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Old 09-03-08, 05:05 AM   #1
hy_tek
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How to stop brake pad squeeking?

My brakes are squeeling loudly on my older hybrid bike. I bought a new set of quality pads last year. I think they were Salmon brand. That stopped the squeeking for a long time. Now once again they squeek loudly when I apply the brakes hard. Is there any way to prevent this by cleaning the rim with something special? It is very embarassing when you go to hard brake and you sound like some old dump truck coming to a stop.

Can I use some abrasive like emory board to clean the pad faces themselves? I suspect they have become hard from use. It seems when I wipe the dust off the wheels the squeeking is reduced for a period but never goes totally away. I can't believe you have to change brake pads every 6 months to keep them from squeeking. The pads are like new.
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Old 09-03-08, 05:41 AM   #2
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You can use something like an emory board (I've used sandpaper myself) to scuff up your brake pads and get the "shine" off. As for cleaning your rims... Rubbing alcohol, a scotch-brite pad and some elbow grease will clean them right up.
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Old 09-03-08, 07:09 AM   #3
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You should also adjust the brake pad surface to strike the rim at a slight angle. The leading edge should tough the rim first. It's called 'brake pad toe'.
See http://parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=21.
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Old 09-03-08, 08:50 AM   #4
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Yep, make sure that your brake pads have some toe to them. A simple trick for doing this is to wrap a rubber band around the leading edge of the pad (edge to the rear of the bike) and adjust the pad so that that trailing edge and rubber band make contact with the rim at the same time.

As for cleaning, I use a light steel wool and no chemicals on my braking surface. I only make two or three passes on the rim and only do it once or twice a year. I don't clean pads, I simply replace them when they get hard.

Mike
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Old 09-03-08, 08:58 AM   #5
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Try this You Tube video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4MuOaoDwrRM
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Old 09-03-08, 03:37 PM   #6
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Seems cleaning my rim decreases the squeeling but does not stop it altogether.

As far as the other suggestions they are all good ideas. I think I need to do the toe in adjustment. Since I have cantilever style brakes where the pad has a threadless stud sticking out that can only be adjusted in and out for more or less travel. I do not believe I have an adjustment for brake shoe angle but will check closer. My bike is an older Giant Nutra cross bike. Any suggestions?

Last edited by hy_tek; 09-03-08 at 03:50 PM.
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Old 09-03-08, 04:09 PM   #7
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If there is no adjustment you can grab the calipers with a wrench and bend them slightly or buy a washer kit that is designed to allow for angle adjustment.
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Old 09-03-08, 06:19 PM   #8
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gogogogo

wow.... all this tweaking.... roughen the rim --- sand it cross hatch it just like a rotor on a car--
get new brake pads--- do not let them get wet with some chemical--- I am totally not well with
forcing the arm on the brake to accomodate toe angle--- the pads should be serated for moisture
and the rims free of grease--- brake pads are rubber or they are metallic mix- Ive ground my pads
on the sidewalk to alieve the screeching-- but never put a pliers to my campy brakes---- come on....
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Old 09-03-08, 06:58 PM   #9
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If you have proper V-brakes, you can easily adjust the pads every which way!
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Old 09-03-08, 08:06 PM   #10
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Quickie method is to take the pads off and rub them on the concrete sidewalk to get rid of the glazing.

You still have to get the oxidation off of the rims. Go to the automotive section of the hardware store and get some brake and rim cleaner. It comes in a spray for a couple of bucks. You will be impressed at how well it works.
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Old 09-04-08, 04:55 AM   #11
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If you have proper V-brakes, you can easily adjust the pads every which way!
Well I guess my brakes are "improper" then because there does not seem to be a toe in adjustment. That comment was very helpful... I have the old style cantilever brakes where each brake pad support arms are welded to the fork and there is a cable at the top the connects to both arms simultaneously. The cable connected directly to the hand lever then pulls in the center of the other cable. I think perhaps the style is called "center pull". They work fine but just after using them awhile they start to squeek.

Sorry but I am not bending the arms that support the brake pad assembly for toe in. That seems rather cave man style to me. I think all I will have to do is clean the pads on the concrete as suggested and try the rim cleaner. Thank you gentlemen for the suggestions.
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Old 09-04-08, 05:50 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by hy_tek View Post
Sorry but I am not bending the arms that support the brake pad assembly for toe in. That seems rather cave man style to me. I think all I will have to do is clean the pads on the concrete as suggested...
And rubbing your pads on the ground is somehow LESS "cave man"?

Seriously, if you have cantilever brakes, the next time you buy pads look for the Kool-Stops that have an angled plow tip, like the Eagle 2. It'll probably fix you up.

Steve
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Old 09-04-08, 07:05 AM   #13
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I've changed a couple of our family bikes from canti to (generic)V-brakes and really appreciate how much easier it is to set them up and make adjustments.
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Old 09-04-08, 10:12 AM   #14
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Check the pads to make sure you have not picked up very small bits of metal or something in the pad. Happens most often in wet conditions for some unknown reason.

