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Old May 20th, 2003, 07:19 PM
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Grinding noise with Cooper's brakes - anyone help?

Hi folks, I'm new around here though I've had a Cooper in silver with black roof for approximately a year now.

Anyway, I have a problem with Mini's brakes - not that they don't work, it's just that they seem to be rubbing all of the time - as if they weren't releasing properly. I see a fair amount of black discolouration* on the front alloys, which makes me wonder if it's ingrained brakedust!

Mini has done 17000 miles, give or take, with 12000 of those since we got him last year (it was a demonstrator at a local dealer) and otherwise (save for a few minor rattles and knocks) has been fine. However, since January this year the grinding noise has been getting more and more frequent, until around six weeks ago it became constant.

Is this just worn brakepads/scored discs or is there some other flaw? I'm not particularly mechanical but I would have thought that worn pads/discs would only cause a grating or rubbing noise if they were in contact with each other. However, I'm getting this problem even when I am not braking - which makes me wonder if it's something to do with a degree of 'siezing on'.

I also have noticed that Mini isn't nearly so nippy at the moment - pointing to the increased resistance from the rubbing brakes, I'd imagine.

Has anyone else suffered this, and more importantly should I expect TLC to cover new pads/discs if it does indeed turn out to be a seizing problem?

Thanks,

John (near Edinburgh)
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Old May 20th, 2003, 07:26 PM
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Hello John - another Edi MINI owner here.

My MINI (silver ONE) has done close on 12k miles with no probs from the brakes. If you hear a scraping noise all the time it sounds like they are not releasing properly. If that is the case then your pads will wear down very fast so I'd recommend a trip to the dealer. If they are not releasing I'd say that should be covered under warranty. If the pads need replacing then I'd try and get them done under warranty too since excess friction will have caused them to wear prematurely.

Are you with Eastern or Dunedin?

Oh check out www.newminiscotland.co.uk as well.

Cheers,
Ken.

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Old May 20th, 2003, 07:38 PM
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My Dealer...

Car bought from Dunedin, but didn't like the way they covered our interior in WD40 whilst lubricating the sunroof (can you imagine that? what on earth possessed them to spray without covering the seats?) - we went to Eastern and they've been pretty good IMHO.

That's what I thought about the warranty issue - and I'm pretty damned sure they're seizing on - and probably the pads are getting pretty thin by now - around 1500m since we first noticed the problem. We actually had Eastern look at the brakes but they only said that the pads were worn - perhaps they didn't check carefully enough, who knows.

John
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Old May 21st, 2003, 01:38 AM
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hi jtcedinburgh

Check to see if the right hand rear caliper is sticking on firstly...This is a known problem

A brake noise maybe caused by traffic salt/grit being put on roads when it is icy and this grit can cause a graunching noise on first applications of the brake..i dont know where you live but if its cold there eg snowing etc it maybe just this that is causing it??

Check to see if the front inner pads are okay and not down to the metal because the inner pad always wears down before the outer one..once again its just an idea?

Check the rear pads...i have had these wear in a funny patter because the rear pads hang over the lip/edge of the disc itself..

Hope this helps..
cheers
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 05:30 PM
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Mini is in today with the dealer and we'll see what they say. Would sticky calipers causing excessive wear & tear be covered under Mini TLC? I'm assuming that if it was they'd do the honourable thing and put new pads FOC, but as yet I've not heard back...

John

PS. Asked about obtaining Cooper S alloy pedals for fitting and they acted all surprised, as if I'd asked for something really underhand... our Mini's rubber pedal covers keep coming off and they're slightly worn, so alloy pedals wouldn't just be for show...
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 07:10 PM
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Update & request for advice!

I've just heard back and they're claiming that the discs (all four) are worn and need replacing - at a cost of in excess of 250 ($400) - and that the calipers are not sticking. I've had a second opinion (non BMW) who states that there should be no grinding when the brakes are not being applied if the discs were worn (in agreement with Ken above) but the dealer seems to be trying to fob me off with the new discs.

I've said I may take the car away to a second dealer for another opinion, and they then stated that they would charge for the diagnostic time. Aren't fault investigations meant to be covered under TLC?

Can anyone advise? Need some info pretty urgently as they're going to get back to me within the hour or so...

John
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 07:27 PM
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This should be covered under warranty.
My Red Cooper has been in 15 times in 13 months...for random things like rattles, new seats, bonnet insulation etc etc.


Just take it to another dealer who will look at it if not ring Customer Services and complain!

C
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 07:36 PM
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I don't follow this at all.

You mean discs not pads right?

I'll be very p*ssed off if I need four new discs after 17000 miles.

If you mean pads I'll still be p*ssed off if they only last 17000 miles - unless you drive like a looney.

250 is a rip off. An independant place changed the front pads on my last car (parts + labour) for 50.

I would refuse to pay their diagnostic time unless they advised you about being charged for this before hand. As far as you were concerned the car was in for warranty work.

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Old May 22nd, 2003, 07:50 PM
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Discs...

"You mean discs not pads right?"

Yep, discs. Apparently the pads aren't too bad. I find this really difficult to figure out - I mean, neither pads nor discs have been replaced since new, so how could the discs possibly wear out before the pads unless there was some kind of fault?

"I'll be very p*ssed off if I need four new discs after 17000 miles."

Believe me, I'm p*ssed off :=)

"If you mean pads I'll still be p*ssed off if they only last 17000 miles - unless you drive like a looney."

