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60 posts

Master Geek


# 215399 26-Jun-2017 00:59
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My 1997 Prado recently failed WOF at VTNZ because the right steering rack boot was damaged. Also they pointed out that the rear brake pads were almost worn out. So I popped in to a nearby garage and asked them to get those 2 things fixed. They did it, after which I brought the truck back to VTNZ for recheck and got WOF. All good, but there was a hitch.

 

In the middle of fixing those 2 things, the garage phoned me up and told that one of the rear brake calipers was leaking and needed to be replaced. I told them to regard that as a potential separate job and to give me an estimation, whilst to get the original 2 things done as agreed. They did so. When doing re-check at VTNZ, I told the mechanic about the "leaking" caliper. He had a closer look and didn't find any leaks. Neither did I find them after doing a drive with a few hard brake applications — both rear calipers looked clean and dry, and brake fluid level stayed still.

 

So, I am trying to figure out if the garage was not quite honest and simply tried to issue an extra bill, or I better get the calipers inspected by yet another mechanic. Forum members' opinions will be highly appreciated. I have attached the invoice for the 2 things they did and also the estimation they gave me — maybe someone experienced can tell if that is market level pricing or overcharge (the garage is in Invercargill).

 

Click to see full size

 

Click to see full size

 

Extra facts that may be worth noting:

 

     

  1. After talking to them about getting the 2 things done (steering rack boot and rear brake pads), they asked me for the car keys before letting me know how much the job will cost and how long it will take. I immediately asked that, they apologised and quoted $240 and 1 hour. I agreed and they started. The job was done after 1 hour and 15 minutes and the final bill was $256.51 (attached);
  2. When they finished the job, I asked the mechanic which of the rear calipers was leaking. After some hesitation, he told it was the right one;
  3. They told me that even though only one of the rear calipers was leaking, both needed to be replaced because otherwise brakes will be imbalanced. The $535.21 estimation is for both calipers (attached);
  4. Both rear calipers were serviced in June 2013 (removed, checked, lubricated, put back). Since then 25,000 km were traveled (gentle driving style).

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2325 posts

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  # 1806713 26-Jun-2017 04:08
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Have you taken the pads off to check? It may not be a bad leak, but still a leak.

 

 They probably wiped down excess oil when they replaced the pads. 


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  # 1806750 26-Jun-2017 08:41
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Those prices look normal enough to me.

 

Brake fluid is water-soluble, so traces of leaks will get washed away.

 

If they were leaking a bit, then rust/corrosion on the piston is probably part of the reason, when the new pads are put in then as they're thicker, then that rusty piston is pushed in further - and they'll quite possibly start leaking worse.  Or - if there'd been leaking because of a small pit etc, then pushing the piston in further so that the defect wasn't working on the seal area may have temporarily fixed the leak, but they'll start leaking again as the pads wear.

 

They weren't going to "replace" the calipers - they were going to recondition them,  Presumably the "piston" comes with seals, the "kit" comes with sliders, backing plates, pins etc.

 

I think you may have overreacted, and that they were probably correct, thorough, and reasonable. They are quite correct that doing one side only may lead to brake imbalance,  I'd have DIY,, possibly only done one and see how it went for brake distribution on test rollers, but small garages may not have those and would have needed to take it to a test station or other garage with that facility for testing.

 

Keep a close eye on your brake fluid level - or you could end up with no brakes at all.

 

You may also need to get a wheel alignment done.  It's possible to replace the steering rack boot and count the turns on the rod making sure that you re-fit it in the same position, but normally a wheel alignment would be done at that time to check/set toe-in.  


 
 
 
 


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  # 1806754 26-Jun-2017 08:50
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Pricing looks about what I'd expect, based on having had similar work done in the recent past. Were I in a bad mood, I'd be more concerned they keep calling them Caliphers :P


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  # 1806763 26-Jun-2017 09:10
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I doubt they're lying to you about the leak. You could get a second opinion.


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  # 1806797 26-Jun-2017 10:30
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Car brakes are something you don't want to muck around with.

 

That being said, it sounds like you have doubts with this garage - and already don't trust them.

 

If it was me in that situation I would take it to another garage and ask for a quote/check.

 

Don't risk the safety of yourself or others


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  # 1806804 26-Jun-2017 10:47
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Are you an AA Member?

 

Going to them and having them check the brakes etc should not cost you anything ... and they may do the job (if necessary) at a better rate (plus you get fuel discounts) sealed

 

Yes, the 'leak' may not show immediately if the garage cleaned the area up.




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Master Geek


  # 1806941 26-Jun-2017 13:28
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Thanks guys, your opinion matters!

 

Rickles:

 

Are you an AA Member?

 

Going to them and having them check the brakes etc should not cost you anything ... and they may do the job (if necessary) at a better rate (plus you get fuel discounts) sealed

 

I was a member once for a year or two, but then gave up as I wasn't using any of the benefits. To discover the leak one would need to have a deep look into the calipers (e.g. change the brake pads like the garage did). This is not done in the course of WOF or AA Safety Checks. As to the fuel discounts, in this tiny rural town in Southland where I live diesel is sold for like $1 per litre which is waaay cheaper than any place where you can get AA discounts tongue-out.


