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How to dislodge a rusted rotor

Hi, I drive a ‘98 Ford Contour (4cyl, manual). I was attempting to put a new passenger-side wheel bearing in place.

In order to do so, one must first remove the brake rotor. Easier said than done! I removed the caliper assembly, then the 30mm nut holding the rotor on the spline…then nothin’! I tried heating it with a torch; I tried using a BFH to the point I started to worry about damaging the steering mechanism.

So, I bought a puller…started to get excited–the rotor was moving…until I realized I was just pushing the spline of the axle out of the hub assembly! (Rotor didn’t budge.) I seem to remember having such a tough time removing the associated wheel when I bought this car used that I had to take it to a shop.

Any advice on how to proceed? I still don’t want to damage the suspension, but I’m now willing to employ “destructive” measures on the rotor & buy a new one.

Uh oh, you may be screwed on this one. I had a similar problem with an 88 Tercel years ago and I eventually had to remove the axle. I ended up spending more fixing it than the car was worth at the time. I’d say take it to a shop, maybe they can cut the rotor off or something, but those rusted rotors can be a pain to deal with.

If you’re absolutely sure there are no mechanical fasteners still holding it in place, then I suggest cutting it off. I had to cut off the two front rotors on my Camry. It only takes about 5 minutes with a sawzall and a good blade. If you look, there is usually a spot you can cut clear through to the hub.

We heat the rotors to remove them only as a last resort.

Why not call a parts house and see if they have the rotor in stock you’re trying
to remove and go examine it. It’ll give you an idea of what steps you’ll need to
get the old one off, an idea of what a new one costs, and lets you know where one is in case the old one is destroyed. If it is stuck on the hub, spray your favorite lubricating oil on and it strike on the left and right side, in an attempt to walk it off the hub.
A 1998 Ford Contour manual would be of great service about this time. It should have a blown apart diagram of the rotor assembly.
Good luck,

If it is stuck on the hub, spray your favorite lubricating oil on and it strike on the left and right side, in an attempt to walk it off the hub.

The guy has already retired the BFH approach. Usually that follows some time after the walking off the hub attempts prove fruitless. :wink:

I ran into just such a situation not long ago on my 3 year old Camry. The rotors defied all attempts at removal. The puller tore out of the threaded holes, the hammer approach was getting too rough for comfort and there’s no way I’m torching the hub area to expand it and risk damaging the bearings/seals.

You know, these newer hub centric rotors are proving to be more difficult to work with than the lug centric version. On the Camry, the rotor is a “hat” design with an interference fit not only around the hole in the rotor, but also around the rim of the hub. Once I got it off, it was obvious why it was never coming off without cutting it. The inside of the “hat” had rusted, expanded and was permanently wedged onto the hub. I only had to cut 1/2 way through the “hat” edge and the rotor popped open like a popcorn kernel. The cut at the outer diameter of the rotor was now 1/8" wide! That’s the kind of force I was working against. I’ll never waste time or risk further damage again. It takes only a few minutes to cut them off. YMMV!

Well all, no joy. After doing everyting I mentioned, I fabricated a 5" length of 1/4" steel stock, place it over two studs and used the puller…STILL onthere, though now I have a 1" concave strip of steel! I was wondering if the rotor and hub could be a single piece…not supposed to, but I guess you could say, “for all intents and purposes!”

Now, When I bought the car, the passenger front wheel was rusted in place…turns out the passenger rotor was too, on the way to replace the wheel bearing. Seems probable this car was up to its right front hub in water!

I was going to have the bearing “pulled” anyways…any reason I can’t just have them pull the old rotor while they’re at it?

From the pic the rotor simply fits over the studs and is a loose fit.
It must be corrdoded to the hub.

Reinstall the wheel(s), leave the lugs slightly loose, and drive the car back and forth a few times at slow speed while slamming on the brakes a few times.
See if that doesn’t break them loose.

what you need to do is go to a parts house and get some pb blaster and spray it around the hubb you didnt need to take out the 30mm nut all it does is hold the axleand wheel bearing in place but spray around the hubb with pb blaster let sit about 5 min then spray again and let sit a few min then go back ang get you bfh and go after it again inbetween all the wheen studs evenly… but befor that make sure there isent a small flat phillip screw driver bolt holding the damn thing on because if there is its not coming out with out taking it or them out guarrantt it