Horrible Brake Pulse - currently have Akebono ceramics - need pad recommendations

Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
532
Hello All,


I did my brakes at 90,000 miles and installed the following:

Disc Brakes Australia rotors - 4000 series slotted rotors

Part numbers:
Front DBA - 4788S
Rear DBA - 4789S

Brake Pads

Akebono Pro Act
Part numbers:
Front ACT772
Rear ACT773


I now have 190,000 miles on the same brakes, and they have developed a horrible, jerking pulse at light pedal and heavy pedal, along with the shaking steering wheel. I have looked and they have a ton of material left on the pads, and the rear rotors are very smooth overall and have virtually zero wear, as in they measured 17.96mm (using Mitutoyo Digital Micrometer) on the one side I had time to measure; they start at 18mm stock thickness and can be turned to as thin as 16mm, although I will have the minimum turned off of mine to get them true and flat again.

I did not have time to measure the front rotors yet, as I am going to try and do that tomorrow; they start at 32mm thickness and can be turned to as low as 30mm, but again, I hope to turn the minimum to get them trued up.




Here is where I need some advice or help.....


I have attempted to "re-bed" the brake pads and rotors and get them hot enough to re-deposit pad evenly on the rotors, and it didn't work, in fact, it made it worse. I had them very hot, but couldn't seem to smear the "sticky spot" off of them and even them out.

I have had to make a few "oh-$H!T" panic stops because of crazy drivers and circumstances, and although I did pull a light trailer a few times, I never over-worked the brakes or got them hot during towing. I think the pulsations may have occurred because of the panic stops.


I am taking off work tomorrow, if I can, and I am going to have the rotors turned if they are all above minimum specs, which I will check with my digital calipers. I have found a local shop here in the Denver area that will turn slotted rotors, as many will not.

I have bought new hub seals, some circlips that I hope are the right thickness, and some Red Line CV2 grease that I plan on packing the wheel bearings and spindle bearings with, as they still spin smoothly, but haven't been serviced since the brake job at 90,000 miles.




My main question comes down to brake pads.

I have read several places that the OEM pads and AKEBONO pads (which are supposedly an OEM supplier) can cause pulsations in the brakes if stressed or overheated from towing, etc.

Can someone offer some strong recommendations for pads that I might be able to source locally (in Denver)?

If I don't hear different or better, I will be going with OEM or Akebono again and just have them turned again in another 100,000 miles if they have enough material and no grooves..... but, I would rather have softer pads that dust the wheels and need to be changed more often than pulsing brakes, so please speak up if you have some good experience with other brands from a more common auto parts store or performance pads. I would love to be able to change these tomorrow; I can wait if I have to.




Thanks in advance!
 
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Joined
Mar 6, 2012
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47
Location
Colorado
I've had Akebono on other cars I've had and I don't like them much (noisy and braking wasn't that great). I now have Porterfield R4S pads on pretty much all my cars and like them a lot. I have them on my 1988 LC and they work very well. Unfortunately, I don't know of a place that they can be sourced except on the internet.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
532
Thanks Heywood, I haven't tried porterfields before, but I have read good things about them. I may have to order and wait...... I had carbotech bobcats ( I think may be similar to porterfield R4S) on some Subarus in the past and also liked them very much, but again, you have to order them and wait....
 
Joined
Oct 8, 2017
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Location
San Diego
Your rotors caused the jerking and steering shaking. I had the same problem with steering jerking and shaking when apply brake down hill at highway speed. Problem fixed by replacing all 4 rotors with Toyota rotors.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
Messages
638
Location
Tulsa, OK
100K Miles is great performance!

I've had the same issue with my EBC front rotors, I've used them on other vehicles before with now issues. I have a replacement set that EBC sent me and both sets, within 5,000 miles started to warp and pulse upon mid to heavy breaking. I just ordered a set of power stop rotors and pads.
 

2001LC

 
Joined
Nov 4, 2007
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7,397
Location
Colorado
I've used both OEM and Akebono. Both work well in normal driving, provided PADs bedded properly from day one. I have had to re-bed pads while still relatively new (few hundred miles) after adding heavy tires (KO2's). The benefit to Akebono, shims are included, reducing cost over OEM if new shims needed.

100K miles is great for combined city and HWY for fronts, and unusually high for rear pads.

For brake pulse to start after 100K miles with same driver, driving under same conditions is unusual. Warped rotor will hide themselves until hot, and only pulse when used. It's possible to get rotors very hot, hit cold water and hold brake pad on one spot. The uneven cooling may warp rotor I suppose. But if I understood you correctly, you've not service wheel bearings in 90K miles. That is way to long, factory recommends service every 30K.

Bleeding and rebuilding calipers should also be consider and inspect all brake lines. Hoses get old and may have soft spots (bulge)
Also take a hard look at ball joints, TRE and control arm bushings.
 
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super90

 
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I have the same pulsation on one of my trucks. I don't think it's the Akebono pads, because I am running them on the other truck too, with no issues at all.

