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3.31.2011

Replaced my Brake Rotors

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3 comments

For about a year, I have been noticing my Honda Odyssey's steering wheel to shake a little bit every time I would step on the brake. I thought that it was the wheels so I had them balanced but the shaking didn't go away.

I brought it at the dealership for its regular maintenance hoping that Honda would spot the issue during their road test but instead they suggested to do a wheel alignment in which I agreed because I can't remember the last time it was done. The shaking didn't go away as well.

I talked to my mechanic friend and asked him to test drive my Odyssey. He said that the problem is with the rotors, it may be warped and needs resurfacing or replacement in the future. Since the shaking was not that bad when he tested it, he suggested replacing the rotors at the same time as the brake pads. Well, that was about 6 months ago. 

The shaking went from tolerable to annoying. I remember that I just replaced my brake pads in December 2009 (see this post) and I really can't stand it anymore. I looked online on YouTube on how do to it and found it easy enough that I can do it, so I went to Autozone and bought the rotors. I took some pictures on how I did it and hopefully you can learn from my experience.

The 1st thing you need to do is to loosen the lug nuts a little (don't completely remove the lug nuts). Next is to jack up your car. Once you've raised your car, remove all the lug nuts and remove the tire.

This is what you'll probably see. On the right is the brake caliper.
At the back of the caliper, there are 4 bolts (2 on the brake caliper and 2 on the bracket). On the picture below, the bottom 2 bolts are for the caliper while the top 2 bolts are for the bracket). Remove the bolts of the caliper first.
Put the caliper somewhere you will not just leave it hanging. What I did is I rested the caliper on top of the control arm (I think that's what it's called but I'm not 100% sure).
Remove the brake pads next and then remove the bracket bolts. You should have something like this.
Here's a picture of the bracket.
The next thing to do is to remove the 2 screws that's holding the rotor. Screws are shown below at about the 1 o'clock and 7 o'clock areas.
I have seen several ways to loosen the screws on YouTube but I opted for the Impact Screwdriver as pictured below.
After several taps of the hammer on the impact screwdriver, I was able to remove the screws.
Sometimes, the rotors will not just slide out immediately. An option that will help in removing the rotors is to use bolts and tighten them alternately on the rotor. In my case, I used size 8 bolts (see below).
Tadaaa!!! I got the rotor removed.
Side by side view of the old and new rotors.
Top side-by-side view.
The installation of the rotors is the reverse of the removal. I applied an anti-seize compound on the screw threads before putting them in so I won't have a hard time removing them the next time I do this again.
I re-attached the caliper bracket and similar to the screws, I also used anti-seize on the bolt threads.
I used this tool to push back the brake piston on the caliper
Here's how you can do it. I placed one of the brake pads and then used the tool to push the pad and the piston.
Installed the brake caliper.
After doing the removal steps I mentioned above, here's a picture of the other side without the rotor.
 New rotor and re-installed the brake caliper.

After replacing both rotors, I went out for a test drive and sure enough the shaking while braking went away. Since it was my 1st time doing the rotor replacement, I spent about an hour and a half replacing both rotors. I spent about $110 for the rotors but would probably have spent more if I brought it to a shop. I saved some money by doing the labor myself and learned something new.

That same day, I decided to go to BJ's tire center and had my tires rotated and balanced thinking that the thread wear may not be even due to the shaking.

After a couple of days, I then helped my dad replace the rotors on his Honda Civic. The procedure is pretty much the same so I didn't take any more pictures.

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10.05.2010

Check Engine Light - It was my spark plug coil

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1 comments

I was on my way to work one morning and I dropped by a Royal Farms store to get coffee. I was all set to work and I started my car and pulled out of the parking space. I've noticed that the car is running rough and the Check Engine Light came on.

I remembered that there is an Advanced Auto Parts store nearby, probably about a mile and drove there slowly. I asked if they can check the code for my CEL and they did it for free. The code was P0305 and the associate said that it was a misfire on one of the cylinders. I called up my mechanic buddy and asked for an advice on what to do. My buddy said that it's either the spark plug or the coil. He told me to try replacing the spark plug first and if that doesn't work, try switching the coils and check if the code changes. I don't have any tools with me so I also asked if I can drive my car back to the house and he said yes as long as I don't drive fast.

I bought an NGK Iridium spark plug from Advanced before leaving. I just replaced the spark plugs less than a year ago so I still remember the brand. My home is about 10 miles away from Advanced Auto Parts and was able to get back safely.


I changed the spark plug on cylinder 5 and reinstalled the coil. I have an OBD-II reader so I was able to clear the code before starting the car. I then started the car but it was still running rough. A few minutes later, the CEL lit up again. I read the code and it's still P0305.

I then moved on to the next step of swapping the coils. I swapped the coil on the 5th cylinder with the one on the 2nd cylinder, cleared the code and restarted the car. The engine was still running rough and when I checked the code, I got a new one P0302. This indicates that the problem might be with the coil.

Looking to buy a replacement coil, I first went to NAPA Auto parts. They told me that they don't have anything in stock and said that they can have it by tomorrow. The price that they quoted me was $110 and I said that I'll think about it. In my mind, I knew that there was an AutoZone nearby and was planning to go there next.

At AutoZone, the associate was very helpful (his name is Jerry). He said that he doesn't have any in stock but he can also have it available by tomorrow. The price was also cheaper at AutoZone - $95. Jerry then said that he can check other AutoZone stores if they have it. He found one at a nearby store and he even called up the other store and told them that I will be picking it up. The store is about 15 miles away and Jerry told me to tell them that Jerry sent me there to pickup the part. I thanked Jerry for his help.

