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Old 03-01-2012, 07:48 PM   #1
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Can a warped front brake rotor cause vibration at speed?

About 1000 miles ago, I got new tires, balance, an alignment, and put on new Lemforder FCABs. It rides extremely smooth. I know for a fact that I need new brake rotors and plan on doing so soon. One of my front rotors is warped, as there's a vibration in my wheel whenever I touch the brake. I can feel the car kind of "jutter" (for lack of a better word, I don't even know if that's a real word but I think you get it) as I come to a stop, with an intermittent squeak that occurs during each "jutter."

I noticed the other day that at exactly 58 mph, there's a very, very slight intermittent vibration in the steering wheel. I can't even feel it in the car. It goes away very promptly when I get above or below 58 mph. Since I know my car is aligned, my wheels are good, I've got a balance, I have new FCABs, and I need new rotors, is it possible that the warped brake rotor itself is no longer balanced due to the warping, causing this slight vibration at speed? Or is it something else?
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:12 PM   #2
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It's something else almost undoubtedly.

The vibration at 58 is probably wheel/tire/balance...and I'll chose wheel/balance mostly. Wheels can balance and still not be balanced. In particular, a flat spotted wheel, even though the machine will balance them 'technically,' you can still feel them.

A few little things. First spin the wheels slowly so you can see a wheel hop in the rim...pay attention to the inside rim. Get someone to spin the wheel while you look for a hop.

If you see one, try moving that wheel to the rear. Sounds like that sort of issue to me. Another trick is to move the wheels with the most weight required to the rear.

On the brake vibration, your rotor isn't really warped, but given that you'd just gotten wheels put on, I'd suspect a slight issue with installation. Clean things up well...inside wheel, rotor hat...and then, when doing new rotors, if you're sure you need them (measure their thickness...might be fine for another set of pads still), clean up the hub too...or inside rotor if not replacing them.

A tiny bit of gunk can cause wheel/rotor/hub not to be perfectly square...over time, the pads might thus not be hitting rotor equally. Relating to that might be something like a hanging up guidepin/piston. To see if that's an issue, drive on highway for a little bit and pull over without using brakes. If one rotor is hotter than the other, the pad is hitting it. As it gets hotter on one side, when you use the brakes, one pad will be sticking more than the pad on the other side...translating that lack of evenness elsewhere...through tie rod, cas, ultimately to the steering wheel.

You could also try bedding them again, but be careful doing that unless you know you have minimum thickness or better...and do it when it's safe to do, because proper bedding will make you appear to be a fn moron or drunk!
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:15 PM   #3
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Also experience vibration when braking at high speeds over 100km/h. Im pretty sure its my brakes.
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Old 03-01-2012, 08:38 PM   #4
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Thanks dmax. My rotors are just below min. spec and I shouldn't try bedding them in again. They should be able to last two more months - that's when I plan on doing a whole ton of work. If it gets any worse, I guess I could try a Hunter Road Force Balancer to see if that will deal with it. But, it's such a slight vibration at such a specific speed that I don't see any problem. Since I need to do my rotors anyway, I'll start there, although it's unlikely that's the problem. While it's up, I'll check for any flat spots and such on the wheel.
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Old 03-01-2012, 09:03 PM   #5
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If you see one, try moving that wheel to the rear. Sounds like that sort of issue to me
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Old 03-02-2012, 06:51 AM   #6
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rotors wont do it unless your caliper is starting to freeze up, even if your rotors warped, your caliper floats. like dmax said, if it didnt do it pre new tires, than i would suspect an issue with the installation(perhaps a wheel weight fell off).... hope this helps...
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Old 03-02-2012, 07:54 AM   #7
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1. I bet it's a wheel balance issue.

2. I don't think rotors actually warp, but I don't have time to post links to that data.

3. I did not read all of the replies, or all of the original post. Sorry. I'm running late.

4. It's Friday, Friday. Gotta get down on Friday.
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Old 03-02-2012, 08:50 AM   #8
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Have you looked at the control arm's? Maybe the ball joints are starting to develop play? I have the same issue. I replaced tires, wheels, balanced twice and FCAB's. But I get a vibration when on the highway but not when braking. I took at a look at the ball joints and they have developed some play, so that's my next step.

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Old 03-02-2012, 08:54 AM   #9
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I do believe that rotors can lead to vibration issues, but, wheels are always the first suspect. I fought with vibration issues when I first got my car and though I had to do a lot of work, rotors/control arms...the wheels were the biggest issue.
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