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Old 02-11-2007, 08:07 AM   #11
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that part that gets corroded up on those calipers is the shaft that the e-brake cable pulls on to activate the the e-brake. The spring also weakens from age aiding to the fact that the E-brake needs to be manually released with a screwdriver. There are only two ways that I know personally that work to fix this problem... rebuild the caliper or replace it. I think, for most people, it's easier to replace and bleed the system that to remove, rebuild, and bleed the system. Plus by replacing the caliper with a lifetime warranty unit you get free calipers if it ever happens again.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:35 AM   #12
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Don't forget to check out the brake hoses on that caliper. Sometimes the hose will degrade and trap fluid pressure inside the caliper leading to dragging.
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Old 02-11-2007, 09:41 AM   #13
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Don't forget to check out the brake hoses on that caliper. Sometimes the hose will degrade and trap fluid pressure inside the caliper leading to dragging.
Woah, I never heard of that before. Good tip.
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Old 02-11-2007, 04:57 PM   #14
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Project Complete

I took the assembly off and found that the hoses were in good shape, the 2 sliders' boots were sealed with easy movement and plenty of grease, the e-brake spring and mechanism were fine, but one item seemed to be failing. The trouble came with movement of the cylinder -- it was corroded and wouldn't easily retract. A closer inspection of the front pads showed plenty of meat left, so instead of replacing those, I decided to just replace the rear calipers and pads.

I finally found the parts around town and got to work. I opted for the lifetime warranty brands just in case. Replacing the calipers and pads was fairly systematic, but...

The worst part: bleeding the system. What a PITA! I tried it first on my own with a rubber hose into a jar with fluid. The clearance between the wheel and fitting is too close to make a decent seal, so I had to take the wheels off. I decided to get help -- my wife pitched-in to lend a foot. After a few bleeds, the pedal had decent feel and no more bubbles present.

The test drive revealed a bit of air still left in the system somewhere (a little more pedal travel than before), but it works well and no more dragging! Thanks all for the expertise -- another good learning experience

RH77
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Old 02-11-2007, 05:38 PM   #15
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Congrats on getting it fixed.

Just an after note: it never hurts to bleed the entire system once air is introduced. IIRC Honda recommends flushing the Brake system every 2 years or thereabouts.
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Old 02-11-2007, 06:34 PM   #16
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Bleeding shouldn't be a blood-letting...

If you get some basic tools, bleeding brakes and clutch hydraulics can be pretty painless; even as a shade-tree mechanic like me. I know there are pressure bleed systems that can cost a lot, but I don't think you need anything that elaborate. I used to do the 2-person method until I squirted myself in the eye. Then I bought a very simple tool I think was called the E-Z-Bleed (or something like that). It was overpriced at the time at a whole $15. All it was was a clear plastic tube with a one-way valve at one end.

Also, to minimize how much fluid you'll need to bleed and to minimize the chance of introducing air, start with the farthest bleeder from the master cylinder and then do all 4 corners. On left-hand drive (LHD) cars, it's usually the right rear (RR) brake first. Then progress to the LR, RF, and finally the LF brake. All cars I've done used less than a quart of fresh fluid total. Always use fresh fluid whose seal has just been broken.

I follow a bunch of very simple steps:

1. Take a turkey baster and suck out as much old fluid from the master cylinder reservoir as you can. It's important to do this before you draw any more of the old dirty/damp fluid down into the lines. Also, you'll easily be able to see when the fluid runs clear and bubble free at the bleeder ends.
2. That done, pour the new fluid into the reservoir until full. I usually wrap a wrag all the way around the master cylinder to catch the inevitable drips that can otherwise eat the paint off hard-to-reach surfaces.
3. Take the cap off the bleeder if there is one and put it aside where you won't lose track of it. Put the appropriate box end wrench on the bleeder and make sure the valve will open. Be careful not to turn it the wrong way and end up twisting it off. It's of course a lot easier to do this when the wheel is off but not absolutely necessary. A hydraulic floor jack is a huge time saver here, just don't get under any part of the car without it being supported with a sturdy jack stand.
4. Fit the non-valve end of the clear hose over the bleed nipple. The other end goes in whatever container you use to collect the old fluid.
5. Now to bleed do the actual bleeding. Open the bleeder and then go pump the brake pedal a bunch of times, checking periodically on your progress:
5a. Don't let the level in the reservoir get too low or you'll suck air in and have to start over from the beginning. Refill as the fluid gets to the "Minimum" level.
5b. Watch the fluid in the bleeder hose go from dirty maple syrup (or even black) to pale yellow/apple juice color (don't get confused and take a swig ). Also check for no bubbles.
6. When clear and clean, close that bleeder, remove the bleeder hose, wipe off the bleeder, and replace the cap. Move on to the next brake in sequence.

