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My 1st Brake Change, Front Caliper Problem

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Old 03-12-2010, 07:20 AM
goingape goingape is offline
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My 1st Brake Change, Front Caliper Problem

2004 F150 5.4 Lariat 4x4 128k miles-
Let me start by saying This is my first brake job, I searched the forum for caliper problems, and read up to pg 45 in the forums and haven't seen anything describing a problem like this. So I apologize in advance if I offend anyone with my ignorance.
I acquired this truck about a thousand miles ago. The front passenger brake started to squeal, so I looked at the rotor and I noticed the pad had started to grind into the rotor. After reading many threads on this site (which is the f-ing bomb I must add) I figure time for new front rotors and ceramic pads.
I get home and begin to change the brakes. Took the cap off the brake reservoir. First the driver side, no problems, the rotor was still ok, and there was still a little meat on the pads. The caliper retracted just as I figured it would. Now the passenger side, everything goes fine till I am trying to get the pistons in the caliper to retract (using c clamps). They just didnt want to budge, it took twenty minutes to get the bad boys back in. Put everything back together, put the wheel back on and left the tire up off of the ground. I go in the truck start it up. Pump the brake pedal till it stiffens up. I tried to spin the tire and it was seized.
Ok sorry about how long winded this is but I want to be thorough in case I missed something. It seems obvious that the caliper needs to be replaced. Should I replace both fronts? or is it ok to just do the problem side?
Again, sorry about the novel I posted, I am just trying to be thorough.
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Old 03-12-2010, 11:19 AM
Twinsdad98 Twinsdad98 is offline
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I'm going to be doing my front brakes again this weekend for the same issue. Check the slide pins, they seem to freeze up, at my last brake job, both lowers on the fronts were stiff, I cleaned them and put it back together, but this time, I'm getting new slide pins and clips for the calipers.

So, first make sure the caliber pins slide freely, if they don't, replace them. I'm in the habit, of replacing both sides when I work on my truck. My right tie rod needed replacing, so I did both sides just to know I'm good for another 140K!
2004 Black Lariat F150 Supercrew 4x4
Roush Suspension Kit, Mark LT bed rails, Truxedo Low Profile tonneau cover, Euro Tail lights, chrome handles, Edge, Volant CAI
Summer Wheels : NS Racing Black/Chrome, 20X8.5, Cooper Tires, 305/50R20s.

Project: 1950 F1
89 Probe GT; 86 Bronco II (ex gave it away )
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Old 03-12-2010, 05:42 PM
Djack04F150XL Djack04F150XL is offline
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Sounds like you need a caliper or better yet both of them. Did you open the bleed screws when you pressed the pistons back? The ABS system does not need the old fluid forced back into it. Also if you open the bleeder and the hard caliper returns easy you need a new brake hose or hoses. I too would suggest both calipers if you do need one and flush your brake system. Maybe the front hoses with that many miles on it. Ditto on slide pins if it has them. Turn the rotors to true them up and make sure they are in specs. If close to limit you should replace them.
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Old 03-13-2010, 06:03 AM
goingape goingape is offline
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I didnt open the bleed screws when I was compressing the pistons, woops! Hope it didnt mess anything up. Funny enough I just received my Chilton Manual in the mail yesterday (ordered it a month ago, thanks amazon).
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Old 11-10-2010, 10:58 AM
Brett1000 Brett1000 is offline
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Passenger Side Caliber Nightmare.

OMG! I had the same EXACT problem just last night!!! The passenger side caliber is a beast! I'm a novice myself but have changed out plenty of breaks in my lifetime. This is my first truck and decided to do the breaks myself. Long story short, once I got to the passenger side front caliber, I immediately contracted the aft piston instead of contracting them both(with c-clamp and old break pad) simultaneously). What a nightmare! The forward caliber became stuck and actually broke my c-clamp in the process! After about thirty minutes of attempts to contract it with a NEW c-clamp, I was driven to top the cap on the brake fluid reservoir and pump the brakes thinking that the force would at least extend the aft piston back out and perhaps reset both pistons within the caliber. NOT. Final result; the aft piston became completely unseated (as evidenced by its looseness/disattatched from the base). The final result was break fluid dripping from underneath the rubber surrounding the aft piston. OMG! I'm assuming the caliber is now ruined and am considering taking my truck to the local shop. While considering, I'm also pricing some new calibers online. I just didn't want to break the brake line. I got quoted by a local shop for the ORIGINAL work order (rotor spin/break installation;fwd ONLY) for around $110 NOT including brake pads. My local dealership quoted me for around $180, including brake pads. Please help if you can!
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Old 11-10-2010, 11:04 AM
Brett1000 Brett1000 is offline
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Hey goingape, I just read Djack04F150XL's response to your dilima and it seems we made the same mistake. I didn't open the bleed screws either! Wow. Still had no problem compressing the driver side caliber pistons. Thanx guys.
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Old 11-11-2010, 08:27 AM
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60DRB 60DRB is offline
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I did my brake pad replacement a few months back and had no issues.

DO loosen the reseviour cap prior to forcing the pistons into the calipers. As far as damaging the ABS by not loosening/opening the bleed valves; I've never done that, and several people including Ford techs on different forums state no harm occurs. All I can say it never hurt any of MY ABS systems on various makes and model, doing it my way.

A good technique when using c-clamps is to use the old pads in place to force the pistons into the caliper at an equal rate (the're supposed to move together).

I'm not sure why your wheel would not turn after re-assembly. Did you lubricate the slider pins per the instructions that came with the new pads? There should have been grease for this purpose in the box with the pads.

I recommend flushing all the lines after completing the pad replacement. Started at the farthest caliper from the reseviour and work back to the closest. An assistant to work the brake pedal is very helpful for this. Be careful not to let the reseviour level get too low while bleeding the lines.
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