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Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time!


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PeterPan
Novice

Jun 28, 2020, 11:57 AM

Post #1 of 12 (412 views)
Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

Old N(1995) Nisan RWD pickup. Engine is 4 cyl, I THINK 2.4L.

Truck only used as a household workhorse for short runs. Odometer shows about 130K, but its probably more. Anyway, at some point the left (drivers side) caliper started locking up. Each time I'd dutifully pull over, shut down, pump brakes and eventually it would free. So I did some checking when it was pretty well dragging continuously, and it was really the actual caliper piston (single piston caliper). I could open the bleed valve a little, and still could not push it apart. Also backed off the bolts where the sliders are and verified I could push them in and out, but the caliper was still locked. I pulled the caliper out and put it in a vise, and with a big C clamp and an old brake pad was finally able to push the piston in. Hoping it was just because of a "bad spot" on the piston, and that new pads would back it beyond the "bad" spot, I put in new pads, lubed the sliders with silicone grease and put it back together. I could also see by turning that if there was any rotor warpage it was pretty slight. But sadly the caliper started sticking again within a month. Probably would have been sooner but I just don't use the truck that much. OK... so, I bought a new caliper (just the caliper not the bracket). I believe the replacement brand was "NUGEON".

Well everything was fine for a while, but within the year the first time I needed to make a long (well, 10 mile anyway) trip, it started happening again! Like before the problem would "go away" after cool-down but would usually come back on 10 mile trips. Since then, and even though it only happens on one side, I've replaced the master cylinder, drained and put in all new fluid, checked to make sure the metal feed line to the left front caliper was clear, and just for good measure changed the rubber flex line on the front left caliper. But sure enough, the next long trip, it started happening again. This time the caliper would not let go completely by stopping and resting. By the time I got home I had already damaged my tire from the dragging.
So today I checked it out and sure enough, based on all the tests I've done, once again it is the caliper piston itself. So before I replace it, what else can I do? Maybe NUGEON is on the "crap " list of re manufactured parts? I have found over time that quite often certain "reman" parts are garbage, but OEM would cost a fortune for this old truck. Or maybe the caliper bracket is bent, and the whole assembly should be replaced? I don't know. But I don't want to fall into the trap of doing the same thing the same way and expecting a different result. What could I be missing?

By the way while I'm asking, bleeding brakes in the truck is a pain. I've seen some "youtubers" show where they used a vice grip with some protective hose around the clamps to clamp the caliper hose, make sure the caliper is really full of fluid on the bench with a syringe, and manage to put it together with a bare minimum of air getting in. Would that work? At least it would be nice if bleeding only took one or two pumps instead of an hour.

Thanks for any help!

Peter Pan -- Second Star to the right


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 28, 2020, 12:32 PM

Post #2 of 12 (410 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In


Quote
By the way while I'm asking, bleeding brakes in the truck is a pain. I've seen some "youtubers" show where they used a vice grip with some protective hose around the clamps to clamp the caliper hose, make sure the caliper is really full of fluid on the bench with a syringe, and manage to put it together with a bare minimum of air getting in. Would that work? At least it would be nice if bleeding only took one or two pumps instead of an hour


That's a good way to continue having the problems you are having. You really should flush the system thoroughly with clean brake fluid. The fluid deteriorates and absorbs moisture and metals and that is likely what is leading to your failures.

Brake fluid is hydroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture out of the air like a sponge. It can do this right through the master.



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PeterPan
Novice

Jun 28, 2020, 3:45 PM

Post #3 of 12 (386 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In


In Reply To

Quote
By the way while I'm asking, bleeding brakes in the truck is a pain. I've seen some "youtubers" show where they used a vice grip with some protective hose around the clamps to clamp the caliper hose, make sure the caliper is really full of fluid on the bench with a syringe, and manage to put it together with a bare minimum of air getting in. Would that work? At least it would be nice if bleeding only took one or two pumps instead of an hour


That's a good way to continue having the problems you are having. You really should flush the system thoroughly with clean brake fluid. The fluid deteriorates and absorbs moisture and metals and that is likely what is leading to your failures.

Brake fluid is hydroscopic meaning it absorbs moisture out of the air like a sponge. It can do this right through the master.

In Reply To

As I said "I've replaced the master cylinder, drained and put in all new fluid,". I see you quoted the second part of my question . which is something I've not done yet, but just asking about. I was hoping for commentary on the things I suspected (my choice of reman part company, the caliper bracket, or other things I might have missed.). Thanks anyway.

Peter Pan -- Second Star to the right


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 28, 2020, 3:51 PM

Post #4 of 12 (379 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

Nobody uses OEM calipers. We all use remans but I do suggest getting it complete with bracket and always do things in pair. Never change one brake anything. They work in pairs.

I'm still leaning toward some type of contamination in the system causing this.
I know you said you cracked the bleeder for testing the first time. Did you check that the second time?



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PeterPan
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Jun 28, 2020, 7:14 PM

Post #5 of 12 (366 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In


In Reply To
Nobody uses OEM calipers. We all use remans but I do suggest getting it complete with bracket and always do things in pair. Never change one brake anything. They work in pairs.

I'm still leaning toward some type of contamination in the system causing this.
I know you said you cracked the bleeder for testing the first time. Did you check that the second time?


In Reply To
Yes I did. cracking the bleeder to see if there is fluid return blockage is always the second thing I do (First is checking the sliders). I'm no pro at this, but I like to learn to fix things when i can, watch How-to videos and ask questions.

It was an unrelated issue (my master cylinder going) that prompted me to flush and replace all the fluid. I also had put a new flex hose on that left front caliper, as I figured it had taken a beating from the many times being serviced. I did that because I heard a defect in the hose could cause a caliper to lock up if it was internally blocking fluid return. So yeah... I checked that and was HOPING it might be something that simple.

