Brake Rotor Rant

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After studying this and other forums (allpar), I decided to go with "premium" brake pads and rotors for my DCX minivan. I chose Raybestos PG Plus based on great Allpar comments, slick advertising, and they were on sale for 20% off at our local store - not really much more than the Autozone offerings. My last brake job on my kid's Escort was AZ's duralast golds and Chinese rotors (with an astounding finish). Well, I have to say, I was more than disappointed upon opening the boxes and inspecting the quality of finish on the Canadian made PG rotors with the "Vehicle Specific Metallurgy", OEM vanes, blah, blah, blah. They look like they were made in a third world country kindergarden class. There are rough metal edges, a tiny amount of surface rust, and the rotor finish looks crude compared to the cross hatched,Chinese ones. This is the first time I made a point to go up a notch in quality and support N. American industry, and it makes me wonder why we are in the trouble we are. I hope the finish is only skin deep and that these indeed are better quality. Murrays warrants them for five years, so I do have some recourse. Maybe John Brownings past posts about the quality of N American foundries is correct. Thanks
 
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I have to agree. A couple of months ago I put Raybestos PG Plus ($$$)on my Ranger and was also dissappointed with the overall fit and finish of the parts. No cross hatch, sharp edges, some surface rust, etc. Having said that, they do work. It's only been a couple of months, but so far so good.
 

JTK

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I hear ya. I was skeptical with the purchase of my last set of rotors from NAPA that were marked with "Made in China" on plain white boxes. They looked awesome and have held up very well even with abuse. This is on a 2001 ford windstar. Joel
 
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I work at AutoZone part time. They have 2 grades of rotors, Valuecraft and Duralast. Valuecraft is the cheaper of the 2 and only has a 1 year warranty as compared to a 2 warranty for the Duralast. They both come in white boxes and are made in China. Looking at the quality side by side for the same vehicle, there is a quality difference between the 2. The Duralast is hands down the better of the 2. I’ve had a few people return the Valuecraft rotors because of fitment issues. But never have I’ve seen any returns for the Duralast rotors. I have never used the Valuecraft brand but have used the Duralast with great results on several different vehicles.
 
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doitmyself said "I was more than disappointed upon opening the boxes and inspecting the quality of finish on the Canadian made PG rotors with the "Vehicle Specific Metallurgy", OEM vanes, blah, blah, blah. They look like they were made in a third world country kindergarden class." If things keep going the way they are, Canada WILL be a third world country soon .... maybe we ARE and just don't know it yet ??!! You're right DIM, making a brake rotor isn't " Rocket Science ". If we can't do that right, what CAN we do ?? But hey, we're probably giving AZ what they asked for.
 
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From being able to design and build an Iowa class battleship to asking folks if they want fries with their lard burger. How the mighty have fallen. Yet, the statistics show the average American worker to be worker more hours per year, on average, than the majority of the world's workers and being very productive in comparison yet a significant percentage of American workers are losing economic ground (view Census Bureau data). Sumpthin' is mighty wrong in the once-sovereign Founder's Great Experiment.
 
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My local mechanic says that the Chinese rotors "grow" rust in his estimation and they get replaced when doing a brake job. Yet to be competitive he has to install Chinese rotors. He also says with the rust and rotors being cheap, he seldom turns rotors anymore. He feels this is a change from the quality of 5 or 10 years ago. Also estimates that 40% of his business is from parts not holding up as well as they should (or use to).
 
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we mastered casting and machining cast iron over 75 years ago and we knew how to do it cheaply. now with modern advancements in metalugy and precision machinery we have some of the worst cast iron products ever made. figure that one out?
 
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It's the same philosphy as with anything else nowadays: Save money by making the customer the final QC inspector. Anyway, a little rust is not an indicator of anything amiss on a rotor.
 
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chinese rotors work pretty good. ive got a set on my stratus. they are wearing slowly, look good, minimal rust. and NOONE can beat the cost. i think the american rotors are about 5 times as pricey. the chinese rotors are so low cost, its actually cheaper to buy new ones than it is to pay some american to turn my used rotors.
 
