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Trying DIY day and tire advice needed

Discussion in 'DIY (Do-It-Yourself)' started by dschultz, Oct 29, 2012.

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    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    The day started out so well... I'm heading to Thunderhill in a couple of weeks for my first HPDE in my new-to-me Z4MC. Pads and rotors were at about 50% so I sucked it up and shelled out for new pads and rotors all around. (Overly cautious?) Jacked up the rear, pulled the wheels, realized I didn't have the damn stubby 7mm hex driver. Ummm, won't be changing the rears today. Oh well, at least I can flush the brake fluid while I'm back here. Hook up my Motive pressure bleeder, start screwing on the cap... boink! the hose breaks. Sigh. I guess I won't be flushing the brake fluid today. Accidentally knock the brake fluid reservoir cap into the engine bay. It doesn't come out the bottom. Search and search, it has vanished. Suddenly all those cool under-body aero panels don't seem quite so cool. Put the rears wheels back on, move to the front. My Lincoln jack won't reach the center jack point so I pull out my Rhino ramps. Whoops, my ramps are too steep for the coupe. OK, jack from the side, put a jack stand under the front suspension bushing and finally make some progress. Swapping out the front pads & rotors was uneventful. Time to bed new pads. Back the car down the driveway, forget to pump the brakes ahead of time, almost hit my wife's Mini. Find a quiet stretch of road. First 5 - 6 stops (60 to 10 mph) felt like my rotors were greased, couldn't even get the ABS to engage. Had me worried. But by the 10th I was getting some bite and after about 20 stops they were finally feeling really solid. Success, except I'm feeling nauseous from all the stopping and brake fumes. I get to do it all over again after I do the rear brakes.

    Any recommendations for ramps? Jack?

    Now on to my tire question: The coupe currently has Michelin Pilot Sport PS2's. Rears are done, but fronts still have >50% tread. Should I: 1) replace all four with the Super Sports, 2) replace just the rears with the Super Sports (fronts to follow soon enough, no doubt), or 3) replace the rears with another set of PS2's ($60 more than the Super Sports at Tirerack)?

    Oh yeah, after all this, watch the Giants win the World Series. Makes up for everything! It just doesn't get any better!
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    mrsbee

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    Warning: You will LOVE HPDEs. I'm addicted, and after leaving my first one, I was all gung-ho about planning the next one and the next one and the next one...you get the point. Props for changing your pads, I did the same thing, I had a little less than 50% on my fronts, and by back ones were pretty beefy still, so I opted to only change the fronts. I went with just the OEM pads, which held up well. The one thing I do regret not doing was flushing and changing the brake fluid to a higher temperature fluid. Oh well, I know now. I didn't have quite the nightmare bedding in my brakes, they just took like a duck to water. Beginners luck I guess.

    My "One" is the same way about getting up in the air. Its a little hairy trying to get it up on the ramps, primarily because the ramps decide they want to slide away - fixed that with some High Speed Tape. Fixed those suckers directly to the garage floor, and it worked great. I've heard of people actually taking their ramps and shaving them down to get them to fit under the car, change the angle as to which the bottom of the ramp meets the ground. Got a sawzall and some extra time? Give it a whirl.

    I opted to take my aging tires to the track - Continental DWS, and they did great, although, they were certainly ready for replacement afterwards. I'd tear up the remaining 50% and go directly to the tire store and replace them afterwards. I had textiles showing out of mine when the weekend was through, dangerous but not quite to the point of deadly. Watch them, know them, get ready to get rid of them. I'd honestly look into the Continental or Yokohama street/track tires if you're thinking about tracking your car a little more often than not. Also, I suppose it depends on where you live. If the approaching winter has you concerned about stability on ice and snow, then I would certainly recommend doing a DWS and perhaps getting a devoted set of Dunlops for on the track.

    Then again, perhaps you're not me and don't have an infinite bank account and have to take things one pay check at a time.

