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#1
Alberto

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Been fighting with this issue for a year now.  Hoping someone here might have some experience to share since I've been striking out.  Local race shop couldn't find anything wrong either.

 

Some background first:

- 1990 car, straight tub, no accidents

- brake calipers and master cylinder were bought new from Mazda Comp in 2010 when the car was built to SM

- all tie rods, ball joints and wear parts in the suspension were replaced in 2010.  The pax side front ball joint, outer tie rod and spindle and LCA were replaced again in 2011 when I had a bad spin.

- front upper control arms were new in 2010

- rear upper control arms came from a 96 with 20k miles on it

- all other control arms are used with unknown mileage.  

- passenger side rear caliper was replaced with one from the local O'Rielly's in 2012 http://mazdaracers.c...aliper-pistons/

- the caliper brackets were either original to the car or replaced with the brackets from Mazda Comp if they are included

- both subframes look straight and the car aligns to spec.  I measured and compared distance between attachment points of the control arms on the rear subframe with a known good spare I have and it looks good.

 

 

Behavior:

Under hard braking in a straight line setting up for a turn, the car will pull pretty hard to the right requiring me to add a decent amount of steering to the left. 

Most noticeable setting up for fast right hand turns like Turn 10 at Laguna where it literally feels like the rear wants to step out on me under braking. 

Not as noticeable on slower turns like T3 at Thunderhill which don't require much braking.

I don't really notice is on left hand turns like T1, T2, T6, T8 at Thunderhill.  Car turns in and sticks nicely there.  Heck, braking and turn-in is probably helped by the pull on those turns...

 

 

What I have done so far:

Local race shop checked, "mic'ed" and lubed the calipers and caliper brackets.  I had already checked all the sliders and bled brakes various times w/ no change in behavior.

Already re-torqued all the bolts on the suspension, brakes, subframes to unibody, diff and PPF.

Car's been aligned a couple of times but I'm starting to doubt the accuracy of the alignment after checking Toe settings with a set of Longacre toe plates I bought recently.  I'm seeing 1/4" toe out in the front and about 2 mm toe in rear.  Not sure if the toe is square though since toe plates won't tell me that.

I recently replaced front pads and noticed that they had a huge taper from "front" to "back".  I'm thinking this wear pattern is consistent with braking while the steering wheel is turned left.  Pic for reference of "front and back":

brake-pad.jpg

 

What should I check?

I've wondered about dynamic toe changes from the weight transfer that happens under braking caused by something like a bad bushing but not sure if that sort of thing happens with the Miata and, if it does, which bushing?  I don't notice any play in any of the bushings when prying on them with the car on jackstands.  Is there anything else that would cause dynamic toe changes?

Could the pax rear caliper that I linked to above cause something like this since it is different from the others?  Maybe the piston doesn't move as freely b/c it's not a smooth, polished surface?

 

 

Input is greatly appreciated! 

 

Thanks.


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#2
Bench Racer

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The right brake line travels through the proportioning valve and the left does not.

Maybe your left brake is not doing it's job equal to the right front.

Do a simo pressure check on each side.
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#3
Mike Collins

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^^^^  What he said....or just keep steering to the left ;)  

 

Or you rear calipers can be way out of whack...one may be self adjusting and the other not....  How often do you adjust them...


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#4
davew

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You need to go back to basics and maintenance everything, I am sure I will forget something:

 

Rear caliper adjustment. Even 1/8 turn difference will cause a pull

caliper slide pins binding, bent, damaged

brake caliper brackets worn where pads contact. And/or hardware worn or damaged

Worn bushings in suspension, sometimes it takes removing the arm to feel the wear. i.e. the wear will not be felt with everything bolted in place. But causes movement under race loads.

bad wheel bearing

Caliper sticking, only way to tell is to take them off the car.

damaged brake line, may look fine from outside but be bad on the inside

 

If it was an NB car, I would look closely at the subframe for cracks

 

Dave


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#5
Alberto

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The right brake line travels through the proportioning valve and the left does not.

Maybe your left brake is not doing it's job equal to the right front.

Do a simo pressure check on each side.

 

Good idea.  How would I do a pressure check?

 

^^^^  What he said....or just keep steering to the left ;)

 

Or you rear calipers can be way out of whack...one may be self adjusting and the other not....  How often do you adjust them...

 

Tried that.  I adjusted them right before going on track.  Made no difference. 

