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Old 09-04-2012, 08:47 PM   #1
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Mechanic Jacked My Alignment and Brakes- Advice

Talk about a bad day. I have a 97 Jeep 4" lift on 33's. Took it into a decent general mechanic and asked if they were sure they could align the steering wheel and fix the e-brake. They had to replace the front rotors and pads because they were worn. They adjusted the e-brake, but said they couldnt adjust the steering wheel and alignment today because they needed more time. I left the mechanic with fresh brakes and 2 miles down the road it felt like it was dragging. I get on the freeway and it really started dragging. When I hit the brakes, hit would pull hard to the left. The alignment was worse then when I came in. By the time I got home around 6 miles, the brakes were smoking and it struggled to drive in 1st gear! The shop towed it back at their expense and it is sitting there to get fixed tomorrow. Should I tell them to get it fixed so it will drive again, and then take it somewhere else to get aligned or let them keep messing with it??

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Old 09-04-2012, 08:49 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rezn
Talk about a bad day. I have a 97 Jeep 4" lift on 33's. Took it into a decent general mechanic and asked if they were sure they could align the steering wheel and fix the e-brake. They had to replace the front rotors and pads because they were worn. They adjusted the e-brake, but said they couldnt adjust the steering wheel and alignment today because they needed more time. I left the mechanic with fresh brakes and 2 miles down the road it felt like it was dragging. I get on the freeway and it really started dragging. When I hit the brakes, hit would pull hard to the left. The alignment was worse then when I came in. By the time I got home around 6 miles, the brakes were smoking and it struggled to drive in 1st gear! The shop towed it back at their expense and it is sitting there to get fixed tomorrow. Should I tell them to get it fixed so it will drive again, and then take it somewhere else to get aligned or let them keep messing with it??
If you have a trusted mechanic I would take it to them, sounds like they didn't install the brakes correctly. At least they towed it back at their expense

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Old 09-04-2012, 08:50 PM   #3
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Monty Python defense =. RUN AWAY!! RUN AWAY !!
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:52 PM   #4
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It's not uncommon for caliper pistons to stick after being retracted to allow for new pads. Stuff happens, and doesn't always suggest malpractice.

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..sounds like they didn't install the brakes correctly.
What does it "sound like" was done incorrectly? Aside from a possibly inadequate test drive.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:54 PM   #5
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Yeah, at least they towed it. I was happy with them towing it The mechanics seem knowledgeable and cool. I just hope this doesn't turn into a nightmare. I think I will tell them to get it rolling again and just take it to another. I am not sure they can align it right.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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Too bad you don't live near me, I'd show you how to align it, and straighten your steering wheel all in less than 1/2 hour ,, just bring beer..
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007
It's not uncommon for caliper pistons to stick after being retracted to allow for new pads. Stuff happens, and doesn't always suggest malpractice.
Agreed something else may have happened. I think they over tightened the ebrake adjuster because it was also smoking on the rear passenger and front passenger sides. The attempted alignment made it 100% worse though, which has me really worried that they don't know how to work on this type of vehicle.
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Old 09-04-2012, 08:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Rubicondon53
Too bad you don't live near me, I'd show you how to align it, and straighten your steering wheel all in less than 1/2 hour ,, just bring beer..
Haha. I appreciate that. I read the how to on the stickies in the forum, but I didn't want to mess with it since I have never done an alignment. Man.. I asked them if they were sure they could do it too.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tangofox007
It's not uncommon for caliper pistons to stick after being retracted to allow for new pads. Stuff happens, and doesn't always suggest malpractice.