 
 
 
 




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Master Geek


  # 1806991 26-Jun-2017 13:57
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Fred99:

 

You may also need to get a wheel alignment done.  It's possible to replace the steering rack boot and count the turns on the rod making sure that you re-fit it in the same position, but normally a wheel alignment would be done at that time to check/set toe-in.  

 

 

Good to know. I emailed the garage about that and just got this reply:

 

You would not need a wheel alignment from replacing the Steering rack boot as we did not remove the steering rod to do this job.


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  # 1806996 26-Jun-2017 14:08
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Greendrake:

 

 

 

Good to know. I emailed the garage about that and just got this reply:

 

You would not need a wheel alignment from replacing the Steering rack boot as we did not remove the steering rod to do this job.

 

 

Yep if just the boot, true, should not need alignment (assuming alignment was good before)


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Uber Geek


  # 1807047 26-Jun-2017 15:41
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Hmmm - methinks they didn't use an OEM-design boot, as the small hole in the end of the boot where it seals on the rod is much too small to fit over the ball-joint.
There are some aftermarket "universal fit" boots made of stretchy rubber which will though:

 

http://www.stretchcvboot.com/product/stretch-rakboot-steering-rack-boot-kit/

 

Probably all fine.


Hmm, what to write...
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  # 1807058 26-Jun-2017 15:53
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I have seen this particular rip off before. (at a franchise outfit that specializes in such work) So I guess my first thought is that they are lying. I could be wrong.

 

A great piece of advice I got about 20 years ago... "If you think some one is lying, they are"

 

If a brake caliper was leaking it is normally pretty obvious because the dirt sticks to the brake fluid. To clean it all off would have required the application of some degreaser (brake cleaner etc) Spo was it super clean?

 

 

 

Anyway drive it for a while, keep an eye on the fluid (there is a low level light anyway) and check it in a couple of months.





Matthew


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  # 1807293 26-Jun-2017 22:59
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A leaking calliper piston seal is not always obvious - there's also a rubber dust boot to cover the movement of the piston while protecting the seal from dirt and dust - it needs to be stretched to see if there's any brake fluid inside.

 

Both sides don't need doing to prevent brake imbalance though - but that misinformation may come from the mechanic's misunderstanding of hydraulics, not malicious intent.


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  # 1807296 26-Jun-2017 23:33
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About 12 years ago I brought Toyota to PitStop Glen Innes, Auckland to fix damaged CV Joint Boot. I brought my original kit with two metal "fixators" included in the box.

 

When I came back mechanic nearly finished and at a glance I've noticed that he did not use original metal fixators (being lazy) but used cable ties instead. I was not happy and asked to do it properly. They refused with a typical reply - "she'll be fine, mate"

 

So they gave me no choice but to take the car as it was...

 

12 years later when I sold that car (in a perfect order) that CV joint was still properly fixated with that plastic cable tie in place.

 

Perhaps due to the mild Auckland climate... It would disintegrate in the cold no doubt... 

 

 

 

 





Toyota / Lexus Hybrid and EV Battery Expert Battery Test & Repair 

 

 


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  # 1807303 27-Jun-2017 06:06
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By the quote the leak was likely hidden by the pads, as they describe replacing the pistons, this is not likely visible with the pads in place.

 

They could equally be lying, but based on an external visual inspection you won't be able to tell.


932 posts

Ultimate Geek


  # 1807306 27-Jun-2017 06:16
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Fred99:

 

Those prices look normal enough to me.

 

Brake fluid is water-soluble, so traces of leaks will get washed away.

 

If they were leaking a bit, then rust/corrosion on the piston is probably part of the reason, when the new pads are put in then as they're thicker, then that rusty piston is pushed in further - and they'll quite possibly start leaking worse.  Or - if there'd been leaking because of a small pit etc, then pushing the piston in further so that the defect wasn't working on the seal area may have temporarily fixed the leak, but they'll start leaking again as the pads wear.

 

They weren't going to "replace" the calipers - they were going to recondition them,  Presumably the "piston" comes with seals, the "kit" comes with sliders, backing plates, pins etc.

 

I think you may have overreacted, and that they were probably correct, thorough, and reasonable. They are quite correct that doing one side only may lead to brake imbalance,  I'd have DIY,, possibly only done one and see how it went for brake distribution on test rollers, but small garages may not have those and would have needed to take it to a test station or other garage with that facility for testing.

 

Keep a close eye on your brake fluid level - or you could end up with no brakes at all.

 

You may also need to get a wheel alignment done.  It's possible to replace the steering rack boot and count the turns on the rod making sure that you re-fit it in the same position, but normally a wheel alignment would be done at that time to check/set toe-in.  

 

 

My response would be a copy/paste of this.


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