 

I usually don't adjust them often. Didn't have a problem the first couple of seasons not adjusting them with any regularity.  How often would you suggest adjusting?  What is the reason to adjust frequently?

 

Would this be a good approach to test that the self adjusters are adjusting the same amount?

- get car on jackstands right before a session and adjust the adjusters per spec

- go out for a session, come back in and let the brakes cool

- re-check how many turns of the adjuster it takes until they stop the wheel from turning

 

 

You need to go back to basics and maintenance everything, I am sure I will forget something:

 

Rear caliper adjustment. Even 1/8 turn difference will cause a pull

caliper slide pins binding, bent, damaged

brake caliper brackets worn where pads contact. And/or hardware worn or damaged

Worn bushings in suspension, sometimes it takes removing the arm to feel the wear. i.e. the wear will not be felt with everything bolted in place. But causes movement under race loads.

bad wheel bearing

Caliper sticking, only way to tell is to take them off the car.

damaged brake line, may look fine from outside but be bad on the inside

 

If it was an NB car, I would look closely at the subframe for cracks

 

Dave

 

Interesting...  I will be more careful about the adjustment next time I check it.  Are you referring to the rear caliper's slide pins?  I'm not sure how the front would bend and still be usable.  The front pins looked straight when I did the front brakes.  The rear pads looked like they were worn evenly.  I reckon that they would be worn unevenly if the rear caliper slide pin was bent, right?

 

I did clean and replace the brake hardware so the pads should be sliding smoothly over the caliper brackets.

 

How would I check if a caliper is sticking when off the car?  I think I tried to check that the brake pads were being spread open when the brake peddle is released while the car was on jack stands.  I think I only paid attention to that on the front pads when we were bleeding the brakes...

 

Thanks all.


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#6
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Good idea.  How would I do a pressure check?
Thanks all.


Upon thinking a bit, I said to myself, I'd plumb the gauges into the bleed threads. Then I went looking. A bad hose and or dented steel line or any other restriction in the fluid path will impact the eveness of cross balance of brakes.

Copied:

Gauging Your Work
When diagnosing a pull due to uneven hydraulic pressure, a pair of brake pressure gauges can come in handy for comparing pressures side to side. These gauges tee into the brake lines and can be used to directly measure hydraulic pressure. These gauges usually are sold as a pair and come with a myriad of adapters to fit most vehicles.

Since they can be installed most anywhere in the brake system, they’re particularly convenient for check ABS hydraulic units, master cylinders and proportioning valves. Many OEMs actually have brake pressure specs for checking front versus rear pressure when diagnosing proportioning valves. Gauges are also available with “pads” that can be inserted in place of the brake pad of the vehicle. The actual force applied to the pad can be checked and compared side to side. This can find mechanical problems with the caliper in addition to hydraulic ones.

When using pressure gauges, it’s best to have an assistant depress the brake pedal while you observe the gauges. You want to look not only at the maximum pressure to each wheel, but also the “rise time,” or time that it takes to reach that pressure. A restricted brake hose will cause the pressure to build more slowly that a free-flowing hose. A restriction will also cause the pressure to drop slowly when the brake is released. Remember, too, that a dented metal brake line can cause the same slow response as a defective brake hose. Since it is compressible, air in one brake line can also reduce pressure. When in doubt, bleed the system.

Maybe a parts store has a free to use kit.

http://www.hickok-in...-user-guide.pdf
 


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#7
RazerX

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perhaps only part of the problem but when someone has 'major' taper wear on pads, I immediately go after that.  It usually signals that either the pins are bent or the brackets that mount the caliper to the spindle.  Any of those issues will cause binding and sticking and thus not a good even brake application.


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#8
davew

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It always amazes me how some people always go for the most complicated and least likely cause of the problem.

 

Eliminate the basics first and you will eliminate a lot of problems.

 

But what do I know????/

 

dave


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#9
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It always amazes me how some people always go for the most complicated and least likely cause of the problem.

 

Eliminate the basics first and you will eliminate a lot of problems.

 

But what do I know????/

 

dave

Are you discussing this thread or politics in  the US government?


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#10
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It always amazes me how some people always go for the most complicated and least likely cause of the problem.

 

But what do I know????/

 

dave

 

Been fighting with this issue for a year now.  Hoping someone here might have some experience to share since I've been striking out.  Local race shop couldn't find anything wrong either.

 

Input is greatly appreciated!

 

Thanks.

