Ford Explorer with warped rotor?


Old 05-29-15, 06:09 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: new york
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Ford Explorer with warped rotor?

Hi all,

HAve a 2003 Ford explorer with disc brakes on front and back. I can tell I have a warped rotor as I push on the pedal there is a lot of pulsating going on at the pedal. It is pretty bad and even people sitting in front and back seats can feel it. I haven't torn apart to look at yet but am wondering how to best find if it is the front or back causing it. I had the vehicles yearly inspection about 4 weeks ago ( the issue was there) but they passed inspection and they advised the brakes were good. They probably didn't check for warped rotors. Anyways, I want to do this myself as I have changed numerous brakes in the past. Just want to make sure i get the right ones. I did a test this morning and I drove about 40 and then slowly applied the emergency brake to slow the vehicle and I did not feel the pulsing at all during this. Would that be a good indication that the rears are not warped. OR is there a better way? thx
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Old 05-29-15, 07:11 AM
Tolyn Ironhand's Avatar
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Emergency breaks are mechanical so your rear breaks would be a combo of pads and shoes. The pads on the rotor are activated by the foot pedal, and the shoes by the emergency cable. Even if the rotor was warped you would not feel it from the shoes.

I would think if the fronts are warped you would feel it in the steering wheel.
Old 05-29-15, 07:39 AM
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Join Date: Aug 2002
Location: new york
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Okay, It is possible I feel it in the steering wheel. I will pay attention to that. IS there a different way to tell. How would a repair shop tell? I have heard of possibly setting up a dial indicator and turning it while on the vehicle? From my experience the front brakes are much more susceptible to failure than the rear.
Old 05-29-15, 08:52 PM
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Feel in steering wheel, as in - it shakes side to side - it's front
Feel it in your butt - it's rear.
Old 05-29-15, 09:26 PM
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It's a Ford truck..... it'll be the front brakes. I've had the problem repeatedly with my trucks.

Are you due for a brake job ?
Change the pads and the rotors and cross your fingers you don't get a stuck caliper from pushing the pistons back in.
Old 06-03-15, 10:27 PM
Join Date: Jun 2015
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Bringing the vehicle to a stop with the park brake is a good way of determining if the problem is front or rear (on most cars anyway except for the few that use the park brake on the fronts) but will not work on your Explorer as it uses a separate set of park brake shoes which have nothing to do with the front or rear rotors and calipers.

Vibration in the seats usually means the problem is in the rear. Rotors can be checked for warpage, parallelism, etc with a micrometer and dial indicator.
Front problems are usually felt more in the steering wheel.

A loose wheel bearing, suspension, or steering component can also mimic a brake problem and cause brake shudders and pulsations.
Old 06-04-15, 03:43 AM
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Stopping the vehicle using the parking brakes on a disc brake set up will not indicate disc runout problems. If the vehicle is using a brake-in-a-hat parking brake, it uses separate shoes for that purpose, not the discs. A proper run out test would be the best thing to see what is happening on all 4.

Just got wifey's Jeep Cherokee from the shop. I thought the roar was brakes or bearing related. What to my surprise when they called and told me the left axle shaft was bent, all the races were spinning with the bearings and the pinion bearings were shot with a substantial amount of metal in the differential. $2k later, I know it wasn't the brakes, anyway

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