'92 Honda Accord Front Brake Pads, metallic, semi, ceramic, etc

This time it?s a ?92 Honda Accord LX, standard transmission, 4 cyl, 4 dr sedan with 168,200 miles. It has front disk brakes that pulse when the brake pedal is depressed. The inside of the front pads are worn down WAY MORE than the outsides. This is on both sides. I checked to see if the slider pins appear to be working while the calipers were still on. They APPEAR to be sliding.

Since I have a pulsing sensation on braking, I suspect the rotors are warped. I don?t know if the rotors are original. On measurement I know they can be turned again to true.

I am definitely going to replace the pads in a week or so. I?m not sure that the pulsing in this older car bothers me enough to worry too much about the pulsing issue.

My questions: First, I?ve heard a wide range of prices on pads (anything from the $14 range for ?metallic? pads to $54 for Honda Dealership semi-metallic pads). A fair number of vendors recommend ceramic pads. They rationalize less heat, less dust, longer wear, etc. What type of pad came originally with the car and what composition should I replace it with? All thoughts, comments are appreciated.

Second, I?m taking the pins out of the caliper and using a high temp grease with molybdenum to insure they are sufficiently lubed. Any thoughts on how ?high? the grease should be in terms of drop temp? Is 400 degrees F enough?

Third, to check if the piston is not hanging up (not retracting adequately on brake pedal release) ? what is the process I should complete?

I?m keeping the car for the next two to four years. Like the ?96 I wrote about two weeks ago, I?m after functionality and value ?nothing fancy.

Also, ANY OTHER suggestions/recommendations as I do this job?

My thanks to all,

Check with parts store on caliper guide pin lub. Here is a little technical information on “judder”: http://www.stoptech.com/tech_info/wp_warped_brakedisk.shtml

  1. On your car, a semi-metallic or metallic pad will produce a good deal of brake dust. Braking performance will be better if you drive the vehicle hard as it’ll improve fade, but unless you drive like a maniac, you shouldn’t really be exploring these performance extremes. Ceramics dust less, but they need to be heated up to work well. They also can be a little noisier. A pad you might like, which has great performance characteristics, low dusting, and overall high quality are PBR Deluxe or EBC Greenstuff. There’s a whole bunch of online retailers that sell these. I swear by them.

  2. I would stick with a grease specifically formulated for brake components. You can find these at your local favorite auto parts chain store, in 99 cent pouches often.

  3. I often check this by using an infrared thermometer and seeing if there is a significant temperature differential from one side to the other (driver’s side would be a skosh higher because of the driver’s weight). Probe the same points on the rotor and caliper as well. You can also check for evidence of binding at the caliper during disassembly. Are the brake pads evenly worn from side to side? When you retract the caliper, does it retract smoothly, or is it hard to push in? Be warned, a binding corner can be as a result of internal damage to a brake hose- I’ve seen this and fixed it recently on my '03 VW Passat with a mystery caliper drag that was not resolved by changing the caliper. One way to test for that is if you’re using a pressure bleeder (such as a Motive Power Bleeder) and the corner in question is slower to bleed than the rest, that could be an indicator of a hose problem. After 10 years, I think anything goes with brake hoses, especially front ones that are subject to so much more twisting. They always look fine from the outside, but they usually fail internally, forming a check valve of sorts.

A few more words of advice:

Replace all your brake fluid every 2-3 years. It’ll help maintain the hydraulics in good condition, extending their life, and brake pedal feel will improve.
Wire brush all the rusty parts on the caliper carriers that the pads and caliper come into contact with.
Consider replacing the anti-rattle hardware on the calipers if you’re getting noise suring braking
Be generous with the disc brake quiet- I use the spray-on stuff and I give it a god thick coat on the spots where I know the pad comes into contact with the caliper.
If there are any tears on the caliper dust boots, the calipers won’t last long.

Be careful if you go with high performance pads. They are less prone to fading, but they are often not very effective until warmed up. With most pads, fade doesn’t become a problem until you are doing multiple high speed stops, like in a race. For street use, use street pads.

Some ceramic pads are very good for the street. Akebono and Wagner are good street ceramic pads. I also like composite pads like performance friction and EBC Ultimax.