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Opinion On Pro-Cut Brake Lathe


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I met the Pro Cut Brake Lathe rep at a TECH NET, CARQUEST conference. I know of Pro Cut (on the car brake lathe) and know a lot of new car dealers use the machine. I just don't know how it makes sense these days. We replace more rotors now than any time in history.

 

Any thoughts on this????????

 

Is the link to the web site: http://www.procutinternational.com/lathes.aspx

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We have had a procut for prolly 10 years now and its the same one and has never let us down. A great product. In fact id buy a new one if I could ever get my salesman to demo the new one. Ive asked on at least 3 occasions.

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i don't have one and boy does it cost me, it makes a lot of sense here as we don't have the steady parts supply here, so sometimes we HAVE to use the old disks(we cannot get new disks for particular import models), so that means we have to send the disks off to be cut, i dislike it, but sometimes you have to think of the time the customer spends without his/her car, otherwise i would just order new rotors from South Africa(only country around us with a sort of steady supply) but i don't know if it makes sense for you guys in USA, or anywhere else closer to civilization where rotors are readily available without the headache i deal with on a daily basis here.

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i don't have one and boy does it cost me, it makes a lot of sense here as we don't have the steady parts supply here, so sometimes we HAVE to use the old disks(we cannot get new disks for particular import models), so that means we have to send the disks off to be cut, i dislike it, but sometimes you have to think of the time the customer spends without his/her car, otherwise i would just order new rotors from South Africa(only country around us with a sort of steady supply) but i don't know if it makes sense for you guys in USA, or anywhere else closer to civilization where rotors are readily available without the headache i deal with on a daily basis here.

 

You have a unique situation. I don't know how you manage, it must make you stronger than most.

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You have a unique situation. I don't know how you manage, it must make you stronger than most.

 

Sometimes I wonder how we manage, but it does not help to complain, i have a similar type of machine on the way from Germany, but it is the stand alone machine, so i have to remove the rotors from the vehicle before i can cut them, but, the plus to this is that i can also cut truck rotors :) Best part is i only payed 200 Euros for it (and another 370Euro for shipping)

Also I try to do as much of the work here "in-house" so that i can monitor that it gets done to the standard i desire.

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I wish I knew where you guys are buying rotors so cheap. I look at the price of rotors, even at my cost and most times it's not economical to replace. That and if the rotors have enough material to machine it is unethical to replace them if that means more cost to the customer, not mention I would think is is unlawful too (illegal is a sick bird isn't it?).

 

So for those who operate their shops in the interest of the customer a brake lathe is valuable. But the ProCut is expensive. When I worked at the dealership before I opened my shop we had a ProCut 9.2. It was OK at best. Supposedly it would compensate for runout in the hub and turn the rotor with .0000" LRO. I used it at least 3 times a week and maybe 20% of the time would it compensate completely the first or second time I tried. Usually the machine would fault and claim it could only compensate to .001" and sometimes it would take two or three times to get it to even compensate to .002" LRO. I was not impressed. I always tightened the adapters with a torque wrench to assure they were not distorted. And I complained and the machine was inspected/serviced with no improvement. Would I buy one? Maybe, but I would want to check out any other O.T.C lathe first, like Hunter had one for awhile, I don't know if they still do.

 

Good luck, just don't buy everything the salesman tells you, make him PROVE it.

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I saw the Pro Cut demo yesterday. Nice machine, does a great job....VERY EXPENSIVE..over 10K!

 

The rep said to take no less than 4 thousands off each side of the rotor and typically you will need to take up to 8 thoudsands off each side, in order to take out the runnout. That concerns me, that much meat off the a rotor that already came in with a brake pulsation that has 45,000 miles on it??? And what about those rotors and BMW and Mercedes and Audi. They get dished so bad, the lip on the edge of the rotor is a 1/4 inch thick. How do you cut those rotors???

 

AND, in order to do pick up truck with posi rear, you will need to take the driveshaft out in order for the machine to turn the rotor.

