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Stuck calipers


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39 replies to this topic

#1 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:24 PM

My passenger side caliper froze up on Ned yesterday.

Id been hearing this scratching sound coming from that side when I passed other cars and figured it was just my strut issue or what not, so I didnt even think it was bad. Finally I started smelling burnt brakes.

Was not as bad as my Loyale (left the ebrake up slightly and made caliper red and smoking)

Didnt have smoke but had the smell. Lifted it up on a jack and couldnt turn the wheel without real force. Took quite a few blows to get the caliper off the rotor.

Few questions. I have done some searching but theres a lot of posts that are on similar issues but on Legacies.

Rebuilding - I heard that these are made of very few moving parts and I should just be able to tear the caliper apart and use some PB blaster and clean it up with steel wool? Is this worth it?

Should I do both sides? The free wheeling Im used to (rear wheel drums) is not the free wheeling I have up front. I cannot just spin the tires and have them rotate, they stop immediately when I spin them.

My idea was to get a set of used ones and slap them on there, and then tear these apart, kinda as a learning experience as well as a "how cool would it be" to have rebuilt calipers that wont give me any issues until I do the 5 lug, full disc conversion.

#2 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:25 PM

Ignore the UserName haha

Ned is a 1986 GL Sedan. 172k. 5 speed. D/R. Integrated parking brake.

#3 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 03:39 PM

Posted Image

Gotta say, seeing my scoob with blocks behind the tires is not something I enjoy at all.

Hes in gear, but I dont like parking without the parking brake, and Im afraid that if I set it, the caliper piston will hit the rotor and screw that up. I dont wanna do that! The rotor and pads look pretty much new.

#4 987687

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:09 PM

You do know you can't just compress the piston, right? you have to screw it in.
Another thing that'll cause brakes to stick is if the slides are frozen.

Disc brake pads always touch the rotor very slightly on a properly working setup. Same with drum brakes, if you have the adjusted correctly. Sounds like yours may need adjusting.


I know the feeling of the car sitting... My GL has been sitting for about three weeks now with a broken subframe.

#5 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 04:37 PM

Yea I know about having to turn the piston in and stuff. I dont even know if it can do that. I would check but in my very limited supply of tools, a set or two of vice grips to pinch of the line is not included :( so I cant pull off the caliper til I find a set or two (might as well check the other side while Im at it)

#6 Caboobaroo

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:19 PM

Here's what you do. Take the wheel off, crack the bleeder screw and let the pressure out. It'll help taking the caliper off a bit easier if its locked up.

As for needing vise grips to "clamp" the line, not always needed. Leave the line hooked up until you replace the caliper (unless you're rebuilding it) and then just unbolt the line and quickly bolt it back onto the new caliper.

Another option for capping the line would be to take a rubber plug that'll fit over the hardline where it threads into the rubber brake line that leads to the caliper.

#7 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:47 PM

Where could I find the rubber plug?

Would it be easier to just unhook the caliper and let the fluid drain out into a pan while Im looking at the caliper or what not and then just putting in new fluid after its all gone? or is there something with that process thats a PITA?

#8 robm

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:03 PM

Bleeding the brakes after letting all the fluid out is a PITA. I did just that, and the brakes still aren't as firm as they should be ( air in the system).

Keep as much fluid in the system as you can, then bleed it till clean fluid comes through. Don't let the reservoir empty completely, to let air in the system. Do all 4 wheels. Chances are the caliper froze because of old fluid ( absorbs water and rusts the piston in place.)

#9 987687

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:05 PM

Where could I find the rubber plug?

Would it be easier to just unhook the caliper and let the fluid drain out into a pan while Im looking at the caliper or what not and then just putting in new fluid after its all gone? or is there something with that process thats a PITA?


Bleeding the master cylinder is what you don't want to do. DO NOT let the reservoir run out.

#10 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:06 PM

That is what Rick (GD) was saying that water couldve gotten in the line.

So should I add fluid to the top (im just above the minimum line)

Remove the caliper and see if I can free it up and clean it up and then bleed the brakes a little bit?

#11 987687

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:17 PM

That is what Rick (GD) was saying that water couldve gotten in the line.

So should I add fluid to the top (im just above the minimum line)

Remove the caliper and see if I can free it up and clean it up and then bleed the brakes a little bit?


Brake fluid is Hygroscopic, meaning it absorbs and holds water. If the brake fluid isn't changed after many years quite a bit of moisture builds up in the system. Couple that moisture with air in the brake system, and it'll rust out from the inside. First signs are usually seized up calipers. Whether you get a new caliper or rebuild yours, you need to change out the brake fluid to fresh fluid.

