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Old 02-15-2012, 01:56 PM   #1
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Owned the jeep one day, what's that smell?

Hey all,

So the rookie here just bought a 2004 2.4L yesterday. The dealership put on new brake "extra thick" pads on the original rotors and a few things are happening.

1) I think Im smelling clutch even though its being driven very lightly. I don't dump the clutch nor do I ride it. I have driven standards for 15 years so I don't think its a lacking 'skill level'. Now its perfectly plausible that Im driving this transmission incorrectly but I would be surprised if that was the case.

2) Heavy brake dust on wheel in 200 miles with no heavy usage. So is this cheap pads or what? Is it a case of new pads on older rotors? Note, they did not change the discs.

3) Under braking it pulls to the right.

I just took it to the Jeep dealer in my town and after smelling the "clutch" and looking at the miles (only 46,000) they immediately asked if I had the brakes done. I said yesterday and they said that it could be just a "hot" smell...whatever that means.

So the bottom line: the jeep has NO problem in shifting and pedal travel is comparable to the others I had test driven before. It goes into 4wdL/H with no issues and the new pads were "extra thick" pads from the acura dealer where I bought it.

So does anyone have any ideas of my situation?
Thanks, in advance.

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:01 PM   #2
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Sounds like the pads to me...the pulling could be low tire pressure. Then again I'm no expert.

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Old 02-15-2012, 02:15 PM   #3
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I'd say brakes. Especially since the rotors weren't turned, they are wearing into the old "pattern" on the disks. Sometimes older rotors are glazed over a bit and instead of the brakes "shedding material ' as you stop, you are burning the material off. Pulling to one side can be a brake caliper piston that is a bit on the nasty side, dirty, etc. Its not evenly applying pressure.

If it needed pads, it probably needed rotors, but they were probably to thin to turn, so they just put new pads on...and i have never heard of "extra" thick pads. The rotor has a width, and the new pads have a width, and the space between the caliper and the piston has a width, when all that is new there very little clearance for anything "extra".

Might want to pull into a Midas and have them do a free brake check, then use that info to go back to the dealership or to fix it yourself. Over all though I would bet they at least stop smelling given enough time to wear in.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:18 PM   #4
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Sounds like a piston in a caliper isn't fully retracting. Check for heat on the wheels after a few miles of normal stop-and-go driving.
I had one that would hang up occasionally in the rear. Best fix is replace the calipers.
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Old 02-15-2012, 02:24 PM   #5
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Sounds like a piston in a caliper isn't fully retracting. Check for heat on the wheels after a few miles of normal stop-and-go driving.
I had one that would hang up occasionally in the rear. Best fix is replace the calipers.
checking the heat is a good idea, working brakes will be warm, but not fry an egg hot
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Old 02-15-2012, 04:26 PM   #6
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...working brakes will be warm, but not fry an egg hot
Brakes convert energy to heat and they regularly get hot enough to vaporize an egg, let alone fry it.
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Old 02-15-2012, 06:13 PM   #7
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Brakes convert energy to heat and they regularly get hot enough to vaporize an egg, let alone fry it.
I just cant seem to keep the bacon from falling off...
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Old 02-15-2012, 07:27 PM   #8
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Sounds like a piston in a caliper isn't fully retracting. Check for heat on the wheels after a few miles of normal stop-and-go driving.
I had one that would hang up occasionally in the rear. Best fix is replace the calipers.
+1...yer calipers are hanging up...remove the calipers and lube up the slides on the bolts.That's why it pulls to the side under braking.
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Old 02-15-2012, 08:54 PM   #9
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Sweet- I checked the heat and it was blazing hot. AND it smelled exactly like it did earlier (clutch-ish) so at least the initial thoughts of the clutch are shot down. I am searching for calipers and rotors now.

Well, should rotors be on the todo list? They aren't warped so should I just be patient with them?

Thanks all, once again.
I really appreciate the shared wisdom!!
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:17 PM   #10
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calipers could be the number one on the list i think for right now.

Is it one side or both? if its one side I'd do the caliper and the rotor, if its both sides I'd start with just calipers (one caliper and rotor is cheaper than two calipers).

not that this is scientific in any way but I had a good drum in back, and a out of round one that dragged. after a 10 min drive with light side street braking and subdivision braking...the good one I could put my hand on for 5-8 seconds before the heat was too toasty, the out of round one was untouchable.

granted that's drums and not rotors but its a comparison
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Old 02-15-2012, 09:54 PM   #11
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Just looked at Autozone online
for your Jeep