I found this to be straightforward enough that I don't mind a bi-annual system flush. It's great to have nice tight brakes, besides reducing dirt and moisture can also reduce internal wear and corrosion on parts throughout the system.

Bleed a clutch slave in the same way.

Note: some fluids are available in different colors, so if you flush often (e.g. racing), you can see the difference as you alternate from one color to the other.

Safety goggles aren't a bad idea either.
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Old 02-11-2007, 08:09 PM   #17
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Congrats on getting it fixed.

Just an after note: it never hurts to bleed the entire system once air is introduced. IIRC Honda recommends flushing the Brake system every 2 years or thereabouts.
Thanks...It was due for a good flush, which I believe occurred with the better-looking bleed juice flowing after a while. Thinking that every 2 years new brakes get put on this car (with the current driving load), a flush should occur by default at that interval.

Silveredwings: Sorry about the BF in the eye! I squirted some brake cleaner on the rotor, etc., and it splashed right above my eyebrow -- lucked out. The safety glasses were right there -- I knew I should've had them on. In the meantime, that stuff will knock you out unless you crack the door!

I have a good floor jack and 2 stands -- I'm thinking of getting another jack and 2 more stands to complete the bleed after the weather warms. I just don't like that spongy pedal. I'll look into the one-way valve. Most times, I'm by myself in the garage without help -- luckily my wife didn't have any obligations today.

On my old Evo, I changed-out the rubber clutch hose for a braided steel line (the transmission still had some alignment issues and clutch disengagement problems -- more on the earlier U.S. variants). I can recall having to go through several cans of fluid and keep an eagle-eye on that level as not to suck air back in the system.

That's a great set of steps for bleeding brakes. That's always been my downfall after a pad replacement -- that trapped air.

When we get a 60-degree weekend, I'll probably re-bleed the system and do a SeaFoam cleanse (I know Auto-Rx is better, but I still have a can or 2 of the 'Foam left). It was in the 30s today, which wasn't bad for the project.

Thanks again for the insight!

RH77
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Old 02-12-2007, 03:57 AM   #18
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It sounds like the parking brake on your system works by clamping the caliper? I know when GM used systems like this, the caliper was not self adjusting, you had to apply the parking brake to get the adjuster in the calper to work. It lead to customer complaints because so many people don't set the parking brake each time they park. Thus the pads would wear back - resulting in a soft pedal.
I've been told that when these calipers were serviced, part of the prodecure was to apply and release the parking brake a number of times to ratchet the adjuster mechanism down to the right place.
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Old 02-12-2007, 10:02 AM   #19
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The test drive revealed a bit of air still left in the system somewhere (a little more pedal travel than before), but it works well and no more dragging! Thanks all for the expertise -- another good learning experience

RH77
You didn't say what sort of rear pads you got, so IF they wern't Bosch or another nice pad that doesn't require burnishing....then that soft pedal will harden once you take the time out to burnish the new pads in. About 15 hard stops from 35mph should do it. (within a 30 minute drive)
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Old 02-12-2007, 12:38 PM   #20
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It sounds like the parking brake on your system works by clamping the caliper? I know when GM used systems like this, the caliper was not self adjusting, you had to apply the parking brake to get the adjuster in the calper to work. It lead to customer complaints because so many people don't set the parking brake each time they park. Thus the pads would wear back - resulting in a soft pedal.
I've been told that when these calipers were serviced, part of the prodecure was to apply and release the parking brake a number of times to ratchet the adjuster mechanism down to the right place.
The e-brake cable pulls on a swivel mechanism hooked to a spring (near identical on each side). From there it's all internal, so I suppose it actuates cylinder movement similar to the fluid pressure. I can see if it's not used then it would surely corrode and fail. I have this habit of using the e-brake every time I park (old habit from the 5-speed days, and of drum brakes -- now that I think about it, most times that I pull into a parking space, I just lightly pull the e-brake to slow the car to a stop as it rolls in Neutral -- then into park and its engaged so it doesn't "roll away" ).

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You didn't say what sort of rear pads you got, so IF they wern't Bosch or another nice pad that doesn't require burnishing....then that soft pedal will harden once you take the time out to burnish the new pads in. About 15 hard stops from 35mph should do it. (within a 30 minute drive)
They're the AutoZone generic, semi-metallic brand. I did notice after getting to work this morning that a slightly firmer feel was present. A bit more driving should get them broken-in (I've been trying to take it easy on them in the first 100 miles or so).

So I assume the air in the line would explain more pedal travel?

RH77
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