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Project Tomcat, The Stoppers

The last lot of work was to service the braking system as it wasn’t quite right.

In the test drives I have taken the car on the brakes have felt a bit off. The pedal is soft, with lots of travel and not much in the way of stopping. There is also quite a shudder when braking and the hand brake appears to only be working on one side.

The plan was to replace the front pads and rotors and the rear pads, figuring the shudder is likely to be from the front, and the pads on the rear were looking old.

The front rotors had some grooves in them, but no lip. I suspect the shudder was probably pad deposits from sitting, and may have gotten better with more use. The rotors were quite rusty through.

Two 12mm bolts hold the caliper to the slider pins. Removing these allows the caliper to swing up and over.

I was really worried about these rotor retaining screws as they all look quite chewed up, but they came out with no issue. I used a screwdriver bit in my impact wrench to undo them.

A quick clean of the hub face and on went the new rotor.

The old pads did look quite recent and had little wear. It’s peace of mind to replace them though.

The slider pins were well greased and sliding freely. I cleaned and regreased them anyway.

These little plates that the pads ride on weren’t in good shape though. Both were gunged up with old grease and brake dust. I’ve cleaned one half of this one with a wire brush.

After cleaning all the plates up, giving them a coating of copper grease and refitting them to the bracket it was time to fit the pads. I would have liked some Mintex pads, but they aren’t easy to get here and are really expensive.

The piston in the caliper was pressed back with a clamp, and the caliper refitted. The bracket to hub bolts get torqued to 100NM, and the caliper slider bolts are 32NM.

Rinse and repeat for the other side.

The rears are a little more of a pain due to the handbrake cable.

Mmm webs. This isn’t even the worst, the other side was grosser. Lots of fly spray and vacuuming made it safe to work.

The pads had plenty of meat but were old Lucas pads, maybe original to the car?

I removed the handbrake cable pins because they are known for rusting up, and sure enough, mine was very stiff and rusty. I cleaned it with a wire brush and refitted it with plenty of copper grease.

The slider pins on each side were stiff and covered in dry old grease. They weren’t seized but didn’t move freely. These were thoroughly cleaned and greased before refitting.

The other side was much of the same.

One of the boots on the slider pins hadn’t been fitted correctly but thankfully still kept dirt out. The grease was still hard as a rock though.

The boot should go right to the head of the pin

Everything was cleaned and greased, and the piston in the caliper freed up and wound back in.

The rear rotors aren’t looking good. They have no lip but seem to be quite pitted. I might revisit these and if a few good hard stops don’t clear them up, replace them.

The handbrake mech on each caliper moves freely, so they should be working OK. I gave them a good coating on WD40 to help them move nicely.

I bled the brakes next. I flushed the system, but I don’t think I needed to. The fluid was quite clear and looked like it had been done somewhat recently (despite one of the bleed nipples being blocked and needing removal to clear it, and the two rear ones being rusty and taking a bit of force to shift). Bit of a mystery that.

The bleed sequence with the Bosch ABS unit is LH FR, RH FR, LH RR, RH RR.

The pedal still has a bit of travel but does feel firmer now. I still can’t drive the car because the brake light switch is faulty but once I can I will do the bed-in procedure.

I tried to adjust the hand brake after pumping the brakes 20 odd times as recommended, and the adjuster had been wound all the way out. I got it from bout 10 clicks down to 5-6 but I’m still not sure if it’s working evenly. I really need to bed the brakes in first, and then adjust it again and see what happens.

One other thing I noticed was that the rear muffler was hanging on by one hanger.

Some WD40 and a bit of wiggling and I had it back in place. Hopefully this helps the placement of the muffler as it’s a bit on the piss and doesn’t match the cutout in the rear splitter.

The whole exhaust is a bit woeful. I might need to take it in somewhere and have it fixed properly. It’s been “modified” and has no mufflers except the back box.

Since the car has all the wheels off anyway, now is a good time to replace the tyres. I find tyres can tell a lot about a previous owner. A high powered sports car like this, running on ditch finders on the front and mismatched old and cracking tyres on the rear…. the previous owner was an idiot.

Yes, that is date coded 2008. All the tyres are the wrong size, being 185/55R15, not the turbo size of 195/55R15.

I got the new rubber the other day, and I just need to book it in and have it fitted. Yokohama AD08R.

Pretty serious street rubber. I’m hoping they are as good as the Hankook I had on the Corolla (which aren’t available in this size). I’m looking forward to putting them through their paces.

I will hopefully have the brake light switch this week, and tyres fitted next weekend. I might even try for a WOF when I get the tyres done and see what happens.

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