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Rotor Resurfacing

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Old 02-21-2017, 12:20 PM   #1
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Rotor Resurfacing

Hey All!

Just wanted some thoughts on having all four rotors resurfaced. The truck has almost 141K miles on it. I got new pads, not because the original are bad, but they just squeak a bit when stopping. The original pads are only about half worn and the rotors have zero gouges, no pulsating, no pulling, and no shaking when applying the brakes.

Should the rotors be resurfaced or just slap on the new pads and call it good?

From reading the FSM, it is recommending a hub mounted on-vehicle lathe (didn't know those existed) to true the rotors to the vehicle's hub/bearing, if the rotors are scored or worn. Is this necessary or will a standard brake lathe that refinishes both sides at the same time work?

Thank you in advance for the help!
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Old 02-21-2017, 05:46 PM   #2
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I haven't resurfaced a rotor in at least 35 years and have had zero problems with rotors. My 01 truck which I just got rid of had 350k on it. I did replace the rotors about 50k ago due to a caliper sticking and trashing one so I mic'd the others and they were getting close to min spec so replaced them all. Two at that time and then a few months later when I put new pads on the front I went ahead and replaced them at that time. The rear one was still pretty good but I didn't feel replacing just the trashed one was a good idea to have that much difference between them on the same axle. They probably would have lasted another couple years or even 3 on that front axle. However I am not going to complain about getting 300k on a rotor.

The on vehicle method is supposed to be better but again I haven't done one in at least 35 years and that option wasn't around back then or if it was I had never head about it
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Old 02-21-2017, 08:05 PM   #3
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Unless the brake pedal is pulsing or there is some major scoring, it makes no sense to resurface the rotor. Look at it this way; the normal 'grooving on a rotor that always develops in time, will just add more surface area to your brakes, so in theory, that will provide even better braking. OK, OK, maybe I am stretching things, but why not?

I have not resurfaced any rotors in many brake changes and never had a problem. If the rotor is worn a fair amount, but still within allowable thickness limits, they only thing you could consider doing is to lightly grind off the rusted outer edge that sticks up above the main braking surface. That will allow the caliper assembly to slide over the rotor a bit easier. If you do this, be careful and do NOT grind off deeper than the shiny area. A small right angle grinder takes care of this job quickly.

I am aware of the hub mounted lathes, but have never seen one in use and do not know anybody who has had it done this way. With the wheel off, spin the rotor and see if it wobbles. No wobble, no worry.
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Old 02-21-2017, 09:07 PM   #4
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Thanks fellas! Glad I asked! I'll give them a good look when I get the wheels off Wednesday or Thursday. They looked great a couple months ago when I rotated the tires, so I don't expect much has changed since then.
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Old 02-22-2017, 07:31 AM   #5
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Mfgs are making them that thick beyond the minimum allowed so there's usually not ever enough meat if something ever goes wrong so I wouldn't do it if it doesn't need it
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Old 02-22-2017, 11:15 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1-2-3 View Post
there's usually not ever enough meat if something ever goes wrong so I wouldn't do it if it doesn't need it
I think turning rotors is a lost art, the last pair I had did, the kid cut wrong and made big spirals in the rotors.

if it is a "keeper" car, I would buy new rotors from NAPA.

if it is a junker, or you are fixing it to sell it, Advance's cheap rotors are good enough.

but either way, I don't have mine turned any more.

hth?
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Old 02-22-2017, 12:25 PM   #7
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If rotors are clean and in spec then simply replacing the pads and performing the proper "burn in" procedure of the pads should be all you need. Although it doesnt hurt to hit the rotors with some sand paper just to break the initial glaze.

Turning is only needed if they're gouged up bad. And turning does NOT fix warped rotors either as the metallurgy has changed and they'll simply re-warp in no time.

Buying new rotors is good but just be sure to check them before installing because its not uncommon to get new rotors which will run wobbly right out of the box.
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Old 02-22-2017, 01:05 PM   #8
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"the proper "burn in" procedure"

That reminds me a a buddy that whenever he used to work on his truck, he would say this, but his version meant burn 10k miles off the right back tire. He would leave black powder in the parking lots of the tire shops after getting new rubber.
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Old 02-23-2017, 05:10 PM   #9
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I'll take a micro to them. Didn't get a chance to do the pads today, hopefully tomorrow.

I'll be sure to scuff them a little to knock the glaze off.

Other than some electrical issues, this truck has been good! Just had the front end checked last week (while the truck was in the air for front pinion seal replacement) and the only comment was to need to think about new tires soon. With nearly 141K miles, that is awesome. On my second set, first set lasted 75K miles.
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Old 02-23-2017, 06:17 PM   #10
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My Honda dealer routinely resurfaces their rotors on the vehicle. Lost art I guess.
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Old 02-23-2017, 07:12 PM   #11
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When I worked at Tires Plus in the 90s, prior to joining the Air Force, we resurfaced rotors when they were grooved and within limits, but I haven't kept a vehicle long enough to change the brakes on to even know if that was still a thing.

I changed the brakes on my wife's Aspen a year or two ago. I replaced the rotors because they shimmied a decent amount.
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Old 03-06-2017, 06:32 PM   #12
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The salt from the roads eats our rotors (and truck bodys too) up here in New England. They seem to devolop a layer of rust that trashes the pads. All the cheap replacement rotors ive purchased warp.
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Old 03-20-2017, 08:35 AM   #13
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I have always turned brand new rotors on a brake lathe, (you would be amazed how far out they are) and clean up all rotors when replacing brake pads. Minor inconvenience for razor straight braking.
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