Grinding Metal

Well, I've talked about my 190k mile, "just starting to slip" clutched, suspensionally challenged 1994 Escort (that also suffers with many other numerous "ailments") before.

About a week (maybe two) ago, my Escort started making a noise (when you used the brakes) that makes your teeth ache. Oh, it probably does not make EVERYONE'S teeth ache - If you are a foot soldier in the "Army of the Oblivious", then your teeth wont ache. But, since you are reading this blog, I'll assume you are not. I will assume that you will know, or at least be able to recognize the noise I am talking about. It's one of those noises that once you have heard it, you will never forget it (again, assuming that you are not among the minions of the "Army of the Oblivious"). It's one of those noises that if you are the driver, and apply the brakes, not only can you hear, but you can feel it in your teeth, bones and joints. (By "joints" I don't mean the little white ones that you roll yourself and keep in a baggie under the seat.) Nope, this is the sound that will give you goose bumps, night sweats, and nightmares!

As you can see in the pictures of the drivers side brake rotor and the old break pads (below) it is obvious what has struck fear in my heart, and cause me to use a "feather-foot" on the breaks last week! I put it off as long as I comfortably could (and even a couple days past that), but I could take it no longer. I could not put my trusty little Escort (which has treated me so well all these last few years) through any more of this unholy torture.

So, in the middle of a 3 day stretch of overtime (3am-3pm) I spent what very precious little time I had between getting home from work and having to go to bed (I shoot for 8 pm when I have to be up at 2am) replacing the brake pads on the car.

As you can see, (as I suspected) the drivers side rotor was the "grinder". The passenger side was not as bad, but was in "close to desperate" need of being changed also.

From start to finish, the job took me 3 hours, and $30.00. (Broken down as follows)

* The first 30 minutes was gathering tools, getting the car jacked up, and removing the tires.

* The next 30 minutes were spent visiting with a neighbor who stopped by.

* I spent the next hour carefully disassembling the drivers side caliper to get the brake shoes (so that I would be able to successfully "reassemble" it again), replacing the pads, and (successfully) reassembling the whole apparatus.

* The passenger side only took me 30 minutes to disassemble, replace and reassemble (it went VERY easy once I was familiar with the parts and layout of the caliper).

* The last 30 minutes was spent cleaning up, and taking the car out for a break in of the new pads.

I did discover a couple of things while working on the brakes.

#1 - My LOCKING C-CLAMP has broken. Dont ask me how or when, but the spring inside the hadle broke in the middle, rendering it useless. I will need to replace the spring (if possible) or replace the whole clamp. Disappointing..

#2 - It's time I buy myself a good breaker bar. I have never had one, and use a old aluminum tent pole, but the pole has seen better days.

After replacing the pads, I took the Escort out for a little spin to "break-in" the new pads. While out driving around a few thoughts came to mind. Those thoughts became another entry titled "Taking things for Granted". Feel free to check it out.

But now that the job is done, the breaks work perfectly! I sure wish the rest of the car did...

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