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3-Series (E21, E30) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1975-1983 and 1984-1991 line. Specific models: BMW 315, BMW 316, BMW 318, BMW 318i, BMW 320/4, BMW 320i, BMW 320/6, BMW 323i, BMW 320i. E30 Family models include: BMW 325e, BMW 325i, BMW 325is, BMW 325ix.

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Old 08-25-2005, 01:04 AM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm taking the car in for an oil change and valve adjustment on the weekend, both services are due. I'm curious, however, as to a problem I've been experiencing with my brakes. Not very often, but every once in a while, they'll squeal. Not just a squeak but that full-fledged metal on metal scream I know all so well that means my pads are on their way out. Only thing is, it barely ever does it. Did it once today in a parking lot outside a grocery store braking VERY SOFTLY at below 20km/h. Didn't re-occur. Normal driving does not bring on the noise. Only very soft application of the pedal in combination with slow speeds seems to provoke the noise, and at that, only at random intervals.

Which makes me wonder: are the pads on the way out, do you think? Or is it just dust or something odd in my brakes? It'll get inspected on Saturday, just curious as to everyone else's experiences.
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Old 08-25-2005, 09:52 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Originally posted by offabroadway@Aug 25 2005, 01:04 AM
I'm taking the car in for an oil change and valve adjustment on the weekend, both services are due. I'm curious, however, as to a problem I've been experiencing with my brakes. Not very often, but every once in a while, they'll squeal. Not just a squeak but that full-fledged metal on metal scream I know all so well that means my pads are on their way out. Only thing is, it barely ever does it. Did it once today in a parking lot outside a grocery store braking VERY SOFTLY at below 20km/h. Didn't re-occur. Normal driving does not bring on the noise. Only very soft application of the pedal in combination with slow speeds seems to provoke the noise, and at that, only at random intervals.

Which makes me wonder: are the pads on the way out, do you think? Or is it just dust or something odd in my brakes? It'll get inspected on Saturday, just curious as to everyone else's experiences.
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Easy to check... Just pop your wheels off (fronts most likely) and look at the pads in the caliper, if you can see 1/4" of meat or less on the pads, you can be sure that you have less than 2500 miles before you are going to be hearing that squeal EVERY TIME you use the brakes!

If you are taking your wheels off, I recommend picking up some Brake Cleaner from the auto parts store first, and spraying the calipers, pads, and rotors very thoroughly. That can clean dust out of the pad wear groove or between the pad and the rotor. That will help either way, weather you need new pads or not.

Hope this helps!

Josh W.
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Old 08-25-2005, 11:22 AM   #3 (permalink)
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If your pads aren't worn to the full point, then most often brake squeel is created by the vibrations within the caliper and the rotor. The easiest way to fix this is to get some anti-squeel compound and and apply it to the back of all the pads. Also your rotors could be slightly warped causing the squeel every once in a while
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