Can't get my brakes to stop squealing no matter what
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  1. #1

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    Unhappy Can't get my brakes to stop squealing no matter what

    Help! The noise is horrible. Screech! Schreech! Screeeeeeeech! Every time I try to stop I get a terribly squeaky noise when the brake pads hit the rim. I've tried everything. I've scrubbed the rims clean and they are VERY clean now. I've even filed down the pads a bit to get even the tiniest hint of dirt, oil, or grime off of there. The brakes pads are totally clean.

    Still, I get that brake squeal. What else can I do?

  2. #2
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    Toe-in?

    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    Help! The noise is horrible. Screech! Schreech! Screeeeeeeech! Every time I try to stop I get a terribly squeaky noise when the brake pads hit the rim. I've tried everything. I've scrubbed the rims clean and they are VERY clean now. I've even filed down the pads a bit to get even the tiniest hint of dirt, oil, or grime off of there. The brakes pads are totally clean.

    Still, I get that brake squeal. What else can I do?
    The standard fix for brake squeal is to properly toe in the brake pads. The rear of the pad should be about a double credit card thickness away from the rim when the front of the pad just touches the rim.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kerry Irons
    The standard fix for brake squeal is to properly toe in the brake pads. The rear of the pad should be about a double credit card thickness away from the rim when the front of the pad just touches the rim.

    I thought you want the brake pads to hit perfectly on the rim. Perfectly square. I have another bike and the brake pads hit perfectly on the rim, no toe-in, and it doesn't squeak. Could there be another reason? And if I do have to do the toe-in, what kind of tool do I need?

  4. #4
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    Question More details please

    There is not nearly enough information to answer your question in any more detail than Kerry already has. Please let us know:
    1. What type of brakes, make model?
    2. What type of pads, make & model?
    3. What type of bike, make & model?
    4. What type of fork, make & model?
    5. What type of rims, make & model?
    6. Is the problem with both front and back, or just one?

    Armed with this detail it may be possible for the community to offer more specific suggestions.
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  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Stogaguy
    There is not nearly enough information to answer your question in any more detail than Kerry already has. Please let us know:
    1. What type of brakes, make model?
    2. What type of pads, make & model?
    3. What type of bike, make & model?
    4. What type of fork, make & model?
    5. What type of rims, make & model?
    6. Is the problem with both front and back, or just one?

    Armed with this detail it may be possible for the community to offer more specific suggestions.


    Sorry. This is for an old Trek commuter bike and it has a rigid steel fork. The rims are silver Alexa rims that aren't anondized. I have some linear V-brakes on there. It's a generic tektro brand. The pads are tektro also. And I'm having the squeaking on both the front and rear.

    I looked on Park Tools website and it appears that they are no longer making their toe-in tool, but I have found several places online that sell them. Still, I'm not convinced that it's a toe-in problem. If toe-in was such a big deal, then why wouldn't Park still make the tool?

  6. #6
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    Change pads

    Thank you for the additional details.

    Park probably does not make the toe-in tool because better modern brake pads have orbital washers that allow the toe-in adjustment without physically bending the brake arm (AKA "the old fashioned way").

    I would change to modern high quality pads like Kool Stop with orbital washers. Your LBS can help you determine if this is possible and , if so, exactly which model of Kool Stops you need. Short of that, try to adjust the toe-in with a large adjustable wrench; the really old fashioned way. While this sounds like a crude approach (and it is) it was standard operating procedure back in the day.
    Last edited by Stogaguy; 06-18-2008 at 09:15 PM.
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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    I thought you want the brake pads to hit perfectly on the rim. Perfectly square. I have another bike and the brake pads hit perfectly on the rim, no toe-in, and it doesn't squeak. Could there be another reason? And if I do have to do the toe-in, what kind of tool do I need?
    You can use this template thingamajig made by Taxc, or just use plain old bits of cardboard.

    Originally posted by thatsmybush:
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  8. #8
    duh...
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    Sorry. This is for an old Trek commuter bike and it has a rigid steel fork. The rims are silver Alexa rims that aren't anondized. I have some linear V-brakes on there. It's a generic tektro brand. The pads are tektro also. And I'm having the squeaking on both the front and rear.

    I looked on Park Tools website and it appears that they are no longer making their toe-in tool, but I have found several places online that sell them. Still, I'm not convinced that it's a toe-in problem. If toe-in was such a big deal, then why wouldn't Park still make the tool?


    you don't need a toe-in tool... if you need something, put a piece of cardboard, layers of tape, whatever between the heel of the pads and rim

  9. #9
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    Try different pads...

