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Help with calipers

Discussion in '1st Gen. Tacomas (1995-2004)' started by jesus, Aug 12, 2010.

  1. Aug 12, 2010 at 11:37 PM
    #1
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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    Hey can someone tell me how to tell when a caliper has gone bad and is it repairable or should I just get one from AutoZone, or somewhere else...... Chris4x4 if you're out there I can use your knowledge.... To make the story short my brake light is on.... I went to change the brakes a quick an simple job gone wrong.... the drive side one locked on me and I couldn't get the pistons back in took forever but got them in..... I need input someone help please.... all info is welcome....
     
  2. Aug 12, 2010 at 11:56 PM
    #2
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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    anyone have any input i need help with this
     
  3. Aug 13, 2010 at 1:14 AM
    #3
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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    bump
     
  4. Aug 13, 2010 at 2:19 AM
    #4
    4WD

    4WD cRaZy oLdmAn

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    Need a little more info like how long has brake light been on? How were brakes up to that point? Was brake light on before or after you did brakes? Did you crack the bleeder on the caliper before trying to force pistons back ? Any thing else you can think of
     
  5. Aug 13, 2010 at 3:43 AM
    #5
    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    Back when I worked for my uncle, we would recommend replacing calipers if one side was wearing considerably more than the other. We'd always replace both sides at the same time. I suppose if one side was leaking would be a good indicator as well. That was before all the new fancy testing stuff though.

    I've really never heard of calipers being rebuilt by mechanics, but since most of the time they have a core charge, I suppose someone is rebuilding them somewhere. Just not sure if the parts are easily available or not. Never looked into it.

    In your case, I'm not sure if you have safety inspections in your state, but here, they can test how much each of the four wheels are braking. If you have something similar to that in your area, see if they'll run a brake test for you. Might even want to check some quick lube type of places as well. If everything is braking evenly (fronts are going to grip more than rears) and no leaks anywhere, I'd say you're good to go. I still think I'd pull the wheel after 100 miles just to double check though. Of course, just because one side is braking more than the other doesn't necessarily mean you need calipers, as there could be some air in that line or other things to think about as well.

    If nothing like that is available, I guess you could try doing something similar yourself by slamming on the brakes to see if the truck pulls one way or another, indicating that one side isn't clamping down as hard, but that really isn't very scientific.

    As far as your brake light problem, I assume it got fixed changing out the pads. If not, you might have lost a little fluid in the process of messing with the calipers so should probably top it off and might even want to bleed that side.
     
  6. Aug 13, 2010 at 4:36 AM
    #6
    larryde09

    larryde09 Well-Known Member

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    Rebuilding a caliper is possible with the Gen-1's (the parts are not available for the Gen-2's). My friend did a rebuild and saved some money and it wasn't terribly difficult (it's mostly just new piston boots), but it typically requires that you remove the caliper and rebuild it on the bench. If you have the know-how and time, rebuilding could be fun and save some money, but (in my opinion) if you're just looking to get your truck back up and running, I'd just get a new caliper and slap it on there.
     
  7. Aug 13, 2010 at 5:48 AM
    #7
    chris4x4

    chris4x4 With sufficient thrust, pigs fly just fine. Moderator

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    Brake light could be on if the fluid is low. Is the claiper leaking? Can you tell if its dragging the rotor?
     
  8. Aug 13, 2010 at 11:02 AM
    #8
    iDigTulsa

    iDigTulsa Well-Known Member

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    Weird...My 03 had the exact same problem with the drivers side caliper when we did a brake job on it about a month ago. I agree 100% with the "took forever but got them in" in regards to the pistons. All is well now, no brake lights are on, but it does give a nice little squeak which I can assume is due to it's inability to release properly. I have considered a caliper swap/upgrade since it would be a good time to kill too birds with one stone, but I never even considered a rebuild. Seems to be much more cost effective if I can find someone locally that can do right the first time.
     
