Changing the rear rotors on my Acura 1.7EL

Tue Apr 3 0:26:17 2007 EDT (-0400 GMT)

Rusty rotorThere isn’t much that distinguishes my car from a Honda Civic, but the rear disc brakes is one thing (well, technically two things) that distinguish my car from the average 2001 Civic. At 117,225 Km my rear rotors were covered with rust and made a grinding noise during low speed breaking. I decided that this spring when I changed my snow tires for summer tires a full brake job was in order, but that’s not cheap and I’m saving for a wedding. Thus I decided to do this myself, I have a Honda Civic Haynes’ Guide (apparently the US version had 4 wheel discs) and there are very few complications to the procedure – except rust!

What I wanted to blog about was the parts themselves. Acura had the rotors in stock and were willing to sell them to me – for $160 each! I checked with Canadian Tire and they didn’t have rear rotors for the Acura EL or the Canadian made Honda Civic, but they did have rear rotors for the Swindon UK build Civic SIR for $19.00! This got me curious.

New rotorI criss-crossed St. Catharines and found Motorcade Auto Parts – they were very apologetic that they only had their “Premium” rotors in stock at $88.57 a piece – compared to $160 from Acura I was very happy. That’s the main reason why I wanted to make this blog posting, the rotors are Motorcade part AIM 31406 – don’t buy the Acura rotors!

Canadian Tire had break pads for the EL, I opted for the Monroe ceramics given that I was going to “save” the four hours of labour I splurged for high-end pads – the pads were about $80 for each end (front and rear).

Where we (my father and I in my parents’ garage listening to a lot of CBC and Neil Young) went wrong was a combination of hand tools and 6 years and 117,225 Km of rust. To rotors two screws where rusted on and required an impact tool, and the bolts that hold the callipers on where sealed on with rust as well. We were able to get the rotors off by buying the last “Impact screwdriver” in Markham. [An Impact Screwdriver is a screwdriver that you hit with a hammer and the force is driven into the screw, but the head also rotates just a little bit – simulating the action you’d get on an expensive air-impact gun – the Impact Screwdriver was a $42 (with the tax etc.) and is apparently being discontinued by Canadian Tire]

Today I slipped a mechanic $20 to break loose each set of two bolts on the remaining callipers and he tightened them back up with hand tools. This weekend when I finish replacing that one remaining rotor and those other pads I’ll write up how this is done – but the bottom line is that this is not a difficult job if you have impact tools or an EL with < 20,00 KM on it, but if you don't have a impact tools or if your car's seen a lot of the road you may want to invest in the tools or the world's greatest penetrating oil. One finished wheel

UPDATE: After breaking one of my father’s ratchets cranking on the front-right calliper’s top built I decided to go back to see Zar at Canadian Tire. I got the front rotors turned and the front pads changed for $100, which wasn’t that bad. My buddy Zar said he had to use a torch on the screws that held the rotors on and of course an impact gun on the bolts. He said “you probably couldn’t have done it in your driveway Villeneuve” Which made me feel good on two counts.

One Response to “Changing the rear rotors on my Acura 1.7EL”

  1. iMatt :: The Blog of Matt Clare » Blog Archive » Changing the front rotors on my acura 1.7el Says:

    […] may recall that in April I changed the rear rotors on my Acura 1.7 (”The Super Civic”). The Acura 1.7 EL and the American Civic Si are the only two […]