I've had this issue for a while, even with the Toyota rotors.

Then, I put in StopTech rotors all the way around, with the Akebono's and all was well for a year or or maybe two, then the problem returned. I'm thinking it is a caliper issue potentially, or maybe suspension. My caliper theory is that, when we install new pads, we push the pistons back in the caliper, and maybe it seals better, or is in a range where all is good. But, once the pads wear and that piston slowly moves out and operates in another range, the problem returned.

I have had issues on this truck with this issue over a few years. I'm going to replace the calipers with Toyota reman units, put in new brake lines, have the rotors turned, put in new pads, and then see where we are.

Then I probably replace TRE and control arm bushings.
 
Joined
Sep 28, 2017
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92
Location
NY
Having used ceramic pads from Akebono and powerstop in the past, i wholeheartedly will stay away from anything ceramic especially for our near 6000 pound trucks. I had powerstop pads and rotors on my 3000 pound VW and felt brake fade after a day of driving, I won't trust my life with that. Ceramic pads do not provide adequate stopping power let alone while towing or a car full of people. At a minimum i would suggest looking into Akebono Performance Ultra Premium pads as they are specifically meant for light trucks and track use. The ProACTs on the other hand, are not.

I run AXXISS Metal Master semi metallics on the truck with bosch rotors all around. Even after towing a small trailer and stop and go NYC traffic, i do not feel any performance degradation. Less than 30% pedal travel in everyday use and stopping with a full truck while towing feels no different.

Ceramic pads do tend to heat up rotors more so than semi metallics. It is possible you are feeling this brake pulsation from overcooked rotors as a result of the selected pad.
 

2001LC

 
Joined
Nov 4, 2007
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OEM are ceramic and is what factory recommends. I've used the ACT772 without issue.

I just recently had issue with brakes, vibrating steering wheel. I don't know if rotor(s) warped from day one, which they had 30K miles on them. Or staining on rotors from sitting in mud and not being used for extend period of time caused issue. But on my test drives brakes worked fine. Nor was there any report from PO, Toyota Dealer history or that of shop that installed brakes of any issue.

Issue did not come up until a new driver and different driving style. Seems new driver uses brakes to control speed on downhill, overheating brakes. This bought out issue undetected by what I call proper downhill driving. That is, using low gears and or OD to control speed and staying off brakes. We have runaway ramps here in the Rocky Mountains HWY passes for those that ride brakes. We can always spot a flatlander, as brake lights are constantly going on.

Overheat your brakes, they will reveal issues. Overheat to much, they will fade. Continue overheating and they will fail. Not matter what type or brand used!

The reason for ceramic pads, sloted and drilled rotors is for better cooling.
 
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Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
532
So......two steps forward, and one step back....


After trying this morning to get a good deal at Advance and Napa that was somewhat close to RockAuto's price on Akebono pads (both were $77 and $70 each, respectively, and RockAuto was $45/$48); I gave up and decided on OEM pads for now. Tried Stevinson West and they were much cheaper in their online order prices at $58 each set of pads, and I checked the box that I wanted to pick them up from Stevinson parts department. Got an email that said 2-4 days expected delivery, and I figured, "must be standard email answer for online orders", so I drove over to go get them. When I got there, the parts guy said "we don't have the rear pads in stock, they are coming from Kansas and won't be here until possibly Wednesday". I was obviously disappointed (I am used to it-HA!), but I said " yes, I received the email but was hoping it was a standard answer for all".

Later, I pulled everything down, hoping to get the rotors turned and installed in the same day..... Getting the cone washers off took longer than expected with more effort than I expected as well, but I got them all off and nothing broken!

Well, all I can say is that didn't get it all done yet as I was working this morning and trying to work on the 'cruiser at the same time. There is a chain of Napa Stores (Havana Auto Parts) here in Denver East (Aurora area) that will turn drilled and slotted rotors (only shops that I found that will turn slotted rotors) very affordably. After pulling all of my DBA rotors off and finding next to zero wear on the rotors ( these things are awesome!), I knew I was having them turned to make sure they were true and flat. The rear rotors both measured above 17.9 mm thick (18mm stock) and the fronts both measured 31.9mm thick (32 mm stock), non were grooved or damaged in any way. My front brake pads had worn down considerably in the last 10,000 miles of hard stops and my attempt to re-bed them, so they were definitely at replacement level, but the rears still had a good bit left on them.

The bearings were still fine with no damage to the races, no slack in the adjustment, and the grease didn't look or feel bad, so it must have been some type of synthetic. I feel pretty lucky and won't let them go so long next time, even though I am packing them with Red Line CV2 this time.