  9. Aug 13, 2010 at 2:47 PM
    #9
    mauibuilt41

    mauibuilt41 Active Member

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    Just replace the calipers. I did mine two days ago and it was fairly straight forward. Plus it was only $130 for both calipers at NAPA after the core charge return and about $50 for the pads. Trust me, just change the whole setup.
     
  10. Aug 13, 2010 at 4:30 PM
    #10
    4WD

    4WD cRaZy oLdmAn

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    Maybe some piston seizing ? :notsure:
     
  11. Aug 13, 2010 at 4:47 PM
    #11
    iDigTulsa

    iDigTulsa Well-Known Member

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    The OP and I seemed to have the exact same problem, and I agree that it seems that piston seizing is the problem. We spent more than twice as long on getting the pistons to release on that one caliper then it took to complete the entire break job, including the trip to Advance Auto Parts. Like I said earlier, and perhaps the OP could chime in here, even with new pads and rotors i'm still hearing a brake squeal up front. The more time I've spent on this thread today, it not only makes me want to change the calipers this weekend, it also makes me wonder if it's actually sticking, and has been doing so for quite some time. I can assume that 86K on stock calipers that have seen their fair share of mud, sand and snow/salt could cause a piston to eventually seize, right?:confused:
     
  12. Aug 13, 2010 at 11:04 PM
    #12
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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    cool thanks for coming to my aid.
    Here's the story of what happen:
    so my censor brake light starting coming on about a day or two ago" on and off kind of thing so I knew I had to get to the brakes" I've done my own brakes pretty much from the start back when I bought it in 02.... Well, took them off and ran over to autozone to exchange them...
    I put in the passenger side first. Then came the driver side.... "here the nightmare begun"
    Ok so i slip in the outer one and when I when to slip in the inner pad I couldn't get one of the pistons in all the way... maybe I was wrong for doing the following but I had tried as hardest as I could to get it all the way in but no luck ......"so" I bled it a bit and still no luck then ... i turned the key and hit the brakes thought that maybe if I had both of them out id be able to mash them back in better "mistake" went downhill from there. now I had both of the inner ones out and stuck... I jumped in the wife truck and drove out about 20 mile to an autozone that had a caliper and as I was to spend money I truly don't have at the time they offered a set of pliers to mash them in and after a little more grunting we got them in" oh sorry by this time I removed the caliper to make sure I would get the right one" Also one of the guys from autozone said if I disconnected it would relive all pressure and I might get lucky...
    Ok now I got it one and I think I bled the system right never hear any air come out of any of the bleeders "yes I made sure my reserve was full before doing so" and will know the light is on and they don't feel right

    Ok now here’s where you guys tell me where I F@#$%^ up and hopefully hope me get my baby up and running….
    Oh, once my jobs kicks up I promise to do the tundra upgrade and post lots of pics… I learn about it will searching for info on my problem the funny part was I was just think about it right before I went to work on my breaks….
     
  13. Aug 13, 2010 at 11:04 PM
    #13
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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    oh yea thanks in advance for all your input
     
  14. Aug 14, 2010 at 12:12 AM
    #14
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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  15. Aug 14, 2010 at 3:01 AM
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    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    Well, as a non-mechanic, I really cant tell you how stuck was too stuck and if you've broken something or not.

    I will tell you this though. Brakes are one thing that you really need to be 100% sure are working. If they dont feel right to you, then they probably aren't right. If there's any doubt about the caliper, for brakes, I'm a firm believer of blindly replacing components of questionable functionality, as that is something I need to feel confident that its going to be reliable.

    If I may ask, what method did you use to bleed the brakes, as I can't really say I've ever heard air when I've bled mine. Seen air bubbles, yes, but I've never used my ear as any type of indicator for bleeding brakes.

    As far as what you did wrong, hitting the brakes with the pad out did cause you extra work, no doubt about that. I dont believe anything you did cant be fixed with properly bleeding the system though. Any of the "pressure release", etc is a moot point since you removed the caliper anyway. Once you removed the caliper, you let air into the system and all 4 wheels should be bled.