Caliper - $19.00 x 2 ($20.00 Core charge)
Brake Rotor - $35.99 x 2
Brake Pads - $20.99 x 1 (provides pads for both sides)

add that up to do both sides

Calipers $38
Rotors $72
Pads $21
===========
$131.00 out the door

Disck Brakes are easy to do. If you have never done them the tools you will need are.
1. Jack - I prefer a 2 ton rolling floor jack, but a bottle jack or even the stock jack will work.
2. Tire Iron - Impact works best but a 4 way or a stock tire iron will work
3. Socket set - Metric & SAE (if you don't have these already you probably should't be working on the Jeep. )
4. Large C-clamp - I like an 8 to 10 inch
5. Flat head screw driver ( if you don't have one of these you REALLY should not be working on the Jeep )

Note: Replacing the calipers will require you to bleed the breaks. I would just try replacing the rotors and pads first to see if that fixes your problem. If it continues to heat up after new rotors and pads then replace the caliper. I can replace the Rotors and pads on my 2004 in about 30 - 45 min. (This includes time to walk back and forth to the garage to get the right socket cause I picked up the wrong one, have a smoke, answer that random call that always comes in while your doing something etc.) Calipers add an addational 20 min of work time to replace them and an addational hour for the bleeding. (Note actual time to bleed them is just a few seconds per side but you have to account for the time it will take to wake the wife up from her nap, get her out side and get her to understand that you want her to pump the pedal then HOLD IT DOWN until you tell her to let it go.)

Good luck to ya
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Old 02-15-2012, 10:39 PM   #12
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Speaking from experience... (and no offense to Autozone employees and stockholders).... Get your brake parts at Napa. AZ gives their warrantee because their parts are so cheap they can afford to give extras away to make up for the bad ones.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:13 PM   #13
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I don't dissagree with you Jollyczar. Autozone was just handy to get the pricing info. The prices at most auto part stores will be close to that.
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Old 02-15-2012, 11:17 PM   #14
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i was surprised to see that caliper was as cheap price wise as it was... I haven't done front brakes on my jeep yet but always seem to have the vehicle that the guys says "wow, their proud of those aren't they" as he turns the computer screen to show me some god awful price
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Old 02-16-2012, 07:40 AM   #15
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Don't forget about the brake lines at the calipers. If the stealership was goofy enough to install "extra thick" pads then they may have been goofy enough to damage the hoses. Hoses do deteriorate over time and a collapsed internal will cause the fluid to bleed slowly back out of the caliper pulling the vehicle to one side.
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Old 02-16-2012, 08:01 AM   #16
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Rule of thumb now is to replace rotors when replacing pads. Companys cutting back to save money have cut back on the thickness of rotors so that now when you need them turned it puts them out of spec. I was told this when I took a set in to be turned for the first time, and just to make sure I wasn't being shanghied for more money on rotors I asked my buddy who is a mechanic and he said the same thing.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:34 AM   #17
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Great info- but now the update.

Took it to our VERY trustworthy mechanics this morning. We took off the front wheels to inspect. Upon taking off the calipers everything...and I mean everything looked great. We were a bit surprised. He then tinkered for about 20 minutes feeling/pushing/proding every single suspension piece then tire pressures. All was perfect. He then checked the fluid which in his opinion was "OK, not perfect but ok." He then proceeded to just suck it all out and put in new just for good measure. Note, we did not bleed anything since the pedal feel was 100% normal.

We test drove it together and had only now very minor drag to the right...and I mean so minor he couldnt tell if it was his driving or the road. We decided it was basically straight. We then went back and walked through what happened. Our ideas were this:

When the dealer put on the pads but kept the original rotors the nice new FLAT surface of the pads had uneven contact with the grooved out rotors. Apparently over the past 250 miles (that I have now owned the Jeep) the pads have had time to 'break in' to the rotors thus lowering the pull and the smell.

He checked out the shifting, pedal travel and such and said the clutch and transmission were perfectly fine.

Total cost: $0.00

Now thats my type of visit.

I really appreciate all the wisdom you all have posted. I will try to get some pictures up this week of what I'm in now. I like the look the PO had it as (31x10.5) and since the stance looks respectful, I am keeping it as is til there is more money (read: the wife lets me).

Cheers!!
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:48 AM   #18
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Sounds good, but.... I suggest you continue to feel your wheels periodically for heat.
All of your wheels should feel relatively the same.
If you find one significantly hotter than the others, you may still have a caliper piston not fully retracting.

My right rear caliper had a piston that would hang up periodically, didn't do it all the time. Sometimes it was a month in between, then I'd smell/feel it again, and a day later it was gone again. I got tired of chasing it and just replaced the caliper.

Good luck!!
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:54 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by jetskier111 View Post
Hey all,

So the rookie here just bought a 2004 2.4L yesterday. The dealership put on new brake "extra thick" pads on the original rotors and a few things are happening.

1) I think Im smelling clutch even though its being driven very lightly. I don't dump the clutch nor do I ride it. I have driven standards for 15 years so I don't think its a lacking 'skill level'. Now its perfectly plausible that Im driving this transmission incorrectly but I would be surprised if that was the case.