#12 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:20 PM

Ive never flushed a brake system...

Dont you have to like pump the fluid in or something?

#13 987687

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:38 PM

Ive never flushed a brake system...

Dont you have to like pump the fluid in or something?


There are tools to do it, but on the cheap just use a turkey baster or something to suck the old fluid out of the reservoir. Fill it up with fresh fluid. Then just bleed the brakes, RR, RF, RL, RF in that order until you get fresh fluid out.
Vacuum pumps make it easier/quicker. But it can definitely be done on the cheap.

Sometimes I'll just open the bleeders and let them drip while I'm working on something else, periodically topping the fluid off. My point is, no matter what method you use, you need a brake system flush. If one caliper froze up, the other one isn't far behind.

#14 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 06:49 PM

I think I will definitely try one of those.

The other caliper is holding up the wheel, I can feel it when I try to spin it.

#15 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 20 April 2011 - 07:11 PM

Then just bleed the brakes, RR, RF, RL, RF in that order until you get fresh fluid out.


What order? RR, RF, LR, LF?

#16 Deener

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 09:00 AM

I just rebuilt a caliper last night and it wasn't hard at all. The most difficult part was getting the piston back in the rubber boot without damaging it. If you are going that route, remove the e-brake cable then the brake line (14mm) then take the caliper to the bench (heres where a vice is handy) and pump the ebrake lever over and over by hand until the piston eventually pops off of the 'bolt' inside, once near the top, just unscrew it by hand. Then peel the rubber boot off and the piston comes right out....no small parts or anything inside. Theres a threaded part inside the piston that mounts onto the 'bolt' of the cailper but thats it, nothing to lose or break in there. Clean up the inside with brake cleaner and rags (steel wool if its really bad) then grease the piston back up with the synthetic brake grease and screw the piston back into the caliper. Resinstall caliper and bleed. I just did this bleed order and it worked for me: drivers side front, passenger rear, passenger front, drivers rear....not sure if thats the proper sequence but it worked for me last night.

Dean

#17 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 02:53 PM

So no special tools or anything?

I mean obviously when I bleed it I need the baster and brake fluid, but Im actually very excited to tear apart my brakes now.

Thanks a ton!!

#18 987687

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 02:56 PM

I remember when I first started working on my cars I was really worried to start tearing stuff apart. That I'd never get it back together again.
Then after I was done, I'd say "well that was easy". You can do it :banana:


If something comes up we'll help you out.

#19 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:24 PM

Thanks so much.

I had brake cleaner, but a buddy of mine had this god awful colored bumper that we were trying to sell, so we sprayed brake cleaner on it, it ate the new paint and was able to be scrubbed off to the original color underneath it.

So just to clarify:
Brake Cleaner (1 can should do both front calipers?)
Steel wool (or is there something better)
Brake grease (brand/quantity I should get for 2 calipers)
DOT-3 Brake Fluid (should the smaller ones work or is it the larger one to fill the reservoir for bleeding the brakes)
Turkey Baster (for sucking old fluid out)

I am really trying to do this on a very cheap budget, but I dont want my cars brakes to lock up on the freeway or something. I plan to take special care in this, but I also dont want a $50 repair bill :-\

Post question: For bleeding the brakes. If there is bad fluid in the line, should I bleed it BEFORE I put the rebuilt/redone calipers on there so that the bad fluid doesnt get right back in there?

#20 987687

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:33 PM

If you're rebuilding one side, why not do both? Unless the other side is in really good condition.
I use synthetic brake grease, pretty cheap.
Get a 1qt bottle of fluid, it's cheaper than getting pint bottles.
You found that brake cleaner eats paint, so does brake fluid, keep it off your paint.

If you leave the line disconnected you can let the old brake fluid drip out if you want, just don't push the pedal, that'll suck air in the system. And make sure you don't run out of fluid, that's one thing you really don't want to have happen.

I don't know if you need pads or not, but doing a brake job under $50 is gonna be a little tight. Brakes are something you don't want to go cheap on. Spend the money and do it right so they don't fail going down the highway.

#21 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:37 PM

I plan to rebuild both sides :)

I wont push the pedal, and I will keep an eye on the fluid, I have an old bottle thats bout half full so I will pour that in while Im cleaning the calipers.