 

His arguments were not sound. He postion is that ALL rotors, new and old, have excessive run out and need to be cut. OK, are we to cut new rotors too? He said yes. He also said we should have no problem charging for this. HE OBVIOUSLY NEVER RAN A REPAIR SHOP!

 

I need to consider what is in the best interest of the customer. Most of the rotors I see these days need to be replaced. They are warped, too thin, rusted or heat cracked. Plus with the price of the rotor, you can give the customer a real nice brake job and at compettive price. A win-win for us and the customers.

 

That's how I feel....What about you guys????????

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I used a ProCut at the last dealer I worked before I opened my shop and I was NOT impressed. And the excuses you got from the salesman simply show that he is not in touch with his customer base. As for disconnecting the driveshaft, that's no big deal, and yes you have to do it on some rear/4wd vehicles. To tell you that you have to cut new rotors too is simply ignorant. I am very picky about my brake jobs and I measure and index the rotors for minimum lateral runout and I rarely have an undamaged new rotor beyond .001" LRO (if it is beyond that the rotor is waaaayyyy beyond, like .005-.008") and the ProCut machine I used couldn't consistently achieve less than .001" so why would you cut a new rotor just to have the same LRO? Your salesman was an idiot.

 

And I'm not sure what you guys think is cheap for a rotor but when I can sub out my rotor machining for $9.00 each (I don't anymore because I have a brake lathe, but I'm just saying) at $24.00 cost per rotor, like the ones I'm installing this morning, are a whole lot more expensive. I guess though the way some shops bragged about their loss leader $149.00 all inclusive brake jobs on ASO awhile ago it would be more profitable to replace than to resurface rotors. But when a rotor comes in and measures .040" over machine to how can you ethically or legally recommend replacement when from all appearances a routine resurface is all that it needs? Rotors aren't $15.00 anymore like they used to be so even if you charge fairly for pad replacement and for rotor resurfacing, adding a pair of new rotors can up the bill sometimes by quite a bit. I mean even slapping on new rotors you still have to clean the hub and measure the runout so it's not a labor free operation to just put on new rotors either.

 

As for an on-the-car brake lathe, if you see a lot of captured rotors it would be well worth the money, but otherwise get a good brake lathe, and a top notch chuck. Scratch cut the rotor twice to make sure you have it mounted square and you should have no problems.

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we looked at it about 3 years ago and were told we couldn't afford to be without it. well we've tracked the captured rotor jobs we've passed on and it remains at less than a dozen. since we have had our own ammco lathe since '86 without any failures and considering the pro cut price it would have been a terrible investment for us . we charge an extra 2-4 tenths for rotor removal and we machine on every job. since we do about 80% pick ups (mostly american 3/4 & 1 ton) we don't often see $24 rotors so machining is a more cost effective and responsible option. and while we had it to try out the guys did a comparison on a ford f350 as to time saved/ lost, the r&r guy beat the pro cut on his side of the truck. no sale here!!! just my $.02 worth,mike

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I saw the Pro Cut demo yesterday. Nice machine, does a great job....VERY EXPENSIVE..over 10K!

 

The rep said to take no less than 4 thousands off each side of the rotor and typically you will need to take up to 8 thoudsands off each side, in order to take out the runnout. That concerns me, that much meat off the a rotor that already came in with a brake pulsation that has 45,000 miles on it??? And what about those rotors and BMW and Mercedes and Audi. They get dished so bad, the lip on the edge of the rotor is a 1/4 inch thick. How do you cut those rotors???

 

AND, in order to do pick up truck with posi rear, you will need to take the driveshaft out in order for the machine to turn the rotor.

 

His arguments were not sound. He postion is that ALL rotors, new and old, have excessive run out and need to be cut. OK, are we to cut new rotors too? He said yes. He also said we should have no problem charging for this. HE OBVIOUSLY NEVER RAN A REPAIR SHOP!

