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Old 08-29-2008   #1  
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Question 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

I have a 2004 Civic LX 82K miles +-

Recently I have noticed an intermittant issue when braking.

The car brakes fine, but occasionally when the car slows down and is almost at a stop, the pedal pulses slightly, and a moaning noise comes from the front end. The pitch of the noise follows the rate of the car movement.

If I am in stop & go traffic, it also happens sometimes.

I can only compare this to what it feels like when ABS kicks in,
but this car does not have ABS, and this problem occurs on dry pavement.

I have not had the car in the shop yet, but I will need to do it soon.

Does this sound familiar to anyone??

Thanks for your input.
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Old 08-29-2008   #2  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Warped rotors
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Old 08-29-2008   #3  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Wouldnt warped rotors result in a constant noise/pulsation?
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Old 08-29-2008   #4  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Possibly. I've been driving with warped rotors for a while and sometimes I can really feel the pulsing and sometimes its nice and smooth. Hows the brake feel from 70 mph?
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Old 08-29-2008   #5  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

High-speed braking is fine, even most low speed braking is fine.

This problem is not consistent. When it does occur, it is at stop & go
speeds (3-5 mph).

The slight grinding sensation is just like the pedal feels when an ABS system is activated. It is not a hugely noticeable pulsation like worn pads.

Most of the time, this problem doesnt even manifest, but it happens enough to inquire what could be causing it (especially with winter approaching).

I appreciate your input. I will have my rotors checked.

As I am digging deeper into these forums, I am seeing many posts regarding the rotors on the civics not lasting very long.
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Old 08-29-2008   #6  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Yep. Go pull the wheel off and see what can be seen.
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Old 08-29-2008   #7  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

its the rotors, i notice it in the scion xb taxi cabs all the time when coming to a stop at low speeds. its cause their brakes suck, for civic it means youre too hard on them. try not to ride the brakes and dont make too many hi speed brake stops.
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Old 09-03-2008   #8  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
its the rotors, i notice it in the scion xb taxi cabs all the time when coming to a stop at low speeds. its cause their brakes suck, for civic it means youre too hard on them. try not to ride the brakes and dont make too many hi speed brake stops.
Yeah, the Civic's brakes suck, big time. The dealer turned my rotors twice & replaced them once, all under warrantee. I've never had such misery from any of the many other vehicles I've ever owned. Flimsy rotors and not-little-old-lady driver means warped junk. That's why I'm looking for some super heavy-duty rotors & pads, and maybe brake cylinders, if needed.

Here's what I'd test: Get the car up to your normal highway driving speed and VERY LIGHTLY press down on the brake. If it's BADLY warped, you'll really feel it. If it's only barely warped, you probably won't feel it - but it'll eventually get worse, much worse. If the rotor is rotating too quickly and the warp isn't so bad, the pads won't pulse against the rotor surface adequately to be felt. But, at a much slower speed, and you're not hitting the brakes as hard at 20 mph as you are at 70 mph, you'll feel it more - it's amplified under those conditions.

Truest test is to yank the rotors & have them put on a machine lathe and check the rotational plane of the surface. They can be re-ground to true, if you haven't hit runout. But, you only get to do that about twice (if you're lucky) before having to replace the rotors. Damn shame I know so much about that!

PS, my '98 Civic LX has about 90k miles - that was 15k/yr until I got the motorcycle!

Last edited by DarkFlame; 09-03-2008 at 08:49 PM.
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Old 01-11-2009   #9  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

So who has replaced their rotors and brake pads with an upgraded set? What are good brands?
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Old 01-11-2009   #10  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

honda oem is really good for rotors and pads.
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Old 01-11-2009   #11  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Quote:
Originally Posted by gearbox View Post
honda oem is really good for rotors and pads.
Respectfully, I have to disagree. I've bought 10 cars, so far, dating back to the late 70s. I've never had a problem with rotors warping until I got the Civic (bought new from the dealer's showroom).

This car had to have the warped rotors turned twice and replaced and then turned twice again. My driving habits haven't gotten MORE agressive, so I can't say it's my driving that has caused these things to warp.

I even had that argument with the dealer when they told me the rotors had been shaved too many times to do it again & I'd have to pay for replacement. They paid for it when I explained the situation and requested to speak with their regional service director. They never let me speak to him, but they did replace the rotors at no charge. They weren't any better.

The only reason I haven't had to do it again in the past 4 years is because I started riding a motorcycle again and am putting less than 4k miles on the Civic each year.

The car is finally out of warrantee, so I'll do the brake job myself the next time, & I'll put on the heaviest duty rotors (& probalby cylinders, too) that I can find.

