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Old 05-23-2022, 09:27 AM   #1
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brakes and wheel bearings questions

I have noticed a wobble on my brakes on my 2001 f-53 E450 Itasca 80,000

I had the front end aligned and its all good
So now its on to the brakes and I have some questions

1) rotors. These rotors are big, heavy , with the hubs built on them. New ones cost from $100 ( AC Delco ) to $500 each. Since I'm getting a wobble when breaking the rotors could be warped. They don't seem to be grooved at all.
I'm wondering if I should replace them or have them cut. Seems to me that 20 years ago the rotors were most likely made with stronger material than what we can buy now, but what do I know. Any thoughts on new or resurfacing them? That would cost around $50 so new ones aren't that much more. The question is what kind of quality is available on new rotors,,,, with the large swing in pricing its hard to figure out what to buy.

2) Brakes seem to work fine. Should I replace the calipers? I am hoping to just use the old ones. I don't want to replace the fluid now when I do the fronts but will replace the brake fluid and diff fluid when I do the rear brakes.
Any input on caliper replacement?

3) Bearings.... you would think that I could just buy a complete kit for the front bearings but I can only seem to find this on ebay and I am suspect of getting bearings that I don't know where they were made or what weight they should carry. Besides, from what I read the bearings are good for 150,000 miles so I should just be able to repack them. I know I will have to put in a new rear seal. Has anyone replaced their bearings? If so, how many miles on your unit and what brand or part numbers did you use?

4) I am having a devil of a time finding anyone to work on my breaks. I usually do my own brakes on my cars so I can do this job myself. All of it looks fairly simple to do, just heavy. It seems like the caliper bracket is torqued to 300 ft lbs. Yikes, I don't have a torque wrench that can go that high. I'm even wondering if I will be able to get the bolts loose . I have the sockets and can buy a 1/2 inch breaker bar thou. I'm wondering if anyone here did their front brakes and can offer me advice.

I got a quote for $2700 for front and rears all new, but man, this seems pretty steep to me.
I found a guy that will charge me $300 to install the fronts if I buy the parts.
I am thinking of going that route as I can buy the parts myself and save a ton just on that alone.

If anyone has some advice I'm all ears
If anyone has done the job and have any suggestions on part numbers or suppliers that be great too

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Old 05-23-2022, 09:40 AM   #2
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Fleetwood Owners Club
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Check "Rock Auto" for your parts.
$300.00 for the fronts labor does not sound out of line in todays $15.00/ hr market.
Hey, the guy's gotta make a living.
Question is has he doe these before ?
And what kind of "warranty" ?
Or, are you going to help ?

Mike in Colorado

PS; 300 ft lbs is 300 lbs @ a foot, or 150lbs @ 2 ft. Got a 2 ft piece of pipe ?
2004 Fleetwood Pace Arrow 37c, 8.1 gasser, (Jezebel) Ultra RV ECM / TCM, plugs wires, and rear track bar, PPE deep Tx pan, Bilstein's, Sailun's & Sumo's all round, pushed by a 2002 Grand Caravan, on a Master Tow Dolly.
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Old 05-23-2022, 11:31 AM   #3
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I've done and/or supervised thousands of brake jobs as well as bearing packing. First of all I doubt the material being used today to make truck rotors is of lesser quality today. The rotor thickness might be a bit thinner but it is a truck chassis so they should be of good quality and of sufficient thickness.

The primary job of the rotor is to do two major jobs besides holding the bearings in place. They provide two parallel flat surfaces so the pads can contact that surface with 100% contact area. Brakes can't create friction if those two surfaces are not clean flat and parallel.

Secondly and maybe the most important aspect is the rotors metal mass acts as a heat sink to absorb the heat being generated by the pads rubbing against the rotor surfaces. This is what I told my students.

If your brakes fail and you hit a concrete bridge at 100 MPH you will be seriously hurt, if not killed and your vehicle will be destroyed. That's a lot of expended energy of motion. Had your brakes worked properly it would have converted all that energy of motion into heat energy. That story kind of puts things into perspective as to what is expected of your brakes. All that energy of motion has to be absorbed and dispersed by creating friction between the rotors and pads.

I want my rotors to be flat, clean and the best brake pads available. We all should too.

Years ago all we did was machine rotors if they were warped. There's absolutely nothing wrong in fact it was required based on the fact the old rotor surface needed to be cleaned up because brake pad material is imbedded into the rotor surfaces and it should be as designed by the manufacturers.

Secondly after a brake job is finished according to the experts it takes about 200 stops and stops to properly burnish or break in the new pads and rotors. That job can't be done correctly until the old rotors are cleaned up by machining and new pads applied. Your new pads will not reach their best efficiency until they are properly burnished.

BEARINGS: I too am concerned who made the bearing I'm going to use. First of all yes bearings can last a long time but that's not the correct approach. When the rotors are removed remove the bearings and start by cleaning out the grease and look at the grease you remove.

If the grease is clean and most importantly you can't see any tiny metal particles within any of the grease, then the roller bearing have not started to disintegrate. If you see any sparkles in the grease that's metal flake and the bearings must be replaced. The roller bearings have been overheated and are falling apart.

