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Go Back   TDIClub Forums > TDI Model Specific Discussions Areas > VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD)

VW MKIV-A4 TDIs (VE and PD) This is a general discussion about A4/MkIV Jetta (99.5-~2005), Golf(99.5-2006), and New Beetle(98-2006). Both VE and PD engines are covered here.

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Old September 18th, 2018, 18:27   #1
2000alhVW
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Location: Silver Spring, MD
TDI(s): 2000 Golf
Default No brake pad wear sensor wiring?

Doing all 4 corners on my 2000 Golf.
I'm surprised to not find brake pad wear sensor wiring up front. The pads came with the sensors and I'm not sure whether to just cut off or tie up the plug?

Is this normal or has someone been monkeyin' around?
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Old September 18th, 2018, 19:16   #2
tgray
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In my opinion two wear sensors are just about worthless or less than worthless because it can give you a sense of everything is fine when it is not. I have logged close to 500,000 miles on these cars and have had other pads fail big time and the one with the wear sensor is still telling me things are fine. Sometimes the other side of the rotor will fail before the wear sensor side. I live where they salt the roads so my rotors get trashed from that a lot. My first car I put over 100,000 on the original front pads but the rotors rusted out leaving only a tiny area of contact. The sensor didn't indicate anything was wrong. As well I have had sensor wires fail and tell me something is wrong when it wasn't. I usually just cut the pad wires off and twist the car wires together and drive. The best way to care for your car is to pull all the wheels off every 5-10,000 miles and inspect the brakes on all the contact points. Brake sensor wires were on the car but someone probably just cut them off to cure a bad engineering idea.
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Old September 18th, 2018, 21:40   #3
2000alhVW
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Originally Posted by tgray View Post
In my opinion two wear sensors are just about worthless or less than worthless because it can give you a sense of everything is fine when it is not. I have logged close to 500,000 miles on these cars and have had other pads fail big time and the one with the wear sensor is still telling me things are fine. Sometimes the other side of the rotor will fail before the wear sensor side. I live where they salt the roads so my rotors get trashed from that a lot. My first car I put over 100,000 on the original front pads but the rotors rusted out leaving only a tiny area of contact. The sensor didn't indicate anything was wrong. As well I have had sensor wires fail and tell me something is wrong when it wasn't. I usually just cut the pad wires off and twist the car wires together and drive. The best way to care for your car is to pull all the wheels off every 5-10,000 miles and inspect the brakes on all the contact points. Brake sensor wires were on the car but someone probably just cut them off to cure a bad engineering idea.
I think you're probably spot-on here. I'm not too confident in brake pad wear sensors either, especially when it's just on one wheel. I understand the idea, and it's a neat idea, but in practice, I don't know.

I actually made a huge dummy mistake. I mistakenly thought my pack of front brake pads had a wire and plug for each set - I was wrong. There were 3 similar brake pads, and 1 unique pad - the one with the sensor. I accidentally put the only sensor pad on the passenger side, thinking that both sides should have had the wiring. I got over to the driver's side, and did a huge facepalm. I had go to back and switch the pads over.

I found my drivers side with a plug and just some wires dangling. It seems someone cut off the wires from a previous brake pad like you mentioned, and tried to solder them together at one point.
I'm not sure as I've never had a brake pad indictor light come on the dash, and these wires were not completing a circuit.
Who knows...
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Old September 19th, 2018, 04:45   #4
oilhammer
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You can turn that useless feature off by recoding the Instrument Cluster.

And it is pretty useless, because:

A: only on one of eight pads

B: rear pads wear faster anyway

C: often times the sensor wire rusts off long before that pad is worn out

D: even when the sensor does wear through as designed and turn the light on, you'll still have 50k+ miles of brake pad lining left given how slowly the fronts wear under most normal circumstances.

E: if you are maintaining the car correctly, brake pad wear is easily spotted and can have plans laid to address it at next service interval, as it is very rare that linings go from "fine" to "gone" within that time period. It isn't like it sneaks up on you.
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Old September 20th, 2018, 06:44   #5
Powder Hound
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...

E: if you are maintaining the car correctly, brake pad wear is easily spotted and can have plans laid to address it at next service interval, as it is very rare that linings go from "fine" to "gone" within that time period. It isn't like it sneaks up on you.
I wish I could get the guys that do inspections around here to understand that. At that time, they have you by the gonads and relish the task of squeezing. They can't require you to pay them to fix it, but it is a PIA to change things that don't need changing.

Last time I was told what I had to replace on my brakes, I bought new and replaced and passed the inspection. Meanwhile, I refurbished the rusty brake rotors and then put them back on when the inspection tag was affixed. Then I used the new rotors on one of my other TDIs that really did need new rotors. (I take it as a big hint when a large crescent shaped piece of surface comes off. When you only drive it ~2k miles a year in the rust belt, that happens...)

Cheers,

PH
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