Contamination causing the same problem in the same location I guess is possible, but I can't bet on it. A few more bucks will get me a new bracket (I assume) new sliders and pad springs, so I guess I'll do that.

The reason i asked about reman parts is because I have found they occasionally are crap. I remember paying a repair place to switch out a bad fuel pump in my long gone Chevy blazer. They did and a week later it crapped out again. They actually switched it out again, and this happened 3 times total with the same outcome. I finally told them to get me the OEM part, and that I'd pay the extra. Thats what they did and the problem never returned. Ive had similar problems with other reman parts just not holding up, including alternators and water pumps. So it doesn't hurt to ask whether some reman companies are doing a better or worse job.

Peter Pan -- Second Star to the right


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 28, 2020, 7:22 PM

Post #6 of 12 (361 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

You can't lump all reman part in the same category. There are many, many parts that I absolutely refuse to use reman ie; Fuel pumps, AC compressors, window motors, wiper motors, water pumps and a few more. On the other hand things like calipers, alternators, starters, engines, transmissions I always use reman parts.



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Tom Greenleaf
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Jun 28, 2020, 9:21 PM

Post #7 of 12 (355 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

Long read already hope I didn't miss a point that changes my thinking which is usually "outside the box" on many things here.
It's picking on one caliper happens to be closer or shortest route to master cylinder as Hammer has said "contamination" already may have left its damage hidden. That contamination either moisture or an oil that took plenty of time to wreck things yet to be proven but the problems are not solved so keep it in mind.


Just maybe the master and rod to it doesn't have enough free-play? If very little it will lock fluid pressure quite possible the front left leave the rest alone, that one is smoking hot and stuck before you notice doesn't take many miles at all.
Just the short trips and use lack of fluid return IMO is the suspect playing hide-n-seek on you. Just heat of engine fluid expands if it can't return quickly is locked, parts so hot who knows damage that may self correct for a short while it isn't used enough to come right back in a day with this use style.
Peter Pan: You said you didn't drive it all the much another does so maybe a clue missing too. If mounting of master or booster is somehow wrong, bent or pedal return messed up that would explain a lot so do check that free-play I'll say 1/2 to 1 inch of a "nothing zone" felt at pedal.
IF not how or why it could do that?
Already said it's brakes and doing things just one side isn't helping they get done in pairs and other parts to one side the same to the other.
The bracket goes also not just the caliper or serviced always lubed when there the lube just isn't going to beat all these years alone despite low use is indeed a problem all by itself moving friction parts really don't like just sitting building up wet to dry never really burning off the "gun rust" of the friction surfaces eventually are damaged by that you actually need to purposely use the thing, warm up or drag brakes periodically or a lot of parts will be junk and will be on many new unsold vehicles this year will take the prize for that untold ruined vehicles just sitting for a year or more no telling what the fate of the zillions of those will be doubt they'll be sold or even given away?


Tom



PeterPan
Novice

Jun 29, 2020, 7:51 AM

Post #8 of 12 (339 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

Thanks Tom. Well since the whole system was flushed when the new Mast Cylinder was done a few months ago, it is possible the caliper damage was already done, and the next caliper will be better off. But yes, I will buy a whole assemble this time, including new bracket and sliders. Makes sense what you and others say about it being the closest to the master cylinder, so that it is the very first to respond. Glad you told me about the inch of "do nothing" on the brake pedal. If anything its slightly more than an inch, so now I know that's good enough and not to try to mess with it. Maybe the push rod was too long on the old master cylinder, because the brakes were TOO sensitive then.

As far as the reman parts go, just to avoid doing the same exact thing twice, I won't buy that same company's part. The NUGEN caliper I got last time was indeed the cheapest one available. Reman parts may be good for some things, but at some point I guess you get what you pay for. :-)

Thanks guys.

Peter Pan -- Second Star to the right

(This post was edited by PeterPan on Jun 29, 2020, 7:53 AM)


Tom Greenleaf
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
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Jun 29, 2020, 8:50 AM

Post #9 of 12 (333 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

OK, a "maybe" on the pushrod? Could still work found too long/tight the check should rule that IN OR OUT. It's done that crap on me with a replacement master (other vehicle) pull hair to figure out was just a smidge too close less than a "left foot dragging habit" on brake pedal and the heat of just engine warmed up fluid and brakes self applied I drove it by parking brake only to nail that sucker.
If so it can't return fluid a little to a wild LOT depends on how much and far you drove with that case.


Probably not your issue just rule things out the reason was things "outside" of anything usual is that. Damage to good new I can't say what might be harmed it's an open book test to guess that,


Tom



Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jun 29, 2020, 9:55 AM

Post #10 of 12 (327 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

The pushrod isn't an issue here. You eliminated that possibility when you cracked open the bleeder and the brakes didn't release.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.



tractorboy
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Jul 11, 2020, 6:51 PM

Post #11 of 12 (198 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

is the truck rusty especially the under carriage, probably have rust in the caliper along with fluid and the rust has created a bottle neck. probably buying a new caliper would be the best


(This post was edited by tractorboy on Jul 11, 2020, 6:52 PM)


Hammer Time
Ultimate Carjunky / Moderator
Hammer Time profile image

Jul 11, 2020, 7:35 PM

Post #12 of 12 (191 views)
Re: Brake caliper lockup... will be replacing 2nd time! Sign In

If you read the thread you would know that he already replaced the caliper.



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We offer help in answering questions, clarifying things or giving advice but we are not a substitute for an on-site inspection by a professional.







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