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View Full Version : OT - constantly sticking brake calipers on a 2010 Malibu



RichTes
09-11-2014, 05:26 PM
Replaced the front calipers about 20k ago and sticking again. Car feels like it's dragging and uneven brake wear. There never was anything on the caliper but a different parts diagram I thought I saw showed springs to help the caliper retract. Might have been on a parts website.

Anyone seen anything like this or had this problem? Going to search some more for it.

Any suggestions?

Thanks,
Rich

RichTes
09-11-2014, 05:34 PM
Rock Auto shows a brake pad drag reduction clip. Maybe that's what I'm thinking of.
Rich

Toolguy
09-11-2014, 05:44 PM
The better calipers have a rubber boot and o-ring to seal the guide pins. The guide pins are greased. The main cause of sticky calipers is corroded or rusty guide pins. If they are not sealed, you can clean them off and grease them. The grease will wash off eventually at which point you reapply.

J. R. Williams
09-11-2014, 06:01 PM
I had a similar many years ago with an old VW. One front brake would not release and after many tries to find the problem it was finally located in the brake hose. The internal tube of the hose was swelled shut. High pressure fluid would pass thru the hose but not return when the pedal was released. I replaced the hoses and the problem was solved.

dp
09-11-2014, 06:07 PM
Every time I've had this problem of disk brake drag, most recently on my Jeep, it has been the piston sticking in the piston housing and not the caliper getting stuck. In each case the plating on the piston had worn and the piston had rusted. Rust is a common thing in the Pacific North Wet.

Joe_B
09-11-2014, 07:05 PM
I had a similar many years ago with an old VW. One front brake would not release and after many tries to find the problem it was finally located in the brake hose. The internal tube of the hose was swelled shut. High pressure fluid would pass thru the hose but not return when the pedal was released. I replaced the hoses and the problem was solved.

Same thing on an old camaro I had. Drove me nuts. Never really figured it out but fixed it through the process of elimination. They did not look any different but the innards were swelled shut.

ahidley
09-11-2014, 07:40 PM
E
Many people put grease on the pins. Problem is grease absorbes water. Use a waterproof grease . Brake hoses can become check valves.

kendall
09-11-2014, 07:49 PM
Guide pins or rails, either one can get gunked up. Smooth them down and lube them up. One car I worked on had the holes for the guide pins worn or improperly bored, After roughly a year, the caliper would cock and hang up. Until it was replaced, a light tap on the inside top would free them up for a while.

lakeside53
09-11-2014, 07:57 PM
Can't speak specifically about the car in question, but aftermarket kits of caliper guide pins, boots etc are inexpensive. Replace the lot and use grease specified for calipers.

Did you replace the fluid when you replaced the calipers? Brake fluid absorbs water, and that lead to rust. Out here, 3-5 years is the "life" of brake fluid.

firbikrhd1
09-11-2014, 08:28 PM
Years ago car manufacturers started making disc brake calipers with plastic pistons and the would stick in the bores over time. I have no idea whether they have started making them that way again, but it would be worth looking into. The solution back then was piston replacement with steel pistons.

I had a 1970 Plymouth Duster with 4 piston calipers. The pistons were chrome plated and rusted beneath the chrome, same issue, pistons stuck in their bores. I had to purchase a special piston removal tool (KD 2105) to finally get them out with great effort in an attempt to rebuild them. No Soap, the bores were also badly rusted so it was new caliper time.

Even with good seals around the pistons if you don't replace your brake fluid it become contaminated with moisture and will cause the system components, including pistons to rust/corrode, unless you have replaced your pistons with stainless pistons. Older Corvettes had issues with rusty pistons and there were after market SS pistons available for it. Few people do it but replacement of brake fluid every couple of years is good practice.

There is a special grease just for caliper pins that will not absorb water or cause other issues.
http://www.dowcorning.com/content/publishedlit/80-3507.pdf

ahidley
09-11-2014, 09:08 PM
Wallmart sells waterproof grease for boat trailers

saltmine
09-11-2014, 09:34 PM
A lady came into the shop once, with her brakes dragging. When the brakes got hot, the car would barely do 35 mph. A quick inspection revealed that her dim-witted kid was checking the fluid levels, and noticed the master was low. So, he topped it off with motor oil. The oil mixed with brake fluid caused the seals to swell up, blocking the fluid return port in the master cylinder.

saltmine
09-11-2014, 09:46 PM
Back, many years ago, I was the lead mechanic at a large Chrysler dealer. The sales department brought a brand new Chrysler Newport back to the service department with the brakes dragging. They were whining and crying because they couldn't sell it like that...it had 11 miles on it. To make a long, painful story short, we tried everything you would normally try for dragging brakes, nothing worked. A lot of time was wasted searching for the problem.

Finally, I just happened to glance down into an empty master cylinder, which we had replaced 3 times. The return port was covered. I loosened the cylinder, and when it came away from the firewall about 1/4", the fluid began to drain back, like it was supposed to. Confounded as to why the master cylinder was out of place, we took an identical Chrysler, and made some measurements. The firewall had shifted during the construction of the body. I took a piece of 1/4" 6160 aluminum and cut out a matching piece, to fit between the firewall and the brake cylinder. Once installed, the brakes performed normally. They sold the car a week later, and we never saw it again.