I have what appear to be brand new brake pads and brand new brake rotors.
Unfortunately, the brake pads have a little scuffing from being taken off the rotor when they were stuck, can I just sand them with a little sand paper or will they go back to wearing correctly when I start driving?

#22 Deener

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:39 PM

Brake Cleaner (1 can should do both front calipers?)
- Yes, it won't take that much unless you waste a bunch. Spray a few shots into the caliper when the piston is out, and scrub the inside clean, repeat until you think it's clean enough.

Steel wool (or is there something better)
- Steel wool will work, you don't want anything too coarse cuz it could score the piston.

Brake grease (brand/quantity I should get for 2 calipers)
- Any parts store will know what you mean when you ask for Synthetic Brake grease. I got stuff yesterday that was a brand called 'Kleen Flo' and it was about 7 bucks a tube.

DOT-3 Brake Fluid (should the smaller ones work or is it the larger one to fill the reservoir for bleeding the brakes)
- I would get the large container in case you have trouble and have to bleed more than once you will have some extra.

Turkey Baster (for sucking old fluid out)
- Gobble gobble.


Post question: For bleeding the brakes. If there is bad fluid in the line, should I bleed it BEFORE I put the rebuilt/redone calipers on there so that the bad fluid doesnt get right back in there?

Change the fluid when the rebuilt calipers go back on.
Turkey baster is used to remove the old fluid from the res, then fill it up with the new fluid. Bleed each line until you see the fluid change color. The new stuff will be more clear that the old stuff... you will know when the new stuff is coming through the line. Don't forget that the lines to the rear are longer so there will be more fluid in them, be patient.

You might want to get a friend to pump and hold them for you too as you release and tighten the bleed valve. No friends? I used a collapsable snowboarding shovel extended to fit between the steering wheel and the brake pedal to push the brake down and then squash it down with the tilt steering in the down position. A 2x4 cut to fit would also work.

Good luck

Dean

#23 987687

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:43 PM

I plan to rebuild both sides :)

I wont push the pedal, and I will keep an eye on the fluid, I have an old bottle thats bout half full so I will pour that in while Im cleaning the calipers.

I have what appear to be brand new brake pads and brand new brake rotors.
Unfortunately, the brake pads have a little scuffing from being taken off the rotor when they were stuck, can I just sand them with a little sand paper or will they go back to wearing correctly when I start driving?


Yes, it's fine to scuff up the pads with sand paper. Use 150-200 grit and clean them with brake cleaner afterwards.

As Deener said, have someone help bleeding the brakes. It'll take forever using something to prop the pedal. I usually have my mom/GF/sister/random person on the street push the pedal for me.

#24 92_rugby_subie

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:53 PM

Thanks so much for your patience.

So this is what Im thinking I will do.

Remove caliper
Have the e-brake line disconnected
Pump the e-brake line on the caliper to get the piston out.
Unscrew it the rest of the way.
Spray some brake cleaner in the piston hole and on the piston.
Clean gunk out, repeat until I feel its clean enough.
Let dry.
Rub brake grease into the piston hole (and on the piston?)
Screw piston back into piston hole until its all the way down?
Reconnect brake lines.
Put caliper/pad assembly back on rotor (but DONT hit the brakes yet)
Repeat for other side.

After both front ones are redone (rears are drum brakes) begin the bleed process:
Use turkey baster to remove the old fluid (probably not all of it, just most of it right, to prevent air from getting in the line?
Fill with new fluid. Put cap on (clean cap)
Push down the pedal, open the bleeder. Fluid comes out. Immediately close the bleeder. Lift up on pedal. Repeat. If the pedal is lifted up with the bleeder open it just sucked air in, you went backwards.
Order to bleed: So Passenger Rear, Driver Front, Driver Rear, Passenger Front

I hope this is right, I dont wanna waste your guys' time.

At least Im making a very thorough walk-through for another scoobie-newb?

AND ITLL BE DONE RIGHT SO I DONT DIE IN A CRASH (And Ned Stays In One Piece)

Edited by 92_rugby_subie, 21 April 2011 - 04:06 PM.


#25 987687

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Posted 21 April 2011 - 03:58 PM

The trick with bleeding brakes is to not get air back in the system. That means never lifting up on the brake pedal with a bleeder open.

Push down the pedal, open the bleeder. Fluid comes out. Immediately close the bleeder. Lift up on pedal. Repeat. If the pedal is lifted up with the bleeder open it just sucked air in, you went backwards.

The order of bleeding is RR, LF, LR, RF.




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