  10. #10
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    +1

    Quote Originally Posted by Dinosaur
    Try different pads...
    Tektro pads are not too good to start with (the brakes otherwise are a good value), and if yours are old as well, they're gonna be even worse. Some Koolstop salmon pads will undoubtedly fix you up -- but toe them in properly, as others have noted, and they'll work even better.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by rogger
    You can use this template thingamajig made by Taxc, or just use plain old bits of cardboard.



    That's a pretty neat looking tool. I've never seen anything like it. What's it called? And who sells them?

    You know, about these conical washer things. They are just a pain in the butt. Every time you tighten the nut to fasten the brake pad securely on the brake, the conical washer will invariably slip a little bit and not be in the position you wanted them. I hope that I'm understandable. Anyone have a good method to deal with this?

  12. #12
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    easy

    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    You know, about these conical washer things. They are just a pain in the butt. Every time you tighten the nut to fasten the brake pad securely on the brake, the conical washer will invariably slip a little bit and not be in the position you wanted them. I hope that I'm understandable. Anyone have a good method to deal with this?

    1. adjust cable length and tighten pinch bolt.

    2. with the brake-shoe nuts a little loose, get the pads in the right position on the rims. Use some kind of a spacer (e.g., a bit of thin cardboard) at the back of the pad to get the toe-in angle.

    3. Squeeze the brake lever hard, and hold the lever, to keep the pads firmly in place, while you tighten the nuts.

    Done. IME, the nuts with the conical washers don't slip any easier than the conventional ones, which can rotate when you're trying to tighten them.

  13. #13
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    that does look like a neat tool. It is always a PITA trying to get pads to toe in correctly for those of us with only two tentacles.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by JCavilia
    1. adjust cable length and tighten pinch bolt.

    2. with the brake-shoe nuts a little loose, get the pads in the right position on the rims. Use some kind of a spacer (e.g., a bit of thin cardboard) at the back of the pad to get the toe-in angle.

    3. Squeeze the brake lever hard, and hold the lever, to keep the pads firmly in place, while you tighten the nuts.

    Done. IME, the nuts with the conical washers don't slip any easier than the conventional ones, which can rotate when you're trying to tighten them.


    JCav, sounds like a good method. Do you use a 4th hand brake tool? I'm having a hard time getting all the slack out of the cable with how clumsy I am.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. What about the brake adjusting barrel? Before I adjust the cable length and tighten the pinch bolt, how should I have the adjusting barrel? Should I have it open all the way or closed all the way?

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    JCav, sounds like a good method. Do you use a 4th hand brake tool? I'm having a hard time getting all the slack out of the cable with how clumsy I am.

    Oh yeah, I forgot. What about the brake adjusting barrel? Before I adjust the cable length and tighten the pinch bolt, how should I have the adjusting barrel? Should I have it open all the way or closed all the way?
    I don't have a 4th hand; never seemed to need one. If I pull the caliper closed tight with a 3d hand tool (or an old inner tube tied around it -- works just as well), I don't have any problem pulling the cable reasonably tight with one hand while tightening the pinch bolt with the other. I set the barrel adjuster somewhere near the middle before fixing the cable -- that way I have some adjustment either way.

  16. #16
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    Leather Toe Strap

    I use a leather toe strap wrapped around the bars and brake lever to pull the shoes against the rim.
    The avatar is not me; just cool and suitably old skool.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbedwire
    That's a pretty neat looking tool. I've never seen anything like it. What's it called? And who sells them?

    You know, about these conical washer things. They are just a pain in the butt. Every time you tighten the nut to fasten the brake pad securely on the brake, the conical washer will invariably slip a little bit and not be in the position you wanted them. I hope that I'm understandable. Anyone have a good method to deal with this?
    http://www.probikekit.com/display.php?code=T0064
    Originally posted by thatsmybush:
    I can only speak for my self, but if Fergie wanted to rub her lovely lady lumps on me, I could play the role of "human stripper pole."

  18. #18
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    Ugh. The proper term is "toe out." If you toe-in the brakes, the front part hits before the rear and causes chatter and squealing.

  19. #19
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    Ugh

    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    Ugh. The proper term is "toe out." If you toe-in the brakes, the front part hits before the rear and causes chatter and squealing.
    No, you got it backwards buddy. You want toe-in.

  20. #20
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    toe strap

    Quote Originally Posted by Stogaguy
    I use a leather toe strap wrapped around the bars and brake lever to pull the shoes against the rim.

    that's fine for old codgers like us, who know what leather toe straps are, and have some lying around ;-) The old-tube thing works well, too.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by ssing20
    No, you got it backwards buddy. You want toe-in.
    Correctimundo!
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

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