Brake lube debate - old VW van

Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
9,781
Location
California
I'm helping a friend with one of this VW Vanagons - doing a complete brake job. New Zimmermann rotors, bearings whose name I can't say here but made in Hungary(and Trav-approved), ATE pads and Conti-made lines in a Meyle package. The new pads are not shimmed and while VW did call out for shims, they are NLA and it seems like the Germans back in the 1970s-1980s with fixed calipers didn't shim their pads as I kinda remember from an old Mercedes the parents owned. Mercedes called out for their own brake pad paste to be used but I've seen mechanics glop on disc brake quiet to try to stop brake noise on those. I have both the Permatex silicone brake lubes - the old moly and new ceramic formulae and The Critic said he does have a tube of ATE Plastilube I can have. I would imagine the Permatex stuff has an edge with the solid lubricants but the ATE stuff should work too but without the moly or ceramic of the Permatex stuff it might not dampen noise that well. The pistons have a step on them to "toe" the pads to help reduce noise. So, what should I use? If I were to do as Trav or The Critic, Plastilube - but a part of me wants to use the Permatex high-temp silicone just for the moly content on the pad backs.
 

JHZR2

Staff member
Joined
Dec 14, 2002
Messages
48,960
Location
New Jersey
I did my 82 Mercedes last year. Older vanagons use the same style brake pads - not sure what year the one youre speaking of is... First, check the brake hoses. Replacement is likely. Second, verify piston engagement. My car had a piston on each side (so I guess dual piston calipers). The FSM called out ATE Plastilub, and showed where to put it. [Linked Image] [Linked Image] Personally, I put a bit of copper anti seize on the pins that go through those two ears on the top. On the MB pads, the shim is essentially built into the back of the pad. I personally did put a very little bit of plastilub on the back of the pad, and some on the rubber seal in the caliper.
 
Joined
Sep 27, 2015
Messages
4,442
Location
USA
The various noises from a Vanagon are a good thing, they tell you that those parts are still attached.
 

nthach

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
9,781
Location
California
Originally Posted by JHZR2
I did my 82 Mercedes last year. First, check the brake hoses. Replacement is likely. Second, verify piston engagement. My car had a piston on each side (so I guess dual piston calipers). The FSM called out ATE Plastilub, and showed where to put it.
He's got new hoses, and when we pulled the calipers over the weekend he wanted to see if they can be cleaned and resealed. I saw quite a bit of corrosion on the tapered end of the bleeder screws. The pistons are shot upon further inspection. He decided to get remans from a reputable shop that specializes in the VW Bus/Vanagon(or Transporter T3). The Vanagon setup is much like a old Mercedes upfront. Without the wear sensors, so I told him it's a good idea to pull the wheels and do a brake inspection every time the oil is changed. It's an 1985.
 
Last edited:

nthach

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
9,781
Location
California
Originally Posted by Donald
Not all the brake lubes are good with rubber. I use Syl-guide on the pins and rubber boot. Another lubricant under the clips and Permatex purple on pad ears.
It's a fixed, opposed piston German caliper - no slide pins or rubber pin bushings like on newer cars. The only thing that holds the pads in are two pins held in with a bushing and a spring plate.
 
Joined
Dec 7, 2008
Messages
4,171
Location
Virginia
Originally Posted by nthach
II have both the Permatex silicone brake lubes - the old moly and new ceramic formulae and The Critic said he does have a tube of ATE Plastilube I can have. I would imagine the Permatex stuff has an edge with the solid lubricants but the ATE stuff should work too but without the moly or ceramic of the Permatex stuff it might not dampen noise that well. The pistons have a step on them to "toe" the pads to help reduce noise. So, what should I use? If I were to do as Trav or The Critic, Plastilube - but a part of me wants to use the Permatex high-temp silicone just for the moly content on the pad backs.
I don't recall what product it was specifically but the silicone hi-temp Permatex brake lube I used for a few jobs was terrible. It would harden up and turn thick and sticky. It caused caliper dragging issues on two cars before I realized what the problem was. It was a clear aqua blue gel. That may actually be perfect for applying to the back of pads to prevent brake squeal but keep away from anything that slides! I use Sil-Glyde now and recommend it. FYI, there is no difference between 'regular' Sil-Glyde and the tubes that are marked specifically as brake lube.
 

nthach

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
9,781
Location
California
Originally Posted by Bottom_Feeder
I don't recall what product it was specifically but the silicone hi-temp Permatex brake lube I used for a few jobs was terrible. It would harden up and turn thick and sticky. It caused caliper dragging issues on two cars before I realized what the problem was. It was a clear aqua blue gel.
I avoid the green/lavender Permatex lubes for that reason - they are a non-disclosed "synthetic" lube but I think it's a PAO or ester based grease that's harmful for rubber. The old high-temp black or new red-orange silicone should be OK on rubber.
 

nthach

Thread starter
Joined
Jan 2, 2004
Messages
9,781
Location
California
Originally Posted by vavavroom
A Vanagon without banshee-like brake squeal is not authentic. LOL I'm kidding. I'd use this sauce which cures and won't get loaded with dirt like sticky grease products: https://www.crcindustries.com/products/disc-brake-quiet-4-fl-oz-05016.html
My friend bought some of that. I have an aerosol can of Permatex Disc Brake Quiet I keep around for rare cases(like Wagner ThemoQuiets). I try not to use that stuff unless I have to, I remember as a kid when Bendix was the #1 brand of brake pads the parts houses and Grand Auto(before PACCAR sold them to pre-O'Reilly CSK, they were a proud Oakland institution) sold I saw little bottles of CRC or Bendix brake quiet on the counter. I have bad memories seeing my dad's mechanic using that stuff as glue to hold shims on.
 
Joined
Jan 29, 2012
Messages
675
Location
Canada
Originally Posted by nthach
I avoid the green/lavender Permatex lubes for that reason - they are a non-disclosed "synthetic" lube but I think it's a PAO or ester based grease that's harmful for rubber.
Is this the Permatex green lubricant to avoid? I had some caliper pins that seized because the rubber dampers in the were swollen up. Don't remember which lube I used but I do have a bunch of this green stuff. https://www.permatex.com/products/l...ermatex-ultra-disc-brake-caliper-lube-4/
 
Top