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CHAPTER 3: DISC BRAKES

PARTS AND OPERATION

Disc brakes use a piston(s) to squeeze friction


material (pads) on both sides of a rotating disc
(rotor).
Disc may be spelled disk by some manufacturers,
but disc is the SAE (Society of Automotive
Engineers) term and the most commonly used
spelling in the industry.
The rotor is attached to and stops the wheel.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
PARTS AND OPERATION

Disc brakes are used on the front wheels of latemodel vehicles, and on the rear wheels of an
increasing number of automobiles.
Disc brakes were adopted primarily because they
can supply greater stopping power than drum
brakes with less likelihood of fade.
This makes disc brakes especially well suited for
use as front brakes, which must provide 60% to
80% of the vehicles total stopping power.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE ADVANTAGES

The main advantages of the disc brake include the


following.

FADE RESISTANCE
SELF-ADJUSTING ABILITY
FREEDOM FROM PULL

Disc brakes are resistant to all kinds of fade,


including the following:

Mechanical fade
Lining fade
Gas fade
Water fade

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE ADVANTAGES

FIGURE 121 A typical disc brake assembly.


Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE ADVANTAGES

FIGURE 122 Braking force is


applied equally to both sides of the
brake rotor.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE ADVANTAGES

FIGURE 123 Disc brakes can absorb and dissipate a great deal
of heat. During this demonstration, the brakes were gently
applied as the engine drove the front wheels until the rotor
became cherry red. During normal braking, the rotor
temperature can exceed 350F (180C), and about 1,500F
(800C) on a race vehicle.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE ADVANTAGES

FIGURE 124 Slots and holes in the


brake linings help prevent gas and
water fade.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE ADVANTAGES

FIGURE 125 The square-cut O-ring not only seals


hydraulic brake fluid, but also retracts the caliper piston
when the brake pedal is released.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE DISADVANTAGES

The most notable fact about the disadvantages of


disc brakes is that there are so few.
The weaknesses of disc brakes include the
following.

No Self-Energizing or Servo Action


Brake Noise
Brake Dust
Poor Parking Brake Performance

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

Check the Tire Size for a Pulling Problem

If an unequal braking problem is being


diagnosed, check that the front tires match
and that the rear tires match. Brakes slow and
stop wheels. Unequal diameter tires create an
unequal braking force. The result may be a
pulling toward one side while braking. Tire
diameter can vary from one tire manufacturer
to another even though the size designation is
the same. Even slight differences in the wear
of tires can cause a different tire diameter
and, therefore, a different braking force.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE DISADVANTAGES

FIGURE 126 Antirattle clips


reduce brake pad movement
and vibration.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKES
DISC BRAKE DISADVANTAGES

FIGURE 127 Antivibration shims are used


behind the pads on many disc brake caliper
designs.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

Wax the Wheels

Brake dust from semimetallic brake pads often


discolors the front wheels. Customers often
complain to service technicians about this
problem, but it is normal for the front wheels to
become dirty because the iron and other
metallic and nonmetallic components wear off
the front disc brake pads and adhere to the
wheel covers. A coat of wax on the wheels or
wheel covers helps prevent damage and
makes it easier to wash off the brake dust.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE CONSTRUCTION

A disc brake is relatively simple compared with a


drum brake.
The major disc brake friction assembly
components include the following.

CALIPER
SPLASH SHIELD

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE CONSTRUCTION

FIGURE 128 This brake caliper attaches to the front spindle.


Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE CONSTRUCTION

FIGURE 129 A rear disc brake caliper often attaches to a


mounting bracket on the rear axle housing.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS

The lining of a disc brake is


part of an assembly called
the brake pad.

FIGURE 1210 A typical disc brake pad.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS

FIGURE 1211 To prevent noise, bent tabs on the


backing plate hold some brake pads to the caliper
housing.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

18

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS

FIGURE 1212 Holes in the backing plate


are a common method of locating a pad in
the caliper.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS

FIGURE 1213 Retainer springs lock the pad to the caliper


piston to prevent brake noise.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS

FIGURE 1214 The lining edges of some brake pads are tapered to help prevent vibration.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


PAD WEAR INDICATORS

Although not required by law, a growing number of vehicle


manufacturers are fitting pad wear indicators to their
brakes for safety reasons.

Pad wear indicators are either mechanical or electrical, and


signal the driver when the lining material has worn to the
point where pad replacement is necessary.

A mechanical wear indicator is a small spring-steel tab


riveted to the pad backing plate.