    (I did go last week and get new tires put on at Discount Tire, they're awesome out there, but they were out of stock on the fronts. Since my textiles were poking out, they felt it unsafe to send be back on the road without new tires, so they put on some "Loaner" tires until the new ones came in for free, sometimes it really helps being a little blonde girl. It was quite amusing, though, when the tire guy asked politely "what the hell have you been doing to your tires"...apparently I didn't strike him as a track rat. That little black dress baffles them every time :) )
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    Ramps:

    These can fix ya up - http://www.raceramps.com/

    Jack: My experience with the low-clearance (3") aluminum jacks is the 'affordable' ones just don't last as long as you like, maybe a couple years or so before the pump(s) reveal itself as problematic. But, knowing that going in, Harbor Freight or Craftsman aren't a bad way to go. Never trust a jack (ie, always use a jack stand) _especially_ with these lower-cost aluminum racing-type jacks.

    http://www.harborfreight.com/automotive-motorcycle/floor-jacks.html

    http://www.craftsman.com/craftsman-1-2-ton-jack-with-led-illuminated/p-00950242000P?&prdNo=11

    I got one of these for the garage last year, it's too heavy to conveniently tote to hpde's, hopefully it will continue to function as expected much longer than the others - good for low clearance, though. Doesn't have the 'rapid-pump' of the Harbor Freight jacks, nice smooth operation though.

    http://www.tooldiscounter.com/ItemDisplay.cfm?lookup=AFF200T

    What's the age on the tires, and how much tread-depth left on the rears? If you opt for all new tires, they'll certainly suffer some wear from the upcoming track weekend, but, perhaps better to know you have something secure to drive on to and from the event. If you just replace the rears and the fronts are more than a couple of years old, the likely potential issue is the rear having more grip than the front at the track, and having to deal with some understeer. I don't know how abrasive the track surface may be for Thunderhill, but part of the new, now decision hinges on whether they might get your there, through the weekend, and back home, safely. If you're down to tread bars and there's any chance for rain either en route or at-track, replacement might be a good idea. If your risk-tolerance is higher and you live next door to the track, maybe just wear 'em out. One thing that would kinda suck would be having your weekend cut short because your ran out of tire.

    Brakes:

    I always wipe down new rotors with brake cleaner to remove any residue or coating - often, brake rotors have an oil/anti-rust coating. Nitrile gloves and eye protection recommended, this stuff isn't good in your eyes, on skin, or through skin absorption.

    http://crcindustries.com/auto/?s=05089

    Any friendly neighbor or wife might be willing to help bleed brakes the old-school way, pumping the brake pedal. The downside to that method is that, ideally, you don't want to push the brake master cylinder piston beyond it's normal range of travel lest risking blowing the internal seals (less of an issue for newer cars or a recently-changed master cylinder). Difficult to avoid having someone push the brake pedal to the floor, because they need to be pushing when you crack the bleeder, and cracking the bleeder for just half-pedal travel would be a really quick open-close. I suppose the pedal-pusher could just stop at the halfway point, but you don't want to risk them accidentally lifting back up and drawing air back into the caliper.

    Did you finally find the reservoir cap? Things can obvously lodge into obscure places - to help be thorough in looking through engine bay nooks and crannies, don't do it in a hurry. Bright light/flashlight, an inspection mirror to highlight spots you can't see directly, and expect it to take some time - if the car hasn't moved, it has to be there somewhere. If you didn't find it before driving, no way to know if tumbled out while driving. If you can get underneath the car, sometimes that can help, although if it's virtually a solid sheet of plastic cladding, perhaps not so much.

    Glad you didn't hit your wife's car - sounds like you got ahead of yourself, moral of the story is keep in mind all parts of the process, and don't rush, so you don't forget - or, make notes or a checklist.

    lol :p
    MrsBee likes this.
    • Member

    dschultz 07 Z4 M Coupe

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    Thanks all. Re: bedding my new pads. These are MetalMasters and they do seem to required bedding. Downright dangerous without it. I ran MetalMasters on my E36 325 and I don't remember this being such an issue, but that was a while ago so I probably just erased the memory. And yes, I did use brake cleaner on the rotors. FWIW, my understanding is that BMW specifically advises against bedding stock pads in this way which seems pretty sensible. That is, the stock pads are designed to work immediately which is the right thing for the vast majority of drivers. Never did find the missing cap. Hopefully it won't find the exhaust pipe before it falls out! The car is actually going in to the dealer tomorrow to have them adjust the front bumper (they put it back on crooked after changing my xenon headlight controller last week). I'm a bit embarrassed to show up without a brake fluid cap, but I guess I gotta take my lumps.

