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I know, I know, we arent a saturn forum but i feel the question could be applied here.

 

I have a '94 Saturn SL1, 5sp, FWD with about 265k. 

 

(Little back story) until recently, i was having a whurring sound coming from the driver side front. Seeing as parts were cheap, I went ahead and did wheel bearings. Before pressing them out, I thought to take the wheel sensor off the assy, but was unable to without breaking it - Ultimately, i did :-/

 

With The ABS light being on, I figured OH well, wtheck? So I dont have ABS for a bit. and drove the car for about a week or so before starting to smell something. (i drive anywhere from 60-100 miles a day for work as a field technician). The smell is similar to brakes faint, but still there. Didnt get stronger or less strong the more i drove it. Naturally, I stick my nose to all the wheels (after just driving it about 40 miles) and come up with nothing. I also pop the hood and stick my nose near the bell housing also nill. A friend mentions the possibility of a CAT starting to go out. 

 

Fast forward a week. I'm driving to work and lose brakes. I pull the E-brake and the handle nearly comes off.. i've got nill. I end up down shifting to nearly 1st gear and killing the motor to stop. Yay me!

 

After getting out, the Driver side Rear tire is smoking - Theres my brakes :-/. I figure its probably the ABS system being wonky since i have the sensor out and i go ahead and order it, I've since installed it and the light is out. I figure i'm in the clear and drive again for work - I was wrong. 

 

Long story short, The brakes dont fully go out until a few miles of driving (i have a bit of petal). When it goes it goes. Let it cool and its good again for a few miles. I pulled the rear tires (havent gotten to the fronts since its snowing again) and there is plenty of pad there, though, the rotor on the D/S is toast. 

 

Ideas? I have all 4 new brakes and rotors within the last 5k miles (when i inherited the car). It was driving perfectly fine until i did the bearing.. I dont believe i did anything to the brake system while doing that. It drove very well after the fact for a few days

 

 

-Justin

 

 

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My recommendation is scrap the Saturn and get another Subaru. 

Edited by MR_Loyale
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ABS is a flow through mechanisim, meaning brakes work without it. An early abs like this would bleed off pressure, not impeed it.

 

Smoking brakes, frozen caliper and you boiled the brake fluid. 

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I figured that about the ABS.Hoped, but figured. :-/

 

My next step was to take all the tires off and check the calipers and pads. 

 

I was thinking Master cylinder and brake booster? then flushing fluid.. 

 

 

-Justin

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I would agree that you're boiling the fluid.

 

I suspect one of 2 things is going on.

 

Good brake fluid has a very high boiling point, so assuming the fluid is good, the caliper is probably locked up pretty tight to generate that much heat. In which case, it'll probably need a new caliper (or a thorough rebuild yourself).

 

Or, the fluid is contaminated, and the source of the heat isn't nearly as severe (sticking slide pin, or pad rusted into the hardware).

 

 

I'd probably start by flushing a little fluid through, and looking at the condition of the old fluid. If the fluid looks healthy, I'd probably jump right to a new caliper (I particularly like Napa Eclipse calipers). If the fluid is nasty, I'd flush quite a bit through it, and then clean and lubricate all the moving parts. Possibly replace the pad hardware and pin boots.

Edited by Numbchux

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to add, if it was locked up wouldnt there be additional pressure to the other wheels? also, the ABS doesnt pulse when braking

 

 

-Justin

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ABS works only when brakes lock up, not drag.

 

I think your caliper pins are all rusted

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but 3 calipers all at once? only the driver side rear is grabbing, or do you mean that *it* is the one locked up?

 

 

-Justin

 

Did I miss something? What would make you suspect 3 calipers at once?

 

You said your driver's side rear was smoking.....which tells me that caliper is not releasing. Most likely the piston seized in the bore. You might be able to hone the cylinder, clean up the piston, and replace the seals. But it's usually cost-effective to get a reman caliper.

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Winner winner!

yes i know this is several days late but wanted to post up my findings. 

 

So, yes it was the rear left caliper that was locked up but it wasnt locked up because it was seized. It was locked up because the e-brake lever was locked "closed". I noticed it when i was looking at the cable. It was lose, and the brake was not engaged inside. tapped it with a hammer and voila! released. 

 

 

thanks for everyone's input. I know i over analyze the situation and think the worse. I'm glad i found it before ordering too many parts!

 

 

-Justin

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