Well, I could accept worn pads - I don't drive like a looney but the wife does Nah, seriously, I'd guess that our driving style is no better nor worse than your average Cooper owner. Sure, I corner hard (I love the handling) but rarely brake hard unless I have to (e.g. to avoid baby rabbits crossing the road, etc.)

"250 is a rip off. An independant place changed the front pads on my last car (parts + labour) for 50."

250 was inc. VAT for all four discs - not pads. Funnily enough, when I started questioning all of this the rep's attitude changed somewhat...

"I would refuse to pay their diagnostic time unless they advised you about being charged for this before hand. As far as you were concerned the car was in for warranty work."

Nope, they didn't mention this whatsoever. As far as I am concerned the car is in for warranty work - I mean, I've looked at the discs, and whilst I don't have measuring devices or suchlike, they look in fair to decent nick.

Anyone have the customer service number handy? I feel a need to lash....

John
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Old May 22nd, 2003, 10:40 PM
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Angry Further update

Hi again.

I thought I'd post an update on the break saga. The dealer has just told me that their engineer has had another look and they are still maintaining that the reason I am getting the grinding noise is because of a build-up of corrosion on the discs. What surprises me is that I've had many cars before who have had (on occasion) a small build-up of corrosion, but in every single case all it took was a short journey and a bit of normal braking to cure any problems.

I can't get over the gut feelnig that these guys are still trying to play me as a fool, and they're trying to charge me for the diagnosis time as well, despite having TLC. This I will, of course, contest, and I'm considering what my next moves should be.

My first thought was to 'raise merry hell', but I need to get a second opinion as I am no engineer and I would hate to find myself in the wrong if they turned out to be right.

I need to collate a few facts first:

Does anyone know the 'non-braking' pad clearance margin, i.e. how much 'space' there is between pad and disc on a healthy Mini? I'd have thought that unless that margin is very small indeed, it would take excessively corroded or warped discs to cause a problem.

Would discs be covered under TLC should the calipers be deemed to have been sticking? Who can advise me officially?

Will having a non-Mini dealership fixing Mini's brakes invalidate any TLC cover? If so, would such invalidation be restricted only to those parts changed or would they try to wriggle out of the TLC altogether?

Am I being unreasonable in expecting a lifespan of 17000 for brake discs and if that's all that the BMW parts last for, surely even Kwik Fit could do a better job servicing and fitting non-OEM parts?

What is the official complaints' channel? Would I be wasting my time?

Lastly, putting all the above to one side for a moment, should I just take it on the chin and shell out the nigh-on 300 including VAT for the discs and fitting? Or am I being blatantly ripped-off?

To think I thought TLC would be the answer to such worries...



John
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 01:40 AM
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Quote:
surely even Kwik Fit could do a better job servicing and fitting non-OEM parts?

I wouldnt bet on it....
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 02:44 PM
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Update

Hi once again, to anyone following this saga of mine.

In a nutshell, I spent 3/4 hour debating the points above (in a civilised manner, of course ;-) last night with the service manager at the dealers. To give them their due, they were happy to go over any points there and then, even though it was basically closing time.

They'd taken the brakes apart to investigate, found corrosion on the discs - apparently (according to them) the discs on New Minis are designed to wear at the same rate as the pads - which surprised me, but I didn't know enough to argue otherwise - and it's not unheard of to need new discs at 15000 miles. This isn't particularly what I wanted to hear. Apparently they couldn't find my sticky caliper problem, even though it was happening all the time. More interestingly, the problem had mysteriously gone away on my return home. Really peculiar.

Two possibilities:

(1) Taking the brake pads off to investigate has caused the calipers to 'unstick' (or they've been adjusted without my knowledge)

or

(2) The standard cleaning they performed has helped enough to prevent the rubbing.

I'm confused.

Now I'm thinking: stick with the discs (which, apart from the rubbing, are apparently good for another 5000 miles) or proactively change them for better discs. If I go for the second option, does anyone have recommendations for discs - for even better braking without excessive wear (no track use)? Also, how would this sit with TLC?

John
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 03:07 PM
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Re: Update

Quote:
Originally posted by jtcedinburgh


They'd taken the brakes apart to investigate, found corrosion on the discs - apparently (according to them) the discs on New Minis are designed to wear at the same rate as the pads

That has got to be nonsense. How can someone "design" a steel disc to wear at the same rate at the pads

I've had a few cars that have mileages up to 70000 miles. I have not once had to have the discs changed on any of them.

Did you pay and how much for the investigation?

On your question about new discs affecting TLC. It won't affect TLC as that is a serviceing package which does not cover brakes anyway. You warranty may be affected but only in that if it directly caused another fault with the car which seems unlikely.

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Old May 23rd, 2003, 05:36 PM
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Did you pay and how much for the investigation?

Unfortunately, though I felt I should have been getting the investigation as part of a fault diagnostic under TLC, they didn't buy that and charged me approx. 27. At least I got a full valet for that price (standard practise) which Mini sorely needed, I must add.

So, what I need to do now is to see how Mini runs over the next week or so to see if they've 'sorted' the problem - and if not, have it checked out elsewhere...

John
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Old May 23rd, 2003, 06:36 PM
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I don't know if this is significant, but when I started off in my MCS today, there was an almighty crack from the road wheels and some resistance in moving off as if I had run over something. I then heard a lot of "grinding" from the brakes as I rolled backwards down the driveway (no brakes on). I then remembered that I had washed the car yesterday and then driven into the garage where it stood overnight. It appears that rust had formed on the discs and somehow caused the pads to stick to the disc on one or more wheels. Moving off broke the "seal" and it took a few minutes of driving before the grinding disappeared. Never had this happen on any other car.

Chips
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