Personally, I believe it to be a serious design flaw that the rotors warped 5 times in the first 50,000 miles! I'm not ranting on the dealer, or the car, but the brakes have left me wanting.
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Old 01-13-2009   #12  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

well.... 1st things 1st. Remove the concept of Warped rotors from your mind. Cast Iron rotors do not "warp". To quote Carroll Smith on the subject
Quote:
n more than 40 years of professional racing, including the Shelby/Ford GT 40s – one of the most intense brake development program in history - I have never seen a warped brake disc. I have seen lots of cracked discs, discs that had turned into shallow cones at operating temperature because they were mounted rigidly to their attachment bells or top hats, a few where the friction surface had collapsed in the area between straight radial interior vanes, and an untold number of discs with pad material unevenly deposited on the friction surfaces - sometimes visible and more often not. (FIGURE 4)

In fact every case of "warped brake disc" that I have investigated, whether on a racing car or a street car, has turned out to be friction pad material transferred unevenly to the surface of the disc. This uneven deposition results in thickness variation (TV) or run-out due to hot spotting that occurred at elevated temperatures.

DarkFlame, The problem you have been running in to isnt an issue of rotor, its an issue of pad. as in you are pushing the car past what the pads you are running are capable. and thus causing them to unevenly build up pad friction materiel on the rotors surface and causing that pulsating feeling that so many mistake as a "warped" rotor.

Solution, pick a brake pad that's more suited to your driving style.



VLCNCRZR; it could be something as simple as one of your calipers binding a bit. if the pad shifts, it can cause vibrations as you describe.

Last edited by Zzyzx; 01-13-2009 at 12:56 PM.
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Old 01-13-2009   #13  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

First, let me preface by saying that I am not being obnoxious in my reply, but am being pedantic in educating myself. So, please don't take my response as insulting or disrespectful as that is NOT my intent.

So, what you are saying is that when the dealerships have told me that the rotors warped, they were lying or just plain wrong (I can believe that)? I have never put a "warped" rotor on a spindle and watched it spin to see if it was indeed warped. Therefore I certainly cannot dispute the quote you've provided.

However, I do find it difficult to believe that the dealerships, which ultimately replaced the "warped" rotors at their (or the Mfgr's) expense, when they could easily have said that the pads today are not made for that kind of braking, blamed it on me without recourse, and left me to pay for the entire repair. I find it hard to believe, but no impossible, considering that most folks (dealership repair personnel included) are not as active in their education as many folks I know. I've EVEN had one dealership tell me that the warped rotors were caused by the tire shop torquing the wheel nuts too tightly - which I disputed because I told the tech what the torque spec was and then watched him do the final tighten by hand with a torque wrench instead of the air impact wrench they usually use.

Therefore, I am going to do some deeper research into pads so that I can replace the ones on my Civic, and especially the Grand Caravan with the towing package that seems to warp the rotors whenever I do any extensive trailering, so that maybe the "better" (or just different) pads will not leave so much of themselves in spots on the disk surfaces.

This thread has gotten me interested, and I have found far too many sites on warping rotors as well as about the late Carroll Smith. Far more than I can digest tonight, especially since I have to spend time tonight studying the next steps on my file server implementation for the house. BUT, this thread has pushed me over the edge and into the realm of doing more research before I put pads on again. Thank you!

-> David
San Antonio, TX
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Old 01-14-2009   #14  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

No worries, part of the point of this forum is to learn. And its perfectly reasonable to question something thats contrary to what the majority of the driving public considers "fact".

The dealership is mis-informed. As they to still believe that you can warp a cast iron rotor. and given that all they do in diagnosing it is pulling the rotor and measuring for thickness variations. If they find them, and they often do, they diagnose the problem as a "Warped" rotor and call it a day. If you are lucky they'll mount a new rotor... if not, they'll cut the "warped" one and re-install. Which more or less guarantees that the pulsing feeling will come back.


I was going to write up a description... but cant seem to do a better job then what Carroll Smith has already done here

http://www.stoptech.com/tech_info/wp...rakedisk.shtml
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Old 01-14-2009   #15  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

Out of curiosity, how much of this pulsation could be coming from the rear brakes(if any at all)?
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Old 01-14-2009   #16  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

probably nothing you can even feel. Darkflame, i think you may have misunderstood what zzyzx posted. the rotor is indeed the problem, but not from actually warping, its from the uneven pad material that is deposited. the pads are at fault for causing the problem, but in the end the rotor is also affected and must be machined or replaced to fix the rotor. this does not fix the overall problem of the pad simply not being up to the style of braking you do. I get along fine with the oems because i try not to use the brakes over 40mph when possible and do not ride the brakes or make too many stops at once. but if you are having all these problems, i would suggest getting a pad that can handle the heat better. the only downside is it does take a longer time for them to "warm-up" when cold. but from what i've read in your posts, i doubt that would be a big issue.
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Old 01-14-2009   #17  
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Re: 2004 civic brake pedal pulsation

When they cut our brakes, they don't even remove the rotors from the car. The machine rolls up to the car and the rotors fit into it as they lower the car into place, and then the "shaver" does it's job. It's that way at the Dodge AND Honda dealership. Yes, they really do it that way!
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