Kaizen Suggestion for Nissan Quest

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend!

I spent mine enjoying the fairly decent Vermont weather, playing with the kids, doing some gardening and of course: too much eating. There is always a little bit of work to do on these long weekends though. During a bit of rain, I slipped our 2005 Nissan Quest into the garage to change the brake pads. The front brakes were no problem except for dealing with the typically seized bolts from three Vermont winters.

The back brakes though, presented quite the opportunity for my father and I to scratch our heads. The upper bolt on the caliper sleeve came out easy enough. The lower bolt though, didn't have enough room to clear the control arm. I simply couldn't pull the loose bolt out of the sleeve!
Never did I imagine that we would have to loosen and lower the control arm in order to pull a caliper bolt out. I know CAD/CAM programs help with possible interferences in design, but the simple fact is this: new cars are just about impossible to work on. I wonder how much effort goes into the design of the disassembly process.
Probably zero, but this will be a whole new area of interest for new car designers. As fuel costs rise and cars become more expensive, I wonder how many people will begin to take on routine maintenance tasks themselves. This was a simple problem, and it can be fixed easily. Someone should start a contest for auto designers to come up with the simplest, easiest vehicle to work on. It would save people money, make the design of the car better.

By the way...I saved about $800 doing this job myself. The dealership said I needed new rotors and calipers. Sorry, this will be my only curse word on this blog: B.S.!

When we had each wheel apart, we found the rotors were smooth as silk with no warping or grooves. Pads were bad, but that's why I changed them. When the clerk at the desk told me I needed new calipers all around, I knew it was best to just leave and do it myself. Here is a breakdown of the total cost:

New brake pads: $60.
Six pack of beer: $7.
Fuel to drive to my fathers: $6
Can of tennis balls for my Dad's dog: $3

I found this to be a much better experience than going to the dealer.



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