2) Heavy brake dust on wheel in 200 miles with no heavy usage. So is this cheap pads or what? Is it a case of new pads on older rotors? Note, they did not change the discs.

3) Under braking it pulls to the right.

I just took it to the Jeep dealer in my town and after smelling the "clutch" and looking at the miles (only 46,000) they immediately asked if I had the brakes done. I said yesterday and they said that it could be just a "hot" smell...whatever that means.

So the bottom line: the jeep has NO problem in shifting and pedal travel is comparable to the others I had test driven before. It goes into 4wdL/H with no issues and the new pads were "extra thick" pads from the acura dealer where I bought it.

So does anyone have any ideas of my situation?
Thanks, in advance.
There is no such thing as "extra thick" pads for the TJ brakes. There is a maximum thickness the rotor can be when it's new and all brake pads that fit that application have to be able to be installed with stock calipers and new rotors. They are yanking your chain.

Of course, the pads may have looked extra thick when compared to some worn out versions.
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Old 02-16-2012, 10:58 AM   #20
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Rule of thumb now is to replace rotors when replacing pads. Companys cutting back to save money have cut back on the thickness of rotors so that now when you need them turned it puts them out of spec. I was told this when I took a set in to be turned for the first time, and just to make sure I wasn't being shanghied for more money on rotors I asked my buddy who is a mechanic and he said the same thing.
They didn't cut back to save money. They cut back to save YOU money by reducing the amount of rotational mass hanging out at the end of each axle. It's all part of the government mandated higher CAFE standards for overall mileage increases per manufacturer.

One of the ways to get more fuel efficient is to reduce rotating mass and an easy way to do that is to lighten up the rotors, so your mechanic buddy is correct.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:19 AM   #21
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I just cant seem to keep the bacon from falling off...
I use tape to hold it on, but its hard to flip to cook the other side while driving...

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Old 02-16-2012, 11:25 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by jetskier111 View Post

Hey all,

So the rookie here just bought a 2004 2.4L yesterday. The dealership put on new brake "extra thick" pads...and the new pads were "extra thick" pads from the acura dealer where I bought it.

So does anyone have any ideas of my situation?
Thanks, in advance.
I am being a Monday morning quarterback on this. What I would have done is immediately returned it to the dealer. Some states have a 48 hour buyer's remorse period during which the buyer can return the vehicle to the dealer for a full refund.

Once you let someone other than the seller work on the problem you are introducing another layer of complexity and possible fault into the issue.

I guess the Monday morning assumption is that the vehicle had some sort of written warranty and was not an as is where is condition unknown sale.

Oh by the way, who has the title? Is it a salvage title?
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:39 AM   #23
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I am being a Monday morning quarterback on this. What I would have done is immediately returned it to the dealer. Some states have a 48 hour buyer's remorse period during which the buyer can return the vehicle to the dealer for a full refund.

Once you let someone other than the seller work on the problem you are introducing another layer of complexity and possible fault into the issue.

I guess the Monday morning assumption is that the vehicle had some sort of written warranty and was not an as is where is condition unknown sale.

Oh by the way, who has the title? Is it a salvage title?
That would have been an absurd reaction to something that was ultimately a non-issue.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:55 AM   #24
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That would have been an absurd reaction to something that was ultimately a non-issue.
Like I said, Monday morning quarterbacking. A brake failure leading to property damage and / or personal injury may not be looked at as a non-issue.
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Old 02-16-2012, 11:57 AM   #25
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I use tape to hold it on, but its hard to flip to cook the other side while driving...

timing is everything to get between the rotating holes in the wheel!

bacons ready!
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Old 02-16-2012, 12:04 PM   #26
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I just cant seem to keep the bacon from falling off...
Try running at an off angle with a set of outlaw 2 coated in coolly spray. It should hold the bacon
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Old 02-16-2012, 02:01 PM   #27
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FWIW I would always check Advanceautoparts.com for pricing and even run a search for advance coupons. They are VERY heavy into marketing and usually I can get a 40-50% discount by buying online then doing an in store pickup.
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Old 02-17-2012, 05:42 PM   #28
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So its a perfectly clear title. The first year it had 20,000 put on it. After that it averaged around 3,700 miles a year with an older couple in Atlanta. The smell has gone away but I'm still feeling the wheels on occasion for heat.

I have noticed that its going to need a starter here soon but that's trivial on a car reaching 8 years old.

As for heading to the dealer, I actually brought it up. Their response? "We are not spending anymore money on it"

Yes, the Jackson Aches dealer in Roswell Ga really said that they were not going to correct a vehicle that was pulling hard to the right which could've caused a wreck.

Why, you ask did I brush it off and get the jeep? Come on! Look at it!! (Dangerous mentality, I know)

But good God, I love this thing...

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