 

I need to consider what is in the best interest of the customer. Most of the rotors I see these days need to be replaced. They are warped, too thin, rusted or heat cracked. Plus with the price of the rotor, you can give the customer a real nice brake job and at compettive price. A win-win for us and the customers.

 

That's how I feel....What about you guys????????

 

If you are interested check out your NAPA dealer. The second quarter Real Deals sale flier lists the ProCut 9.2 for $9708. I'm not sure what is included versus what you were quoted by the ProCut salesman, but it may be worth checking into. I still don't think it is worth the investment unless you are servicing a lot of captured rotor equipped vehicles. Now if you were replacing a bench lathe then it may be worth it, but if you have a decent bench lathe now, why turn it into a big paper weight? I just thought I'd post the NAPA Real Deals sale price on it and maybe save you a few hundred bucks. I accept cash and check :)

http://ecatalograck.genpt.com/pdfcat/RealDeals_2Q_2011_Linked/WebProject.asp?CodeId=7.4.1.1&BookCode=r2q11flx#

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we looked at it about 3 years ago and were told we couldn't afford to be without it. well we've tracked the captured rotor jobs we've passed on and it remains at less than a dozen. since we have had our own ammco lathe since '86 without any failures and considering the pro cut price it would have been a terrible investment for us . we charge an extra 2-4 tenths for rotor removal and we machine on every job. since we do about 80% pick ups (mostly american 3/4 & 1 ton) we don't often see $24 rotors so machining is a more cost effective and responsible option. and while we had it to try out the guys did a comparison on a ford f350 as to time saved/ lost, the r&r guy beat the pro cut on his side of the truck. no sale here!!! just my $.02 worth,mike

 

I agree with you that machining is a more cost effective and responsible option. The $24.00 rotors were just the last ones I had to replace. The rotors I typically replace are more than those too, so I resurface as many as I can to ethically serve my customers. I know I'm a bad businessman since I care more about serving my customer's than my own pocketbook.

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I agree with you that machining is a more cost effective and responsible option. The $24.00 rotors were just the last ones I had to replace. The rotors I typically replace are more than those too, so I resurface as many as I can to ethically serve my customers. I know I'm a bad businessman since I care more about serving my customer's than my own pocketbook.

Same problem here! what's right is right - what's wrong is wrong! even if it isn't better for the profit margin!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I used a ProCut machine for 2 years along side of a amcco lathe. The only time I found that machine worth using was on captvie rotor. I told my boss not to buy it as most captive rotors need replacing anyway and its not even difficult to do the honda rotors. Just remove the hub.

 

Anyways The real moral of the story was that when guys used the procut we had much higher incidence of comeback with shake and brake. Root cuase was techs weren't properly cleaning the hub surface.

 

Now my tech and I clean the hub surface rotors backs all moutning areas thuroughly. I have been in my currently location for 5 years and I have had 3 come back with shake and brake.

 

We do 10-15 brake jobs a week during the sommer months.

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I used a ProCut at the last dealer I worked before I opened my shop and I was NOT impressed. And the excuses you got from the salesman simply show that he is not in touch with his customer base. As for disconnecting the driveshaft, that's no big deal, and yes you have to do it on some rear/4wd vehicles. To tell you that you have to cut new rotors too is simply ignorant. I am very picky about my brake jobs and I measure and index the rotors for minimum lateral runout and I rarely have an undamaged new rotor beyond .001" LRO (if it is beyond that the rotor is waaaayyyy beyond, like .005-.008") and the ProCut machine I used couldn't consistently achieve less than .001" so why would you cut a new rotor just to have the same LRO? Your salesman was an idiot.

