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Best way to fix warped rotors on 2004 Titan....

2611 Views 13 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  grndslm
Just bought this truck yesterday, and the first two things I want to do is hopefully get some rotors that stop the steering wheel from shaking while baking... and also to flush the differential with synthetic oil, but the truck already had 260k miles, so I'm thinking of the differential isn't shot yet, then it can't be all that bad.

But anyway... What are the best rotors to put on that will prevent future warping? Are there any other components I should be changing or modifying (besides brake pads)?? Perhaps some new calipers would be in line to prevent future warped brakes??

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Due to the mileage you have, I'd be real careful spending my money. Powerstop is good stuff, EBC..good. Hawke...good. I'd be after value, bang for the buck rather than the cool factor of the best and greatest parts (spelled more 'expensive').

Due to the miles your dealing could be much more than brake rotors causing your steering wheel wiggle. First...if the steering wheel is shaking but the foot pedal isn't pulsing, then there's more going on than rotors..but to be sure....go to Harbor Frt and get a dial indicator and an indicator stand. Jack the truck up and put the indicator set up so that you're checking each rotor, one at a time for run-out. More than 5 thou is a warp.


Go for a ride and run in the pads so they're set to the rotors. There should be NO flutter sensation in the brake pedal. Once you've done that...if you still have wiggle....control arm bushings are most like likely the culprit. Possibly upper ball too. If so..replace the whole arm with new bits pre-installed.
Thank you for the tips!!

I am definitely not paying $10 per rotor to have them surfaced when I could just buy them outright with a discount. :)

My whole background for this post is reading that the 2004 Titans had two MAJOR problems:
(1) Rear ends would fail quick, hence, the reason for them adding fins and synthetic oil to the rear diff.
(2) Warped rotors. I have no idea why they fail, but warped rotors sounds right. Is just using ANY aftermarket rotor better than what they offered in 2004. I have no idea. That's why I'm here. When applying the brakes hard... the steering wheel bounces left to right. That's all I know so far. But these can't be original brakes, so clearly there is some other problem... perhaps the calipers, like you were saying, or even something else. Hmm...... I could rebuild the calipers while I've got it apart, you are right. :)


As for the rest of the truck, I just fixed the tailgate yesterday and haven't had a chance to mess with it today.

Only other real problem with the truck is that it's got Sharpie markings on the passenger door. ::crying::

Oh yea, and the coolant lines look very juicy on the outside, but not too wet... because there's nothing really leaking. Looks like there could be some coolant issues tho. That's my real #1 problem, I don't really know how to "verify" a coolant system is good.

This thing also has a Service Engine Soon (SES) light on, but I couldn't figure out how to get the timing right with the pedal to find out why it's on and how to disable it.

But the wonderful thing about the truck is that nothing appears to be leaking from the rear end. There don't seem to be any [other] major leaks, really. A little from the valve cover, perhaps. But definitely nothing major looking at all. I'm not a REAL pro. But I've seen several vehicles to know when I got a deal. And I picked this thing up for $2500. Not the best deal considering the cosmetic condition (dent in almost every panel, door, etc.), but it's not possible to get many trucks for that price... much less an '04 Titan. :devil:

I think I did alright, but only time will tell. Anyway... thanks again, Nick!
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For the SES, go to an auto parts store. They'll pull the code for free.
Isn't the SES light different from the Check Engine light??
I don't think the failing rotors on the early models was an inherent design flaw in the drivetrain, it was simply lousy rotors. I'm using Bosch rotors and pads and they work well. No, or low, brake dust issues and the stopping is far better than OEM. I did not replace calipers. In your case, I would be replacing the calipers, wheel bearing/hub assembly along with the rotors and pads. I'm seeing a pattern here in the forum on the bearings and it's starting to look like if you're replacing rotors then the wheel bearing aren't far behind.
Doh.. I forgot to check the wheel bearings while I had it up.

But I think the wheel could have been shaking while braking because all but one of the lug nuts were all stripped out and 4 of the studs were stripped, broken, or missing. But I replaced the brakes and rotors anyway...

Definitely not shaking anymore, but the brakes do feel spongy now. Will have to bleed the brakes soon and go from there. Sequence is back right, back left, front right, front left.... Correct?
Bleeding Brake System EFS003O4
While bleeding, pay attention to master cylinder fluid level.
1. Turn ignition switch OFF and disconnect ABS actuator and electric unit (control unit) connector or battery
negative cable.
2. Connect a vinyl tube to the rear right bleed valve.
3. Fully depress brake pedal 4 to 5 times.
4. With brake pedal depressed, loosen bleed valve to let the air out, and then tighten it immediately.
5. Repeat steps 3, 4 until no more air comes out.
6. Tighten bleed valve to the specified torque. 69 ft lbs.
7. Repeat steps 2 through 6, with master cylinder reservoir tank filled at least half way, bleeding air in order
from the front left, rear left, and front right bleed valves.

Hmmm.. so it's back right, front left, back left, front right. Ok then...
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I thought I was going to break the threads off those bleeder valves. But I was just trying with the open end of the wrench at first. Silly me...

I was doing the "one man bleeder" method. Was going great for the first two valves. Then I had a mishap with the left rear bleeder valve. The hole was clogged, so I had to take it off. I'm sure I introduced some air into the system.... but I kept going until I didn't see any bubbles in the clear tubing. Then my neighbor came over on the very last one and I think was messing with the valve when I didn't ask him to. So I'm not sure if it was him or not, but it was pumping just fine and then it got hard. So not sure if it was just clogged, or neighbor hadn't heard of one man method?

And now I'm not sure, but I think the brakes are spongier now. Not a whole lot, perhaps?? I really don't remember how the sponginess compares to yesterday... but I think there could be some improvements. :(
I bled the brakes one more time and they finally fell normal today. Didn't see any bubbles in the system, really... But there was still a little of the dirty fluid coming out of the last front caliper. Perhaps that old fluid made all the difference.

Whatever it was... On to the next problem -- how to turn the Service Engine Soon light off!
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