HELP! Rear Rotors are hot, Hot, HOT!

i have a ‘96 Taurus with rear disc brakes. They were moaning the other day so i got my pads and when i tore into it, i realized that the rotors are fried beyond turning. Put on new rotors and pads but had a hard, hard time getting the piston to go back in a little to go over new pads and rotors.

The only thing that seemed to work is to temporarily disconnect emergency brake cable and the piston went right in. Tensioned (SP?) the spring again and reconnected the cable.

What is the right way to get piston back in? All other disc brakes (fronts are all I’ve ever done) I’ve pushed piston in with a C-clamp just fine and pumped brakes.

I did notice that the hub/disc assembly didn’t spin too freely but I could turn it by hand.

The Left rear rotor and pads were down to metal and really the worst of the two.

On my way home I all of a sudden smelled something hot/burning. I pulled right over. The smell was coming from both rear brakes, drivers side the worst. I spit on rotor and it vaporized in a split second?

Seems like the brakes are constantly applied creating all this heat. Needless to say I travled 45 mph until I got home. Even the wheel was hot but the outer edges, inner, and middle of rim not so hot. I checked it b/c I didn’t want to “fry” the tires.

What could I have done wrong? The piston went in as far as I could get it. (i think)

It’s hard to tell how long the brakes have been so badly worn since I had no indicators. the pads and new rotor were substantially larger in width b/c it is new.

Let me know if you need more info. Did I do right by pushing piston in? Back in auto school I’ve heard of some cars’ rear piston actually screws back in and NOT pushed. Is mine like that?

Thanks for your help.


sorry. “…vaporized in a split second…” supposed to have a period, not a question mark.

Stuck parking brake is the only thing I can think of that could cause this. You actually diagnosed that problem yourself when you mentioned you removed the emergency brake cable

I had the same problem after the rear pads were replaced on my 2000 Blazer at 80k. Both calipers had to be replaced. As the mechanic explained it, if there is any corrosion on the bore and the piston gets nicked or damaged when it’s pushed back in, the piston cannot retract the pad from the rotor.

Ed B.

You have to rotate the pistons clockwise while pushing them in. This has to do with the auto-adjustment for the parking brake. You may now need to replace the calipers along with the new pads and rotors since they have been cooked.
You need a tool like this.