When the friction material wears to a predetermined


thickness, the tab contacts the rotor and makes a squealing
or chirping noise (when the brakes are not applied) that alerts
the driver to the need for service.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


PAD WEAR INDICATORS

FIGURE 1215 Typical pad wear sensor


operation. It is very important that the
disc brake pads are installed on the
correct side of the vehicle to be assured
that the wear sensor will make a noise
when the pads are worn. If the pads with
a sensor are installed on the opposite
side of the vehicle, the sensor tab is
turned so that the rotor touches it going
the opposite direction. Usually the
correct direction is where the rotor
contacts the sensor before contacting
the pads when the wheels are being
rotated in the forward direction.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

23

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


PAD WEAR INDICATORS

FIGURE 1216 Electrical wear indicators ground a warning light circuit when the pads need replac

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


PAD ASSEMBLY METHODS

As mentioned previously, there are several


methods that are used to mount brake linings,
including:

Riveted linings
Bonded linings
Mold-bonded linings

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


PAD ASSEMBLY METHODS

FIGURE 1217 Mold-bonded linings


are commonly used in many
applications.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

26

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


BRAKE LINING COMPOSITION

The various ingredients in


brake lining are mixed and
molded into the shape of
the finished product.
The fibers in the material
are the only thing holding
this mixture together.
A large press is used to
force the ingredients
together to form a brake
block, which eventually
becomes the brake lining.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


BRAKE LINING COMPOSITION

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

Competitively Priced Brakes

The term competitively priced means lower cost. Most


brake manufacturers offer premium as well as lowerprice linings, to remain competitive with other
manufacturers or with importers of brake lining
material produced overseas by U.S. or foreign
companies. Organic asbestos brake lining is
inexpensive to manufacture. In fact, according to
warehouse distributors and importers, the box often
costs more than the brake lining inside.
Professional brake service technicians should only
install brake linings and pads that will give braking
performance equal to that of the original factory
brakes. For best results, always purchase high-quality
brake parts from a known brand-name manufacturer.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


BRAKE LINING COMPOSITION

SEMIMETALLIC FRICTION MATERIAL


NONASBESTOS FRICTION MATERIAL
CARBON FIBER FRICTION MATERIAL
CERAMIC FRICTION MATERIAL

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

What Does D3EA Mean?

Original equipment brake pads and shoes are required to comply


with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 135,
which specifies maximum stopping distances. There is also a
requirement for fade resistance, but no standard for noise or
wear. Aftermarket (replacement) brake pads and shoes are not
required to meet the FMVSS standard. However, several
manufacturers of replacement brake pads and shoes are using a
standardized test that closely matches the FMVSS standard and
is called the Dual Dynamometer Differential Effectiveness
Analysis or D3EA. This test is currently voluntary and linings
that pass the test can have a D3EA certified seal placed on the
product package.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE PADS


EDGE CODES

As explained previously,
the lining edge codes help
identify the coefficient of
friction.
These codes were
established by the SAE
(Society of Automotive
Engineers) and published
as Standard J886a.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

BRAKE ROTORS

The brake rotor provides the friction surfaces for


the brake pads to rub against.
The rotor, the largest and heaviest part of a disc
brake, is usually made of cast iron because that
metal has excellent friction and wear properties.
There are two basic types of rotors:

SolidSolid rotors are most often used on the rear


of vehicles equipped with four-wheel disc brakes.
VentedVented rotors have radial cooling
passages cast between the friction surfaces.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

BRAKE ROTORS

FIGURE 1218 Disc brake


rotors can be either solid or
vented.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS

There are basically three types of calipers: fixed,


floating, and sliding designs.

FIXED CALIPER DESIGN

FIXED CALIPER ADVANTAGES


FIXED CALIPER DISADVANTAGES

FLOATING AND SLIDING CALIPER DESIGN

NORMAL CALIPER OPERATION


WEAR COMPENSATION
FLOATING AND SLIDING CALIPER ADVANTAGES
FLOATING AND SLIDING CALIPER
DISADVANTAGES

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS

FIGURE 1219 (a) Many fixed caliper


disc brakes use a simple retaining pin to
hold the disc brake pads. (b) Removing
the retainer pads allows the brake pads
to be removed. (c) Notice the cross-over
hydraulic passage that connects both
sides of the caliper.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS

FIGURE 1220 This floating caliper mounts on a separate


anchor plate that bolts to the vehicle suspension.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS

FIGURE 1221 Hydraulic force on the piston (left) is applied to the inboard pad and
the caliper housing itself. The reaction of the piston pushing against the rotor causes
the entire caliper to move toward the inside of the vehicle (large arrow). Since the
outboard pad is retained by the caliper, the reaction of the moving caliper applies the
force of the outboard pad against the outboard surface of the rotor.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS

FIGURE 1222 Caliper flex can


cause tapered wear of the brake
lining.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS


FLOATING CALIPER OPERATION

The body of a floating


caliper does not make
direct metal-to-metal
contact with the anchor
plate.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

FIGURE 1223 A typical single-piston


floating caliper. In this type of design, the
entire caliper moves when the single
piston is pushed out of the caliper during a
brake application. When the caliper
moves, the outboard pad is pushed
against the
rotor.
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2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,
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DISC BRAKE DESIGNS


FLOATING CALIPER OPERATION

FIGURE 1224 Floating calipers are


supported by rubber O-rings or plastic
bushings.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS


FLOATING CALIPER OPERATION

FIGURE 1225 Metal guide pins and sleeves are used to retain and locate floating calipers.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

What Is a Low-Drag Caliper?

A low-drag caliper differs from a standard caliper in


the area of the square-cut O-ring. A V-shaped cutout
allows the O-ring to deflect more and, as a result, is
able to pull the caliper piston back into the bore when
the brakes are released. Because of this further
movement, the brake pads are pulled further from the
rotor and are less likely to drag. The negative aspect
of this design is that greater volume of brake fluid is
needed to achieve a brake application. To
compensate for this need for greater brake fluid
volume, a quick-take-up master cylinder was
designed and is used whenever low-drag calipers are
used.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS


FLOATING CALIPER OPERATION

FIGURE 1226 In a standard disc brake


caliper, the squarecut O-ring deforms when
the brakes are applied and returns the
piston to its original (released) position due
to the elastic properties of the rubber seal.
In a low-drag caliper design, the groove for
the square-cut O-ring is V-shaped, allowing
for more retraction. When the brake pedal
is released, the piston is moved away from
the rotor, further resulting in less friction
between the disc brake pads and the rotor
when the brakes are released.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS


SLIDING CALIPERS

Unlike a floating caliper, the body of a sliding caliper


mounts in direct metal-to-metal contact with the anchor
plate.

FIGURE 1227 Exploded view of a typical sliding brake caliper.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

DISC BRAKE DESIGNS


SLIDING CALIPERS

FIGURE 1228 Sliding


calipers move on machined
ways.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

BRAKE CALIPER ASSEMBLY

4 components includes in disc brakes assembly and their


function:
Disc brake rotors: The brake disc rotates with the road
wheel. It provides a smooth surface against which to force
the brake pads, to slow or stop the vehicle.
Disc brake pads: A disc brake pad has a rigid, molded,
friction material bonded to a steel backing plate for
support during brake application. It transforms the
hydraulic force of the caliper into a frictional force against
the disc.
Disc brake calipers: Disc brake calipers provide a housing
for the hydraulic piston or pistons that force the brake
pads into contact with the disc.
Proportioning valves: The proportioning valve divides up
the braking effort applied to front and rear wheels under
heavy braking, according to how load is distributed across
a vehicle.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

REAR DISC BRAKES

In recent years, four-wheel disc brake systems


have become more common.
In most rear-wheel applications, drum brakes are
adequate to provide the relatively small portion of
a vehicles total braking power required of them.
Because rear drum brakes are lightly loaded, fade
is a problem only in extreme conditions when the
front brakes fade and force the rear brakes to take
on a larger part of the braking load.
The automatic adjusting ability of disc brakes is
also less of an advantage in slow-wearing rear
brakes.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

REAR DISC BRAKES


REAR DISC PARKING BRAKES

There are two methods of providing parking brakes


when rear discs are installed on a vehicle.

1. Adapt the disc brake to also function as the


parking brake. This is done by installing a series of
cables, levers, and internal parts to mechanically
actuate the brake caliper.
2. Use mechanically actuated drum brakes inside
the rear rotors.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

49

Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

REAR DISC BRAKES


REAR DISC PARKING BRAKES

FIGURE 1229 Exploded view of a


typical rear disc brake with an integral
parking brake. The parking brake lever
mechanically pushes the caliper piston
against the rotor.

Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e


By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


Upper Saddle River, NJ 07458 All rights reserved.

REAR DISC BRAKES


REAR DISC PARKING BRAKES

FIGURE 1230 This single-piston brake caliper is mechanically


actuated to serve as a parking brake.
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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


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REAR DISC BRAKES


REAR DISC PARKING BRAKES

FIGURE 1231 Drum parking brakes are fitted inside


the rotors on this vehicle equipped with rear disc
brakes.
Automotive Brake Systems, 5/e
By James D. Halderman

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Copyright 2010, 2008, 2004, 2000, 1995 Pearson Education, Inc.,


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