What does it "sound like" was done incorrectly? Aside from a possibly inadequate test drive.
Really,,,? I've been doing my own break jobs since disc brakes were first introduced back in 66, from VWs to euro sedans to pick ups, and now jeeps, and helped many a friend do theirs.. In all those hundreds of brake jobs , I've never experienced a piston sticking like that.. New one on me,, I'm sure they can, but commonly? If,,, and it's a big IF, some one had been seriously injured, or worse, any jury in the land would have found that shop guilty of negligence and mal- practice... Too many people want to give lousy shops a free pass... To the OP,, that's nice they gave it a free tow, the better have, don't let them snow you with kindness,,, if things got that hot you insist upon new rotors, calipers, pads, etc etc.. If not, give a lawyer a retainer, and get a letter sent to the shop... Those guys screwed it up, and will most likely try to fix their mistake on the cheap... Don't trust them any further than you could throw them... Am I angry? No, I just don't like seeing a fellow Jeeper gettin ripped off, and they will rip you off.. There is NO EXCUSE, for their shoddy work, not something as simple as a brake job..
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:49 PM   #10
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There is an alignment thread on this forum. Look it up in the search and you can get it done in your driveway. I did my daughters Wrangler and death wobble went away, steering wheel is straight, and Jeep travels straight- all from what I read on the post. It is easy and straight forward.
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Old 09-04-2012, 09:50 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Rubicondon53 View Post
Really,,,? I've been doing my own break jobs since disc brakes were first introduced back in 66, from VWs to euro sedans to pick ups, and now jeeps, and helped many a friend do theirs.. In all those hundreds of brake jobs , I've never experienced a piston sticking like that.. New one on me,, I'm sure they can, but commonly? If,,, and it's a big IF, some one had been seriously injured, or worse, any jury in the land would have found that shop guilty of negligence and mal- practice... Too many people want to give lousy shops a free pass... To the OP,, that's nice they gave it a free tow, the better have, don't let them snow you with kindness,,, if things got that hot you insist upon new rotors, calipers, pads, etc etc.. If not, give a lawyer a retainer, and get a letter sent to the shop... Those guys screwed it up, and will most likely try to fix their mistake on the cheap... Don't trust them any further than you could throw them... Am I angry? No, I just don't like seeing a fellow Jeeper gettin ripped off, and they will rip you off.. There is NO EXCUSE, for their shoddy work, not something as simple as a brake job..
I guess you never had much dealings with Brake Calipers that have Phenolic Pistons (Plastic) It is not that all uncommon for a caliper to hang up,Not to brag but as a Master Technician with over 25 years as a Certified Master I have done many thousands of brake jobs,Calipers can hang up,It's not something that happens super frequently & It's not something that you can always predict but on average I probably see 1 or 2 stuck or sticking calipers per month,Sometimes you can tell when retracting the piston (hard going in)Other times the piston may seem to go in ok but hang at a later time,About the only finger I would point at the shop is they should have test driven the vehicle for at least 5 miles after doing Brake Work
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:39 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeep Dad
There is an alignment thread on this forum. Look it up in the search and you can get it done in your driveway. I did my daughters Wrangler and death wobble went away, steering wheel is straight, and Jeep travels straight- all from what I read on the post. It is easy and straight forward.
Yep, I read it, but felt unqualified to attempt and I would be better off putting it in a pros hands. I am worried that even though they towed it that they will try to say it was something else and charge me more. Maybe I am being a pessimist because they may actually be honest and do the right thing. I will wait for them to call in the am and see what they say. The problem is I am not the best mechanic and would have a hard time telling if I was being railroaded or not. I posted to get some opinions of what to look for, what could also be a problem.
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:58 PM   #13
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Calipers hang up all the time, especially phenolic ones. There's no way for you to know if the alignment is messed up if a caliper was dragging. That will cause a bad pull and other issues. A longer test drive after they got done with the brakes would have been nice, but you said they were allready out of time. When things get hurried stuff like this happens. Give them a chance to correct it. You've allready paid for the service why pay twice?
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:05 PM   #14
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My first thought wasn't a sticking caliper but maybe a twisted brake hose not allowing fluid to freely pass back to the master cylinder. Or possibly a bad hose which would basically show the same symptom. I admit it would be a hell of a coincidence but stranger things have happened. Neither scenario excuses the fact that they obviously didn't test drive which is inexcusable.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:19 PM   #15
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Really,,,? I've been doing my own break jobs since disc brakes were first introduced back in 66...
Give it another 15-20 years, and you might learn the difference between a breaks and brakes!!!

Yes, really. This very forum contains more than a few reports of sticking calipers. The parts stores don't stock rebuilt calipers to hold the shelves down.
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Old 09-04-2012, 11:35 PM   #16
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I just looked up the price of a new caliper... around $35, so that wouldn't be to bad. I also read that it could be hose damage or something to do with bleeding the brakes properly. I will report once they call me to see what the opinion is. Thanks for everyone's help!
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Old 09-05-2012, 08:21 AM   #17
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Agreed with others regarding the shop not doing a test drive but it sounds like an incorrect e-brake adjustment. Also would recommend attempting the alignment/steering wheel fix yourself. Super easy.

Basic Jeep Front End Alignment
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:41 AM   #18
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WATTAPUNK -


After reading this thread, I intended to look up the ALIGNMENT thread that Jeep Dad (post #10) referred to.

But then, I noticed that you included it at the end of your post.
Thanks for including the write-up.
It sounds pretty straight forward.
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Old 09-05-2012, 09:46 AM   #19
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If you need more reading, there is also:

TJ Toe-in Alignment - 1
The "End-all, Be-all TJ Alignment thread" (LONG read) - JeepForum.com

If you want an easier way to measure and make it more accurate, you can go to Lowes (or similar) and get two pieces of square aluminium tubing. Measure and mark the diameter of your tires (as well as a centerline) on the square tube, and clamp the tube to the rotors making sure to put the centerline as close to the center of the rotor/axle nut as possible. Then you can easily measure the toe between the two tubes. Not sure if Jerry B. will see this thread or not, but he has a good picture example of this. If I find it I'll post it.

Edit: Found it:



Stole them from here:

http://www.jeepforum.com/forum/f9/al.../#post12867449
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:41 AM   #20
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Sorry to be the devil's advocate, and you are correct, I've not had any experience with the phenolic calipers.. How and why do they stick? It was always pretty obvious when the older designs were sticking, and time for a rebuild.. As everyone seems to agree though, the shop should have tested their work before signing off on it..
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Old 09-05-2012, 10:48 AM   #21
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Sorry to be the devil's advocate, and you are correct, I've not had any experience with the phenolic calipers.. How and why do they stick? It was always pretty obvious when the older designs were sticking, and time for a rebuild.. As everyone seems to agree though, the shop should have tested their work before signing off on it..
Older Phenolic Pistons could swell & cause sticking here is a little info on Calipers
Brake Diagnostics: Sticking Caliper
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Old 09-05-2012, 11:18 PM   #22
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The shop said that they put the wrong size rotor a 3.5" vs a 3" rotor. They replaced them and fixed the brakes. It brakes good at least now. I will attempt the alignment myself! Thanks for the write ups.

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