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Squealing Ultegra disc brakes

mlanmlan Posts: 15
edited October 2018 in Workshop
Hi all,

I've been having an ongoing issue with extremely noisy and ineffective brakes.

I got the bike in December and rode through the winter with no issues what so ever. It then came to May where I tried to take the pads out to replace them, only to discover the pins holding the pads in place were seized. I took the bike to the bike shop where they drilled out the pins, and replaced the pads. After this I had a couple of silent rides before the brakes started squealing (in the dry) and the front especially became fairly ineffective at stopping. I went back to the bike shop where they de-glazed the pads however this didn't stop it.

By this point I moved and so went to the new local bike shop. They took one look and said that my discs and pads were contaminated and needed a good clean. I went away and used some disc brake cleaner and replaced the pads. I did one ride and then at the start of the second ride the noise was back.

My next move was to replace the discs since I assumed they were't clean enough even after the deep clean. With new pads and new discs after one ride with the brakes working perfectly, the noise was back at the start of the second.

Frustration was getting the better of me and everything I had found online seemed to say they were contaminated.

I went back to the bike shop and told them to do whatever it takes to fix it. They cleaned the calipers and put on new disc and pads but it was exactly the same story - first ride is fine, second ride noisy.

After even more searching I found an article saying that road disc brakes need to be carefully bedded in. Up until this point I had assumed that the first couple of rides bed them in as I go (as had been the case with all other bikes, and with this one when I got it). I sanded off the pads a bit and wiped down the discs and followed a bedding in process of getting up to speed and then gradually slowing to a walking pace. After repeating this many times the noise went away and the brakes appeared to be working perfectly. However after a couple hours I went to check and low and behold the noise and ineffectiveness was back...

By this point I was stumped:
- Two sets of new rotors and pads surely wouldn't be contaminated to that extreme on a single ride, and why would the noise develop over night rather than at the moment of contamination?
- As for bedding in I didn't do a proper bedding in when I first got the bike and having asked the LBS they said it shouldn't be a problem.
- The other thought was the drilling could have caused a leak, however the LBS couldn't find anything and in the 5 months since then I haven't had a loss of pressure from the hydraulics.
- A loose bolt or mounting plate also doesn't seem to be the issue, why would the noise only start on ride two, and go away after my bedding in attempt?

Sorry for the long post but both the LBS and I are stumped so was wondering if anyone had experience/suggestions?

Some more technical spec:
Bike: Canyon Ultimate SL Disc 8.0
Brakes: Shimano Ultegra BR-R8070
The discs and pads I've been using are the ICE rotors and the road pads with the little plastic fins on.

Thanks in advance!
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Posts

  • DeVlaeminckDeVlaeminck Posts: 5,666
    Assuming you don't spray lube or some kind of cleaning product on the bike?

    Do you drag the brakes on descents because that can glaze the pads.
    AFC Mercia women - sign for us
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    Thanks for the reply!

    Definitely no lube or cleaning product on them - the most recent set of rotors I didn't re-lube the chain or clean the bike before using.

    I don't consciously drag the brakes on descents, and where I live is fairly flat. Also given the brakes were fine for the first 5 months I can't see why they would start glazing now.

    The fact the noise seems to develop once the brakes cool down (i.e. left over night) and only go temporarily after working hard to heat them up during my attempted bedding in does seem to suggest some kind of glazing is happening.
  • mamil314mamil314 Posts: 1,103
    Pad glazing is caused by prolonged and weak braking. Smash those brakes before turns and let them cool between. This is the way to bed them in, too. Also, organic pads tend to squeal less than metallic ones
  • david7mdavid7m Posts: 635
    Take the pads out, remember which way they were otherwise you'll need to bed them again, work in washing liquid and rinse. For the discs, I use Pagid Brake Cleaner. Dont wash the bike with car shampoos as they normally contain products to enhance the shine of paint work which isnt good for brake surfaces.
    Dave
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    mamil314 wrote:
    Pad glazing is caused by prolonged and weak braking. Smash those brakes before turns and let them cool between. This is the way to bed them in, too. Also, organic pads tend to squeal less than metallic ones

    Would you suggest sanding the pads a bit, then finding a road to get up to speed on then slamming on the brakes a few times?