Ok, I get it, bad brake hose and dented steel brake line line are within the normal box, BUT, liquid pressure is over the top.

 

Maybe when writting your third book you could charge a bit more and include priority order de-bug list for some of the more pronunced issues we have with the Spec Miata.  :bigsquaregrin:

 

Alberto, please post your brake issue solved status.


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#11
Bench Racer

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Found another interesting brake pressure test tool. Not required to break a fluid line to use.
Clicking on "Mannuals and Downloads" has some interesting information.

http://www.ipatools....p/ipa-7884.html
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#12
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When did it start?  Years ago I had a small shunt that bent some suspension parts.  Pulled fairly hard under braking, but I replaced everything (except the culprit).  We were new to alignments then, but it did show up with caster difference side to side.  We finally replaced the sub frame and voila!  The bent part (long bolt channel) wasn't visible until we had the sub frame out of the car, and then it was only slightly visible.


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#13
Alberto

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perhaps only part of the problem but when someone has 'major' taper wear on pads, I immediately go after that.  It usually signals that either the pins are bent or the brackets that mount the caliper to the spindle.  Any of those issues will cause binding and sticking and thus not a good even brake application.

 

Would a bent bracket or pin on one side impact both sides?  The fact that the taper was the same on both the front left and right make me think that the front caliper brackets and hardware are not to blame.  I think I have spares so I might try it anyway cuz I'm tired of fighting this.

 

It feels more like the issue is at the rear than the front since it is the rear that feels like it wants to snap out on me.

 

 

When did it start?  Years ago I had a small shunt that bent some suspension parts.  Pulled fairly hard under braking, but I replaced everything (except the culprit).  We were new to alignments then, but it did show up with caster difference side to side.  We finally replaced the sub frame and voila!  The bent part (long bolt channel) wasn't visible until we had the sub frame out of the car, and then it was only slightly visible.

 

I wish I could remember so I could figure out what happened on track or what I might have changed.  I just don't recall...  I believe I first noticed it at Laguna last summer (2013) but it could have happened sooner.  I only made 3-4 races in 2012 and 2013 due to work obligations and the terrible 3 day format the region had going at the time.

 

 

Ive thought about getting an Iron Canyon string setup so I can check if the toe is truly square.  I figure that an additional benefit is that I can also jack up a corner and try to see how/if toe changes dynamically.  Although, I'm not sure if I could make any meaningful deductions from that w/o having another known problem free car to compare to...

 

 

Thanks again all.


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#14
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L.F. corner weight? R.F. corner weight?
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#15
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Diagnose the problem before writing the prescription and taking the drugs to fix it!

 

There are a few options here:

1.  The right front brake dragging or not releasing.  Or the left front brake NOT braking, due to air in line, etc.

2.  The right rear brake dragging or not releasing.  Or the left  rear brake NOT braking, due to air in line, etc.

3.  Suspension/alignment fubar.

 

1 and 2 will produce HEAT.  Drive through the paddock with little, no braking.  Get out.  Feel brakes.  Drive through the paddock, make 30 stops.  Get out.  Feel brakes.  Do a few laps.  Feel brakes.  Or SPIT on the brakes.  All should sizzle.  Or  - use Tempil paint.  Figure out which brake is the ultra hot one, or the ultra cold one.

 

If the problem starts OK, then gets worse - or vise-versa - then it probably isn't #3.

 

Is the pull coming directly through the steering wheel, or indirectly due to the rear "stepping out"?  Drive backwards like a bat out of hell and hit the brakes.  Does it still pull?  Throw stock pads on the suspicious corner for a test session.  What happens? Put the car on jackstands - hold the brakes - have a helper "torque" the wheel via the hub nut with a dial torque wrench.  Are both sides of the car resisting the same ft-lbs? When you let off do all the brakes release cleanly and immediately?  If your helper puts 100 ft-lbs on the nut, and you pump the brakes 5 times as quick as you can, what happens?  And do both sides of each axle behave the same?

 

In short - diagnose, diagnose, diagnose. 

 

Let us know what you find!


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#16
Alberto

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Thanks for the ideas!  Will be trying them this weekend.


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#17
AW33COM

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Behavior:

Under hard braking in a straight line setting up for a turn, the car will pull pretty hard to the right requiring me to add a decent amount of steering to the left. 

Most noticeable setting up for fast right hand turns like Turn 10 at Laguna where it literally feels like the rear wants to step out on me under braking. 