 

And I'm not sure what you guys think is cheap for a rotor but when I can sub out my rotor machining for $9.00 each (I don't anymore because I have a brake lathe, but I'm just saying) at $24.00 cost per rotor, like the ones I'm installing this morning, are a whole lot more expensive. I guess though the way some shops bragged about their loss leader $149.00 all inclusive brake jobs on ASO awhile ago it would be more profitable to replace than to resurface rotors. But when a rotor comes in and measures .040" over machine to how can you ethically or legally recommend replacement when from all appearances a routine resurface is all that it needs? Rotors aren't $15.00 anymore like they used to be so even if you charge fairly for pad replacement and for rotor resurfacing, adding a pair of new rotors can up the bill sometimes by quite a bit. I mean even slapping on new rotors you still have to clean the hub and measure the runout so it's not a labor free operation to just put on new rotors either.

 

As for an on-the-car brake lathe, if you see a lot of captured rotors it would be well worth the money, but otherwise get a good brake lathe, and a top notch chuck. Scratch cut the rotor twice to make sure you have it mounted square and you should have no problems.

 

 

To your comment about how to ethically replace a rotor that is 40 thou heavy over spec is interesting. I think this depends on geography. We get plenty of rotors here in michigan which are technically cut capable but often they have so much corrosion that the venting is clogged, the rotor is heavily pitted, there is extremly amount of rust in the mounting surfaces. To bill to clean and cut these rotors is not normally economically feasable. Most of the popular rotrs from Napa " maste installer pricing" are very reasonable 15-25 usd. I think its also a case of can we ensure that the rotor does not overheat and if it does LRO goes out the window.

 

I take rotors on a case by case basis but given our local enviroment we often replace over resurface simply becuase there are other factors beyond thickness.

 

As to LRO, I have seen in recent years that new rotors have less LRO then they used to. Maching quality is substantially better. Alot of times I used to cut rotors for LRO and surface finish reasons.

 

the other unmentioned factor is hub rotor interface corrosion. There are sevral kits avaialable now that make this job of cleaning and removing scale and rust far easier then it was 5years ago.

 

So you have to understand not every geography is going to manifest the same isssues.

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To your comment about how to ethically replace a rotor that is 40 thou heavy over spec is interesting. I think this depends on geography. We get plenty of rotors here in michigan which are technically cut capable but often they have so much corrosion that the venting is clogged, the rotor is heavily pitted, there is extremly amount of rust in the mounting surfaces. To bill to clean and cut these rotors is not normally economically feasable. Most of the popular rotrs from Napa " maste installer pricing" are very reasonable 15-25 usd. I think its also a case of can we ensure that the rotor does not overheat and if it does LRO goes out the window.

 

I take rotors on a case by case basis but given our local enviroment we often replace over resurface simply becuase there are other factors beyond thickness.

 

As to LRO, I have seen in recent years that new rotors have less LRO then they used to. Maching quality is substantially better. Alot of times I used to cut rotors for LRO and surface finish reasons.

 

the other unmentioned factor is hub rotor interface corrosion. There are sevral kits avaialable now that make this job of cleaning and removing scale and rust far easier then it was 5years ago.

 

So you have to understand not every geography is going to manifest the same isssues.

 

That's the biggest issue in our area too. The condition of the rotors are so bad due to corrosion, it is not in the best interest of the customer to attempt cutting them, in most cases.

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  • 1 year later...

I own a Pro-cut, intfact I,m on my second one as I upgraded it a few years back, while it is not perfect, it does a beautiful cut quickly and easily and I have virtually no comebacks at all. It is not cheap by any means, but I cannot bring myself to replace good rotors on a customers vehicle if they are not needed.

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  • 1 year later...

