Bullet (my neighbor) was right, the corrosion inhibitor solutions they dip the cross drilled rotors in flings out the holes and contaminates the brakes. I know his theory is correct because I took off my wheels and there was some dark residue on the inner rims, not too oily, and I had no hydraulic leaks and went thru no water puddles. The next day, a Ferrari 550 Marenallo was parked right outside my office window, so I went and took a close look at it. The Ferrari had the same little residue on it's inner rims too. His cross drilled rotors looked almost identical to mine and so did the residue! Must have the same number of directional vanes in his rotors. The rotor vendor said rotors come in cast iron, aluminum and steel. Cast iron is most common, Brembo used cast iron, and the colored finish wears off. His sales pitch was their rotors are controlled cooled after manufacturing over a period of three days, so the iron crystals orient just right.
And Bullet was right in his experience also. I was extra cautious looking for signes of grooving on my rotors, but there was only ever so slight of signs. Apparently, no matter how carefully machined, with chamfering and drilling, there are still some very slight imperfections. After driving about 60 miles, the brake pads act to smooth down the rough edges and the 'grinding' noise ceases. I was thinking the air might have been causing that noise, but that's not the case. Just a little seating-in will fix it. Man, it's nice to know these things when you're worried.... And nice to know who to ask, and get advice. Makes me feel good to get help when I need it. Bullet can call on me to help him with his hot rod projects any time, and I said so.
I'm really happy. A couple of weeks ago, I had a very long way to go, and I was filled with doubt about the time-line. Even yesterday, with a two page Pantera Project checklist, I was feeling pressure. I pressure myself in life, so it's normal. Even as I worked thru the checklist late into the night, I was thinking I'll clear the hurdle, but just by one 1/1000's of an inch. Now, with the help of Master Mechanic Mike, I'm clearing the hurdle with days to spare. He MIG welded my cracked frame, and ran out of wire, just as he finished, but before he welded in my jacking plates. Good enough on my priority scale. I was getting really frustrated having spent 4 hours the prior day messing around with the parking brakes and failing at that project, so he advised me to make a checklist, which I already had, then he said to prioitize the items. Wow, just a little clear thinking can save a lot of time and keep matters on track, so that multiple tasks can be accomplished, with minimal work.
With the back end raised for the welding of the cracked frame, I checked for hydraulic leaks again. None. I checked for grooved rotors, none. The wheels off and the front end also off the ground, he did a gravity bleed on the brakes, front and rear, just cracking the two bleeders on each caliper. That did it - no more sponginess on the brake pedal. Three bleeds, each bringing the brake pedal up another 1/2". Maybe one more bleed after Vegas, or at Vegas, just for perfection.
Before raising the front end, we checked the toe-in with the $26 tool from JC Whitney. Toe-in fine, the JC Whitney measured 1/4" toe-in while it was done previously at the shop with a recently calibrated computerized wheel alignment tool, we decied to believe the 1/8" toe-in is still there, but the JC Whitney device is good for just double checking. The Pantera body style creates an optical illusion that the front tires are in toe-out, since the body widens as it goes backward, and I don't want to ruin a set of new tires in one road trip, so I feel way better. On the tire wear subject, from reading this BB, I know that the Pantera rear tire wear is on the inside of the tires. So, even though it looks like there's no adjustment for the rear camber, I widened out the camber bar 7 turns of the nut, so just a little more that one full 360 degree turn. I may go another 180 degrees further with the rear camber bar to get more even tire wear.
We lowered the back end of the car and did a gravity bleed at the clutch slave cylinder (this means no pumping of the clutch during the bleed, like normal, when you pump it then crack the valve). It burped out three pretty good sized air bubbles from the clutch line at he slave cylinder. Then it was time to put another 1/2" of DOT-4 hydraulic fluid in the clutch master. Master Mechanic Mike had previously helped me flush my brakes and clutch lines last year, and I bought a gallon of DOT 4. It's just about gone. I'm packing a 1/2 pint size DOT 4 for the trip, just in case.
My brake master cylinder reservoir had gone down 1/4" all by itself in two days, and this means the brakes were 'self-bleeding' such that the brake master cylinder, being the highest point in the hydraulic fluid system, had burped a bunch of air all by itself, replacing air in the master and draining down the reservoir 1/4". I have to tell you, I'm learning a whole lot of stuff, and it makes me feel much more confident about driving my 32 year old car 10 hours each way for a track event. It's not acting confident at all, it's preparation, knowledge, understanding, transferred wisdom and experience, that provide this confidence to me with this car and the same principles apply to everything else in my life. That's how I get confidence, not from bluffing or talking myself up for something, nope, it's being overly prepared that does it for me. Confidence. That's the difference between a worrisome trip and a fun trip, and that's what it's all about. Then, when I get back, my Pantera will be at the next higher level of maintenance for a long time to come. When I track my Pantera, it's not to win, it's to go from my house, to the track, around the track, and back home again, without problems, and to establish a baseline with track results. That's what I'm doing. Learning about my Pantera and about life. Paying attention to details, and doing the work. Learnig is being frustrated with not knowing and feeling satisfaction with achieving the successful experience of learning and having the experience to draw from forever. It really gives me confidence to put myself thru this exercise. It was not easy. Many of you may have been thru this too too and that's pretty much about the way it is, right?
I just have a few things left on my checklist. Install a headlught relay (this may have to wait), install a second heater shut-off valve, clean the K&N air filter, change the ZF fluid, and then it's just clean the house and yard, get a haircut, and I'm ready for a vacation!
What an experience! My Pantera experiences are giving me energy to get a lot more things scheduled on my goals list. Look forward to meeting you guys in Vegas. See you there!