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CarJunky AutoAdvice

Mini Cooper maintanence

Showing 5 out of 5 Posts
Question From zmasterflex on Mini Cooper maintanence

For all those out there brave enough to do their own maintance on the mini cooper here is what you might run into. On 2006 cooper, most jacks won't fit under car (too close to ground) use coopers flimsy jack to raise car a few inches then slide your jack in. Oil filter is a cartridge filter need 36mm socket wrench (access from top, located on rear of engine - the left side when you are facing engine compartment right underneath left exhaust header ___boiling hot). 13mm on the oil drain plug. Regarding brakes, you need a 7mm hex head to remove caliper bolts (5/8 socket to remove caliper mounting bracket). Rotors are bolted on with a very large star-bolt, some type of hardened metal, I broke 2 drill bits trying to drill them out. To top that off there is a sensor in one of the driver side brake pads- yes a sensor- you need to carefully pry it out of the pads backing and snap it into the new pad (using the clip that's on the old pad). Oil change took me an hour, brakes and rotors 2.5 hours. Ridiculous.

Response From re-tired

Why were you drilling out the star bolts (torx)? Sounds like a typical brake system . As for hot oil during oil change , wait for it to ciool off. Glad to see you trying to become a diy'er . Just use a little more brain , little less muscle.

Response From zmasterflex Top Rated Answer

I drilled out the torx bolt because I needed to swap the rotors. I've changed 30-50 sets of brakes with rotors over the past few years sometimes the rotors are held on by these very large screws that are close to impossible to get off so I usually just drill them out, first time cracking a drill bit. As for the hot oil, it's not the oil I was burned on, the cooper's exhaust gets red hot within a minute or two of being turned on never seen that before.

Response From Hammer Time

You could avoid that whole mess by just using an impact driver to take them off in the first place.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Right Hammer. I've never failed with the impact driver but came close a couple times,


97 Mercury Villager - grinding noise

Showing 2 out of 4 Posts | Show 2 Hidden Posts
Question From bambina on 97 Mercury Villager - grinding noise

My mini van makes a grinding noise when it is moving. I tap the brakes lightly (not necessarily to a stop) and the noise goes away. It first started a couple weeks ago and was only doing it when I made a left turn. Now it does it almost immediately upon my driving it. It isn't constant but it is happening more often than not.

The noise is coming from the front left side of the vehicle. Can anyone help me here?


Response From motorheadII

Could be brakes, a bearing, or the drive axle. This could be SERIOUSLY UNSAFE, and should be checked immediately by qualified people.

Response From bambina Top Rated Answer

Thanks for the headsup! I took it in today and it was the brake pads and rotors. Not a lot else I could do but have them do the work. Didn't come cheap either.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Motorhead II was right here. You may be out some bucks but no brakes costs tons more!!!!!! Worse if someone gets hurt!!!!!! Be safe,

stuck brake drums

Showing 2 out of 6 Posts | Show 4 Hidden Posts
Question From 76 camaro on stuck brake drums

This is a town and country minni van. It was bought used years ago and I have never seen the rear brake pads. The drums are stuck meaning they do NOT move. They seem to be gaulded up over the center piece (bearing cap, hub or whatever). I have in the past had the problem with ridges on the inside surface from wear of the drum but this is not that. I thought about heating up the drum and knocking it loose with a dead blow hammer but could heat crack the drum? What is a good trick? I have beat the daylights out of these drums and they won't budge. Thanks.

Response From Hammer Time

What year is the van?

Response From 76 camaro Top Rated Answer

Sorry, This is a 1999 Chrysler Town and Country mini van with rear drum brakes. Thanks

Response From Loren Champlain Sr

As a last resort, I've used a 1/8" drill bit to drill a hole right where the drum meets the hub (50/50 hub/drum...won't hurt either) and spayed A LOT of penetrant into the drilled hole.

Response From 76 camaro

Thanks for the tips. I hope to try my luck this weekend and will let you know how it turns out. Thanks again.

Response From Hammer Time

If the drum is stuck around the hub area, then spray some penetrating oil around that area generously. Take a very heavy hammer and hit the drum on the edge in a direction toward the hub. What I mean is don't hit in a "back" direction as that will bend the drum but hit from the side so the impact is directly toward the hub. Rotate the drum as you do this and that should break the hub free.

If the hub is free but it's caught on the brake shoes, here are the factory instructions.