    Anyway, I'm not 100% clear on where you're at.
    To me, it sounds like the passenger sides pads were replaced, and the drivers side caliper and pads were replaced. I assume everything is installed and tightened down to specs. If that is the case, I'm going to assume that when you say the brakes dont feel right that you mean they're mushy, as you didn't mention pulsating, vibrations, or anything else that are usually mentioned when they exist. In addition, your brake light is still on and your brake reservoir is at the full indicator.

    So, if that is correct, I would suggest you first bleed the brakes, all four corners at this point, started at the furthest wheel and moving to the closest. If the master cylinder got empty at any point, you should probably bleed it as well. I know you can buy kits and such to bleed by yourself, but just do it with another person so there isn't any question that it is right and to help you understand what it is you're doing.

    If I'm mistaken in what has been done, please try rephrasing what you've done in a list. (ie 1. 2. 3. 4.) so we can understand exactly where you're at. Keep it detailed, but leave out irrelevant info (like 20 miles to autozone in wifes car)

    For the brake light,there are a few different reasons I've heard of for it being on, but of course the most common is because its low on fluid. Since you're working on that area, we can assume thats not the case. Double check to make sure the level warning switch is plugged in as well. I know it may sound silly, but also check that your parking brake isn't actually enabled a tiny bit. Try pushing the parking brake lever in as well, to make sure its not just a parking brake sensor that thinks its enabled. Aside from that, I really cant think of any good reason the light would be on.
     
  16. Aug 14, 2010 at 3:30 AM
    #16
    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    How many miles have you put on since you've changed your pads? It cant hurt to pull the wheels to make sure that both sides are wearing evenly. As mentioned earlier, the best way to find out if something isn't working right is to just get your brakes tested on one of those machines that tell you how much braking power each wheel is doing. If the brakes feel good, the pad wear is even, and the machine tells you everything is ok, I wouldn't worry about it.

    Depending on the pads you put on, some brake noise can be normal, specially if you got harder pads. There's some anti-squeal stuff you can put on if it really bugs you though.
     
  17. Aug 14, 2010 at 8:07 AM
    #17
    jesus

    jesus [OP] Well-Known Member

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    hey come to think about it when I took them off I notice one set was wearing more than another... I think maybe a small sign of them sticking if that can happen... is the a mile lifetime on rotors maybe I have to many miles on them .... wait then they would both be the same...wouldn't they??? the problem with getting them tested is I have now money
    I work for a high School district and the first real paycheck comes in at end of the month... But I need my truck to get to work this Monday
    there's no noise but I can tell that their not right because of stopping power and I'm almost sure that my driver side is not working right but it could just be in my head.... but on the test drive it felt like when I braked one side hit before the other and may the truck go more one way than another.... is that possible??:confused:
     
  18. Aug 14, 2010 at 8:53 AM
    #18
    4WD

    4WD cRaZy oLdmAn

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    Hitting the brakes without the pads maybe not so good causing the pistons to over extend, If theres crap in the fluid dirt, etc; will surely make calipers seize up.
     
  19. Aug 14, 2010 at 2:15 PM
    #19
    Manlaan

    Manlaan Well-Known Member

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    Although that reply was meant for the person I quoted, not you... No clue why you're talking about rotors now though and the whole 10 miles you've driven your truck since you put brakes on is irrelevant to wear.

    Yes, it is possible for the brakes to feel like that. First, you need to bleed your brakes properly. Air compresses more than brake fluid. If you have air in the lines, it wont activate that side as well. BLEED ALL YOUR BRAKES.
     
  20. Aug 14, 2010 at 6:25 PM
    #20
    iDigTulsa

    iDigTulsa Well-Known Member

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    I was at Advance Auto today and they quoted me the same price for two new calipers after the core charge return. It seems that the ability to not have to worry about your brakes working properly is well worth $130.00, especially since any damage done by them "not working" would exceed that amount substantially. Sounds like we just solved our problem.

    Off but still somewhat on topic...Could one purchase calipers and pads (and possibly rotors) for a Tundra and then successfully complete the fabled "Tundra Brake Swap" or is there more to it than that?
     
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