    Given they were quiet immediately after my past attempt, but after a few hours left alone became noisy again would the same thing happen again?
  • david7mdavid7m Posts: 635
    Do you keep putting same brand and compound in? If so, how about trying a different brand as it seems odd they go noisy when they havent been contaminated.
    Dave
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    I've been using the Shimano pads and discs, identical to the ones supplied with the bike. They definitely can't be contaminated given two brand new sets (pads and discs) did the same thing after one ride. Does anyone know if Canyon specifically bed in the pads before they send them, as this is the only difference I can think of between new from them and new from the LBS?
  • My 105 discs have always squealed. Usually if I don't totally dry them off after a wet ride. They can also squeal if the get wet during a ride.
    I live with it, but as I do a lot of riding on narrow country lanes a bit of squeal is useful as a warning to pedestrians!!!
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    The problem with my squeal is that it's not only absolutely ear-splitting (warns not just those on the road but also the entire town) but also that the brakes feel like they have no bite. My current lean is that it's a case of glazed pads but given that after a specific de-glazing ride the noise was back after a couple hours I'm stumped!
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    Squealing might indicate vibration. Are the caliper mounting bolts tight? Is the piston:pad interface clean and dry? Do the pistons move in and out smoothly?
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,868
    My 105 discs have always squealed. Usually if I don't totally dry them off after a wet ride. They can also squeal if the get wet during a ride.
    I live with it, but as I do a lot of riding on narrow country lanes a bit of squeal is useful as a warning to pedestrians!!!

    I was going to say, having had discs on mtb and road for years, some bikes squeal and others don't, I just ignore it. The squealing is sometimes caused by pads vibrating in the calipers, some people suggest putting a very small amount of copper grease on the back of the pads between the piston and the pad but I haven't tried it and would hate for it to somehow contaminate the pad in use. What is concerning is that you say they are losing power rather than just noise? Might be piston seals leaking very slightly?
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    svetty wrote:
    Squealing might indicate vibration. Are the caliper mounting bolts tight? Is the piston:pad interface clean and dry? Do the pistons move in and out smoothly?

    Calipers were checked and cleaned by LBS before most recent set of pads were fitted. We discussed vibration but that doesn't seem to explain why they would be silent for the first ride, or at the end of the 'bedding in ride' - I would have thought the noise would be there from the beginning if it was vibration?
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    It's a combination of both - the squeal isn't a wet brake squeal like I've had with wet mountain bike brakes, it's a real howl. As for the power, with the front brake fully on I can (very noisily) push the wheel around which means when actually riding its fairly ineffective.

    The brakes don't feel spongy at all, and I would have thought if stuff can leak out then air would have also leaked in?
  • david7mdavid7m Posts: 635
    They sound absolutely shite if you can move it by hand, and I wouldnt use it on the road until its fixed.
    Do you have any friends/clubs locally where you can compare to others with same set up? Maybe switch some parts to isolate.
    Dave
  • cougiecougie Posts: 22,512
    I thought discs were meant to be progress ?

    They sound like a nightmare.
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,868
    cougie wrote:
    I thought discs were meant to be progress ?

    They sound like a nightmare.

    They are progress.
  • slowbikeslowbike Posts: 8,477
    haydenm wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    I thought discs were meant to be progress ?

    They sound like a nightmare.

    They are progress.
    Which direction?! ;)
  • haydenmhaydenm Posts: 2,868
    slowbike wrote:
    haydenm wrote:
    cougie wrote:
    I thought discs were meant to be progress ?

    They sound like a nightmare.

    They are progress.
    Which direction?! ;)

    You make much better progress into the floor when you lock up the front wheel... :lol:
  • KajjalKajjal Posts: 3,404
    Your problem sounds like contamination of the pads and rotors.

    To remove the contamination you need to use disc brake cleaner and white kitchen roll. Clean the whole of the affected rotor until the white kitchen roll stays white. This can take a few attempts and also don't forget the thin edge on the top of the rotor. The pads just need to go in the bin and be replaced by new ones. Once oil etc. soaks into pads you are unlikely to win by cleaning them. Before fitting the pads carefully clean the brake calliper inside and out with disc brake cleaner to remove any trapped oily muck and gunk. Again be thorough as this can take a while.

    Likely causes of contamination are too much oil on the drivetrain (It needs to have very little oil on it, wipe all excess off with kitchen roll.), a dirty gunked up drive train, riding through something like oil, getting some kind of oily muck into the calliper so it just contaminates whatever you do until the calliper is cleaned out or when cleaning / maintaining the bike getting oil on the rotor or calliper.

    I have three bikes with disc brakes and the main cause of contamination was too much oil on the chain. Since then they have all been fine, with my newest bike never having had any problems.
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    Kajjal wrote:
    Your problem sounds like contamination of the pads and rotors.

    I replaced the rotors and pads the first time because I thought this was the case, and even after using disc cleaner I hadn't got them clean enough. However given that both those and the third set behaved in exactly the same way can't imagine its contamination. Also, with new pads/rotors the noise doesn't begin mid ride, but rather overnight between rides, whereas if they got contaminated during a ride I would have thought the noise would begin then.