  1. Remove the tire and wheel assembly from the vehicle. Remove the park brake cable for the wheel of the vehicle that is being worked on, from the parking brake cable equalizer). This is required to gain access to the star wheel. If the cable is not removed from the equalizer, the cable and spring inside of the brake drum is in the way of the star wheel.
  2. Remove the rear brake shoe adjusting hole cover plug.
  3. Insert a thin screwdriver into brake adjusting hole and hold adjusting lever away from notches of adjusting screw star wheel.
  4. Insert Tool C-3784 into brake adjusting hole and engage notches of brake adjusting screw star wheel. Release brake adjustment by prying down with adjusting tool.
  5. Remove rear brake drum from rear hub/bearing assembly.

1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass with seized rear brake piston

Showing 2 out of 3 Posts | Show 1 Hidden Posts
Question From Neti on 1995 Oldsmobile Cutlass with seized rear brake piston

Hello. I have an Oldsmobile cutlass 1995 with a seized piston in the rear passenger side brake. If you push the wheel while it's off the ground , the wheel is incredibly hard to push on some spots in the revolution(the wheel will not rotate freely).

This is reflected as when I brake hard , the peddle begins to vibrate , and you hear a sound as if the pads are not uniformly worn , a sort of "whooshing" sound. Braking power is also not very good.

I assume the front wheel brake pads are worn(will check very soon) , but the right rear brake has something definitely off about it.Brake fluid is fine.

Any suggestions on how to unbind the seized piston?

Response From Hammer Time

You don't "unseize" a frozen caliper, you replace both calipers but you are a bit premature assuming the caliper is actually the problem. Could be the slides frozen or a bad flex hose.

Response From Tom Greenleaf Top Rated Answer

As HT said fix all that's wrong in pairs. If rear discs the parking cables can stick, slide pins, or doubt the type but some use a mini drum brake inside rotor out of sight and those get so full of junk you can need to clean them out now and then.

Anyway the rear brakes are done in this it all must be right, calipers, hoses, hardware, parking brake cables drums and rotors as the heat has probably wrecked the stuck one already. I'm not or no longer a fan of machining them as they are just off spec for new parts and thinner so warp much quicker than new ones frequently not that much more than machining them. Just know that cutting any corners is first less safe and can easily put you back to needing the whole job again too,


08 Impala park brake or bearing?

Showing 2 out of 14 Posts | Show 12 Hidden Posts
Question From 2wonder on 08 Impala park brake or bearing?

I have a noise that sounds like a bad rear bearing. I have removed the tires and brake pads from both rear wheels. The hubs do not have any play. When they are spun, both hubs rotate freely 2/3 of a turn than I feel some resistance for about 1/3 of a rotation with some rubbing like noise. The rotors are not touching anything as the pads have been removed.

So, do I have both rear bearings going bad? Is that possible? Could it be something wrong with the park brakes?

Please let me know if anyone has had or heard of both rear bearings going bad at the same time or if the park brakes could be the problem.


Response From Tom Greenleaf

Both bearing bad the same way at same time is NOT likely at all. What do you think symptoms of a bad bearing are almost always?
Spare you the look up but they sound like growl of roughness and change sound on turns or by loads shifted - almost all.

So - both wheels do not just spin free and coast so IMO they should. Noise? Well you would need to inspect what I found is parking brake hidden inside rear rotors.
Since that rocket science idea that type are used only statically and not self cleaning like a disc that locks caliper type. Dirt and rust plus hardware can fail, shoes can tilt and it's common to me for them to do that. If not that type I apologize but it showed that style and they work fine just actually need checking and cleaning now and then.

Solution for now. Take rotors off and inspect the things for rust, dirt or what you find. Yes both can drag as you described and it's one thing that could be BOTH rear wheels, most other problems would be just one side first except for this,

PS: All this stuff is hidden inside if this type.......


Drum brake shoes
* Could be a band brake in there looks all different?

Response From 2wonder

Thanks for responding.

I know the sound of a bad bearing and this sounds similar to the begining of a bearning going bad. What you discribed seems possible, and could produce the sound I hear, and I agree that 2 bad bearings would be strange and unlikely.

So now I have to decide if I'll take one side apart and take a look or let the pros check it.

Thanks again.

Response From Hammer Time

This is a front wheel drive car. That rear bearing should turn smoothly and if it doesn't, it's bad, assuming the brakes are not dragging on it.

It is entirely possible for both bearings to have the same problem. I see it all the time when they have been winched down on a car carrier to travel long distance.

