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78 Brat - Froze Up Brake Caliper


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21 replies to this topic

#1 CMJAnew

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 02:42 PM

Hey folks. 

 

My 78 Brat has a frozen (locked up) passenger side brake caliper. From the looks of the undercarriage it has probably been this way for a looooooooooooooooooooooooooooong time. 

 

I'm not a mechanic, nor do I play one in my driveway (you'll hear that a lot from me. So treat your answers as if your talking to someone who knows nothing please. That said, I'd like to try to free this thing up myself. 

 

So far I've loosened a bolt on the back side. This looks like where the unit would 'hinge'. 

Then I pried and wedged and smacked it in a multitude of directions. I've made no progress. 

 

The emergency brake cable is not locked up.

 

So, what do I need to do next. 



#2 ruparts

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 03:14 PM

hi,

  i am not totally sure on 78 but the vehicles around 80 or newer you have to turn the caliper piston like you would a bolt to compress it back into it's bore,, they do not just press back in the bore like most cars with rear emergency brake.  if it has the emergency brake on the front caliper it is pretty sure to be the same as the later ones and has to turnto go in,, basically you are threading the piston back on the emergency brake bolt that runs through to the back side of the piston.  if you're not so mechanically inclined you might seek out someone that is,  and knows about these old subies. 

 also if you have the emergency brake pulled while doing this work, its going to be basically locked up.


Edited by ruparts, 15 February 2014 - 03:16 PM.


#3 CMJAnew

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 03:19 PM

I need to get the caliper off (released from) the disc. i.e. it is CLAMPED on to the disc.


Edited by CMJAnew, 15 February 2014 - 03:52 PM.


#4 the sucker king

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Posted 15 February 2014 - 11:17 PM

if it turns out you need to replace the caliper, I have one for sale $25 plus shipping I THINK it is pass side, I'll post a pic and you can confirm.



#5 CMJAnew

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 06:43 AM

if it turns out you need to replace the caliper, I have one for sale $25 plus shipping I THINK it is pass side, I'll post a pic and you can confirm.

 

Thanks! Any idea what I will have to do to get the one on the car OFF? 



#6 moosens

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 06:49 AM

Jon , look for the R or L on the caliper. On my phone now and can't see with the shadow in the shot. Should be the end letter.

CMJ - the lower bolt pulls out and the top one is the hinge. Those are 14mm heads. Try using a piece of wood or metal drift of some sort at the lower "ear" of the caliper. If the wheel moves you should be able to get it to swing out with a few good whacks.

#7 CMJAnew

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 10:42 AM

CMJ - the lower bolt pulls out and the top one is the hinge. Those are 14mm heads. Try using a piece of wood or metal drift of some sort at the lower "ear" of the caliper. If the wheel moves you should be able to get it to swing out with a few good whacks.

 

Thanks. That top bolt was wedged with the cable. I had to take it completely out as the caliper wouldn't pivot all the way off the disc. That's as far as I am likely to go today (have a snow diagnosis and adjustment to make before the next 'weather event')

 

Hope you all don't get tired of my tedious requests for help. I really have little aptitude for this stuff. 



#8 the sucker king

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Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:51 PM

I checked my caliper, It indeed has a R on it, passenger side. Let me know if you need it.



#9 moosens

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 05:14 PM

 Hope you all don't get tired of my tedious requests for help. I really have little aptitude for this stuff.

 

 

No sweat , just that I personally don't have a whole lot of time lately. I'll help you out as will several of us who have already been down this road. This is the little slice of life I have for enjoyment , my little old 4WD wagon and the other vintage babies that have come and gone. I hope you get the same enjoyment out of yours. Subaru3 - todd is also a huge help but has been excessively busy/involved with a move up north , eventually. There's others who will help , you'll see.

 

...and the suckerking .... :)

 

Currently working 7 days a week on the main gig and doing a second gig all 5 weekdays .... so , you can imagine who thin my time is. Family first , this stuff down the line.

Cheers !!



#10 grossgary

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 05:55 PM

i've seen the ebrake mechanisms stick - i see you said it's not the cable - are you sure it's not the mechanism on the caliper itself?  i had one stick one time - worked it loose with a wrench back and forth and it never did it again.



#11 CMJAnew

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 11:37 AM

What's the time tested, no fail, proven procedure for screwing the piston back in?

The piston does have a recess across it, but its so wide (5/16 to 3/8) I can't figure what to use or do to screw it back in.

 

Appears I am going to be doing the same on both fronts - right and left. 



