How to check for sticking brake calipers? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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Old 11-14-2012, 08:07 PM
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How to check for sticking brake calipers?

What is the best way to check for sticking brake caliper? I want to check for sticking brake calipers and want to know the best way. I tried jacking up one tire and it seemed a little hard to move. Do you have to jack up both rear or both front tires at the same time? If you guys could give me some advice or ways to check the calibers I would appreciate it. Thanks.

Will
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Old 11-15-2012, 05:47 AM
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The only way I have done it was to be in a big parking lot drivi g forward slowly and put it in nutural to see how far it would roll and listen for noises. You can also look to see if your truck pulls to one side whil your not on the breaks but there are a few things that can cause that like air pressure in the tires.

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Old 11-15-2012, 07:26 AM
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It's pretty tricky. I've had issues with my truck's brakes a lot too. What I would do, is on a road less traveled. Get up to a speed (slowish) and coast it to a stop, or use the tranny to slow down quicker. Using an IR thermometer, check the temps of all the rotors. Fronts should be the same and backs should be the same. Also see if one wheel has more brake dust than the other one as well.
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:27 AM
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You have to think about how your brakes work. The piston moves out against pressure and comes back just to the point no pressure on the rotor. They do not pull back from the rotor. The only space that is created, if any, is created, from mechanical action like rattling of the caliper.

The only on vehicle checks in order of serviceability are pad wear, fuel economy, heat (including rotor warp) and pull. You can do a pry test, but unless the piston in frozen, it is easy to overpower a scuffed piston.

Old fluid with moisture in the system is normally the culprit. Same for water being pulled in from a seal that has been damaged by grit.

If you suspect a problem, it is usually a good idea to work in pairs, fronts or rears. Caliper rebuild kits are fairly inexpensive and easy to install. If you catch the problem early enough, you can really cheap-out and reuse the piston after cleaning it up; but for the cost of parts it is often better to replace it. Don't forget to check and clean-up/hone the caliper cylinder.

Last edited by twoicebergs; 11-15-2012 at 08:31 AM. Reason: hone
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Old 11-15-2012, 08:36 AM
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I found that you can feel the wheels and if one is really hot then you have a sticking caliper.
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Old 11-15-2012, 11:17 AM
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Don't forget about the brake pad slides too, corrosion might build up enough where the pads won't release.
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Old 11-15-2012, 06:42 PM
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as long as one wheel is off the ground and the hubs are unlocked you're fine to check brake drag that way.

it's good to have both off so you can compare them to each other. The wheel should spin pretty freely with the hubs unlocked. If you are located in the rust belt check your brake pads for being frozen in the caliper bracket (or even a frozen pin). This is typical but unfortunately so are caliper pistons sticking. If you suspect a piston is sticking or stuck on it will be pretty obvious when you try to depress it back into the caliper. You can use either a large pair of channel locks or a c-clamp and an old brake pad.
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