Response From Tom Greenleaf Top Rated Answer

(edit in) Just re-read HT's post on winching down vehicles and bad bearing possible. I haven't run in to that but if so would think it would be earlier in its life rather than @ about 8 years? I just don't see 2 wheel bearings go bad at once unless they are dunked in water while warm like launching a boat or a flood situation in it's history. Air gap in hubs if warm then dunked suck in water.
In regular use and rain, puddles not a problem known to me.)

Does this have that small drum brake style parking brake? I think YES. Messed up what I meant that they don't drag from use normally meaning wear off the gun rust rather just push on while still, released then go. The crud never gets rubbed on that type and moisture if dunked tend not to dry out well so they fill up unseen in there. Dinky parts rust out and fall down make assorted noises so does dust/dirt or whatever.
If (well where I am anyway - a rust belt) they aren't assertively taken apart and cleaned out, lube where appropriate they are always a problem! Noise first up to dragging.
Probably NBD to just clean out. You shouldn't need to resurface the drum friction area as it's only "static" meaning it's just still when shoes touch it so who cares if it's smooth riding along with use really?
Other in common to both wheels would be the cable that makes those apply. Cable should be free if you just pull on it and watch it move and retract from each rear wheel. If not you chase that down.

In short - no harm to check those mini drum brakes just anyway to know how they are doing. Do take care that rotor to hub surface is clean of any crusted rust or junk or rotor will not set true on the hub and service brakes will shake when used.

Not the smartest design out there but quite popular - assorted vehicles,


Response From Hammer Time

He should be checking it with the rotor removed anyway.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Absolutely! I just thing many folks don't realize there's a brake in there. Add to this that I do suggest folks with this type to drag parking brakes on purpose just a now and then with release pulled all out of harm's way a 100 feet or so just to rub the gun rust off.
IDK - I find it a neglected area for routine checking as it's out of sight,


Response From 2wonder


I removed both back rotors and discovered that both hubs rotated freely. Thus, the wheel bearings appear to be fine.

I found some rust buildup inside of the rotor housings. I used a wire brush and sand paper to remove the rust. With the rotors back on they now also rotate freely without drag or noise.

But I still hear a low roar when driving, perhaps a front bearing, transaxle, or just my imagination.

Thanks for all the advice

Response From Tom Greenleaf

OK now just notes:

Bearings without a load of weight on them might not show or feel bad at all messes up diagnosis. Wheel bearings almost always make the growl sound or feel which is worse with turns driving along which is shifting the load.
It's possible for the sound to seem like one side and be the other - note that.
Other things totally to include tires as it's doing this with wheels on and driving it. Move them front to rear and see if noise changes or follows the change of wheel + tire location.

There is some very slight drag to a disc brake that quits when driven. There are not return springs to a piston so just in letting go of brake and pressure back to zero on them it's the "O" ring - (squared "O" ring) that torqued some when applied that pulls back just the slightest amount then just moving alone no drag would exist quickly.
However caliper is done with pins and slides plus pads how they are held for full forces of brakes those areas/items do require lube or can stick some or a lot.
Some new pads plain don't fit well or those areas that should have grease have rust build up making pads too tight but almost all free up with just driving but not all if that way bad enough.
IDK - try moving wheels and take a care look at tires for any odd wear I'll call my own name for it "sawtoothing" which is the tread has been in the same spot so long it wears a pattern that can make noise like a bad bearing which will move with now rotating them or be much more noticeable cross rotating if tire type allows that at all. Some don't!

What's making this trick for now is that both wheels of rears so far are behaving the same and you are noticing a noise like a bearing that YOU think you recognize?

Just saying the tires, even tire types can make more or less noise to consider. Most would show some sign with a close look if only that.

Still thinking on this too so just rule out what you can and move on to next possible reason,


Response From 2wonder


Thanks for the input. I had not thought of the tires since they looked in good condition.

I have just put new brake pads on and found no signs of wheel bearing issues and still have a low road howl when driving.

I've thought it over and now think it may be the Uniroyal Tiger Paw tires.

I googled these tires and have found customer complaints describing similar noise problems, some even described the noise as a bad bearing just as I thought that I was hearing, a bearing going bad.

Anyway, my tires were put on 7/7/14 at 91k miles and now have 111k miles. The tread is still very good without any noticeable unusual wear or cupping and tires are rotated every 6k miles (front to back and back to front). I don't see anything that might cause road noise. It might be inherent in this particular brand and make of tire to be or to become noisy. So, I guess I'll put up with the noise for awhile until the tires need replacing.

