By Dennis Shortino, ALLDATA Editor Jeff Webster, ALLDATA Technical writerApril 2013
When a driver enters your shop complaining about a noise coming from the rear of the vehicle, what do you do first? The answer may depend on whether or not you have access to manufacturers’ repair information. OEM information can be the key to a fast diagnosis and a quick fix. This is especially true if you can access factory-issued technical service bulletins (TSBs). TSBs describe known issues and provide detailed instructions for repairing them. If you can look up TSBs, that’s the first thing you should do!
If a TSB has been published for a specific problem, you can save a great deal of time – and some money for the vehicle owner. The best ways to build good will and customer loyalty is to save them money and fix it right the first time!
The important thing to remember about TSBs is that they are issued by the manufacturer. There is no higher standard for repair information than the factory. And with today’s technologically advanced vehicles becoming more and more complex, guessing is not an option.
TSBs are not just for new vehicles. As you know, some issues arise only after the car or truck has put on some miles. Here, for example, is a TSB issued by Nissan® describing a known problem with brakes on some older models.
Clunk, Rattle, or Knocking Noise from Rear Brake Caliper
A Nissan® Maxima® or Sentra® owner may complain of a clunk, knock, or rattle noise from the rear of the vehicle while driving on rough road surfaces or over harsh bumps. The noise may be caused by the brake pads moving in the brake caliper housing. A replacement spring retainer kit, consisting of replacement pad retainers, inner and outer shims, and brake pads is available to address this problem. Follow the Repair Procedure in this Tech Tip to diagnose and repair this condition.
2001 Maxima built after 11/27/2000
2002 Maxima built before 9/20/2001
2001 Sentra SE® w/rear disc brakes – All VIN’s after 3/1/2001
2002 Sentra SE/R® & SPEC V® w/rear disc brakes – All VIN’s before 12/3/2001
Spring Retainer (SPR-RET) Kit, P/N 44080-4U027, QTY 1
Repair Procedure Review safety procedures in ALLDATA® Repair(SM) before beginning.
Test drive the vehicle on rough road surfaces or over harsh bumps to confirm that the symptoms exist.
NOTE: Lightly apply the parking brake while the incident is occurring to verify if the noise is reduced or eliminated.
• If application of the parking brake does not reduce or eliminate the noise, this Tech Tip does NOT apply. Use other appropriate diagnostic procedures and service information to further investigate and diagnosis the source of the noise.
• If application of the parking brake reduces or eliminates the noise, proceed to Step 2.
Remove the rear wheels starting with the left rear:
Remove the brake caliper assembly pin bolts (Figure 1).
Loosen the parking brake cable by removing the parking brake cable bolt (Figure 2).
Remove the brake caliper assembly to gain access to the brake pad, shim, and pad retainer.
WARNING: DO NOT allow the brake caliper assembly to hang from the brake hose. Use a piece of wire to hang the caliper from the rear coil spring.
Remove the left brake pad, shim and pad retainer.
Use brake cleaner to remove the old PBC (Poly Butyl Cuprysil) grease and/or brake dust from the “torque member” (Figure 3).
Install a replacement pad retainer.
• First, remove the red plastic tabs from one of the replacement pad retainers in the SPR-RET kit (Figure 4). See the Parts Information section
Repeat Step 8 for the other replacement pad retainer.
Install inner and outer brake pads, outer shim, and new inner shim from the SPR-RET Kit.
• Use suitable grease between the brake pad and shim, and between the shim and piston to reduce potential noise. Use it sparingly. DO NOT GET ANY GREASE ON THE BRAKE PAD “FRICTION” SURFACES.
• Be sure to put the inner and outer shims in the correct location (Figure 5).
Carefully push the piston back into the brake caliper body while gently turning the piston clockwise.
WARNING: DO NOT try to force the piston back into the brake caliper. Caliper damage may result.
Reinstall the brake caliper assembly to its original location.
Reattach the left upper and lower caliper assembly pin bolts. Torque the bolts to proper torque specifications – 16-23 ft-lb (22-31 N-m, 2.2-3.2 Kg-m).
Reinstall the parking brake cable bolt.
Repeat Steps 3 through 14 for the right rear brake.
Reinstall the rear wheels.
NOTE: When re-installing the wheels, evenly torque the wheel lug nuts to the proper torque specification:
Do not tighten the wheel lug nuts with an air impact driver.
Repeat Step 1 to test drive the vehicle and verify the noise is no longer present.
For more information on OE repair information, please visit www.alldata.com.
NOTE: This Repair/Service Procedure is excerpted from a Technical Service Bulletin published by the vehicle manufacturer, and is intended for use by trained, professional technicians with the knowledge, tools and equipment to do the job properly and safely. It is recommended that this procedure not be performed by “do-it-yourselfers.”
Dennis Shortino has over 32 years of experience as an auto technician / shop manager and 9 years as an auto instructor and contract trainer. Dennis has written for Check Chart’s college level auto repair text books and ASE study guides. He’s an ASE Master & Advanced Engine Performance Technician and is certified by the California Bureau of Automotive Repair as a Master Trainer. He has been with ALLDATA for 9 years as an Editor.