Also saw this at my LBS. Used a Dremel tool with a sandpaper drum in place to resurface the brake pads. Took about 10 seconds.
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Old 09-04-08, 02:41 PM   #15
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And rubbing your pads on the ground is somehow LESS "cave man"?

Seriously, if you have cantilever brakes, the next time you buy pads look for the Kool-Stops that have an angled plow tip, like the Eagle 2. It'll probably fix you up.

Steve
Thanks for taking what I said out of context.
What is the diff is you clean pads on the concrete or with emory paper the result is the same and far less cannibalistic than trying to bend the brake support arm on the forks risking permanent damage to the bike.

If YOU want to bend YOUR brake arms on "YOUR" $800 bike then by all means do so.

The brakes on my bike are Eagle Claw 2's. They worked fine at first when they were new. I suspect a cleaning is all they need.

Last edited by hy_tek; 09-04-08 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 09-04-08, 03:48 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by hy_tek View Post
Sorry but I am not bending the arms that support the brake pad assembly for toe in. That seems rather cave man style to me. I think all I will have to do is clean the pads on the concrete as suggested and try the rim cleaner. Thank you gentlemen for the suggestions.
Back when I worked in a bicycle store in the '70s, standard practice was to toe the brakes by bending with a crescent wrench on every bike we built or tuned... Granted, that may be "cave times" to some of you.

Jim
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Old 09-04-08, 04:16 PM   #17
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http://www.parktool.com/repair/readhowto.asp?id=19
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Old 09-04-08, 04:22 PM   #18
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Back when I worked in a bicycle store in the '70s, standard practice was to toe the brakes by bending with a crescent wrench on every bike we built or tuned... Granted, that may be "cave times" to some of you.

Jim


Ok let's please get back on the topic of stopping brake squeeking. I am sorry if I hurt any cavemen with my original flippant comment (having flashbacks of a bad GEICO commercial).... There are many means to an end with the same results....some just seem safer than others for the average person....
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Old 09-04-08, 05:32 PM   #19
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One of sthe most effective things you can do to stop brake pad squeal is throw out the Kool Stop pads and get Avid 20R's. They are much more forgiving when it comes to squeal. A little toe in and
you are set to go. Make a note to NEVER buy Kool Sstops again. bk
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Old 09-09-08, 10:57 AM   #20
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should I toe in ( or out) my f-fing pads on my f150--- what is this toe stuff for bikes? why are you people tweaking your brake arms?--- who are you folks and your not touching my bike!
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Old 09-10-08, 04:48 AM   #21
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should I toe in ( or out) my f-fing pads on my f150--- what is this toe stuff for bikes? why are you people tweaking your brake arms?--- who are you folks and your not touching my bike!
Unless your brakes are squeeking and your bike won't stop I suggest you don't worry about it if you never did it before....
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Old 09-10-08, 01:01 PM   #22
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thats it--- im putting chocolate cake all over my brakes --- having another drink and going for a ride-- but not before I put a crow bar to my deltas and silicone my rims--- yahahahha
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Old 09-11-08, 05:52 AM   #23
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Bending brakes is not a good idea because you have to keep bending them as the pads wear parallel to the rim. Eventually when you replace with new pads, you end up with a 1/4" gap at the rear of the new ones. Bending them back will certainly snap them.

Your brakes SHOULD have adjustment for toe. The part that holds the brake-shoe post should be able to swivel when the rear nut is loosened. A lot of cantilevers have a conical rear to allow for swivel.

Worse case scenario, just bevel the rear of the pads yourself. Take the pads off and touch on a grinder for 1-2 seconds, or use a spinning disc on the shoes while they're mounted.
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Old 09-11-08, 05:59 AM   #24
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Bending brake arms? Rubbing with emery? Hmmm...Last I heard one could get pads that come with beveled washers to adjust for, or against, toe-in. You just twist and turn the washers to the amount you wish and tighten. One can experiment to see what reduces the squealing. Once it's gone, or at it's best - they tend to stay/become silent. At least to human ears. The neighbor's dog might chase you though.

<edit> Oh! The post above says about the same. Guess we posted just about the same minute! LOL.

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Old 09-11-08, 07:16 AM   #25
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Whenever my brakes start squealing, I know it's time to reapply (liberally) a coating of chicken fat to the pads, the rims, and just for good measure, the tires (acts as a preservative).

Keep in mind that this stuff is not available for retail purchase. If you don't want the hassle of rendering it yourself, you could make a friend in the bike assembly dept. at your local wally-mart. They go through this stuff by the gallon, though I don't think they use it on brake pads, just cables and bearings.

Actually I agree with most of what's been posted here. I know that you said your cantis don't provide a toe-in angle adjustment, and while that's possible, I think it's worth double-checking. The washers on the mounting bolt (the bolt with the hole through it for the pad stud) typically have cylindrical surfaces facing the canti arm (front and back of the arm). They look like regular flat washers at first glance, from the outside, but once you loosen things up it's easier to see that they have these curved surfaces. So, when you tweak your toe-in, you are moving the pad AND the mounting bolt.


I hope this helps.

Sheldon Brown has a number of pages dealing with cantis and their adjustment, including a very interesting discussion on the physics of different canti geometries and setup options.


Also, +1 to the Park link.
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