bra-Kleen spelled wrong on purpose. Other types work as well called cleaner for brakes.

What may have happened is specs on pads changed so metallic and don't think OE when new was or pads are just the slightest bit contaminated with what was on rotor or if you got grease on them funny things happen.

Hate to see you go back and if both wheels do the same just look at one side, apart so you can see pad's friction surface right up close. Did it shine or discolor in an odd pattern?

What you can try: Use brake cleaner now on pads and rotors evenly around and or when good and new enough on this problem when it's not totally something wrong is place sandpaper on level surface and rub pads to clean them off. Light sanding fine wet or dry sandpaper on rotors with spinning them in your hand and squeezing like the pad would just to do the lightest job then wash with water and or brake cleaner as well.
Another is if all else fails and no drag causing this and shouldn't as you've done the whole job is they sell a goo that semi hardens for quietening brake pads. Some come with it new some don't need it and shouldn't. Do NOT allow that stuff to get on friction surfaces, rubber bellows of pistons or where caliper slides pins or however done. Not too many Euro anything did one piston calipers on anything around then.

Last choice: Send new rotors out to the right shop that would resurface a rotor. Tell them you want them just cleaned with as little removed as possible and wash them as said above again. Fine particles from machining AKA "Turning Rotors" will impregnate the pads and could be noisy forever without new pads! Hope not as they are probably hard to find about now?

Any hardware not done when you did this find new stuff if not part of the pads? I'll have a real hard time finding just what you are looking at that might be French company once called ATe (accent over the 'E' I can't make.) Doesn't matter if that's what was used it was meant to work even that long ago when mostly higher end vehicles were always disc brakes.

Good luck. You can fix this and a pain it the butt if pads contaminated now,


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Tom Greenleaf profile image

Jun 4, 2016, 5:19 PM

Post #3 of 3 (835 views)
Re: Squealing brakes whilst driving Sign In

Warning if you already read that NOVEL need to add. Watch out for Brake or Carb cleaners on painted surfaces can eat right thru so do NOT allow spray or any on nice finished paint of anything you care about,


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