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Recovering Contaminated Pads

Discussion in 'Maintenance and Servicing' started by ojay, Sep 4, 2016.

  1. Before y'all jump in with the torches flaming I know what a dodgy practice this essentially is.

    The correct approach is a thorough clean of callipers and discs with a set of new pads. Great, except this is a new bike to me and part of the reasons people buy second hand is limited finances. So, I'm skint and am just wanting to tide myself over for roadworthy after which time my first bit of cash will buy me some new sintered pads.

    So, back to the question..

    There are solutions around that involve heating contaminated pads to burn off residual oil/grease. Can anyone chime in with any experience/tips as to how best to approach it beyond the obvious steps of whack em in the vice and torch away? The bike came with almost new SBS sintered pads which the seller had somehow got covered in oil - surely if there's a worthy contender for recovery it's pads such as these.

    Any input (even 'you're a fecken eejit') is welcome, thanks.
  2. Oh.... brake pads....
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  3. Is it really worth the risk for something that will cost under $100?
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  4. That depends how effective a good torching is likely to be.

    I had a bike stolen and am massively overextended getting a replacement, RWC/reg puts me to bed. I'm either off the road for a month or two or I attempt to make the best with what I have.
  5. What icemakericemaker said.

    If it must be done though, I'd be letting them sit in a dish soap mixture for a few hours with mild scrubbing before heating them up and enjoying the fumes. Be sure they are dead dry and abrasive to the touch before putting them on. Hopefully they don't glaze the discs, and make damned sure you have confidence in them before you need them.

    If they were dropped in a drain pan or something then in the bin they go.
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  6. I would clean them with brake cleaner or blue kero.
    Put them back in and ride around a local industrial estate putting pressure through the lever constantly and some sharp braking. I will be surprised if they end up not being useable. I ran a set covered in fork oil my last track day and sure it was harder to pull up from 200 to 60 at honda but I could.

    I have now changed mine out for new ones as braking on the track requires absolute commitment. not saying the road won't sometimes but definitely not usually.
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  7. maybe someone here has a set with some decent wear still left on them that they could give you. what about hunting around a wreckers?
  8. Give everything a good cleaning with brake cleaner and a toothbrush, then get some sandpaper and roughly scuff the surface of the pads and rotors then wash it down with brake cleaner again.
    If you have a torch then great and give it a quick blast being careful not to destroy the pad, otherwise do a few stops to break the pads in. If your still not convinced its 100% ride the brakes for 30 seconds then do a few more stops.
    I've salvaged a front set of pads this way after the fork seals blew.

    Personally I wouldn't use kero as it is a light oil and could actually make it worse.
    Like anything, if the pad material cracks from heating it or the pads don't get better then toss them. $60 is much cheaper and painfree then running into the back of a car.
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  9. Yeah I've been through this process but it's had a minimal effect (though I've not scuffed the rotors).

    I think organic pads can get trashed from excess heat but the sintered ones can handle it.


    Absolutely but decent pads are min $100 and I've got RWC and plates to pay for before even looking at organic jobs.

    That's an option I guess.

    Yeah I guess glazed disks are a concern as well.

    Thanks to all for their thoughts.
  10. Your not heating the whole pad up till it glowing. Just giving it a quick blast to burn off any residual oil on the surface.
    If the bike hasn't had its brakes bleed in a while this could contribute to poor breaking performance.
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  11. Surface oil is not the issue, contamination involves absorption, absorbed oil theoretically requires some pretty substantial heat to burn off.

    Bleeding/fluid is an entirely secondary concern at this stage of the game.
  12. What bike is it
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  13. You're saying good brakes are min $100. But by the sounds of it cheap $60 ones will be better than what youre dealing with. I'm a tight arse from way back, who doesn't love to save a dollar, but if it's this much of a headache maybe you need to just accept that if you can't afford $60 cheap pads to tide you over then you can't afford to ride right now...

    That sucks though. So there's a lot of good advice here to try. I'd use some warm lightly soapy water and a toothbrush. And patience
  14. #15 ojay, Sep 4, 2016
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2016

    Ok how did you know that??

    That's a fair call except x2 and the pads pictured are incorrect but it's an option for sure - good thinking, thanks.

    That's not wrong except this isn't about saving money per se, it's about getting through the next six weeks without being so far in debt that I can't climb out. If I can't get around to get things done then the current reg expires and I'm then up for unreged permits etc etc (that's on top of existing costs). Sometimes not doing something is more costly than barging through as best you can. Having said that the safety angle is not insubstantial and it's true, I should've waited to buy.

    Yeah I'm grateful for the input but soapy water is not gonna do it - it's the reason I was interested in experience around burning it off in the first place.
  15. Sounds like you need some elbow grease too ;-)
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  16. I've had them off twice already, the second time a little more fastidious than the first. Following the lead from various posts elsewhere addressing this issue, burning off the contaminant is the best approach, I just hoped there'd be someone about with a bit of experience I could benefit from.
  17. No worries mate best of luck with it
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  18. Yeah ok, looks like common sense'll prevail.
    I'd have barrelled into this 20 years ago just to give it a try but it's crickets out there – clearly there's no solution bar new pads.

    Thanks again for the input.
  19. Unfortunately if the pads been swimming at the bottom of the sump and actually soaked into the material to the extent your describing their is very little you can do.

    I'd hit it with some heat however do so slowly and evenly across the pad material being sure to let it cool down slowly, it may work or the pad material may just fail and crack.
    Being made of resins and fibres who knows what extreme heat may do it longterm.

    If your in a tight spot send me a PM and I'll pickup you some new pads, brakefluid and lend you my brake bleeding tool to get you through the next couple of months.
    Many of us have been in the same position and it quite honestly sucks.
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