Thanks, I think we have the source of the noise and I can again sleep nights until another issue comes up.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

Bear with me, still on first gallon of coffee!
Tires are highly possible to make unpleasant noise and show odd wear even though the correct ones size and rating for the car.
Unreal what strange wear or plain design does that matters.
The specific feel and noise may or may not be right away with tires but has been right away on many and this has to include my own as I don't nor do you really expect a tech to drive YOUR car all the time or a lot to know a difference from one to another unless extreme.

Same anywhere: Ever notice being on the highway and especially a trailer of a semi the tire noise from it is deafening? Gets to personal habit, I like to drive with a window part open - any type vehicle and almost any weather so hear more perhaps from other vehicles.

More on bearing noise: Dang that noise and feel is so difficult sometimes to nail down. Several hub types with a minor complaint of noise even I'm not 100% sure until I'm spinning it in my hands off car w new one in wait that isn't going to free spin brand new till it's been on the road even a couple miles just plain new seal, grease inside hasn't moved yet under load. You know for sure in hand and test drive that was 100% fixed and the cause.

You seem pretty sure it's your tires. Look hard at wear patterns. I wish it was easy or possible to just have another whole set (I do for my own stuff) of tires+wheels and VERY tuned in to the behavior of types.
Let us know if you do conclude this is tire noise. It does happen,


Response From Discretesignals

Another thing about tire noise is that it changes with road surfaces and bearing noise doesn't. That means if you drive on the grass or a dirt road and the noise goes away, it is more than likely tire noise.

Response From 2wonder

I don't have the experience that you two have and the advice/info provided has been very useful. I still think the most likely cause of my noise are the tires and for the following reasons.

1- when I swerve/veer while driving, the noise doesn't change or changes very little.

2- If all tires are making noise this would explain why I cannot identify one wheel as the problem.

3- while my wife is driving, with half the back seat down and my head placed into the opening into the truck, I hear the howl from both rear tires even though both rear bearings and brakes seem fine.

4- the noise does seem to change if driving on smooth asphalt, rough blacktop, or concrete.

5- others have reported noise issues with the same brand and model of tire.

The noise isn't bad enough to replace the tires. My wife drives this car and doesn't even notice the noise as unusual. So I plan on letting her wear out these tires and then replace with better ones. I'll check from time to time to be sure it isn't something more serious.

Response From Tom Greenleaf

OK - More as it's important. If YOU are totally used to another super quiet riding vehicle (I am) and drive this it may just feel lousy in comparison?
Impala is for 2008 about the top dog for nameplate Chevrolet in the "car" not truck/suv or other vehicle IMO intention is the full size car market for GM and other divisions have similar to exact body concept not necessarily better or worse IMO like much older days you paid more for the same car a division grade up in GMs.

Hope a picture of tire wear patterns show. Use "Google or other search engine for pics in no show" for 'tire wear patterns' and you'll get pages of pics.

That's just one of a zillion if it shows suggesting some reasons for wear patterns I keep asking if you can see or now ask if you feel the feathering or I call 'saw toothing' of the tread which is normal to a point and the reason you rotate tires as per vehicle suggestions with tires that belong on it. They do make tires that are directional with arrows shown on the sidewall + perhaps even in English "Direction of Rotation" which IMO is more for the tread design will channel water, grip as intended one direction better than the other. That's mostly a sports car requirement/spec not likely for an Impala?

You can feel that or see what I'll call "cupping" where tires pick one nub of rubber and wear that one all around it more than others. WTHay went wrong with those is unknown except tire maker messed something up on a whole batch or type that wasn't recalled as a safety issue.
If you don't see or feel anything and symptoms of a real issue not found but it still bugs you have a real experienced tire person/tech just to drive it for a bit and declare it tire possible or not so you feel better about it.

Just over some mega years of driving and untold # of my own cars and sets of new tires a couple now old brand names come to mind that suked so bad you knew it within 1 minute when driving it with them brand new! Hate that and has happened.

I wouldn't buy all new tires to prove anything over this if it's really OK and just type of tire and the vehicle itself just has more "road noise" than what you are used to.

This may be impossible by your description so far to be very sure from here so may take a person who does tires a LOT for you to really be sure.

I'd freak until known if something's lurking or not just as you are,