I finally delivered the rotors to the Havana Auto Parts store at 2:30pm, because of traffic and distance, which took over an hour to get there. I dropped them off, talked to the nice counter guy, asked him if he could please get them done by tonight, and he said no problem, we will get on them now. He said come back in an hour to hour and a half. We came back at 3:45 and he said, "oh, did no one call you"? "No", I responded...... "our brake lathe wouldn't turn on, so we sent them to another one of our stores 20 minutes away at Havana and Kentucky". I could tell they were trying to get them done for me, so I was appreciative and thanked him. We drove to the other store and the guy said there was no way they would be done by tonight as the machinist would be leaving soon. It would be morning before they were finished. I was obviously disappointed (again), but the guy responded that they can only turn one side at a time when turning grooved rotors and it takes a long time because they also remove very little metal on each pass; I understood because I have a small lathe and I know how things work when turning hard materials.

While running around for the rotors, I had a thought to call Slee Offroad. I spoke to Cristo at Slee and asked what pads they carried and recommended. He said they have very good feedback from the Disc Brakes Australia SD610 pads that they had been installing, especially with the DBA rotors like I have; they also carried OEM pads but weren't installing many of them lately. Slee is only a few miles from my house, so I like to support them when I can and buy little things (and dream about buying big things). The pads were higher priced than OEM, but, being that they are matched to the DBA rotor iron and appear to be a copper-free ceramic material, and come recommended by someone local who isn't getting rich selling $150 worth of brake pads and has a reputation to uphold. I am hopeful that they won't repeat the pulsing problem.

I do think that is an interesting thought about the calipers possibly causing the pulsing when they are further extended because of the increased pad wear...... something to think about for sure....

I hope to have it all back together by late tomorrow afternoon, after work, if things go better than they did today!
 
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Joined
Oct 27, 2014
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Florida
I put new pads/routers 2 years ago because I was having the same issue. The problem went away but has since come back. Mine feels like it wobbles when coming to a slow stop. If I come to a hard stop I feel no wobble.
 
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
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Tulsa, OK
Same here @buckfl, I just bought new rotors and pads, but might hold off installing untill this is figured out. I thought it was a bad batch of rotors (2 sets!) from EBC but maybe not?

Mine is an 02 LX
 
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What calipers do you guys suggest? Not sure I want to buy online if I have to ship back cores.
 

super90

 
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I'm starting to think this is more than rotors, and is probably suspension bushings, ball joints, etc, too. Had similar issues on a BMW 5-series years ago and control arm bushings fixed it.

At 15 years and 200k miles, it's all out of spec, even though i have replaced tie rod ends and re-packed and re-booted the ball joints a few years ago. It's all due to be replaced...

There was mention of overheating the ceramic pads, but for me, that's just not the case. I'm in flat land almost exclusively, I know how to use the tranny to control speed, and I'm easy on the brakes in all my vehicles. Never any problems. I cannot totally rule it out, but after 35 years of driving cars, this is the only one that I've had issues with.
 
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Joined
Jul 30, 2016
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gulf breeze FL
190,000 miles on the same brakes, and they have developed a horrible, jerking pulse at light pedal and heavy pedal

I had the same. It was the guide pins all the way. It's easy to check and rear calipers are cheap. If I remember right they even came with two new crush washers for the banjo bolt. I found it easier to buy than to rebuild with new parts, even if you could get the slide pins out, which I couldn't.


 
Joined
Oct 26, 2016
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Tulsa, OK
So the guide pins had flat spots or what? I remember mine specifically being in good shape, cleaned, re-lubed and trudged on. I just ordered a buch of parts from Cruiser Outfitters, they all need replacing and will be piece of mind, still really interested in this being an issue for multiple folks with different brakes.
 
Joined
Sep 11, 2012
Messages
532
My guide pins looked perfect, so I cleaned them and lubed them well with Permatex ultra caliper lube. The boots and the rubber bushing were still soft and pliable.

I got my turned DBA rotors back and it looks like they only removed .010 from them on each side to get them trued up, and they did a great job for only $80 total!

I pressure packed the old hub bearings and used the RED LINE CV2 grease and reassembled my brakes late yesterday. I bedded the new DBA pads in at 9:45 last night and they stop well.

I drove 180 miles today for work and had zero issues, perfectly smooth and quiet stops, and a pleasing driving experience.

I do think that the caliper pistons being extended further out because of very worn pads may be part of the issue, even though I don’t have any pistons sticking, perhaps they aren’t as well supported on the base of the piston and it allows some very minor shake or wobble of the pistons in the bore.. if not that, it must have been caused by a pad transfer hot spot that is very sticky and caused a pulse.

I will keep an eye on my calipers, and possibly replace them or rebuild them next time.

I think I will try for a 50k mile bearing service interval next time.
 

Somebodyelse5

Land Crushers
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Feb 9, 2014
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190,000 miles on the same brakes, and they have developed a horrible, jerking pulse at light pedal and heavy pedal

I had the same. It was the guide pins all the way. It's easy to check and rear calipers are cheap. If I remember right they even came with two new crush washers for the banjo bolt. I found it easier to buy than to rebuild with new parts, even if you could get the slide pins out, which I couldn't.


Did you also have a really obvious pulse at low speeds? Creeping up to a light I feel it big time. At speed, light pedal, I also feel it.

Just replaced my front rotors and pads hoping it'd help, but made no difference.
 
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