In 1987, I was a Toyota master technician. The brand-new 1987 Camrys had a problem with brake pulsation because of rotor run out. Under warranty, Toyota would have us replacing everything from the spindle outward. They would also have us resurface rotors using a bench lathe. This didn't fix more than half of the cars with this problem. In 1988, I went to work for Acura/Honda. They trained me on the proper way to deal with this rotor run out problem using the Quick Lathe from New Way. This blew me away because it worked so perfectly! When I opened Japanese Motor Works in 1992, the first special tool but I bought was a Quick Lathe. It has treated me perfectly since yesterday. It would not fit on a 2008 Acura RL. I then demoed the Pro-Cut 9.0. I had the rep leave it with me and signed a contract to purchase it. It does a better job in one third the time of the New Way. And, for your information every Japanese manufacturer requires the use of an on the car brake lathe. And every hat type rotor has some lateral run out which I guarantee will ultimately cause brake pulsation. And every time we install new rotors in this situation, we resurface them. And every time we find and remove the lateral run out to make a perfect brake job. Just saying.

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We have a procut and love it. We use it if we can, as we have virtually no comebacks after turning rotors on a vehicle. Yes rotors are cheap, but why replace if you can turn the rotors and save the customer money? I turn rotors for 1 hr labor per axle ($75). That is usually more that I make in margin from a set of rotors.

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  • 7 months later...

I don't have a brake lathe, sold it years ago. It just didn't make sense in NY with the rust. In my neighborhood If a rotor even looks machinable its a miracle. We scrap 2 or 3 tons a month of rotors and bearings and not one do I say "that could have been fixed" - they are junk from the factory, lot rot before they even get a mile on them, and the replacements are just as bad. The only exception might be high end euro rotors, like the big S class drilled rotors, I'll send those out to be machined.

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We have had a Pro-cut for 4 years now. My guys really like it. We don't have the issues with comebacks or the rust issues you guys have up North. We also have an FMC bench lathe that we still use a lot. We do a lot of brake jobs and it makes it handy when you have 2 techs doing brake jobs at the same time. No one isn't waiting their turn on the lathe.

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We rarely cut rotors any more. The quality of the metal and thickness is an issue. I know that many dealers are required to have the Pro cut machine, but I question the reason why. Is it because the manufacturer would rather the dealer eat up labor than supply a part under warranty? Does not make much sense.

 

In the North East, rotors don't last. Replacing them with a brake job is the best bet. Even Hi End cars have issues with rotors. That is not to say that we don't cut rotors, but it is rare.

 

Drums we still cut. Too many aftermarket drums are not as good as the OE.

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We have had a Pro Cut lathe for 20 years. The main reason for an on the car lathe is for those instances when there is run out in a hub which causes a brake pulsation. Pro Cut has been suggesting that we cut new rotors to match them to the hub (much like match mounting tires and rims), but we have not done that in the past. I do see about 10% of our brake jobs developing a "pulsation" after about 3 to 5 thousand miles. We will then resurface the rotors (at no charge to the customer) to take care of the pulsation. My fear is that I may have some customers that become unhappy when/if they develop a pulsation and they just don't return to our shop.

I am struggling with the cost involved in "match machining" rotors when we do a brake job versus the cost of potentially unhappy customers. Anyone out there machining new rotors? How are you charging for that service?

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Pro-Cut is the Best On-Car Brake Lathe on the market, don't even consider looking at anything else as there is no substitute.

 

This has come from experience and knowledge of today cars and is also proven from the OE Manufacturers. When you have a rotor with built in factory run-out and a hub with built in factory run-out and then meet those two individual pieces together you can get a stacked tolerance than can be excessive. What happens when there is a stacked tolerance and the vehicle is in motion then the high spot of the rotor will contact the brake pad in that area and actually will remove metal in that spot and it will be 180 degrees from the front side of the rotor to the back side of the rotor while the brakes are not applied. These two thin spot gradually get worse and worse over several thousand miles typically between 2500 to 5000 and then you get the dreaded brake pedal pulsation and even steering wheel shake side to side.

 

In the aftermarket we all blame this condition on the following...

 

1) Over tightened lug nuts

2) Poor Rotor Quality or Thin Rotors

3) Nature of the Vehicle

4) Driver Habits

5) Getting Rotors wet when they are Hot.

