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While I'm going to be taking my RL in to the shop about this issue (about 90k miles on it), over the past month or so the car shudders a bit (not much noise) just feeling through the steering wheel an car. I'm wondering if anyone has seen this before or knows what might be going on. 2011 Ridgeline has started to shudder when braking at high speed.
 

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Sounds like its about time for a drain and fill transmission service....
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Hmmm...I would not have guessed that. Thanks for the tip though. Do you know why the transmission would be causing this?
 

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Elk may have missed the part about braking in your title since you didn't mention it in your actual post. . .

You likely have deposits on your rotors causing uneven braking and a pulsing feeling at the pedal / wheel.

Probably easiest solution will be to install new pads and rotors all around. At 90k you are likely due for new rotors anyways. Quality aftermarket rotors and pads will be fine and cost much less than OEM. My EBC rotors and pads are performing great.

The calipers should also inspected, cleaned and the pins that they slide on should be lubed. New brake fluid too.

Here's my brake upgrade thread in case you are interested.

Good luck!
 

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Steering wheel shake only when braking comes from lateral movement of the calipers, creating movement it the knuckle/hub, which connect to the steering rods, on up to the steering wheel. Sometimes it's deposits on the rotor, but my GUESS is they're warped. The rotors need to be measured in order to verify whether they can be machined or not. If they've never been machined, I'd go that route, but again... it's a judgement call.
Using aftermarket rotors is a gamble, some are okay, some not so much. Best advise is don't go with the cheapest you can find.
 

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100% it's too much run out (warp) on the rotors. There is absolutely nothing wrong with aftermarket parts. I just bought a set of front rotors and pads from RockAuto for $120 shipped to my door. My current front rotors are original at 175k miles and the pads have been on there for a little over 7 years now. I think I've gotten my money's worth. I went with Durago black E-coated rotors and Wagner ThermoQuiet ceramic pads. I have this same setup on the front and rear of my wife's Highlander and the performance is great. Smooth, quiet, and confident stopping power. I put very similar Wagner rotors and the same TQ pads on the rear of my truck about 18 months ago, but would have no problem using the Durago rotors when those need replaced.

When looking at the differences in rotor quality between Durago, Wagner, AC Delco, Centric, Bosch, etc., you really aren't going to find all that much of a difference. The pads are where you want to buy some quality stuff. Cheapo semi-metallic pads will eat rotors and wear out fast. Good quality ceramic pads like the Wagners, Power Stop, or the OE Akebono's are a must.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thank you for this info. Actually too my RL back to the shop that I always use. Since they had done a brake job some recent time ago, they fixed the front rotors for free. All good now.
 

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What does "fixed the front rotors" mean? Did they turn them or replace them or ??. It's a good idea to provide details of what the problem was and how it was solved so the next guy with the same symptoms knows what worked for you.
 

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There is a minimum specification thickness for rotors. If they have never been turned/machined & are not badly scoured, turning them will give you the best result. Going to the minimum thickness doesn't leave much material for heat absorbsion. Techs decision. Occasionally new rotors will develop a a shimmy. It's perfectly normal to machine them. If they act up again miles later, it's time to look for a cause. #1. Poor quality/ cheap rotors. #2 Braking too hard, over heating the rotors. #3. Wheels are not being tightened correctly. I have found incorrect wheel lug tightening to be a common cause of a good/proper brake job gone bad.
How to use a torque wrench needs another thread....
 