    Tires... rears are at the wear bars (and a bit beyond) after last last weekend's car control clinic and autocross. I think I'm going to put a new set of PS2's on the back and leave the fronts. Mixing models just makes me nervous. When these are gone I'll switch to the Super Sports, or perhaps the Yoko Advans? I don't recall Thunderhill being particularly hard on tires, but it is a 2-day event and it's about a 170 mile drive so I do have to think about the trip home! Thankfully cold is not an issue (northern california, bay area) but rain could be. Of course, if the track is wet my tires will last longer!

    I did track my 325 and had Toyo RA1's on a second set of wheels. It was always good knowing that I had rubber to get home on regardless of what happened to the track tires. But I'm not nearly ready to take that leap with the Z4MC. The autocross taught me that clearly when I did couple of runs with the traction control off. With the 325 I could mostly get away with burying the throttle and waiting. That technique doesn't work so well with the Z. I really have to learn to drive all over again with this car. (Of course, there's also no hope of cramming a second set of wheels into the coupe.)

    Ramps... Yes! I always had trouble with the ramps sliding with my 325. Even with the little rubber feet under the ramp. A painted garage floor certainly doesn't help. That's a problem with RWD cars... the ramps always work great with my Outback!
    • Member

    MGarrison

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    I remember my winter usage of metalmasters, backing down my somewhat-sloped driveway would find them just not gripping when braking while backing up on a freezing morning; going forward, not as bad.
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    ramitchell

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    +1 to Mr. Garrison for the jack stands. Always use them when working under the car. And always 'over buy ' on the stands - mine are rated 3 tons each.

    I've seen some people layer simple pine lumber 2"x12" (nailed or screwed together) as ramps to get the car just high enough to get the jack underneath.

    As far as pads, I've used Jurid and ATE and never had to bed them.
    • Member

    steven s

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    I also place my tires underneath the car.
    Gets them out of the way and might add a little extra protection.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    Terry Sayther

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    WOW! That makes it sound like you think there's physical DANGER involved. Not the case. Losing the cap or leaving it off is no big deal. Maybe a little fluid might get out and that fluid is bad for the paint below the reservoir. Maybe a little dirt gets in. Moist air has easier access the the water absorbing brake fluid---but you're changing it every 2 years anyway, right? You will not lose enough fluid to have braking problems. No danger---none. The sky is not falling. Let your insurance agent read this, he'll probably laugh.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    Terry Sayther

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    The sky is not falling. NO danger, none at all. No aerosol spontaneously forms. No mist of brake fluid blows into young eyes under any drive-by circumstance. Short of violent car accident, the brake fluid stays in the reservoir. It's a thick liquid and it doesn't want to form a mist.
    BUT, brake fluid IS bad for paint if it's not washed off and I'm sure it would be irritating to have a mist of brake fluid sprayed into my eyes. And I'm sure it's true that having the reservoir cap off would make it easier for children to get under the hood and drink the brake fluid for that sweet glycol flavor. Wait, wait....this is the real world and no body is going to DO that.
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    • Technical Service Advisor

    Terry Sayther

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    I have read the MSDS for brake fluid. In fact, I have a copy of it beside my desk as required by law. I have also looked up the MSDS of other glycols like ethylene gycol [main component of common antifreezes] and glycerol [glycerine, found laying around the house]. All these would be considered hazardous materials if your main reference in life was the Material Safety Data Sheet for each. MY main point of reference is the FIFTY YEARS I have spent handling these materials. Relative to other truly hazardous materials, these are not even on the scale.

    I'm sure in your 15 years in the emergency room you have seen things I cannot imagine and that has led you to imagine events even worse. But, imagining that driving with the brake fluid reservoir cap off is a "caustic catastrophe of epic proportions" is still laughable. I applaud your years of emergency room service and I consider that heroic service of greater value than what I have accomplished in life. Thank you for that. But talking peace while firing verbal missiles from your shield of on-line anonymity? You diminish yourself.
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    steven s

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    Looks like this thread has run it's course with both sides sharing their opinions.
    If the OP wants the thread open, please let me know.
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