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Alarming Brake Effectiveness After New Pads

colethepilotcolethepilot Posts: 1
edited April 2016 in Saturn
So I've seen posts like this all over the web about people noticing less brake effectiveness after replacing their pads. I've reviewed what people have said, but would like some direct support. This was my first ever brake job, but I had support from an Army mechanic and my vehicles maintenance manuals. I was driving on the warning indicators on my front axle. When I removed my wheels I was surprised to see the rotors in relatively good condition. The car only has 54k miles on it and is just a work commute car.

I removed the springs, and unclipped the brake line from the strut, then removed both relatively large bolts from the back of the caliper. (NOT the ones with the plastic caps covering them). Measured the width of the rotor to make sure it was within its limits. It was, right at .90". We compressed the piston back with a c-clamp, replaced the pads, and cleaned up the friction surfaces with brake clean, and reassembled.

 The pads were the more expensive ones from Duralast - about $45 for the set. The Autozone girl upsold me from the cheapy $22 ones, saying the "gold" ones are closest to the stock pads. After a few pumps with the pedal,

I took it for a test drive. I was shocked. It takes roughly 80% pedal depression to bring the car to a regular stop. I can bottom the pedal out without ABS on and it feels only like a yellow light stop. Now I know in a perfect world I would have replaced/sanded my rotors, or bought GM brake pads, but is the difference really THAT significant? I'm not looking for extreme performance. I just don't feel like they are as safe as they should be. They perform WORSE than the bottomed out pads that had been squealing at me for a change. Can anyone lend a hand with some things I can double check? Anything related to brake fluid? Something I didn't lube? Thank you.
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