All 4 Brakes Dragging (MK4) - Where Do I Start?

Discussion in 'General Diesel Discussion' started by CaliTDI, Nov 13, 2011.

  1. CaliTDI

    CaliTDI New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2011
    Messages:
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    Car:
    Jetta TDI 2002
    Purchased a 2002 Jetta TDI about six months ago; I've been giving the car TLC after years of neglect (TB kit, G12 coolant flush ....). MPG (29 MPG consistent) has been low all this time so I've been troubleshooting.

    All these months I've heard a slight grinding noise coming from the front wheels. My guess is bearings or something; I did not think related to my low MPG problem. Friday out of curiosity I looked at all four wheels - what I saw surprised me - all four wheel the calipers are in contact with the rotors all the time. Looks like the contact light enough I can roll down hill in either drive or reverse, but strong enough the rotors get hot after two/ three miles driving.

    My initial thought is the brake booster, or master brake cylinder needs adjustment. The brake booster has a push-rod that might be adjustable.

    Any input or insight where to begin is appreciated. Not only is this affecting my MPG, but may be bad on the transmission. Would like to avoid any further damage if possible.

    I've attached a photo of the pad in contact with the rotor while in park. I have tried to slip a thin strip of plastic between the pad and rotor - will not go. The plastic strip measures 0.04 inches thick.

    Thanks :D

    Attached Files:

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  2. gt4494

    gt4494 Member

    Joined:
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    Car:
    2005 NB
    Location:
    Southeast Coast on I-95. Radar detector on and yes Herbie still gets 40mpg at 80 mph
    I don't understand what you mean by dragging too much.

    Disc brakes by design always have the pads in contact with the rotor. There is no adjustment. If you jack the wheel off of the ground and spin it you will hear and can feel the drag.

    This is normal.

    Drum brakes that cars used to have would have the brake shoes adjusted so they just cleared the drum and had no drag.
  3. CaliTDI

    CaliTDI New Member

    Joined:
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    Car:
    Jetta TDI 2002
    You may be correct; I've read similar descriptions of caliper to rotor gaps. All four calipers are in contact with the rotors - there is no gap. Rotors do get hot - I just drove three miles the rotors are hot. Keep in mind I also hear a grinding sound from the front wheel - is this normal?

    Maybe barking up the wrong tree - that's why I posted here to get advice from this great site.

    Thanks

    :bowdown
  4. chudzikb

    chudzikb Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2011
    Messages:
    372
    Car:
    06 Jetta, 05.5 Jetta, 03 2 door Golf
    Location:
    Lancaster PA
    After you stop, put the car in the air and see if there is any resistance? Calipers do hang up, and you should see a difference in the wear rate of the pads, one side will be much smaller than the other. I seriously doubt all 4 calipers have issues. Maybe one, and if you are real unlucky two? Have you changed the brake fluid? VW recommends 2 years regardless of mileage, it is good sound advise.
  5. CaliTDI

    CaliTDI New Member

    Joined:
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    Car:
    Jetta TDI 2002
    I'll put the car up on jacks this week to verify/ find out is there is resistance in neutral on each wheel.

    I purchased the car used six months ago here in California. Car Fax shows five different owners. The car was reposessed and had no millage all of 2009. I will eventually place new brake fluid - my guess been years since replaced brake fluid. Not exactly what you look for in a used car.

    The braking is good - not sluggish. I live is a very hilly part of Southern California; been happy with the breaking - just need to make sure not breaking while accelerating

    :thumbsup
  6. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

    Joined:
    May 23, 2007
    Messages:
    21,849
    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    CT
    Check out the FAQ for the buying guide for mk4, has checklist w/common issues.

    If you're braking over those 3 miles than yes the brakes will heat up. If you could roll downhill for 3 miles and come to a stop by engine braking and brakes are still hot, than yes they're dragging.

    There will be no gap between the rotor and pad if the car is just sitting there. This is normal, with car in air and spinning wheel by hand you'll hear it scraping slightly. But if you don't feel abnormal resistance it's normal. As gt4494 said you will feel it slightly.

    Is the brake shield touching the rotor? Maybe you do have a bad wheel bearing.
  7. chiefmechanic

    chiefmechanic New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2011
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    Car:
    audi a4 tdi 1.9
    sticking brakes

    I had this on the rear brake of my audi a4 tdi. One of the discs would heat up after a short journey but the car would still roll on a slope. The brake caliper pins were free as was the handbrake linkage. Turned out to be a sticking brake piston. Brian
  8. CaliTDI

    CaliTDI New Member

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    Car:
    Jetta TDI 2002
    All good comments I'll follow up on each one.

    Without knowing the entire history of the car anything is possible. If there is dragging might explain some of the poor MPG.
  9. gt4494

    gt4494 Member

    Joined:
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    Car:
    2005 NB
    Location:
    Southeast Coast on I-95. Radar detector on and yes Herbie still gets 40mpg at 80 mph
    I agree the mpg is pretty low. When I had my '02 Jetta automatic I would average about 40mpg consistently.

    When you get the chance to put it in the air look for signs of heat on the rotors. They should not be blued or discolored.

    See if you can isolate which area the grinding noise is coming from. Like Chitty said it could be a wheel bearing.
  10. CaliTDI

    CaliTDI New Member

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    Car:
    Jetta TDI 2002
    Took the car out late the other night and was careful not to apply the brakes - drove about five miles the rotors did not warm up. So now focusing on shopping for new front bearings, and a good procedure - I think there one on this site.

    The rotors look old - where the pads do not make contact they are rusted - I'll post a photo when I get to it.

    Thanks All!
  11. CaliTDI

    CaliTDI New Member

    Joined:
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    Car:
    Jetta TDI 2002
    Jetta wheel Video

    I took a short video of my Jetta on stands (front only), in neutral, then rotate the wheels by hand. The wheels do rotate both directions, but do not spin. I did not hear a metal on metal sound, but there is a rubbing sound. Rotating the wheel forward give a squeal. My guess this is the brake pad on the rotor.

    Check the video out.
    http://youtu.be/baqrpzPbos0

    My guess is this is normal and bearings are OK; I'm have no idea if this is normal. The car sat for one year 2009 with no mileage due to repossession with previous owner.

    This week I replaced the two front tire because wear in the inside walls. Possibly there is an alignment issue. The car make a springy squeaky sound going over speed bumps and when making turns (sway bar bushings possibly).

    Any input is appreciated :thumbsup
  12. gt4494

    gt4494 Member

    Joined:
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    Messages:
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    Car:
    2005 NB
    Location:
    Southeast Coast on I-95. Radar detector on and yes Herbie still gets 40mpg at 80 mph
    Great video.... I would say what you see / hear is "normal" remember that when you rotate the front wheels you are also turning the entire drive shaft with the 2 Constant Velocity Joints. You will get the added resistance from them.

    I would check the back brakes the same way realizing they do not have any drag except for the brake pads on the rotors and the bearings. They should spin a little better because of this.

    I would not worry about the rust on the rotors. I live in the South and if the car sits over the weekend the brake rotors would develop surface rust and the rest of the rotor always stays rusty.
  13. chittychittybangbang

    chittychittybangbang Administrator

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    Car:
    2006 Jetta TDI
    Location:
    CT
    Looks and sounds normal to me as best as I can tell. The squeaking is most likely just the pad. Check for any dust shield-rotor contact in case it got bent somehow.

    Ya, if it's rainy the rotors are rusty the next day.

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