They've been making little noises here and there for that long, but I haven't been able to hear it very well, nor could I get a sense of where it was coming from. Today, though, that changed, and I could both hear and feel the grinding. It came up through the steering wheel, and I localized the noise: front passenger side.
So, came home from work at the usual time, popped off the passenger side wheel--down to backing plate on the inside, so I grabbed the old set of shoes in their fancy box and hit O'Reilly's.
Bought oil change stuff for Mrs. Fungus' car, got pads for free (limited lifetime warranty!) and bought two brand new rotors, barely escaping from there at $150. Nice, expensive set of free brake pads, there.
Got home and set to work. The driver's side went swimmingly; I was done in under twenty minutes, and maybe a third of that time was just having to get up and get tools or supplies. I was amazed it had gone so well.
But it went that well because of what was waiting on the passenger side.
Got the passenger side apart and cleaned up pretty quickly. When it was time to reassemble, though, the damned caliper would not fit right. After struggling with it for a bit I remembered that the sliders have to be pushed in, so I shoved in the bottom one, and that went okay, then tried to move the top one--
Got a hammer and tried to tap it loose. Nope! Got a brass drift and tried hammering the thing out. Oh, hell no. Got vice grips and tried twisting it in its bore to loosen it, and the answer there was, "So what?" I could rotate it but it would not move in or out.
I did not want to remove the caliper from the truck, but as time went on and I kept fumbling with it I finally realized that I had no choice but to do so. Pulled the caliper off, then set the thing up and whaled on it with the BFH, and then finally the slider popped loose.
What I should have done: leave the caliper in place, go inside the house, and check on-line for the price and availability of sliders and their boots. Then I would have ordered a set, gone and picked them up, and just cut that bitch out rather than open the braking system.
But I did not do that; and having removed the slider I now tried to clean it up with the wire wheel on the bench grinder. But that was a waste of time; the slider was so pitted and ragged that it would never hold the caliper in place well, and the boot was torn anyway--which is to say, the reason the thing was so rusty stemmed from the cut in the boot right where it passed through the caliper. Perfect place for water to get in and cause, y'know, rust.
Went inside, checked O'Reilly's, ordered sliders and boots; got on the motorcycle and picked them up.
So then it was time to put the caliper back on, and I spent a good twenty minutes trying to non-destructively remove the bleeder screw, to no avail. No cap on it, so water got into it, and although I held the propane torch on it until brake fluid was bubbling out of the inlet, and until the bleeder screw itself formed a little candle from the penetrating oil inside it, I could not get it to budge.
Not wanting to break it off, I resolved just to put the thing together and live with the spongy brakes until tomorrow or whenever I could get a new caliper. But then I had a brainstorm: if Mrs. Fungus were to lightly step on the brakes while I had the banjo bolt slightly loosened, that would push air out of the line--at least most of it--and I could fill the caliper just as full as possible before installing it.
That worked, mostly.
Reassembled the thing pretty quickly after getting the caliper reattached, and took it for a test drive. The brakes are...acceptable. A bit spongy, but only a bit, and I chirped the tires while doing my "bed-in" stops. (Accelerate to 35-ish. Step hard on brakes. Repeat a couple of times.) I think it will be okay for a couple of days at least. And that sponginess may just be due to the fact that both pads and rotors are brand-spanking-new; brakes are always a little rubbery at first. We'll have to see, I guess.
But! Though the passenger side rotor was the source of the grinding--the inner pad was down to bare metal--the driver's side inner pad was within a hair of being down to bare metal itself, and in fact showed signs of having scraped a bit, itself.
Meanwhile, I've discovered that the passenger side anti-sway mount has died, so I'm going to need to replace that. That explains both the slightly squirrely handling and the odd "clunk" noises I kept hearing today.
It took longer than I'd hoped or expected, but I did get the brakes done, and she's good to go.
November of 2015 was when I last did the front brakes. I got almost eighty thousand miles out of those brakes! (78,957, to be exact.)