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Brakes locking up after disuse

 
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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 18 May 2018, 04:25 pm
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Default Brakes locking up after disuse

I've got a 2008 Base model that, because of the way I use, it sits for a while (could be a couple of months) between drives. So on an irregular basis, I find that one of the front (so far) calipers locks up, at least partially - I can't feel int pull in that direction, but when I stop I see some smoke issuing from that side, and the wheel gets f*****g hot!

The last couple of times I've used it, I've tried accelerating and braking HARD in both drive and reverse before leaving the parking area, which I think broke it free... or maybe it's just wishful thinking.

The local mechanic says that that's just the nature of the beast if you let the car sit, and that Chryslers are the worst. I asked about an aftermarket caliper, but he said there were none, and the only suggestion he could offer was to trade it in on a Honda or Toyota.

So, does anyone know of an aftermarket caliper, or some other solution, that might solve my problem? Re replacing the calipers, I talked to Powerstop, but they said there's were overhauled OEM. I noticed something from Stoptech, but they wanted $1995 for a front caliper/rotor/pad set, and that's probably about what the entire car is worth.

So, any ideas?
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Old 18 May 2018, 05:27 pm
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Talking Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

I just put on the Power Stop Z23 aftermarket upgrade front pads and discs on my 2003! Much improved...no dragging, and quiet!

I would suggest that you watch a Youtube video "how to" replace PT front brakes , and tear down the offending brake.
There are several parts that could be sticking.
And even if the car isn't driven much, those small rubber "return" boots on the caliper sleeves may be degraded over time and not lifting.
**PLUS...mine had a good amount of rust.
You can clean that up with a wire brush and apply some brake parts lube.

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Old 18 May 2018, 08:58 pm
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

If you're local mechanic told you there are no aftermarket calipers, you should start going to a different mechanic. I can find many different aftermarket calipers right here online.
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Old 18 May 2018, 09:23 pm
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

If they told you no aftermarket ones exist, that's a flat out lie. You can find one at Autozone, or anywhere else. Or a junkyard. But before you do that, tear down the caliper. I had a right front one that had one half completely stuck shut. Slide pins were frozen solid. Little bit of brake clean, $3 in brake hardware, some silicone paste and I was back on the road! Worst comes to worst, you can replace the slide pis or rebuild the caliper. Sounds like this mechanic wants to take you for a ride. Don't despare on your PT. Owning one is a very rewarding labor of love. A couple little projects here and there and before you know it, she'll have stolen half your heart. -PT Owner for Life
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Old 19 May 2018, 12:30 am
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

Remove the offending caliper and remove the pads, they should be easily removed from the holder
without a hammer or prying with a screw driver.
Sometimes you can tell what pad is dragging because it will be worn more than the other side.
If they are binding or tight and there is substantial brake pad remaining clean the slides fits for the pads, lube them well.
Grind the metal ears on the pads to shorten the length if necessary to make them an easy slide in fit.
Pull the pins and lube them, working them in and out, they should move freely.
Check both sides of the rotor for rust build up at the inner and outer edge.

If the rubber boot around the piston is torn the piston may have dirt or rust causing the piston to bind - Replace caliper
Pull
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Last edited by JoeX; 19 May 2018 at 12:35 am.
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Old 19 May 2018, 03:07 am
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

Brake calipers hang up mainly for 2 reasons. The slides rust up and won't release easily. Or, the caliper pistons and/or caliper bore gets moisture inside and rusts. This causes the piston to hang up which makes the brake pads drag and overheat.

I replaced mine 3 years ago and they are still working great. Auto palace. $52 plus a $30 CORE charge which gets returned. Replace the slider pins if they are pitted. Replace both calipers. Use the proper brake lube.

Calipers should last 5 to 10 years with fresh fluid. However, when new pads are installed, the piston gets pushed back into the area that may be rusted.
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Old 19 May 2018, 06:47 am
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

Let's not forget that the brake hose can also be a culprit that causes calipers to lock up. They get soft from the inside and can pinch together when you let off the brake pedal and that won't allow the fluid to flow back out of the caliper. You can check those things pretty easily. Just start at one end and pinch your way towards the other. If you find a soft spot, then replace the hose. I'd do both sides if you find one defective. Preventative maintenance.
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Old 19 May 2018, 11:27 am
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

Quote:
Originally Posted by chuzz View Post
Let's not forget that the brake hose can also be a culprit that causes calipers to lock up. They get soft from the inside and can pinch together when you let off the brake pedal and that won't allow the fluid to flow back out of the caliper. You can check those things pretty easily. Just start at one end and pinch your way towards the other. If you find a soft spot, then replace the hose. I'd do both sides if you find one defective. Preventative maintenance.
Good Point!
But, I would start with inspecting the simple reasons first!
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Old 19 May 2018, 01:15 pm
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

I agree with you 100%, Frank. I'm just letting him know another place to look. It doesn't cost anything but a few minutes of time.
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Old 20 May 2018, 04:58 pm
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Default Re: Brakes locking up after disuse

Thanks everyone for your thoughts. My big problem is that the car sits, outdoors, sometimes for a couple of months between operations. So it's a prime environment for premature corrosion. It's been this way for 8 years, during which I've had the (original) calipers replaced once, several years ago. PT06 said "Calipers should last 5-10 years..." Since my usage pattern is awful, perhaps I should expect to have to change them more frequently... every 4 years or so?

I'm not particularly intimidated by the task of changing them myself, but I'd have to do it in an airport parking lot (that's where the car lives) - either that or drive it 250 miles home (not insurmountable, but a PITA).

The mechanic was a decent fellow; I think what he meant was that there was no third-party replacement he could think of that would be any better at surviving long periods of disuse. I know that I can buy a set of calipers from any number of online sources, for 50 bucks or so.

The car gets about 2500 miles of use every year. Perhaps I should install a fresh set of calipers now, and then replace them preemptively every 4 years or so, given the way I'm using the car. When I use the car it needs to be reliable, so I really can't just use it until the first time I see smoke smoke coming from the wheel well.

Thoughts?
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