Disc Pads Contaminated? No Problem!

by Daniel Naftali
A can of petroleum sprayed incorrectly, an vegetable oil leak from the brake system or the fork : there are lots of reasons that can bring brake pads in contact with anoint or other lubricants .
When this happens, the pads absorb the lubricant with black results ; alternatively of brake, the pads skid on the rotor, causing ineffective brake. It ’ s impossible to use the bicycle in these conditions sol something must be done. today, we ’ ll see some tricks of the trade to restore the use of contaminate pads .

The problem

due to a wear washer at the floor of the outer branch, the fork ’ randomness anoint has escaped, inexorably soaking the rotor and the brake caliper. The result is a front brake that doesn ’ triiodothyronine work as it should. This is not an insignificant contamination ; suspension petroleum is extremely difficult to remove .
The oil, contaminating the embroider, has made the presence bracken ineffective ; even when squeezing the brake pry tightly, the wheel continues to turn. thus, it is difficult to ride in this condition…
The beginning thing to do is evaluate whether it ’ s worth intervening. If the pads are about wholly wear, it ’ mho better to replace them. however, as in our case, since the pads are raw or silent in good stipulate, throwing them away would be a pity ; it would be worth trying to clean them .
I say “ attempt ” because recovering pollute pads isn ’ metric ton always possible. First, we must avoid letting the brake line absorb the petroleum. The longer we wait, the worse the situation. It happens that in some situations the contamination is such that pad recovery is impossible. In this case substitution is the entirely alternate .

To work: removing and cleaning.

The passing of oil was significant and has contaminated the lower left area of the branching. Brake caliper, arranger bracket and rotor are all cover and the anoint has caused dust, which in this season abounds on the trails, to adhere to the coat. This is an utter calamity !
1) Removing the wheel and extracting the pads : we begin by removing the bicycle and the pads from the brake caliper .

To remove the pads, each model has its own routine. For “ The One ” organization, the pads are removed by unscrewing the cotter pin and pulling the pads towards the rear of the caliper.
2) Cleaning the rotor : after removing the wheel we can clean the rotor. Unlike the brake pads, the metallic rotor doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate absorb oil. equitable the like, the heat and the dirt can form a blackish layer on the braking surface. This layer of burn oil and scandal must be removed. In accession, oil tends to remain trap in the rotor ’ second cooling vents, with the risk that it will contaminate the pads after cleaning. therefore, it ’ randomness authoritative to clean them attentively .

To clean the rotor, we use isopropyl alcohol, a chemical intended for clean rotors or, as an alternative, ethyl alcohol. If we have one, a full clean with a degreasing detergent and exponent sprayer doesn ’ triiodothyronine hurt ; it helps remove oil from the cool vents. Use a slenderly rough but strong cotton fabric while cleaning. This will help remove the buttery layer from the rotor.
3) Caliper cleaning : the oil has besides dirtied the bracken caliper. The oil, desegregate with dust, creates a paste which can block the pistons. therefore, we must clean everything with care .

Using the isopropyl alcohol, intended for cleaning brakes or, if not available, ethyl alcohol, cautiously clean the external american samoa well as the internal surfaces of the caliper. Clean the two pistons, removing them individually. In this way we eliminate all vegetable oil residue that would cause scandal and dust to stick to the mechanism, and damage the piston drift .
At this point we move on to the pads. There are several ways to clean them and we ’ ll start with the least invasive but besides the least effective.

Method 1: washing

The beginning method acting is very elementary and involves washing the pad.The washing method acting is fine if the pad has been contaminated recently and the petroleum hasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate been absorbed .

first base, with a piece of absorbent material newspaper, dab the surface trying absorb as much oil as possible .


future, begin cleaning the pad using isopropyl alcohol and or a degrease agent such as Chante Claire. Personally, I prefer using alcohol first, followed by the degreaser. With a brush and lots of water I try to remove remainder substances by scrubbing with wish. then I use the isopropyl alcohol again and remove any trace of detergent. It works identical well and the degrease agentive role doesn ’ t ruin the pads in any way, ( after all, it ’ s a detergent ). Beware, some industrial degrease agents may contain lubricants. You run the risk of making the site bad !

Method 2: burning the pads!

It seems crazy but in reality open fire is an excellent system for cleaning pads. If you think about it, lubricating oils are much made up of hydrocarbons and these are highly combustible substances. The pads are made of fractious corporeal, identical tolerant to heat, thus this method is not a absurd as it may seem .
Since the flame is highly hot, I don ’ t commend using this method with organic pads. The resin that makes up the brake line in these pads tends to crystallize at senior high school temperatures and the pads run the gamble of hardening, therefore losing their barricade power. personally, I alone use this technique on semi-metallic and metallic pads .

This method is simple : holding the pad with tweezers, face the brake lining toward the fire. Bring the diggings to the flare and make several passes over it. Don ’ thymine hold the embroider over the flare for more than a couple of seconds ; this avoids overheating and the result vitrification. With two or three passes over the flare, the vegetable oil should burn off wholly .
With this operation completed, place the slog down and allow it to air aplomb. It will be very hot so wait before touching it .
More than likely, a dilute crust of glazed material will form on the pad ’ s come on. This means that the brake line has vitrified superficially. This is not a trouble since the following step will remove the layer .

Method 3: Sandpaper

broadly, the vegetable oil is absorbed by the superficial layers of the brake liner ; therefore, removing these layers will bring the non-contaminated corporeal to the surface .
In addition, emery paper is a recommend operation if one uses the burn method ( described previously ). It serves to remove the superficial layer that has vitrified .
so, obtain a sheet of fine ingrain ( 120 ) emery paper and place it on a flat, smooth open ( such as a table or floor ). It ’ south very significant to have a smooth airfoil to ensure the brake lining is rubbed uniformly .

position two fingers on the pad and without applying press, move the launching pad in a circular motion on the sandpaper. There is no motivation to press hard since the emery paper will cursorily remove the brake liner and you will see a blackish remainder appear .
If we only have to remove a vitrify layer, only a few circular passes over the sandpaper are necessary. On the other hired hand, if we have to remove a contaminated layer ( for example, if we ’ ra working with organic pads where a flame can not be used ), we must continue the operation with more passes .
once finished, the result is as seen in the double :

On the leave we can see the pad after the treatment. Note how the contaminated oil has been removed and the bracken trace is clean. alternatively, on the right we see that the pad, even though diligently cleaned, remains cover with petroleum .
OK, we ’ ve now arrived at the here and now of truth ! We must reinstall the pads in the caliper and mount the rotor .

We can now go to a calm position like the court or a flat road with insignificant traffic to verify that the pads work by rights. Sometimes it ’ sulfur necessity to “ road trial ” the brakes several times before the pads begin to function by rights, but if after several abrupt stops the pads don ’ metric ton better, there ’ s little that can be done. We have to clean them again with much more caution ( including the rotor ), or we have to replace them.

We can conclude with a humble recommendation : to lubricate the chain, it ’ sulfur always better to apply vegetable oil contained from a bottle. Using a spray can to apply petroleum can easily lead to aerosol contact with the rotor. This is all right now that we know how to clean the pads, but it ’ sulfur always better to keep lubricants army for the liberation of rwanda from our brakes !

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Category : Cycling
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