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^^ Many shops that I've found won't turn rotors. Being that rotors are pretty inexpensive, it tends to make sense just to replace them rather than going through the process to turn them. Either way, you're getting a fresh braking surface. As far as the root cause of warped rotors, heat and hard braking do cause it but I'm convinced the main cause is uneven lug nut torque and time. If you have one lug at 125lb/ft, another at 85, another at 100, etc., those differences in tightness will eventually cause the rotor to start warping through hundreds or thousands of braking applications. This is typically done by lazy or inexperienced shop techs who just hammer on the lugs with an impact driver. My truck usually only has its wheels off once per year for inspection - maybe one or two other times for various reasons - and I'm usually the one taking them off. I have a cheapo torque wrench that I keep in the trunk specifically for torquing the lugs to the spec'd 94lb/ft. Even if its calibration is off and I'm torquing to 92 or 96lb/ft, the lugs are all still evenly tightened. If it comes back from the shop after inspection, the very first thing I do when I get it home is loosen and re-torque the lugs even though they say they use a torque wrench. I don't trust anyone else to ensure this very important thing is done properly but myself.
 
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Glad they fixed it for you, OP. My Ridge used to do this to me from nearly new. Actually, it was worst when braking lightly coming down steep grades out of the mountains. In my case, the rotors themselves were not warped. The issue was brake pad deposits as eurban had suggested earlier in the thread. Turning the rotors will fix both warps and deposits, so that alone doesn’t identify which the problem was. That’s not pertinent to you at this point, of course. I’m simply sharing the info for others’ use in the future.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Thanks again for the info above. All of those made me realize that I really didn't know what my shop did to fix my problem because the fixed it for free as a warranty repair and I didn't get the usual detailed work order. I thought it was the rotors and after just calling them back, they simply 'resurfaced' the front rotors (aka turned them). This has solved the problem completely. Although now reading the follow on posts above, I'll be keeping an eye on this in the future.

Thanks
 

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If your rotors still had plenty of "meat" on them, turning them works just fine. In the same breath, your pads likely have plenty of life left in them, too, and will take a few weeks to fully seat into the new rotor surface just as new pads seat into brand new rotors. Braking should feel even better and more positive. Now that they've been turned once, you likely won't be able to do it again. However, like I said, rotors are pretty inexpensive. If you have a good shop that you trust who is willing to do work for you in supplying your own parts (like I do), that makes a world of difference. When my wife's rotors and pads were shot on the front of her Highlander, I truly didn't have the time to do the work myself. I took it into my normal shop who do my yearly inspections. The manager and I have become friends over the years and he charged me $100 in labor to put the rotors and pads on. I ensured they cleaned and lubed the caliper slide pins and still re-torqued the lug nuts when I got it home, but $100 was worth the time I didn't have to put into it. I do enjoy doing my own work, but it seems that, as I get older and responsibilities pile up (kids, house, job, etc.), the available time for vehicle care gets smaller and smaller.
 
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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Good thoughts and advice here. Yeah, I trust my shop (been going to them for almost 30-years now) and I expect I they would do the work even if I supply the parts (may have done that in years past on some other cars). Anyway, will keep this in mind for the future. Thanks.
 

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Let's see who has what to say about these....
Power Stop JBR1590XPR Front Evolution Performance Drilled, Slotted & Plated Brake Rotor Pair

Akebono ACT1280 Brake Pad Set

Never mind the numbers, just the brand...Slotted rotors are a must for me here in the NC mountains...Heat displacement is a must, not a need...
 

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I don't know what version they were, but I put drilled rotors & Akebono pads on our '03 Pilot. The pads came from the same place I got the rotors. They didn't last 1,000 miles before the "Shimmy when braking" thing started. This was just around town driving. Never pulled the trailer, etc. Also, the pads are getting the wheels noticeably dirtier than the O.E. Akebono.
It's a crap shoot. You may be ok. Let's see who else reports in.
 

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I'm running EBC slotted / dimpled rotors and their Yellowstuff pads. Braking feel is a bit touchier than stock but the performance is jaw dropping. I have about 10k miles on this setup and a number of other members (Feetdry?) have had good longterm results. In my case I have also swapped to Acura MDX rotors/calipers up front. Brake dust is on the high side with the Yellowstuff formula.
It is critical to keep the calipers floating freely on the guide pins and to properly torque the lugnuts. Based on what I have read, I would expect about 40k miles out of the EBC Yellowstuff brake pads and twice that for the rotors.
 
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