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Old 03-26-2018, 10:34 AM   #1
Join Date: Jun 2017
Posts: 77
Cracked brake rotor.

My drivers side brake rotor has a hairline crack across the width.
Was pointed out at my tire shop.
Anyone been there done that?
2002 Pace Arrow.
Ron and Regina
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:01 AM   #2
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Location: Memphis, TN
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I once had some small hairline looking cracks on one of my truck rotors that I noticed when changing my brake pads. Took the rotor to my local brake shop. They referred to the cracks as ĎCrazingí, and said it was probably caused by excessive heat (Hot brakes). They turned the rotors and the cracks were gone. Put them back on my truck with new pads and never had an issue.

Iíd suggest going to a place that does brakes and have them take a look. If they can turn the rotors it would be less expensive then replacement, and if the rotors are off you may as well have the brake pads replaced too since I believe thatís usually done when you replace or turn the rotors.
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:02 AM   #3
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Excessive heat is the only cause I've ever seen for a crack in a brake rotor... Often when ceramic brakes are used often and hard... some surface cracks can be seen and during the time when the pads are replaced the rotor can be turned and finally ground to its final finish....

Just turning the rotor is not advised as the cutter will bounce on hard spots and leave high and low spots where, when the rotor is ground on the final pass, the grinding process will create a great final finish.... Any confident brake shop will have the ability to both turn/grind a rotor...

A rotor by federal law is required to have a "throw away" dimension molded into the side of the rotor... this "throw away" dimension is the minimum thickness of a rotor during any kind of excessive panic stops... once below this dimension it's scrap...

A rotor that has a crack through the surface is either a rotor that's had one pad that during the pads life, it has had a stuck piston thus it has worn out one side the rotor and during heavy stops it has over heated and cracked.... OR

A rotor that has been overheated many times during its life and the expansion and contraction has caused the failure/crack..

If in fact it is a crack that goes through one side/surface its needs to come off before you do more than take the unit around the block...

Hope that helps... BTW the greater the ability of the friction to stop.... the higher coefficient of friction, the harder the friction is on the rotor... and the faster it will heat the rotor in a panic stop... It's not uncommon in a very long down grade where the operator is not knowledgeable for the brake temperature to turn the rotor red hot... and cook that pad and destroy the bonding agent in the pad...
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Old 03-26-2018, 11:50 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Macbow View Post
My drivers side brake rotor has a hairline crack across the width.
Was pointed out at my tire shop.
Anyone been there done that?
2002 Pace Arrow.
"hairline" cracks in both rotors and drums are quite the norm. You'll find them on about 99.9999% of the trucks/motorhomes/over the road trucks and more. Our guidelines for brake inspection in my career as fireman and inspecting our brakes in the morning for a days duty was, hair line cracks are fine, no matter how many. But, if those hairline cracks traveled up and over the other perimeter of the rotor, the fire truck was IMMEDIATELY put out of service.

Some shops may be a bit over protective and or, maybe trying for a sale on both materials and labor. And, some are just cautious and are trying to do a good job. Your hairline cracks are normal and, while nothing to be concerned about for now, it's advisable to keep an eye on them on an every-so-often basis.


P.S. Talk about hairline cracks, here's the present (and has been that way for 40,000 miles) condition of just one of our drums on our '04 Itasca Horizon 36GD with the C-7 330HP CAT.
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2004 ITASCA HORIZON 36GD, 2011 GMC Sierra 1500 4x4 Toad '18 Honda Africa Twin Adventure Sports DCT
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Old 03-26-2018, 08:19 PM   #5
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Back in the mid 80's, Ford had a seriously bad time with rotors on the F-350s not cracking, but breaking apart. It was so bad that shops utilizing the F-350s were keeping an extra set of rotors and pads for every truck (one for one). Armstrong Ford was exchanging them under warranty if they had less than .030 wear and prorating them up to .050. Rotors became a daily inspection item.

Many ended up with using Raybestos rotors at 4X the price but no hassle of (sometimes weekly) brake jobs.
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