Timken roller bearings were the standard. If you can buy Timken even if it's made out of the US which is highly likely, it should still be a good bearing. I've also used TOYO bearings with good results. They are made in Japan. Japan was a very large exporter of motorcycles to the USA for many, many years and still are. They can also make a good tapered roller bearing.
TeJay Auto Instructor/4-yrs USAF/ Liz: RN/ WBGO 2014 Vista 30T/ F-53/CHF/5-Star/Koni * Bella & Izzy * Golden /Cocker mix/ Louie The Cat* All Retired
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Old 05-23-2022, 11:41 AM   #4
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All good info from Texas. I did my front brakes on my E450 years ago. Not a problem. However I had a professional do the rears(which go first usually) as you have to remove the rear axles to do the job. Paid 950.00 in 2013.Turning the rotors on the rear is important with all the labor involved. re: your front wobbling I would definitely have the rotors trued if possible. Good luck. Travato John
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Old 05-23-2022, 05:38 PM   #5
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I think the first thing that needs nailed down is which chassis is under the house. A F53 (class A) or an E450 (class C)? Two very different machines.
2006 Hurricane 31D built on a 2006 Ford F53
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Old 05-24-2022, 08:44 AM   #6
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I thought E 450's were in fact all F-53's.
are they different?

I think I am going to buy new rotors, $100 each on Amazon , Made by AC Delco. ( GM ).

Still don't know what to do about wheel bearings.
I'd like to buy a kit that has both inner and outer, and seals , for the front 2 wheels but I can only seem to find those on Ebay.
Does anyone know of a place that just sells the whole kit?

Also, on the rotors there are different parts for 2 rear wheels and 4 rear wheels. I think the designation is E 450 Superduty for dual wheels. But are the front bearings different for the 2 wheel E450 and the dual rear wheel? Any idea if they are the same in both models?

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Old 05-24-2022, 09:06 AM   #7
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I replaced my rotors on a 2000 E450 ( Are you sure that's what you have ? )
I had the same wobble while stopping .
Run the VIN # thru an auto parts search to get the correct stuff.

Im pretty sure my new front rotor/hubs came with bearing cups in them so you won't need them. If the bearings are not scratched or pitted, you I can reuse them. Get new seals.

As far as the calipers, I found mine had rotted boots on them, just from age, so for $50 each, I installed rebuilt ones all the way around. With under 20,000 miles I kept the old pads.
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Old 05-24-2022, 11:34 AM   #8
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A word of caution. Not all replacement rotors are the same as OEM. They are cheaper for a reason. What can they do to make them cheaper? They can make the rotors thinner than the stock rotors. Now you have less metal mass to absorb the heat. Not having the absorption ability will make them run hotter creating glazed pads. Glazed pads will increase your stopping distances. They can make them out of a poor-quality cast iron and yes that can make a difference in stopping ability and longevity.

Another way to cut corners is this. The vented rotors have designed cast iron pads that act as a separator so air can enter and remove the heat. Sometimes those pad shapes are critical to prevent rotors from making audible noises when the brakes are applied.

Instead of the manufacturer of cheaper rotors making exact duplicates of the OEM part they use another rotor that is close to the same design but with some what they believe are not critical differences or designs not used by OEM. If they can make slight adjustments and make one rotor fit more than one vehicle, they save $$$$.

When you remove the bearings they will have a number stamped on the bearing. That's how you know which bearings to buy. The same is true for the seals. Any decent parts counter person can look up the required parts.

When training kids to become technicians I always cautioned them from cutting corners when performing brake work. IMHO that's not the place to cut corners. Use the best parts available as some parts do change for the better. Brake pad material is one of those parts. However once you enter a parts store they want to sell you something. If you ask for a price on pads and they quote you $75 and you balk they will offer you a cheaper set for say $45. Some parts stores will have as many as 3-5 different sets of pads for the same vehicle. They will all have different materials for the pads and they are different and won't give you the best braking performance. Your choice for sure.

As far as replacing those rotors the minium thicknes should be stamped on the rotors. If you've got a lot of meat remaining why replace them when you can have them machined?? If your stock rotors can't be machined the shop doing the work will tell you.

Todays vehicles seem to have rotors that don't have near the metal mass we use to see. WHY?? They are reducing weight to get better fuel mileage. The repair industry has departed from machining because most when pads need replacing the rotors are to thin and have to be replaced. Heck why not??? Just pass the extra cost on to the consumer. We always pay and pay and pay.

Again you do have a truck chassis so those rotors should have some decent thickness to them as opposed to smaller vehicles.

Also keep in mind the CAFE standards. That stands for Corporate Average Fuel Economy. That means as long as the total vehicle sales don't exceed the emission standards they are good to go. Total sales is the key word. If your RV is 10% of the total sales it's OK to have a small percentage of the vehicles get bad mileage. They make it up with the other vehicles so they don't work real hard removing excess weight.

Also some percentage of truck chassis have a different job to do as many are delivery vehicles that carry freight. Those rotors should last so they are probably thicker.
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brake, brakes

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