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Brembo's solid rotors are top quality. Some are made in Italy and others in Canada. Cheap Chinese rotoros of decent quality cost about $24 for a Jeep and the Brembo's cost about $35.00 (mail order). Combined with a quality ceramic pad set and you can expect may miles of use from this combination. Just remember to take apart the metal/rubber slid bushing set in the calipers and clean and grease them with synthetic lube or your calipers will hang and the inside pair of pads will wear out way too fast. Very few installers bother to take this essential step. It is easy to do; really. Thus decent rotors are not 5 times as pricey if you plan ahead and order the parts you need off the web. Richard.
 

doitmyself

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RFIRE, I concur with the need to do a complete brake job that includes looking at everything, cleaning, lubing, etc.. About mail order...I am a one car family and I get nervous about having something go wrong and not being able to return it locally.....At least on stuff like this, where I can't have a lot of down time. Otherwise, Brembos would have been my choice.
 
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Quote:
Brembo's solid rotors are top quality. Some are made in Italy and others in Canada. Cheap Chinese rotoros of decent quality cost about $24 for a Jeep and the Brembo's cost about $35.00 (mail order). Combined with a quality ceramic pad set and you can expect may miles of use from this combination. Just remember to take apart the metal/rubber slid bushing set in the calipers and clean and grease them with synthetic lube or your calipers will hang and the inside pair of pads will wear out way too fast. Very few installers bother to take this essential step. It is easy to do; really. Thus decent rotors are not 5 times as pricey if you plan ahead and order the parts you need off the web. Richard.
if you will notice i mentioned american rotors not canadian or italian rotors and i wasnt talking about youre jeep, i was talking about my stratus.
 
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I've always purchased Raybestos "raymold" rotors from Checker for my cars(they actually have another brand on the box). Other store's cheap brands are also made in Canada for my application. Up until our newest car they were made in Canada and performed well. The ones sold for my wife's 98 Lesabre are made in China. They lasted about two weeks before becoming badly warped, after turning they lasted another two weeks. We went a long time with them while I searched for an affordable non-china rotor. Every store sold China rotors, with a few selling American made ones for around $60.(A long way from my $15 rotors I was buying for my other cars) I finally broke down and bought the PG-plus rotors(made in USA), they have performed well so far. So in my experience, made in Canada or US = good, made in China = terrible. -T
 
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I have 2000 GC . First set of rotors were Raybest PG+ and they only lasted 20,000 before they warped. Next set I went the cheapest china ones (raymond I think) and these have been on for 40,000 with no problems. Next time it's the cheapos again for me. I can replase them twice for the cost of the so called good ones
 

Kestas

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"Vehicle Specific Metallurgy"? -- I'd like to know the detail supporting that statement, and what it means to the customer. It's a hollow statement... like advertising "synthetic" brake fluid. Brake rotors are made of cast gray iron, Type A graphite flake pattern, and the largest flakes have to be at leat 1" when viewed at 100X magnification (or else the brake rotor can be noisy). The only other brake rotors I've seen are made with silicon carbide particles in an aluminum matrix. There may be other materials (steel?), but I'm not acquainted with them.
 

doitmyself

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It's my guess that it's all about buzzwords and marketing. Bendix has their titanium semi-metalic pads. Wagner has their thermo-quiet (not ceramic) technology. A look in my 1943 fifth edition Webster's dictionary describes metalurgy as:The science and art of extracting metals from their ores, refining them, and PREPARING THEM FOR USE. I guess, shaping and drilling (preparing) the rotors to a specific vehicle use might be implied as VSM -vehicle specific metallurgy. It's possible to put a spin on about anything!
 
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I recently had to change rotors and pads on the front of my '99 Grand Caravan. Previously I'd put on top $$$ Bendix rotors and Bosch ceramic pads. After maybe 30K miles of mostly highway driving, they wore out. I'll never buy either again. The no-name cheap stuff I had on before lasted longer.
 
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I also have a 2000 GC. At 38K miles the OEM rotors were so warped that any hard braking would cause serious shake in the steering wheel and the pads were about worn out. I replace the rotors with the $24 china ones and installed Bendix Titanium pads. Now have 48K on these and they are still smooth and the rotors look like new. Pads will need to be replaced sometime next year at 60K miles. Will use the new Bendix Titanium II pads.
 
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