    As for an oily drive chain, during the past winter I used wet lube, and put the discs through much worse conditions (gritty roads, more rain to splash oil up etc) and had no problems at all. With the new discs I have been using dry lube which forms more of a waxy, dry coating than a wet oily one and both the pre and post noise rides have been completely dry so nothing splashing from the road. Brake caliper was cleaned by the LBS before the most recent fitting so there isn't leftover muck in them, and bike has been neither washed nor re-lubed since.
  • On my cars, I put Copper grease on the backs of the pads to stop squealing. I wouldn’t advise it on a bicycle, because the likelyhood of the copper grease ending up on the rotor / pad material is greater.
  • Where is the bike stored overnight, between rides?
  • imposter2.0imposter2.0 Posts: 10,854
    On my cars, I put Copper grease on the backs of the pads to stop squealing. I wouldn’t advise it on a bicycle, because the likelyhood of the copper grease ending up on the rotor / pad material is greater.

    How would that stop the squealing, Nick?
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    Where is the bike stored overnight, between rides?

    Bike has been stored in a couple places. Where it was when I first got it and where it is now is in a garage. There is definitely nothing dripping on it, and the garage is weather tight. It has also been stored inside a house (nowhere near radiators etc). In both places it had been stored with no issues before the initial pad change, but has also been stored in both places during the noisy brake era i.e. storage didn't change when the noise began.
  • dabberdabber Posts: 1,575
    The only real change since the first pad replacement seems to have been the necessity of drilling out the pins.... I wonder if the holes that the pins go through have been enlarged a little and the pins now have some movement that wasn't there before. Not sure why that would cause the noise but it may all be connected????
    “You may think that; I couldn’t possibly comment!”

    Wilier Cento Uno SR/Wilier Mortirolo/Giant Defy 3/Specialized Roubaix Comp/Calibre Bossnut
  • Vino'sGhostVino'sGhost Posts: 4,320
    Disc brakes are progress im just not sure what direction.

    Heavier negative
    Big Aero penalty negative
    noisy and fiddly negative
    new tools positive
    the best ones can brake as well as the best rim brakes positive
    environmentally damaging negative
    style beauty is in the eye of the beholder neutral
    big marketing push to change systems and upgrade a lifetime of kit for no real world benifit NEGATIVE

    i just dont think they add much to road bikes and def detract in some areas.

    i bought one 6 months ago to see what the fuss was about i honestly think its no better. Yes you can do brake tests and show shorter stopping distances but those are tests that dont transpose exactly onto the real riding i do. On the other hand if i was building a tourer where responsive speed and fun was less important i can see how they might be useful in stopping extra weight.

    each to their own but disc brakes are a bit like the trans movement, any dissent is to be crushed.

    they provide nothing like the performance benefit that mountain bike V brakes v hydraulic discs provided
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    dabber wrote:
    The only real change since the first pad replacement seems to have been the necessity of drilling out the pins.... I wonder if the holes that the pins go through have been enlarged a little and the pins now have some movement that wasn't there before. Not sure why that would cause the noise but it may all be connected????

    This is where I'm at with the bike shop - the drilling was done well so the thread is still in there, but the screw pins were replaced with split pins. New screw pins have been ordered so will see if they make a difference. Like you say, it doesn't seem an obvious issue but getting them as close to the original working brakes as possible can't be a bad thing!
  • mlanmlan Posts: 15
    Disc brakes are progress im just not sure what direction.

    Coming from a mountain biking side, and with my first 'road' bike being an old cross bike with discs I didn't think twice about it!

    I think it's a bit like the old wheel size debate on mountain bikes - each has it's own pros and cons.

    My view is that if you have time to worry about it then you're not riding enough!
  • n1ckstern1ckster Posts: 158
    Definitely contaminated pads and/or discs. In my experience, no amount of liquid or aerossol cleaner will clean the components thoroughly enough.

    I suffered with the same symptoms the OP states; the howl when braking was embarrassingly loud.

    In the end, I cleaned the braking system in the traditional way using off the shelf brake cleaners as well as some fairy liquid on the pads, and then took a chefs blow torch to burn off any residual containments, (you need to remove the components, obvs).

    The bike now brakes in line with the expectations I had prior to owning a disc brake bike. Efficient and relatively silently.
  • svettysvetty Posts: 1,904
    As new pads and discs have been tried with no improvement I'm struggling to see how this is a contamination issue?
    FFS! Harden up and grow a pair :D
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