Binding rear brake pad

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Oxfordian

Active Member
Joined
Mar 3, 2014
Messages
107
Location
Warwickshire (was Oxfordshire)
Car
C220 CDI Sports Coupe
Hi All,
I'm looking for some advice on how to stop one of my rear brake pads from binding against its disc. I only noticed it yesterday in slow moving traffic when I became aware of a squeal from the rear wheel that seemed to be linked to its rotation.

I jacked it up a few hours ago, manually rotated the wheel, and could see the pad catching on the disc and leaving marks on it as it turned. I presume that as the disc warms up and expands, the binding will be greater :( Presumably there is some mechanism for managing the clearance between brake pad and disc, but I'm ignorant as to what it is.

Although I'm not sure if it has anything to do with it, the shock absorber for this wheel was replaced 6 months ago.
The car is a 22 year old C220 Cdi Sports Coupe with 271,000+ miles, is otherwise reliable, and is costing less than £800 per year to keep it going (service included).

Any ideas?
Tks
 
Last edited:
Hi All,
I'm looking for some advice on how to stop one of my rear brake pads from binding against its disc. I only noticed it yesterday in slow moving traffic when I became aware of a squeal from the rear wheel that seemed to be linked to its rotation.

I jacked it up a few hours ago, manually rotated the wheel, and could see the pad catching on the disc and leaving marks on it as it turned. I presume that as the disc warms up and expands, the binding will be greater :( Is it possible to have the pads adjusted to leave some clearance?

Although I'm not sure if it has anything to do with it, the shock absorber for this wheel was replaced 6 months ago.
The car is a 22 year old C220 Cdi Sports Coupe with 271,000+ miles, is otherwise reliable, and is costing less than £800 per year to keep it going (service included).

Any ideas?
Tks
Probably a sticking calliper piston? Should be easy for any garage to diagnose .
 
An after market rear brake caliper is around £40 for a new one+ 1-1.5 hrs labour at any general garage to fit
I would change the brake hose with it at a cost of around £10 I would expect that to be inclusive of the 1 - 1,5 hrs
So I would expect to pay under £150.
 
have you tried a few very hard braking actions at speed ? If you do , be safe keep an eye on your mirror and do not come to a complete stop .
 
Wonder how similar 203 rear brakes are to a 204, I've just had something very similar on my 2008 S204 C220, turned out the rear NS caliper was completely goosed (and they showed me the caliper and disc when I collected the car). Replacement rear pads, 2 discs, caliper, wear sensor (all Pagid) plus brake fluid change was just "slightly" more than £150 at F1 Autocentres Ashford - like £500 more!! They use a menu pricing system so I don't have a seperate labour charge on the invoice - set of pads and the 2 discs were each £91.50 (so £274.50), caliper £180.40, wear sensor £66, brake fluid change £33.33, all plus the dreaded 20% VAT. Not a nice phone call to get when I was expecting the problem to be front pads for about £150 - I knew I had wear sensors both sides of the fronts but did not know there is also a wear sensor on the rear NS (but not the OS!). Front pads and discs were done 8 years and 50k miles ago, which is how I know I have wear sensors both sides as according to my VIN I only have one on 1 side but mechanic found 2 so had to salvage an old one. Thankfully fronts were still OK, pads have plenty of meat on them - phew!!
 
have you tried a few very hard braking actions at speed ? If you do , be safe keep an eye on your mirror and do not come to a complete stop .
On Friday, 2 days before I became aware of the issue, I made a round trip of around 139 miles to Kettering and the journey involved a few hard braking instances. Braking was normal.
 
Wonder how similar 203 rear brakes are to a 204, I've just had something very similar on my 2008 S204 C220, turned out the rear NS caliper was completely goosed (and they showed me the caliper and disc when I collected the car). Replacement rear pads, 2 discs, caliper, wear sensor (all Pagid) plus brake fluid change was just "slightly" more than £150 at F1 Autocentres Ashford - like £500 more!! They use a menu pricing system so I don't have a seperate labour charge on the invoice - set of pads and the 2 discs were each £91.50 (so £274.50), caliper £180.40, wear sensor £66, brake fluid change £33.33, all plus the dreaded 20% VAT. Not a nice phone call to get when I was expecting the problem to be front pads for about £150 - I knew I had wear sensors both sides of the fronts but did not know there is also a wear sensor on the rear NS (but not the OS!). Front pads and discs were done 8 years and 50k miles ago, which is how I know I have wear sensors both sides as according to my VIN I only have one on 1 side but mechanic found 2 so had to salvage an old one. Thankfully fronts were still OK, pads have plenty of meat on them - phew!!
Whew is right!
Thanks to a pause on my car radio which coincided with very slow moving traffic, I was just able to hear the slight squeal from the rear offside. So I may just have caught my issue before it impacted the disc. Still, at 22 years old and 271,000 miles, I have to be careful that a fix is really worth it.
 
