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post #1 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2004, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Sticking caliper -- temporary fix?

The left front caliper on my Tracker has been sticking intermitently. It is not seized. I was going to go ahead and replace both front calipers, but a friend with considerably more experience advised against it. Here's what he said:

It sounds like your caliper is sticking (not releasing when you remove your
foot from the brake) due to rust preventing the hydraulic piston from moving
freely. You could inset a screw driver (or even a chisel, and use a hammer
to drive it) between the piston and brake pad to open it up and lubricate
(WD40) the caliper/piston slide area, being careful to avoid getting
lubricant on the brake pad. Then get in the car and push the brake pedal to
close the caliper piston. Continue opening/closing the piston until is seems
to move more freely. If you try to replace the caliper, there may be
unforeseen complications (like rusty parts that don't disassemble without
destruction) and require you to get more parts/tools, which would be
difficult without a second car. As for turning the rotor, that's a common
recommendation by repair shops, but that would only be necessary if the
rotor surface is no longer smooth, causing the brake pads to be chewed up.
When I bleed the brakes, I wedge a board between the brake pedal and seat to
hold the break pedal down for the compression phase. If you're able to wait
until the end of the month when I come down, I can assist you.

I looked in my Haynes manual, and it's difficult to see what exactly I'd need to lubricate. Of course, it's always harder to tell when looking at pictures. Anyway, does this sound like something that could work? As a temporary fix, of course. My friend will be back in town in three or four weeks, and we'll definitely replace both front calipers at that time.

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post #2 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2004, 01:29 PM
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Re: Sticking caliper -- temporary fix?

IF you replace the caliper which way are you going (loaded or just the caliper)? What condition are your pads in? If they are on the slim side already I would replace both with a new loaded set. Yes you can pull the old one off and lube the heck out of it. Work it till it startes moving better/freely. But you still have all the rust and debree floating around. If money is real tight you can go that way. But the odds are they will act up again, sooner or latter. If you replace the caliper (rebuilt/reman, or new) and new pads, whats left besides the brake line? If the brake line is showing were replace them at the same time. Flush the system till it runs clean (before you put the new parts on). While you are at it flush the rest of the system and put new fluid in. Brake failer sucks, big time. It usualy ends up costing a lot more than the parts would have.
Just my 2 1/2 cents [img]images/graemlins/grin.gif[/img]
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2004, 01:56 PM
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Re: Sticking caliper -- temporary fix?

Sorry but this seems very booty fab on many levels !!!!!
If your caliper is sticking WD40 will not clean up the rust. It will make it slide better until the WD40 disipates, and then you will have a sticky caliper again. Calipers and pads are cheap!!!! Just buy a set and be done with it. The only damage that can be done it to stip the banjo bolt. Use a proper 6 sided wrench and all will be well. Brakes are a saftey issue not to be fooled with , jerry rigged or booty fabbed!!!!!!!!!
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post #4 of (permalink) Old 09-10-2004, 09:40 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sticking caliper -- temporary fix?

Hey guys, many thanks for the replies.

Like I said, this would be a *temporary* fix. The cost of the parts isn't the issue. The issue is that I currently have no transportation/limited transportation. A temporary fix would allow me to go to the auto store to buy rebuilt calipers and new pads, brake fluid, etc. My friend has an '84 VW Rabbit I could drive, but I'm a little afraid to drive that old junker since one of the CV joints is going bad. Oh, and it hasn't been inspected in five years.

Or I might just decide that I don't want to be bothered and take it to a mechanic to have the calipers replaced. In that case, I'd like to be able to drive the Tracker there and not have to pay for a tow truck.

Mudlite, I think you're right about WD-40. Its lubricating properties aren't likely to last long. What I was thinking of doing instead is to start with some "Liquid Wrench" to help loosen things up, and then follow up with a little 3-in-1 oil. But I just read today that using oil is a bad idea for a couple of reasons, one of them being that it will probably damage the rubber seal that's on the piston. Supposedly, high-temperature grease is what I should use. Another person said that even that's not so good because the grease will help the dirt stick better. That may not matter much though if the fix only needs to keep things working for one month, max. The person who advised against using grease recommends using graphite instead. I have doubts about how well graphite would work on heavily rusted parts, though.

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