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Hello All, I've picked up some great info from the forum, thanks. Now its my turn to input some information that will hopefully save somebody some grief.
So, I've sorted my windscreen washers and had the dreaded swirl flaps removed, success all round, and the car passed its NCT (Irish MOT) before Christmas.
Two days ago I noticed a rattle coming from my driver's side front wheel, and an occasional heavy snapping sound when I braked. I removed the wheel yesterday, to check for stones in the heatshield or any other issues with the brake. I found that the brake pad has separated completely from the steel backing plate, and was just sitting inside the caliper, loose and free to move about. That's what was causing the noise.
I had the pads replaced today. Mine was a Delphi/Lockheed pad, the pads were fitted before I bought the car so I've no idea of their origin. The mechanic and I inspected the pad, the disc and the caliper, and there were no signs of overheating, but there was a chip on the leading edge of the pad. Conclusions we drew were either a bad batch, or possible penetration of water and ice during the recent big freeze that might have worsened an existing crack in the adhesive.
I've also added this comment to the 3 Series posting, seems this is not an unknown problem, and has appeared on several manufacturer's brake pads.
Fortunately I suffered no brake failure, unlike others have, but if anybody has a clunky or a rattly wheel, please do check it as a matter of urgency.
Hope this helps, and may I wish you all Happy and Safe motoring in 2011
 
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