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Brakes Just Slow Me Down! - Equiraptor's Journal
Brakes Just Slow Me Down!
Oh, my brakes.

Yet again, my poor NC needs new brakes. This time, I'm putting on Hawk HP+. Since I'm changing pad type, the rotor surface needs to change too, and these rotors have already been turned, so I ordered new ones. The various parts arrived by Wednesday. I need the new brakes on and the car in Austin, ready to track, by Saturday morning. So this morning I went to change the front brakes and rotors.

I started with the right front brakes, as these are the worst. This side was definitely digging in to the rotor (I waited a bit long to change). I jack up the car and take off the wheel. I pull off the caliper and loosen the screws holding on the caliper's support. I swing this support away from the rotor so I can get to the pads. The pad on the outside is pretty worn, but not COMPLETELY gone. However, the pad on the inside? Not only is the pad COMPLETELY gone, a lot of the metal is. And a lot of the metal on the rotor is gone.

Now, remember, I knew this was happening. I am not surprised. If anything, I'm impressed with the degredation of the rotor. It was pretty nice gouge.

I pull the caliper support the rest of the way off and set it next to the car.

On this particular rotor, there are two screws holding the rotor to the hub. These screws are... Not exactly necessary. See, when the wheel is on the car, the wheel holds the rotor to the hub. When you take off the wheel, if those screws weren't there, the rotor could move (relative to the hub). If you are careful, that's not a big deal. But if you're careless, that could cause problems. So Mazda puts the screws on, so people don't have to be careful when changing tires.

I find a screwdriver and manage to unscrew one of the screws. It was kinda tight, but doable. I go to work on the other screw, and the screwdriver flips out. It's phillips head... I hate phillips head. So I find a bigger phillips head screwdriver so it can better apply torque. I push and push, and don't get anywhere. I get some vise grips (I'm getting more resourceful). I attached the vice grips perpendicular to the direction of the screwdriver, so that they'd be like the handle of a wrench. I pushed and pushed. I pushed and pushed and pushed. It wouldn't go anywhere. At this point, I'm kinda deforming the screw.

I called up Nugget. "Help... What can I do?" "I dunno." Bah. So I call up Bo, one of the track guys. For once in his life, Bo actually answers when I call. "Help me!" "With what?" "The screw's stuck in the rotor." "Oh, use an impact wrench." "Bo, I'm a nerd. I'm dating a nerd. We don't have one." "Oh. Then you won't have X, Y, or Z either." (I forget what they were. Oh well). Bo says, "You have a normal screw driver?" (I take this to mean flat head) "Yeah". "Wedge it in one side of the hatches for the Phillips head and hammer it in. Make a good gouge for it. Then angle it so it'll apply some counter clockwise force and hammer on it. That'll be kind of like the impact wrench. Not as effective, but it tends to be enough." By this point I had found the hammer. "Oh, look, the nerds actually managed to have a hammer."

So we hang up and I get to banging. I spent a good 20 minutes banging. Banging and banging and banging. By this point I've thoroughly mangled the screw head and my hand hurts. I couldn't fully straighten my right hand anymore. I was working HARD. And it was 10:00AM. I have to leave for work at 11, and I still have to put my car back together so I can put it in the garage so Nugget has somewhere to put his car. And I have to GET DRESSED - I'm not wearing jeans with holes in them covered in brake dust, car grease, and rotor rust to work. So I give up. I put the new pads in the caliper support and put everything back together, on the old, torn up rotors (which'll be very, very bad for those shiny new pads. *sigh*).

I called up Bo and told him I gave up. Bo tried to come up with other ideas, but... with my work schedule, I just don't have the time to involve someone else in this. Bo says he'll get to the track early on Saturday and he'll get that screw out then. I get ready for work and make it on time.

On the bus ride, I got to thinking.

There's a race shop here in Houston. They did a track inspection on my car. They could get the screw out. I'd need to pay them, but I can live with that. I called them. They're pretty busy tomorrow, but they can drill the screw out for me if I show up at 8AM.

Perfect. I'll get there by 8AM, let them drill out that screw, then I'll replace the other brakes (in their parking lot, if they'll let me, so that if another screw is stuck I can get their help). And it'll all be good! I hope.
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