2001 Sable Braking Problem
2001 Mercury Sable 67,000 miles. Recently the left coil spring broke and was replaced, together with the right coil spring by the dealer under Ford's extended 10 year warranty on this part. After the replacement I have been having a braking problem - when I engage the brakes the car dives first to the left and then to the right. It's most noticeable at high speed. You get the feeling that the car is wandering. It doesn't seem to pull in either direction and the brakes are not spongy. In the process of changing the coil spring on the left side the dealer got a lot of CV joint grease on the inside of the left rotor. I cleaned the rotor and pads a couple of times (the area is now grease free) but the diving problem remains. Thinking that the grease soaked into the left inside brake pad, I replaced all the front brake pads. The problem remains with an additional twist. The right brakes are now very hot. Apparently the pads are dragging on the right rotor. A mechanic checked the temperature of the rotors. Right side rotor 360 degrees and left 200 degrees after a few miles of driving. In changing the brake pads, when I compressed the cylinder in the left caliper it went in easily with just continuous hand turning of the c clamp. On the left I could turn the clamp about a quarter turn only and had to wait several seconds before turning it another quarter turn. Compressing the cylinder completely took quite a while.
I am not sure if I have one problem here or two unrelated problems. To replace the coil springs I don't think it would have been necessary to touch the brakes or at least to compress the caliper cylinder. And I don't think that I had the overheating problem until I installed the new brakes. I'd say that the old brake pads had about 1/8 in thickness left and they were wearing evenly.
The new brake pads differed slightly from the old pads in that they were uniformly of even thickness. The old outside pads were also of uniformly even thickness but the old inside pads were thicker radially in the center. They were thinner radially for about 1/2 in at the outer diameter and thinner 1/4 in at the inner diameter. The difference in thickness is just a few thousands of an inch. Examining the new right brake pads after about 100 miles of driving I noticed the new pads had picked up a lot of rust along the two outer rings where the old pad had been thinner. The old pad showed no sign of this rust. And puzzlingly the old pad had a uniform surface appearance in both the thicker and thinner regions.
What could be causing the diving problem? Could the diving problem be unrelated to the potentially faulty caliper cylinder or the strange wear on the brake pads.