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Old 01-11-2011, 09:50 PM
Highbeam
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Dragging brakes

A few weeks ago I noticed that one brake was dragging on the front of my pickup. Enough to make it difficult to turn the wheel but not enough to generate heat at the wheel after driving. Obviously a mpg thief.

I have new balljoints and bearings so they are fine. I have recently, like 6 months ago changed the pads on this daily driven truck. I don't believe in turning rotors, brakes work great.

So first thing I did was pull the wheel and then caliper. My slide pins were totally free and and the pads were evenly, slightly, worn. Not wedge shaped like a sticky pin would cause.I did not look for swollen pad edges but the caliper was difficult to remove from the rotor. Seeing no apparent issues I suspected a sticky caliper piston so I compressed the pads into their bores and put everything back together. Everything spun nicely so I forgot about it.

I had my tires replaced last night and while it was lifted I tried to spin that wheel and it was stuck again. I read on this site about the swollen pad edges. Never heard of that but I am willing to take a look again plus relube the slide pins with my big jar of fancy official caliper slide pin grease.

What am I looking for? Is the center not swollen but the edges are swollen? Is the pad puckered? Why doesn't this push the piston back in just like the rest of the pad? My pads were regular parts store cheapies.

Any other ideas? The pistons retracted with normal pressure from C-clamp, I've not bled these brakes yet.
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2011, 12:38 AM
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Re: Dragging brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Highbeam View Post
Any other ideas? The pistons retracted with normal pressure from C-clamp, I've not bled these brakes yet.
Well, for racing, that could cause a sticky caliper...

If there's some debris in the fluid, then it's all pushed back up the line and through various passages, that debris might cause the piston not to retract. Sometimes, when pushing the pistons in, we'd open up the bleed valve to force that fluid out of the system rather than causing a problem.

I'd go for the bleed.
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Old 01-13-2011, 04:41 PM
Highbeam
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Re: Dragging brakes

I'll be replacing the caliper, it's not worth the chance of failure and the cause for failure is surely some sort of corrosion on the piston or piston bore. I don't see how bleeding the system could free up a sticky piston. At the same time, the system will get a complete flush because I do believe that the old watery fluid contributed to the sticky caliper in the first place.

Apparently the whole swollen pad edge thing is a myth but I'll inspect the pads for any odd pattern. I'll just be moving the old pads to the new caliper.
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Old 01-14-2011, 01:29 AM
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Re: Dragging brakes

If you can get the pads off, get a die grinder and grind a eighth-inch by 45 chamfer around the edges and the problem will go away.

It is best to chamfer the pads before you first install them.
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Old 01-14-2011, 11:38 PM
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Re: Dragging brakes

Yup, I chamfer the pads on every brake job I do.

Keeps brake squeal down, too
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Old 01-16-2011, 12:35 AM
Highbeam
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Re: Dragging brakes

Okay, so I flushed the whole system with 2.5 quarts of fluid. Then removed and lubed every single caliper slide pin with actual offcial slide pin lube, replaced the sticky caliper, and all the front pads were removed and chamfered on the bench grinder. I can't see how it will help anything but it can't hurt.

The front wheels both spin freely now and I have a tiny bit of travel before I get a hard brake pedal which should correspond with the pads retracting properly. At first I thought I misbled but it is a firm pedal.

I have the OEM limited slip rear end. When I had the rear end up in the air I had a very hard time rotating the wheels. The rear brakes were not dragging but I did not inspect the parking brake. Is the limited slip that good? I know it isn't worth a darn when trying to get traction.
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