I've killed that damn mouse!

Discussion in 'Motorhome Chat' started by Feltwell, May 22, 2016.

  1. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Not long after we got our van, I realized the handbrake was seizing on. Couldn't be bothered to do it myself, saw lots of talk online of Ducato "top hat" type handbrakes being problematic, so gave it to a generally well regarded local garage. It came back fixed - or so I thought - although it now didn't seem to work terribly well, needed to be pulled on really hard to hold the van on a steep hill.

    Fast forward a few months and I start to hear a squeak - quite loud, on/off with every turn of the wheel, sounds like it's coming from the back offside wheel. Back into the garage, can't find anything wrong with it, but we've adjusted the handbrake. Halfway home the handbrake locks on! Garage recovers the van and apologetically admit that they misadjusted the handbrake, now sorted. Still squeaks.

    Booked into a MH specialist for hab & base service, including looking at squeaking brake - comes back a little better but a couple of months later and guess what, the squeak returns.

    So, thoroughly fed up of garages by this point, I decide that if you want something doing properly, do it yourself. Off to Europe in the summer with the kids, don't want to find a problem halfway across the Continent.

    Off come the rear brake calipers and lo & behold, the offside caliper has a totally seized sliding pin. Quite how 2 separate mechanics had missed this is beyond me. So, ordered a caliper fitting kit online (brakeparts.co.uk - very helpful they were to, with a *much* better range of brake parts than your standard motor factors), cleaned up the caliper and replaced the seized pin, rebuilt the caliper on other side at the same (good practice), and put it all back together again. Still squeaked.

    OK, so maybe the seized pin has caused the pads to wear unevenly, and the squeak does pulse on & off with every turn of the wheel - maybe if it was sticking and got hot the disc is warped just enough to cause a noise, even though there's no pulsing through the brake pedal that a warped disc will often give. So, off come the wheels, off come the calipers and discs. Ducato rear brakes are a bit of an odd design - "top hat", due to the shape of the discs - basically they are a disc brake with a small separate drum brake for the handbrake in the centre. Now I can get at the handbrake mechanism, strip all that down (horrible job! I hate getting drum brake springs back on) and clean it all up just in case that was the problem, and put it all back together again with new discs and pads. All on both sides of course. Still squeaks. Another weekend passes by.

    *Starting* to get a bit fed up now. Have read online that handbrake shoes can distort, I know it's been binding before so they would have got good & hot, so decide to replace the handbrake shoes and all the fittings. Order the bits online. Van up, wheels off, calipers off, discs off, replace all the handbrake components, ultra ultra careful that everything is well cleaned up and where appropriate lubricated correctly with specialist brake grease (better than Coppaslip I'm assured), put it all back together again. Both sides done. Still squeaks. Another weekend wasted.

    Maybe it's the handbrake cable. Whilst I've adjusted the shoes inside the drums, I've not adjusted the cable. Maybe it's seized slightly - one wheel did feel a bit warm. Find out the correct Fiat adjustment procedure. Van jacked up, a-ha, what's this? Bloody garage had completely misadjusted it, there are two adjusters on the cable, the way they'd done it meant that it wasn't obvious from the lever *but* the handbrake would not have been releasing as much as it should be at the actual drums.

    I soon found out why it was misadjusted. The rear adjuster is above the waste water tank. The tank has a lovely (deliberate!) hole in it, clearly intended so you could still get at the handbrake adjuster. Shame they didn't put the hole in the right place then really. So, the tank has to come off, which the garage clearly couldn't be bothered to do. Tank off, handbrake adjusted according to Fiat instructions, all the adjusters smothered in copper grease for future protection, cables verified as being free, put it all back together again and go for a drive. Handbrake works better than it ever has - it's never been great - but still, the squeak is there. Another precious weekend day goes by.

    Starting to get deperate now. There's not much of the original "rear wheel innards" left - only the bearing. They usually rumble rather than squeak if they've gone. No play in the wheel. But, the squeak does disappear when going round left hand bends. Worth a try. So, wheel off, brakes apart, hub centre pulled off, get local garage to press a new bearing in (they're HUGE compared to car bearing), put it all back together again, and of course - still squeaks. Another weekend gone. Start to think a new van might be nice.

