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Old 02-22-2016, 12:53 PM
lr172 lr172 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Schaumburg, IL
Posts: 6,681
Default Assessing Brake Pad Wear

I have my wheel pants off for painting and thought I would replace my brake pads while off, but I realize that I don't know what thickness is considered worn out (i.e. near the rivets). My pads are currently the thickness of the backing plate (I think it is 1/8", but not sure). Can anyone give me guidance on how close they are to worn? If I need new pads, was hoping to order them before I go back to the airport next.


N64LR - RV-6A / IO-320, Flying as of 8/2015
N11LR - RV-10, Flying as of 12/2019
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:06 PM
bkthomps bkthomps is offline
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Destin
Posts: 1,546

pads are so cheap, i just replace them when i have the calipers off for any reason, good insurance and peace of mind
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:27 PM
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flyboy1963 flyboy1963 is offline
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Lake Country, B.C. Canada
Posts: 2,434
Default a tip I learned here....

when I had the pads off, or installing new ones?...I mic'd the depth of the face of the pad to rivet distance....then filed a notch in the top edge of the pad to almost the same depth.
Thus at a glance, I can see how close I am getting to 'the rivets'....assuming fairly flat pad wear, which isn't always the case.
Perry Y.
RV-9a - SOLD!....
Lake Country, BC
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:39 PM
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RV6_flyer RV6_flyer is offline
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: NC25
Posts: 3,761
Default RAPCO has wear indicator

RAPCO pads have wear indicators. See this thread for more details. It is almost the same as this new one.

I think the Cleveland brake min thickness spec is 0.100". Parker Aerospace (aka: Cleveland) give away a plastic thickness gauge at Oshkosh AirVenture booth that can be used as a go gauge as it is the minimum thickness.

One can also check the Cleveland Service Guide.
Gary A. Sobek
NC25 RV-6
3,400+ hours
Where is N157GS
Building RV-8 S/N: 80012

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To those who love aviation, the sky is home.
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:49 PM
F1R F1R is offline
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: ____
Posts: 911

Most brake pads have a small instep at the ends, that indicate the max allowable wear. It closely represents the depth of the rivet head. Often your time is worth enough to change them every annual even if you have a bit of comfort left. It is faster and less costly than refacing the discs.

All I can add is that if you have Groves Discs and calipers,you will do very well to use Groves replacement pads.

ACS only had RAPCO pads. SO I used a few sets, however they have really coarse pieces of bronze that are far too aggressive for the groves discs. I hosed a set of discs prematurely learning the lesson.

The Groves pads do a fine job of braking as designed, with much less gouging of the discs.

The groves pads cost more than the rapco, but are worth every penny.

YMMV and good luck.
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Old 02-22-2016, 01:50 PM
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bkilby bkilby is offline
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Location: Newnan, GA
Posts: 334
Default min 0.100" for lining thickness

Cleveland guide says "lining worn to a minimum thickness of 0.100" (2.54mm) must be replaced.
Brian Kilby
flying RV-6A, previously flying RV-9A
based at KCTJ, Carrollton, GA
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Old 02-22-2016, 02:13 PM
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jdeas jdeas is offline
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: SoCal
Posts: 634
Default Measure both pads

This is also a good time to look for even wear between inner and outer pad to confirm the caliper is floating properly. Always replace the pair if one is below .1"
RV-7 N314SY (KWHP)

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Old 02-22-2016, 07:10 PM
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Neal@F14 Neal@F14 is offline
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Location: Wichita Falls, TX
Posts: 2,182

I buy my replacement pads from Vans. I could be mistaken, but they appear to not have as much of the course metal content as the Rapcos. They last plenty long enough for me too. I try to use my brakes as little as possible too.
Neal Howard
Airplaneless once again...
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Old 02-22-2016, 07:15 PM
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Walt Walt is offline
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Location: Dallas/Ft Worth, TX
Posts: 6,336

Most pads, for whatever reason, wear significantly more at the bottom of the pad than at the top, so don't be fooled by just looking at the top where its easy to see and think you have plenty of pad left.
Walt Aronow, DFW, TX (52F)

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Old 02-22-2016, 07:34 PM
Kyle Boatright Kyle Boatright is offline
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Atlanta, GA
Posts: 4,669

Originally Posted by Neal@F14 View Post
I buy my replacement pads from Vans. I could be mistaken, but they appear to not have as much of the course metal content as the Rapcos. They last plenty long enough for me too. I try to use my brakes as little as possible too.
In 1,000 hours, I've replaced my pads once and haven't replaced my disks. At last year's condition inspection, all was well within tolerance. At this rate, I may never need the replacement disks I have sitting on the shelf.
Kyle Boatright
Marietta, GA
2001 RV-6 N46KB
2019(?) RV-10
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