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Thread: Brake calipers / A&P question

  1. #1

    Brake calipers / A&P question

    Just had my annual and the brakes are good but will need replacing by
    next time. The A&P said the rotors were waring and indeed if you drag
    your finger across them you feel smooth bumps. Can these be turned
    like you do on auto rotors or do they have to be replaced. The A&P had
    never heard of anyone turning them but was not for sure. Does anyone
    know the answer?

    Thanks

    Al




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  2. #2

    Brake calipers / A&P question

    I have not yet found any approved process/repair station for resurfacing piston aircraft brake rotors/disks. I know of a couple of cases in which homebuilders bought used disks and attempted to have them resurfaced. They were unable to locate an auto shop that could properly position them on their equipment. My best guess is that you could eventually find a machine shop that could resurface them, either by jigging them or surface-grinding them using repetitive re-positioning, but I suspect that new disks would be far less expensive.

    The disks don't have to be perfectly smooth to be reusable. Your A&P will make that call. New pads take longer to properly seat and "break in" on worn rotors, and you have reduced braking capability while that is going on. New pads will also wear out far faster on worn disks; it isn't unusual to have pads last only 25% as long on worn disks, versus when they are paired with new disks (especially chrome disks, for less-frequently flown planes).

    I have seen a few severely worn disks that were still in service, that had lost far too much metal to be safe. Most of our disks are single-thickness, unlike common auto disks that have two heavy sides separated by ventilation-cooling "spokes" (or the single-layer disks that have cooling slots in them). Any significant loss in thickness causes much faster heat build-up during serious braking, with less mass to both absorb and carry away the heat. More of it therefore goes into the brake pads, calipers, and fluid.

    ----- Original Message -----
    From: Al ODonnell
    To: musketeermail@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Tuesday, July 12, 2005 4:24 PM
    Subject: [musketeermail] Brake calipers / A&P question


    Just had my annual and the brakes are good but will need replacing by
    next time. The A&P said the rotors were waring and indeed if you drag
    your finger across them you feel smooth bumps. Can these be turned
    like you do on auto rotors or do they have to be replaced. The A&P had
    never heard of anyone turning them but was not for sure. Does anyone
    know the answer?

    Thanks

    Al

    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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  3. #3

    Brake calipers / A&P question

    >Just had my annual and the brakes are good but will need replacing by
    >next time. The A&P said the rotors were waring and indeed if you drag
    >your finger across them you feel smooth bumps. Can these be turned
    >like you do on auto rotors or do they have to be replaced. The A&P had
    >never heard of anyone turning them but was not for sure. Does anyone
    >know the answer?

    All brake rotors have a minimum thickness that they are allowed to wear to
    before replacement. Your mechanic ought to have the Parker/Cleveland
    service info, which is required by FAR for anyone working on that specific
    appliance.
    Those unfamiliar with this requirement may view it at FAR 43.13 (a).

    Luckily for cash strapped owners and mechanics that haven't kept their
    publications up to date, you can find the Cleveland parts and Service data
    on the web.

    http://www.parker.com/ag/wbd/cleveland/pdf/maincov.pdf
    http://www.parker.com/ag/wbd/cleveland/pdf/Wbcov.pdf

    In theory you could grind the rotors on a Blanchard type grinder, or
    perhaps some sort of rotary surface grinder, like those used for automotive
    flywheels.

    In the real world, there may not be enough material left to remove the
    ridges and still have the required thickness. Most machine shops that have
    the ability to do this work will charge far more to setup and perform the
    grinding (2 sides each) than a set of plain steel rotors costs. So if you
    have the machine tools at home to do this, then you are certainly welcome
    to invest your sweat equity in the job, provided you maintain the required
    minimum thickness.

    Bob Steward, A&P IA
    Birmingham, AL



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