 

All of which 99.9% of the time is hog wash. "Rotor Match" all of your Rotors when doing a brake job and charge extra for the service because that is the real issue facing today's brake systems. Also you should be able to do an axle or two rotors in 15 or less, I will guarantee you that getting a Rotor from a parts house takes you a lot more time. Plus why in the world are the majority of Shops now Replacing a Rotor just because they are cheap to replace? Shouldn't you be replacing them when they are under spec? You are fooling yourself if you think that hanging a New Rotor without Rotor Matching it is the Best way to go.

 

Remember whether it is New or Used you should still Match the Rotor to the Hub so that you can take the run-out issue out of the equation.

 

My .02

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  • 1 year later...

For those of you who are not using an on car lathe and putting on new rotors, do you throw a dial indicator on the car and try to orient the stacked tolerances away from each other? Just trying to get a feel for what you consider to be the standard to guarantee a good job.

 

We always check runout with a dial indicator and found that most new rotors with runout can be fixed by flipping their position on the hub. Is this true for you guys as well?

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  • 3 months later...
  • 2 months later...

I saw the Pro Cut demo yesterday. Nice machine, does a great job....VERY EXPENSIVE..over 10K!

 

The rep said to take no less than 4 thousands off each side of the rotor and typically you will need to take up to 8 thoudsands off each side, in order to take out the runnout. That concerns me, that much meat off the a rotor that already came in with a brake pulsation that has 45,000 miles on it??? And what about those rotors and BMW and Mercedes and Audi. They get dished so bad, the lip on the edge of the rotor is a 1/4 inch thick. How do you cut those rotors???

 

AND, in order to do pick up truck with posi rear, you will need to take the driveshaft out in order for the machine to turn the rotor.

 

His arguments were not sound. He postion is that ALL rotors, new and old, have excessive run out and need to be cut. OK, are we to cut new rotors too? He said yes. He also said we should have no problem charging for this. HE OBVIOUSLY NEVER RAN A REPAIR SHOP!

 

I need to consider what is in the best interest of the customer. Most of the rotors I see these days need to be replaced. They are warped, too thin, rusted or heat cracked. Plus with the price of the rotor, you can give the customer a real nice brake job and at compettive price. A win-win for us and the customers.

 

That's how I feel....What about you guys????????

I heard the same spill. LOL. You hit the nail on the head "HE OBVIOUSLY NEVER RAN A REPAIR SHOP!". I have no issue fixing a rotor but pulling a driveshaft out on a truck . Im way out on that deal. I actually told my guys and the salesman the next week after the demo the guy may need to find another job. I can order a OE rotor, 2 day air, cheaper than those numbers worked. If I had all exotic cars lined up at the door every morning maybe so. That is not our market in the panhandle of Florida.

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Been in business 32 years, 41 years experience. Have turned away 5 or 6 cars because the rotor's weren't easily removeable. Demo'ed Pro cut 10 years ago and the salesman said I would regret not purchasing it within 6 months. I have no regrets even today. For the few cars we may not be able to turn the rotors on we replace them- but that is maybe 1 car/truck a year. We have zero comebacks on our brake work (except for my wife's truck) . And my $10k is still mine.

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  • 3 months later...

Had a Procut in our shop for several weeks. Reminded me of the "old days" when I had to use the Aamco on-the car lathe. The Procut is an improved tool.

 

If you take your time to set it up and care for it, great results. If you don't take the time to inspect the car components or care for the lathe the results are costly and the technician is p.o.'d with the equipment.

 

In terms of speed, efficiency and precision compared to a bench lathe, the Procut saves a little time. Based on past experiences, I would not consider on-the-car lathes as robust as the bench lathes. I like the product, but not enough to pull the trigger to buy.

 

Cleanliness and maintenance of my trusty Aamco bench lathe and adhering to standard practices has given us great results over the years.

 

Stay within manufactures specification and recommended repair standards and you will have more wins and less times learning from our failures.

 

Sometimes the sum of all the short cuts to do a job exceeds the multiple rechecks and division of customers looking for a good job done right the first time.

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