Rotors and Brake Pads

Symptoms: Grinding noise while braking, brake pedal feeling like one was stepping on a wheel of baked brie.

One of Abby's rear rotors. That crack is a good sign the brakes needed replacing.
One of Abby’s rear rotors. That crack is a good sign the brakes needed replacing.

Problem: Abby still had her original brakes and rotors. These poor pads and rotors had 86,000 or so miles on them. Several thousand of those miles had some extra abuse because we were hauling our cargo trailer. Which didn’t have brakes so Abby was responsible for stopping not only her weight, but the weight of the cargo trailer.

Solution: Have Dave replace the brakes! We were fully expecting this replacement, so we are considering this to be a maintenance activity.

When Dave got one of the rear rotors off (pictured) there was a significant crack formed and others starting to develop. All the brake pads were worn, not far from the point of the wear sensor.

Dave purchased the rotors and brake pads from Advance Auto Parts.

Degree of Difficulty:

Moderate. Front and rear brake replacement should each take approximately 3 hours. Bravery and a good jack is required because it is such a large vehicle. Caveats to the degree of difficulty are

  1. Dave has replaced the brakes and rotors on smaller vehicles.
  2. No unexpected challenges arise during the replacement.

Parts/Tools Required:

  • Rotors
  • Brake pads
  • Breaker bar
  • Wrenches
  • Jack
  • Flattened cardboard box (cushions the gravel of the storage lot)
  • Knee pads (like floor tilers wear)
  • An extensive repertoire of curse words (Sailors should be jealous)

Repair Tips/Comments:

  • Unlike a typical Mercedes sprinter chassis, the rear brake pads and calipers are the same as the front brake pads. Winnebago wanted to make sure there was stopping power, because there is a large amount of momentum in a RV lumbering down the road.  One only discovers the ‘oh, haha, you thought you had regular rear brakes’ switcheroo after the RV is up on a jack, completely apart, and nothing fits.
  • The rear (front!) brake rotors are a snug fit and require some persuasion when being put back on (tapping with a hammer). The hub assembly is hollow and releases a very fine rust dust that can settle into the threads of the rotor bolt holes. Blow out the bolt holes with compressed air BEFORE putting the bolts in.
  • If you didn’t blow out the bolt holes with compressed air and the bolt threads freeze up, brute force is required to remove the bolts. The bolt holes will need to be re-tapped, and you’ll need to stop at 4 different hardware stores to see if anyone carries a Grade 8 14mm bolt with a 1.5 thread pitch (start at Ace, and you might have to stop at only one hardware store).  Mind you, it’s 3:30pm and snow is forecast for the next day.
  • Stop at one Advanced Auto Parts store only to be told the part is in stock at another location? Purchase said part at first location and drive to the second to pick it up, only to be told they are out of stock? They have a special area where they set aside parts to picked up. “Oh, sorry man.  We found your brakes.”