#12 the sucker king

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 01:24 PM

with the bleeder valve open, you can turn it with needle nose pliers spread open just so. you usually have to apply a lot downward pressure while you turn. It can be a pain, so alot of the people on this board have ground down a large socket to make a custom tool. Subaru did make a specialty too for it. But probably not worth buying as opposed to the DIY methods



#13 moosens

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 01:34 PM

Wait , there is a cheapy item you can buy and it'd be worth it to have it over time.

 

It's a little box shaped tool that fits in a 3/8" drive ratchet extention. It has a few different shapes protruding from each side of the cube and you'll find one shape fits in those slots just fine enough. You can score one at your local parts place.

 

Here's on on eBay super cheap !!!

 

 

http://www.ebay.com/...41c4f36&vxp=mtr

 

 

And another !!

 

http://www.ebay.com/...9036d51&vxp=mtr

 

 

We're here to help. Really want to see you keep your ride and be proud of it rolling and stopping someday.



#14 CMJAnew

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 02:03 PM

Thank You....Thank You.....Thank You. I'll check out the local parts stores this afternoon. If not available locally I'm all over one of these on eBay. 

 

Assuming I successfully get them back in, should I work them a few times before reassembling the caliper, pads and disc? 


Edited by CMJAnew, 22 February 2014 - 02:05 PM.


#15 moosens

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 02:16 PM

It does sometimes get frustrating. Best bet is to turn them all the way in until the rubber seal is flush to the top of the piston. If the seals are torn up be sure to replace them , not being lazy like me on my '92 ..... I'll get them in the springtime. But anyways , do all you can while you have it in your hands. Clean up hardware , or replace as you can. I don't think I have to tell you , but more for anyone working on these old cars.The right side always takes more abuse over time with rain on the side of the road ,etc.

 

Lots to do here , will check back tomorrow. Cheers!



#16 CMJAnew

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Posted 22 February 2014 - 02:21 PM

When it comes to any type of mechanical work - assume I know NOTHING. Because what I do know is minimal. 



#17 moosens

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 09:24 AM

And as mentioned above opening the bleeder will make it a bit easier to turn those pistons in. But that also gets messy if you don't have a bleeder hose going into the catcher of your choice. Coffee can for me. Best bet is to totally drain that old brake fluid and have someone with you to pump the pedal when you bleed the brakes. Some folks have the self-bleeder which allows you to do it all by yourself but I'm still in old school mode here. I've actually done them myself without a second person using a 2x4 and the seat. Yup , and it worked. The foam of the seat will compress and when you open the bleeder you get enough travel to get air bubbles out. might take at least two or three repetitions but when you're all alone you get it done.

 

Assume all fluids need replacing. If I can find it in my manuals there's a preferred starting point - as in the furthest brake - working up to the front left I think. 4 jack stands are a must. Clear bleered hose so you can see the last of the old stuff going out. I think that is 3/16 inside diameter , but double check that.



#18 CMJAnew

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 12:19 PM

I think I'm going to punt on these calipers. Had the right off, and disconnected from the line. Could NOT get it to budge. Put the assemblies back together (without pads) just so I can move the Brat around. 

 

I'll think about replacing with new.



#19 moosens

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 04:41 PM

Plenty of rebuilts out there. You'll not find new. Maybe Danny W (drivesubies) , but that's about it. Good idea to save all your bits 'n pieces just incase. The tiny hairpins , the funky bent wire clips , the spacers..... You can still score packs of those hardware too.

 

One issue to check - while its on my mind and in my car - is the faulty pedal box. The bracket which holds your brake and clutch pedal. It tends to get a shear in the thin metal over on the left side where the pivot pin meets the left side of that 'box'. It'll make you nuts trying to adjust the clutch. Infact it gets to a point where you CANNOT adjust it even if a NEW cable is installed. Get your nose down there and inspect it from the left looking inward and from the inside of the box looking outward too. Any sign of a slight crack I suggest taking it out and having it welded or reinforced in a manner which doesn't conflict with the pedal action.

 

You'll get it back to a happy state. Patience is key.



#20 CMJAnew

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 01:20 PM

Rebuilt calipers installed on the Brat this am. Not sure if I've got them bled out completely. Used the 'hose to the bottle - back feed method'. Is it necessary to bleed the rears as well? 



#21 the sucker king

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 02:42 PM

only if you let too much fluid out while working on it/bleeding it and you drained the reservoir



#22 CMJAnew

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Posted 08 March 2014 - 03:24 PM

only if you let too much fluid out while working on it/bleeding it and you drained the reservoir

 

Good. Most of what was lost came from the old calipers. Very little even came from the lines. 






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