I got to the other AutoZone store and told them that I am picking up a spark plug coil and Jerry sent me. The manager got the part and showed it to me. I looked at it and it was the part I'm looking for and said that I'm taking it. At the cash register, the part came up as $95 and I already swiped my card. The manager said, wait a minute. Since Jerry sent me and Jerry is a nice guy, she will give me a discount. She took of 10% and the cost went down to $85.50. Whoa! I started from $110 at NAPA to $85.50... I'll take the $25 savings. Never had a day like this and I'm thankful for talking to Jerry at AutoZone.

I took some pictures of the spark plug coil replacement:

The faulty spark plug coil on the 2nd cylinder
Duralast coil from AutoZone
The new (shiny) spark plug coil
Removed the faulty one on the 2nd cylinder
Side by side (faulty and new)
New spark plug coil installed on the 2nd cylinder

I then cleared the code and restarted the car. The engine was running smoothly now. I drove the car around the block and the CEL didn't light up. I fixed the issue and it's good to have a mechanic friend who can always give you an advice on how to fix your car problems. Also, it's nice to meet people like Jerry who are always helpful to customers like me who are in need of help.

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9.06.2010

Air Filter follow-up

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3 comments

I got a reply from my friend Jet about the air filter that I replaced. He pointed out that I've replaced the air intake filter and not the cabin filter and the air cabin filter is a different story. He's right about it.

In my experience, the cabin filter is a bit tricky to replace as you have to remove a lot of things. I replaced my cabin filter on my Odyssey several times now and I found the steps on how to do it in an Odyssey forum. Here's the link on how to replace it on 2nd generation Odysseys.

I remember that I had to do it because the dealer was charging me $130 back in May 2006. I was able to buy the cabin filter at a cheaper price and didn't had an issue replacing it the first time. Since then, I always decline this filter replacement when the dealer says that I have to. (The last time I was offered was back in March 2010 and the replacement price is a bit lower now - $75.00).

I'm buying my replacement filters online. You can get it from Amazon or eBay or maybe from a local Auto parts store.

Here's the cabin filter that I just replaced recently
The filter is under the glove box.

If you have a 2nd generation Odyssey and is looking to have the cabin filter replaced, just follow the instructions on the link I posted above. If you do it on your own (and correctly), you'll surely save a few $$$.

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8.27.2010

Replaced my Air Filter

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1 comments

On my earlier post, it mentioned something about Air Filter as a regular maintenance. I just remembered that I did this on one of my cars a couple of months back. Air Filter replacement is actually one of the easiest thing to do on your car.

It was time to replace my air filter and I took a picture of the old (left) and the new (right). The old filter is very filthy and I guess it did its job well. These filters are the same brand - FRAM and you can see the difference.


These are the back of the filters. New one on the left while the old filter is on the right. I had to mention that as I didn't notice the change in location. Looks like the old filter is filthier (don't know if that's a word) at the bottom. I'm glad that I decided to change it.

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Save $31,000

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1 comments

I've been saving this article for about six months now because it's about car maintenance. The title of the article is "Drive Your Car to Death, You'll Save $31,000." I got the article from The Women's Journal magazine/paper while I was waiting for my turn at the doctor's office. The actual article can be viewed online using this link.

As I read through, this savings estimate came from Consumer Reports Magazine. It says that if you keep your car for 15 years, or about 225,000 miles of driving, you could save yourself nearly $31,000. This figure was compared to the cost of buying an identical model car every 5 years.


The article also points out that the key to keep your car running well beyond 100,000 miles is regular scheduled maintenance. The following should be followed:

  • Change engine oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles (stop-and-go driving) or 5,000 miles (mostly highway driving)
  • Flush the transmission and drive train fluids every 30,000 miles
  • Flush the cooling system every 30,000 miles
  • Change the fuel filter every 30,000 miles
  • Change the air filter every 12-15,000 miles
  • Replace oxygen sensors every 90,000 miles
  • Replace spark plugs and plug wires when recommended by manufacturer
  • Replace timing belt every 60,000 miles
I think you will be saving more if you keep your car instead of buying a new one because you don't have to worry about car payments anymore after paying off your car.

I'm planning to drive both my cars to death. One is nearing 130,000 miles (12 years) while the other is at 90,000 miles (8 years). Both of my cars are still running fine and I just hope both will reach 225,000 miles.

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4.20.2010

ESPN NBA Fantasy - Final Standing

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2 comments

My NBA fantasy season ended with my team finishing 2nd place. The season ended on April 14 and currently the NBA is having it's playoffs.

I didn't know that there's no playoffs in the fantasy league that I joined. I'll probably switch to a different fantasy format next year.

All in all, I'm satisfied. I've learned how to play on an NBA fantasy league.

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2.27.2010

ESPN NBA Fantasy - 02/27/2010

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28 comments

A quick check on my NBA fantasy game. I'm still at 2nd place and still tied for the same position. We're down by 2 points for the 1st place (5 points previously).
I didn't have much changes on my lineup. I did drop Marcus Thornton and picked up John Salmons but picked up Marcus again the next day after he scored 37 points. John is doing well though with his new team (Milwaukee Bucks).

I'm currently monitoring Andrei Kirilenko's injury. If he don't play much, I will be picking up John Salmons again as a replacement.
As for the stats, my team need to work on their Free Throw percentage. I'm actually at the bottom with 75.04%. The next team above me has 75.69%. The other stat that I have the chance to take over is the rebounds. I have 4,116 while the other team has 4,134. I need 19 rebounds to take over. I have to analyze my stats as I may have to give up one player to get someone who has a better stat at rebounding.

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