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Rear Brakes were making noise when stopping the car only when in reverse. Dealer did 20k service (at 19,200 miles) and said pads needed replacing, but rotor was ok. This seems pretty early for needing pads. Any insights on this subject out there?
 

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Take a look through the TDI sportwagen checklist - it has some other stuff that you may find interesting. http://www.myturbodiesel.com/1000q/a6/2011-VW-sportwagen-TDI-buying-guide.htm

A common problem on this body style Jetta/Golf/wagon was misadjusted rear brakes. It's possible that the rear brakes were dragging a little. If you jack up the rear and spin the rear wheels, they may need some loosening. Make sure to always use the parking brake because the parking brake is the rear calipers and that's how the internal ratchet self adjusts. This is why you have to turn the caliper when pressing them back during a brake job.

It's unusual for the pads to be worn but the rotors to be OK. Also, these cars all have EBD - electronic brake distribution. The rears brake more than the fronts under light braking to reduce dive.
 

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I asked a friend that's a VW tech what he thought of the Jetta SportWagen before I bought one. The following was part of his reply: "Rear brakes are being done around 50K miles."
 

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20,000 miles is too short for factory pads.
 

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I agree. I just replaced my factory rear pads at 81k miles. Everything was perfect until then.

Now I'm experiencing rear brake problems. First trip with the fresh pads down I-70 in Colo got the rear brakes so hot that they were smoking by the time my wife made it down to Silverthorne. Since then I have adjusted the park brake so that the calipers reset all the way to the arm stops, flushed the entire system with new brake fluid, and reset each rear caliper piston 5 times with bleeder valve open.

I am still having problems though. It seems as if the rear brakes are doing about 90% of the braking judging by the temperature of the wheel hubs after a normal drive. I can lay my fingers on either of the front wheel hubs, but I can just barely touch both of the rear wheel hubs to avoid getting burned badly. Also, the rear brake pads have 3k miles on them and are 50% worn - not good.

I'm stumped. And I want to know exactly how the rear calipers work with the self adjusting pistons and integral park brake. I did see a lot of both black and white particles in the brown brake fluid when flushing. A lot of particles were seen when reseting the pistons which I thought was a good sign that things were getting cleaned up a bit. But still problems...
 

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This condition is common and normal, as ridiculous as it is

Earlier in the year, I thought there was a serious problem with a friend's '08 Jetta when she told me she needed rear brakes as they were down to the steel at 27,000 miles! The front pads barely looked worn. Note that she has a long commute in the mornings and often sits in traffic travelling at low speeds. I was apalled, as I've never replaced drum brakes before 100,000 and rear discs around 50,000 to 75,000 depending on the car. But after doing some research I discovered a few things. The main one is the advent of EBD (Electronic Brake Force Distribution). This (relatively) new phenomenon in the auto world (which is on many cars, not just VW brands) helps you attain a smooth stop with minimal "nose dive" as you come to a stop. It achieves this by applying the rear brakes harder at slower speeds as you're coming to a stop while releasing the front brakes. This is how you're rear brakes are being worn "prematurely". The easier you are during your braking, the longer you permit the EBD to function and the more you wear you're (rear) brakes out. It's that simple. If you drive like a maniac and slam on the brakes at every stop, you'll probably replace your rears and your fronts together maybe around 45k or more miles. The main issue with what they did was that they didnt beef up rear pads at all. If you're gonna use the rear brakes more during braking, that's all well and good, but beef up the pads so you can go the distance. A thicker pad will also absorb and dissipate heat better anyway, and its not like they dont have room back there. I suggest learning how to replace you're rear pads and getting the PROPER TOOLS so you dont have to shell out big bucks replacing them, bc you're gonna be in and out of that shop pretty often depending how much you drive. It's an easy job and pads are cheap, and if you know what your doing, you can clean, adjust and grease better than any dealer or repair shop because its you're car and you're paying attention to detail. (not to take anything away from shops but you're gonna be more attentive) AND KEEP IN MIND THAT MOST CARS TODAY WITH EBD WILL NEED REAR BRAKES EARLIER THAN TRADITIONAL! DON'T GET YOUR DEPOSIT BACK ON THAT 2011 VW BECAUSE YOU THINK THERES SOMETHING WRONG! (and no I dont work for VW!) But keep in mind that if you dont brake softly or sit in a lot of traffic I would definitely expect more than 20,000 miles from the pads, so in JSWTDIFAN's case there may be an underlying issue, I have a '10 golf TDI and I put a lot of miles on and frequently sit in traffic, I'll definitely post here when my brakes are replaced.
 

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sounds bad

fattoadray, are you sure that you're front brakes are applying at all? Part of you're master cylinder may have failed. Also, is you're brake fluid full when you check it, or is it low? maybe one of your front lines has cracked or is cut? It sounds like you are, but are you positive you're rears aren't dragging at all? make sure eveything is released and you can spin the wheel freely. Good luck.
 

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Yes, the front brakes are working. The wheel hubs are warm to the touch (and the same temperature side to side) after a drive. The fluid is fine and I don't suspect the master cylinder unless it was damaged when I first changed the pads by reseting the caliper pistons. Should I have opened the bleeder valve to reset the pistons?

Remember here, everything worked fine until I changed the pads. I caused this somehow and want to get to the bottom of it. (I'm looking bad in front of my wife! - This should be an easy job!)

While jacked up, the rear wheels spin just as easily as the front wheels and just as easy as any other vehicle I have changed the pads on. So at rest, everything seems good to go. But once on the road and the brake pedal is applied, there is a rear brake bias that is chewing right through my new pads - a symptom that I haven't had in the 60k miles I've owned the car.

I'm wondering if I didn't push some contaminants into the EBD/ABS valves and clog something up. If this is the case, it doesn't explain why the side to side temperatures match... Plus I ran a full liter of brake fluid through the entire system plus the amount to fill it. About 2 liters in all...
 

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How did you bleed the brakes?

Older e36 and my 2000 A4 need to either have the abs kicked on a few times or cycled while bleeding to clear any air from the abs control module.

Not sure if this will be similar on the newer TDIs but perhaps it's worth looking into the bleed procedure in the Bentley or online somewhere.

For the record my A4 goes through two sets of rears for every front set of brakes. Definitely a rear bias on that car and the Golf wagon brakes better than that car with minimal nose dive so I'd think it's similarly biased.
 

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My rear pad replacement procedure was: take calipers off, reset pistons, install new pads, put calipers back on. That's all I did.

My fluid flush procedure was: bled front left caliper with brake pedal until clear fluid came out, and repeated on all four wheels, right front, left rear, right rear.

I just purchased a service DVD. I'm guessing something's wrong with EBD/ABS pump/valves because of the way I reset the caliper pistons and how I flushed the system. This should detail the correct procedure.

I'm very skeptical about this "rear brake bias" theory as I just changed my factory rear pads at 81k miles. Plus in the 50k miles I've had the car I have never seen brake dust on my rear wheels. Now they're completely coated as I have eaten through 50% wear within 3k miles.

I'll keep you guys updated, thanks for the help and keep it coming!
 

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Son's Experience

I have a brand new 2011 Golf TDI. Son has a 2006 Jetta TDI. Both manual shift. He told me yesterday that he has changed rear brake pads twice. His Jetta has 60k miles. Since the rear self adjusts when one applies the parking brake, I thought that perhaps he was using the brake too much. I think the comment that the electronic stability control is wearing rear pads is very likely the cause. Son says pad replacement is very very easy. That is the good news.
 
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