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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 01-30-2013, 02:54 PM   #1
college46
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My experience with Rear Brakes

So I originally took my car into Babbit Motor Works which a supposedly reputable independent mechanic in the Phoenix valley for a brake light sensor that came on. NOT ABS, simple replacement sensor. I ask him to look at my brakes.

He tells me I am "Metal to metal" in the rear and almost metal to metal in the fronts. Now tell me if I'm wrong, but that gives me the impression that the brake pad backing plate is touching the rotor and could be rubbing down the caliper to the point of exposed pistons. Which would mean new caliper (ouch). He claimed that I needed to do this immediately. I heard no metal to metal grinding or even squeaking with my rear brakes just the sensor. I know I didn't drive the car more than 100 miles with the sensor on, so I couldn't possibly have worn down to the caliper. I would call BMW USA and demand they pay for it if that had been the case. 100 miles is no where near enough prevention time. or whatever.

Anyways, he quotes me 400.00 just for the rear brake pads and rotors (Parts only). I ordered my brakes through autohausaz, 173.50 including tax for rear rotors (zimmerman, nothing special), pagid pads and the sensor. almost ~120 percent markup.
He also draws up a pretty similar front brake quote which he recommended.

So he quoted me 140.00 on labor for rear installation, I thought that is also high but not too bad so I call him and try to schedule an installation because i honestly just needed to get this done and they are really close.

As if he was butt-hurt that I ordered my own parts to save myself money on his markup, he told me he couldn't now do the installation since he doesn't know if the parts are good, I said thats absurd, there sealed and good to go. these are cheap ebay brakes, theyre authentic. He wouldn't do it.

So i called my brother who went through a similar dilemma with his volkswagen. He said go to Midas, all they do is brakes. Anyways, Midas does my brakes in an hour for 110.00 and did the job right, even the sensor is installed properly.

They also informed me my mechanic is full of sh*t. My front brakes had 7mm left on them and my rears had 2mm. 2mm is bad, but not "metal to metal" what the f*ck is that saying that I could be damaging my caliper to get business. Needless to say I was pretty mad because I was talking to the owner, Nathan Babbit.

I was impressed to say the least, normally I would never take my car to a Midas or Jiffy Lube or Big O to get serviced, not even for oil if i gave them the quarts, but the midas mechanic installed my brakes which theyre liable for if they fail so all in all good experience.

I would recommend Midas for anyone experiencing a similar dilemma with buying your own brakes and paying someone just for labor.

I wish I had some tools and jack stands down here and I would do it myself. but oh well.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:04 PM   #2
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Welcome to the real world.

-Yes, mechanics are going to suggest as much work be done with them as possible, it's called a business. You have the right to decline services on your car.
-Yes, your pads were close to metal backing plate on rotor, and I wouldn't be surprised if this risked damage on some cars.
-Yes, most mechanics do NOT want to use customer supplied parts because then the customer comes back and blames them if their supplied part fails.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:08 PM   #3
college46
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Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
Welcome to the real world.

-Yes, mechanics are going to suggest as much work be done with them as possible, it's called a business. You have the right to decline services on your car.
-Yes, your pads were close to metal backing plate on rotor, and I wouldn't be surprised if this risked damage on some cars.
-Yes, most mechanics do NOT want to use customer supplied parts because then the customer comes back and blames them if their supplied part fails.

Quit being a whiny baby.
I agree with all that but why tell me i need new front brakes when i had 7mm, im pretty sure thats unethical business practice. anyways, your right I'd just warn forum members about going to Babbit motor works.
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Old 01-30-2013, 03:11 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
Welcome to the real world.

-Yes, mechanics are going to suggest as much work be done with them as possible, it's called a business. You have the right to decline services on your car.
-Yes, your pads were close to metal backing plate on rotor, and I wouldn't be surprised if this risked damage on some cars.
-Yes, most mechanics do NOT want to use customer supplied parts because then the customer comes back and blames them if their supplied part fails.

Quit being a whiny baby.
He's not really being that whiny. The mechanic lied to him straight up. A few mm of pad is not "metal to metal", nor is it rubbing the caliper piston. That's not even possible unless you go all the way through the pad's backing plate. That would be quite noticeable. It won't cause any actual damage until you get to the backing plate, and even then it would be to just the rotor.

I am not surprised he wouldn't install your parts. I am also not surprised by his quote. It is absurd, but that's how all mechanics are.

I would trust Midas to install my brakes. I would probably observe them doing it, but our brakes aren't any different fundamentally for any others. The only extra thing is the sensor and I'm sure they've seen that before on a BMW.

You'll find this will happen with 99% of mechanics out there.
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Old 02-02-2013, 05:37 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by WDE46 View Post
He's not really being that whiny. The mechanic lied to him straight up. A few mm of pad is not "metal to metal", nor is it rubbing the caliper piston. That's not even possible unless you go all the way through the pad's backing plate. That would be quite noticeable. It won't cause any actual damage until you get to the backing plate, and even then it would be to just the rotor.

I am not surprised he wouldn't install your parts. I am also not surprised by his quote. It is absurd, but that's how all mechanics are.

I would trust Midas to install my brakes. I would probably observe them doing it, but our brakes aren't any different fundamentally for any others. The only extra thing is the sensor and I'm sure they've seen that before on a BMW.

You'll find this will happen with 99% of mechanics out there.
I agree our brakes are not that difficult to install pads and rotors. I'd also trust one of the chains to put your brakes. However, if you can find the time, which I know you said was an issue, but try to do it your self and you can to your rear brakes and rotors for less than $100. Granted these are low end prices, but they do work. I bet you could do the job in under two hours, easy, providing you have the tools!

I had the exact same thing happen to me this week. One of the rear pads got to worn and the piston started sticking and quickly wore the pad down, before, I could get to it. So, I'm just going to do the rear pads and rotors myself, using some economy parts on and then use my tax refund to put some quality parts from either Pelican, BAVAUTO and put some all the around the car.
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:11 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by mkodama View Post
Welcome to the real world.

-Yes, mechanics are going to suggest as much work be done with them as possible, it's called a business. You have the right to decline services on your car.
-Yes, your pads were close to metal backing plate on rotor, and I wouldn't be surprised if this risked damage on some cars.
-Yes, most mechanics do NOT want to use customer supplied parts because then the customer comes back and blames them if their supplied part fails.
If I had to tell a customer information, I would never lie. There's no need for it.
If the brakes need done the customer can make that decision. I wouldn't need to try to scare them to get business.

OP in the future if its an easily check part by sight, ask to see the part in question before a quote is drawn up.
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