LR4 Binding Brakes

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Owners/Enthusiasts,
I’m posting here because I’m stumped and frustrated. Having repeated issues with binding brakes on my 2011 LR4.

About a year ago I replaced the rotors and pads myself. I hadn’t done a brake job in 20+ years but a friend and fellow Rover owner showed me the way. Nothing much has changed in those years.

After about 5 months I started noticing a bit of a shudder in the steering wheel which got worse over a few weeks. Until one day I hit the freeway and started feeling a tremendous shudder. Pulled off and noticed the Right Front wheel was warm to touch and the rotor was sizzling. After cooling down dropped it off at our local shop close to home, that has service our Toyotas and GMC over the years. I would have preferred taking it to my local Rover only shop, but they were further away and booked out.

The local shop did an inspection and said the EBC rotors/pads I had installed were cheap, bad and needed replacing (BS alert activated). As I was about to leave town for 10 days I didn’t have the luxury of 2nd opinions. They replaced it all with high carbon rotors and Akebono ceramic pads. Everything ran smoothly for 6mo/ 6,000 miles.

In the last few weeks the shudder has returned. At first I thought maybe the snow tires I had just reinstalled had thrown a weight, and were out of balance. But it persisted and got worse. After a freeway drive I parked and checked the wheels/rotors and discovered that same right front was sizzling hot again.

Took it back to the same shop for an inspection. Now they are telling me the brake booster and master cylinder are bad. A “known issue on these vehicles” he tells me. $1800 please. The hairs on my neck started standing up so I pulled the rig back to “research my options”.

In the meantime I called my local Rover shop that has done most of the (plentiful) work on it over the last 7 years. They tell me they cannot recall ever having a repair issue with the brake booster or master on the LR4s or RR Sport. Unfortunately their service calendar is booked out 4+ weeks. Really unfortunate as we are hitting prime skiing season and this is my snow mobile. Tried another brake specialty shop and they are booked out a week to just look at it.

There is definitely a binding of some sort going on that can be felt even at slow speeds. Heats up quick. A friend suggested driving with the ESC off, but same result. Pulled out a meat thermo and measured the right front at 340 degrees F. Left side at 90 degrees. Not really comfortable even driving to the grocery store at this point. So I’m throwing this out to the collective intelligence. Does this smell like an issue you've had before? Any DIY tests you can recommend to find a solution sooner?

Thanks in advance!
 

greiswig

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If it were me, I'd be checking to make sure that the calipers can all move freely. Freely both in terms of how they move on the caliper pins (good high temp grease there, rubber boots not binding, etc.) and that the pistons themselves are moving well. And I'd start with the caliper pins, because that's an easy win if that's the reason for things sticking.

If the pistons themselves are binding, in my experience that makes it really hard to rotate the caliper off the disk. So drive until they bind up, then start the process like you were going to replace the pads. See if the assembly is still pinching the rotor or not. If not, then see if the caliper without the pads in it can move back and forth on the pins.
 
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Thanks,
Forgot to mention, the shop says the caliper is FINE (but do we believe them?).
How hot can a caliper get and still maintain its integrity? If the rotor is 340 degrees is that more than the caliper can withstand?
Thanks for your suggestion greiswig. I may give that a try.
 

jlglr4

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I’m no brake expert, but I think a master cylinder going bad would give you a different pedal sensation. I also don’t know why it would affect one front wheel, unless maybe one brake line was clogged. Doesn’t seem likely. And if this were a “known issue,” I‘m sure there would be some talk of it on this forum. I haven’t heard of any problems with the master cylinders.

I agree with Grieswig - caliper or piston seems to be most likely culprit, and I have heard of them sticking on these cars and the RRS. You are certain one side is hotter than the other? Did you take the temp, or just guessing? I’d go drive for a while - give it a lot of braking - then use one of those cheap IR thermometers to check each wheel (back included). Look for hot wheels, but also make sure you don’t have any wheels that are cold.

As for integrity of the caliper body, I don’t think overheating would have any effect. It’s a big hunk of metal - can handle plenty of heat. The pins can seize, but nothing is going to break or fall apart. Might have to replace the pins and boots.

The only other thing that comes to mind is the ABS/traction control system, but I think you’d notice some other symptoms if you where having a problem there.
 

TrinidadLR4

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It sounds like your caliper sliding pins are sticking. Make sure you use silicone grease on them and nothing else. They should be able to move freely. Get new pins and boots. One of the pins on each side is a bushed pin, so make sure you install properly.
 
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Thanks for your suggestions.
I measured the temps of the rotors using a digital meat thermometer. Kind of shoved it into the vents on the edge of the rotor. Have an infrared model on order now (been looking for an excuse to get one).

Not being one who enjoys auto mechanics, I'd be apt to replace both the front calipers and have it addressed. (as well as rotors and pads too..) The OEM calipers from Atlantic-something are kind of pricey. Any suggestions on good re-manufactured/rebuilt brands or suppliers?
 

jlglr4

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Most of the time, a sticking caliper is just the pins. Pretty easy/cheap to pull them out, clean up or maybe replace the pins, clean out the bore, re-grease, and maybe replace the little rubber boots that seal them. I’d probably try that before buying new ones. They are pretty expensive to buy the whole unit.

If you’re pulling the calipers off the car either to replace or work on it, make sure you get the torque values for the bolts and a big breaker bar. Couple of those torques are pretty high. Look up the Bodsy Brake Bible - free pdf someone put together a while back for the LR3/LR4 brake job.
 

PaulLR3

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For me, cleaning only worked briefly. I went through the same aggravation and finally replaced all 4 brake calipers at 130K miles. Buy them at Atlantic British...much cheaper than OEM calipers. Problem solved.
 

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