Whew is right!
Thanks to a pause on my car radio which coincided with very slow moving traffic, I was just able to hear the slight squeal from the rear offside. So I may just have caught my issue before it impacted the disc. Still, at 22 years old and 271,000 miles, I have to be careful that a fix is really worth it.
How much to replace the car compared to the cost of repair?
 
How much to replace the car compared to the cost of repair?
Your question really made me think a bit more about the pros & cons of a repair.
In financial terms, my car is hardly worth anything, and yet, to replace it with something as reliable would cost at least £5k (no point doing a like-for-like replacement) with an almost immediate hit from depreciation. Now, since I've long ago written the costs of my old car down and its hardly worth anything, I'm not affected by depreciation. In which case it makes sense to me, to pay the repairs of some hundreds and defer paying £5k for a replacement car.

I think that makes some kind of sense :)
 
I think my experience shows it also makes sense to shop around!! My nearest indie is quite a distance away, F1 are local and convenient.
 
On Friday, 2 days before I became aware of the issue, I made a round trip of around 139 miles to Kettering and the journey involved a few hard braking instances. Braking was normal.
You misunderstood what I said . Find somewhere to drive at 70mph and press has hard as you can (not as hard as you dare) on the brake pedal , Repeat. See if that makes a difference.
 
You misunderstood what I said . Find somewhere to drive at 70mph and press has hard as you can (not as hard as you dare) on the brake pedal , Repeat. See if that makes a difference.
If you mean, a difference in getting the caliper to work to free the binding? I've now booked it in, since Christmas is close & I need the car. Tks
 
I booked the car in to get it resolved and that turned out to be an almost complete waste of time & money - they didn't even take the wheel off. I won't go there again!

I've been doing some more digging, and it seems that the squeal from the rear wheel is just the sound of the pad being in light contact with the disc as the running clearance is incorrect.

So, can the running clearance be adjusted & if so, is this a minor job?

Tks
 
I booked the car in to get it resolved and that turned out to be an almost complete waste of time & money - they didn't even take the wheel off. I won't go there again!

I've been doing some more digging, and it seems that the squeal from the rear wheel is just the sound of the pad being in light contact with the disc as the running clearance is incorrect.

So, can the running clearance be adjusted & if so, is this a minor job?

Tks
Running clearance is what a correctly working calliper does as the piston pulls back when the pressure is released as you stop braking . You can’t adjust it .
Unless the pads are jammed and not moving freely in the calliper
 
Running clearance is what a correctly working calliper does as the piston pulls back when the pressure is released as you stop braking . You can’t adjust it .
Unless the pads are jammed and not moving freely in the calliper
Ahh! It seems that I'm flapping on about a non-problem. Yes, there's a squeal 'cos the pad is close on the disc, but as I can turn the hub by hand, it can't be said to be binding, so no potential safety issue here. Is my conclusion reasonable?
 
Ahh! It seems that I'm flapping on about a non-problem. Yes, there's a squeal 'cos the pad is close on the disc, but as I can turn the hub by hand, it can't be said to be binding, so no potential safety issue here. Is my conclusion reasonable?
Nope. A binding brake will eventually wear and free itself.
It shouldn't be squealing so there is something amiss. Neglecting warning signs from brakes is poor practice.
 
Ok. Point taken!
The required preliminary check isn't difficult - not to anyone capable of removing a roadwheel.
Wheel off, pull the pads (method varies depending on caliper type but usually straightforward requiring the minimum of tools), check piston(s) move - ie can be pushed in with moderate force and extend under moderate pedal pressure (limit piston travel by reinserting pad), check sliding element of caliper (if that type) is free and if no problems found, reassemble and continue to monitor.
Sticky components need to be sorted. Sliding part of caliper can usually be freed but sticky pistons tend to become sticky again so either a rebuild or new caliper is better. In which case the job can be handed to a garage - unless confident enough to undertake yourself (involves breaking into hydraulics and consequent bleeding and more tools for what can often be an awkward removal of caliper).
 

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