Not as noticeable on slower turns like T3 at Thunderhill which don't require much braking.

I don't really notice is on left hand turns like T1, T2, T6, T8 at Thunderhill.  Car turns in and sticks nicely there.  Heck, braking and turn-in is probably helped by the pull on those turns...

 

 

One million dollar question:  What is your steering wheel doing when you're driving in a straight line (on a none cambered surface) without braking, and what is it doing under braking?

 

What you're describing sounds like classic caster stagger setup (oval car thing if you will).  You have less caster on your right and it pulls you in that direction, but makes it easier turning left.   I would eliminate the brakes for a while, because they would make you spin very often if the car pulls that much.  Also, brake related problem would be noticeable in both left and right turns as all trash hold braking happens in a straight path.  

 

Get under the car and see if the values (markings on the caster bolt) for the caster are identical from right to left on both sides.  If they are identical you are not done.  Your car can still have something known as Setback.  Something bend in the suspension or frame causes caster stagger, even though your caster settings are perfect.  If both check out OK, verify your thrust angle.  In other words, you will need to do simple alignment yourself. 

 

If the alignment of your car was done by the same "local race shop" that did check out your car recently, just dumped them.  They have no clue, as this is a pretty simple thing that requires diagnose, diagnose,diagnose.  No magic there.



#18
Alberto

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Figured I'd post a follow up on this as a break from all the threads on rules and nationals.

 

I wound up buying the string alignment system from Iron Canyon Motorsports and finally got around to using it a few weeks ago.  I also purchased the Smart Camber Gauge / tool thing.  The string system from Iron Canyon is pretty frickin awesome and easy to use.  This tool enabled me to discover the following problems:

 

1. Driver side front wheel had 2mm toe in

2. Passenger front wheel had 7mm toe out

3. Driver side rear wheel had 5mm toe in

4. Passenger side rear wheel had 1.5mm toe in

 

Yeah, those numbers are not typos!  No wonder the car wouldn't turn left and felt like total crap.

 

I also discovered that one of my wheels is a different offset.  Yep, you read that correctly.  I spent a good long time going over all the suspension components and subframe trying to figure out why that corner was 5mm "shorter" than the other.  Then I spotted my spare wheel in the corner of the garage and thought - hmmm....  5mm is the exact difference between a +30 and +25 offset wheel....  Hmmm......

 

I had originally ordered a set of D Force wheels from Phil's Tire Service in 25 offset.  I later bought 1 spare wheel and again ordered 25 offset.  I need to go through my invoices and figure out what happened but the odd thing here is that the car had been to 2-3 different shops to get setup and nobody ever noticed that one wheel was the wrong offset...  This is why I try to do my own work...

 

I set the car up with 0 toe front and about 1 to 1.5mm rear toe in.  I was trying to get 1-2mm toe out up front but it kept going back to 0 whenever I tightened everything down so I eventually gave up.  0 is much better than what it was...  I was going to attempt to get to 0 toe on the rear but I couldn't figure out how to get the Smart Camber Gauge to calibrate.  I was running out of time so I left the camber where it was until I could figure out how to calibrate the gauge.  The rear seems to have about -3.7 -3.9 camber according to the uncalibrated gauge.  I'd prefer around -3. 

 

Does anyone have any tips or a video on properly calibrating the Smart Camber Gauge on a non-flat typical home garage floor? 

Why does it state to use a window for calibration?  Is it b/c of the assumed relative position of the window?  Why can't a door be used instead?  If a door is used, must it be in the same relative position in order to calibrate the gauge?

 

Thanks.


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#19
James York

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\

 

Why does it state to use a window for calibration?  Is it b/c of the assumed relative position of the window?  

 

Thanks.

 

It doesn't have to be a window.  But generally speaking, a pane of glass is pretty damn flat with no curves.  You could use anything you feel comfortable that is a straight plane.  I wouldn't use a door, but to each his own.


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#20
Ron Alan

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I dont think an alignment machine will pick up an offset wheel difference? isnt it just looking at each wheel individually and in relation side to side? Not front to back or track width...

 

Without parallel strings you wont see this. But someone who checks there toe with toe plates on a regular basis knows what measurement always shows up. 1/4"(5mm) difference in that dimension raises a red flag for me...we actually found this on a friends car at the runoffs who had some how mixed up his 25 and 30mm set wheels . A pain but you can always just use a spacer Alberto...


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