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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Maybe I'm speaking too soon. Darn. Watch. I'll drive it tomorrow and it'll start making noises. But anyway.

I think NickD has finally solved the mystery of my brake noises. He mentioned something about parking brake and rear brakes and eureka. I never used my parking brake. Then I looked it up. Several sources say the same thing:

Troubleshooting

Adjust Caliper Parking Brakes

The GM rear caliper with integral parking brake is self-adjusting when you use the parking brake. As the pads wear it will click to the next stop, but they do not always work and they will not work if you do not use your parking brake
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well. I'll be damned. After a month and a half of multiple visits to my dealer and being told everything was fine, I came back home from my vacation. Got inside my Cruze. Pumped that E Brake stick like 40+ times. Have been using the E Brake every time I park the car religiously, and guess what?

day after. 1 click. Not loud. Some humming noise but muffled. Rear discs started getting a nice pad coating. Turning darker gray.

Couple of days after that. 0 clicks. Maybe 1 humming. Very brief instead of a long dragging sound.

Now, the count 5 days later, 0 clicks. 0 humming noises.

Ill report back next week. I start working. If this works, ill be writing someone to put this information in the Cruze manual. I know it is partly my fault (if that was the issue), but they put warnings and labels for every stupid thing nowadays. Using the parking brake to adjust the rear calipers is something that should be in the manual.

The dealer mechanics should've asked me. Maybe they themselves don't know this.
 

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Looks promising. We know the North American Cruzen have had a history of rear drums not being adjusted properly at the factory. In fact, GM has recently acknowledged this as a problem. It's possible other plants are having the same problem.
 

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I religiously use my parking brake in both my MT and AT vehicles. Motorhome and 88 Supra are friendly, let me park in neutral and both have AT's. But even when forced to leave it in park, still use the parking brake, a lot of drivetrain damage can be done if somebody bumps you.

Either can break a tooth in a manual transmission, or the parking brake pawl in an automatic. To compound this issue, cast iron transmission cases are no longer used, all aluminum today, and quite thin.

Don't have problems with self adjusting drum brakes either, always back up from my driveway with a rather steep decline. Have to use the brakes in reverse, have to drive at least 3 mph to get sufficient force for the drum self adjusters to work. With my driveway, have to hit the brakes at least three times.

Also when doing rear drum brakes, too lazy to use a manual adjusting tool. Just roll backwards on my driveway, and keep on tapping on the brake pedal. Can feel the pedal come up and become harder. This on only saves me time, but also assures me that the self-adjusters are working properly.

With my towing vehicle loading a 3,000 pound boat, make darn sure my parking brake is good up those steep inclines. That really can stress your MT gears or AT pawl.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
All Cruze here come with 4 disc. Now they've upgraded to ventilated in front and solid in the back. used to be solid all around. But still, no drum. The Sonic has Drum brakes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 · (Edited)
Well. The clacks went away the day after I pumped the parking brake. I still had pad buzz/humming. I don't think those were related, or maybe I glazed the pad or the rotor because my calipers weren't adjusted.

Who knows. Anyway I went back to the place that changed my brakes. They resurfaced the rotors, took out the pads. Cleaned those and balanced the tires for free.

I think they sand a bit of the pad material down with fine sand paper and I guess it was water. Dirty job.

They resurfaced the rotors with this machine. They don't take them out. The machine is rolled over to the car, rotates the rotor and resurfaces it. Noisy work.

Im trying to find out why the right one took 3 times longer on the machine than the left one. Maybe they were uneven? Is that possible? Maybe the one that wasn't making noise was warped. Who knows.
 

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Time spent resurfacing rotors depends on how uneven the surface is, along with matching the rotor thicknesses on the same axle.
 

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Rotors have a minimum thickness stamped on the rotor. Typically the maximum one can turn a rotor is only a couple of millimeters. Seen guys at shop with a convention rotor turner advance the tool bit with a micrometer adjustment, touch the rotor with the tool bit, give it a quick turn, then walk away. Stupid!

Very particular with expensive rotors, like a couple hundred bucks each, tell a good machinist, only take off 4 mils from one side, 5 off the other. Mil is a unit of measurement in the USA for 0.001 inches.

One guy that didn't pay attention and exceeded the minimum thickness ended up giving me a new pair of rotors rather than going to small claims court. What's minimum thickness?

Surface rust on contacting regions of brake drums or rotors is a very common problem, and far worse when they spread road salt or if you live near a salt water body of water. Typically takes 2 or 3 stops to clean off that road salt.

Fired up my motorhome yesterday after sitting for three months, got brake squeal for the first two stops, then it was okay. That you have to learn to live with.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 · (Edited)
The Mechanics sat there with the machine. maybe the guy walked away a couple of times for a minute, but he was mostly sitting there with the machine. Sometimes I had 2 checking or working on it.

The machine has a digital screen with numbers on there. I guess they set the thickness on there. This place is for brakes, tires, oil changes and shocks. That's what they do all day long every day. They do a good job. I like them.

Anyway, after the pad sanding and rotor resurfacing, the noises are now totally gone of course.

It was that humming thing. Like a resonating vibration. I wonder what caused that. Glazed rotors? Pads? Who knows. Whatever it was, the resurfacing and pad cleaning fixed it. It didn't sound like anything serious. It was just loud and annoying because the car is like a sound chamber.

I still have post traumatic stress. I'm thinking in 2 weeks the noises will come back. What do I do then?

I don't know if all these noises are 1) because I wasn't using my parking brake and 2) the rotors are crap. This time the noise was only the right rear though.

If someone could say "the problem is _____" I would just buy other brand or a new one. It's all very strange. I've never had such noisy probelmatic brakes in my life.

Not sure if this is enough to swallow the loss and get another car. Doesn't seem like "real" issues. Just annoying issues. It's not like the car isn't working or anything.
 

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I have a 2011 cruze with 50+k miles on, stock brake pads, and rotors, and pads started squeaking. Still have 1/3rd of life on them.
Changed pads, did nothing to the rotors, they were in very good condition, no warping.
Forget about resurfacing. They will do it, even if it's not necessary.
Even if your rotor is mildly warped, braking mildly with ceramic brakes will take care of that for you in a few hundred miles.

Ceramic brakes brake better, but they also eat the discs more.
I would not replace the stock discs under 100k miles if you've never used them to panic brake (and basically brake mild most of the time).
I wouldn't resurface them either, unless there's sign of warping or damage, as it takes some of the lifespan away from the rotors.
 
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