    There's nothing left to squeak on the rear wheel. Take van for a drive down quiet country road, literally hang out of the window - maybe, just maybe, it wasn't the rear wheel. Hard to tell but it might just be the front wheel. Van is 10 years old and has only done 26k, the brakes have probably never been touched. Jack it up, strip front brakes down, all is free & good, pistons move freely as do caliper pins, pads half worn, someone has had them off before as there are traces of copper grease on the back of them. But, looking closely at the pads, it looks like the friction material is just starting to come away from the backing plates. I also find this article online:-

    http://www.laikaclub.com/squeaky.html

    So, (for anyone still left awake!) calipers all cleaned up, new pads put in - this was yesterday, I got soaked! Test drive this morning and - NO SQUEAK!!!!! Hallelujah! Never has silence sounded so good!

    I'm off on holiday next weekend for a week. Think I deserve it! Got to have one of the front calipers off again though, hopefully for the last time, one of the rubber bellows on the sliding pins has split, new one on order now.

    Top tip - check your brake pads carefully to see if there's any sign of the friction material starting to break away from the backing plates - especially on older, low mileage vans.
     
    Last edited: May 22, 2016
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  2. Derbyshire wanderer

    Derbyshire wanderer Funster Life Member

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    I had the same happen on my 05 plate van and found the friction material had almost no fixed contact with the metal backing plate. New pads and no noise.
     
  3. Langtoftlad

    Langtoftlad Funster Life Member

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    At least you should be assured of stopping quickly now... :rofl:
     
  4. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Yes, I'm not going to worry about brakes for a while! Only consolation I've got is at least I fixed the other problems during the process, namely seized rear caliper pin and misadjusted handbrake. The van stops better, the handbrake now keeps it stopped better, and no squeak! It was driving me insane!!
     
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  5. dave newell lvs

    dave newell lvs Trader-Vehicle Services

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    The handbrake doesn't work via the pads, it operates a set of shoes inside the "top hat" combined disc and drum. Worth removing the calipers and discs and checking the mechanism inside is all free.

    D.
     
  6. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    I did Dave - it's all new in there now, shoes & fitting kit, inc springs.
     
  7. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Mine was just starting to go - literally a tiny crack visible between friction material and backing plate. Clearly it doesn't take much!
     
  8. Buzzy-Beans

    Buzzy-Beans Read Only Funster

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    I had a problem with my Peugeot 307SW, it squealed like billion all of the time.
    I did almost all of the things that Feltwell did and I still had the blessed squeak that by this time was so loud that pedestrians were turning to see what the noise was!

    Eventually after a significant amount of searching we discovered that the ABS peg was sticking in its housing and it was this darned little thing that had been high frequency vibrating against the O/S rear disc.

    By the way Feltwell you are to be complimented on writing such a captivating history of your efforts, many thanks.

    Phil
     
  9. Feltwell

    Feltwell Funster

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    Have spent today fitting cruise control - bought it ages ago, not got round to fitting it due to the dreaded squeak. Off for a test drive soon, fingers crossed......
     
  10. Badknee

    Badknee Funster

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    You want to watch them cc's, prone to squeaking them is. :LOL::LOL:
     
  11. TheBig1

    TheBig1 Funster Life Member

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    well if you've now finished yours, you are welcome to come visit me and service/replace all my van's brake pads and shoes. seeing as you are now an expert of course. I try very hard these days to avoid dirty jobs
     
  12. houdini

    houdini Funster

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    Now look here, this thread title is just not on! I waded through all the techie stuff - and you've obviously done well and worked really hard @Feltwell - but I have to say I'm really disappointed .........

    THE PUNCHLINE IS SUPPOSED TO BE

    ...............AND THEN I FOUND THE CUTE LITTLE MOUSE

    (Hoping you were just joking about killing it!) ;)
     
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