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Replaced front calipers - still sticking

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Old 05-29-2017, 04:34 PM
dgoodsy dgoodsy is offline
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Replaced front calipers - still sticking

Hey guys,
I have an e150, not an f150. I posted this question in the thread i started regarding my van but am not getting a response there, hopefully someone here can help me out.

I just bought this van a few weeks ago, found it had a sticking front passenger side caliper. I took the caliper off and got the piston free (didn't really take anything just pried some wood against it) and lightly sanded and lubed the caliper/bracket sliding surfaces. I took it for a spin plenty long enough for a stuck caliper to be obvious and both front tires were barely more than warm. i thought i had it fixed but the next time i drove the passenger side wheel was hot again. I picked up a set of remanufactured calipers and replaced both front calipers. I took it for another test drive. I stopped halfway through the test drive and both front wheels were cold. I drove it for a little bit more, nothing more than 30mph, and when I parked it the drivers side was almost hot and the passenger side was barely cooler. Im thinking the issue is something other than calipers since both have been replaced and now the problem occurs in both side front calipers.

Is there any way the proportioning valve or master could fail that would cause pressure not to be released from the calipers? I haven't heard of any such thing, but there are lots of things i haven't heard of...

I also seems odd to me that initially they seemed to work but started sticking after the van was continued to be driven.

Anyone have any other input?
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:57 PM
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I have had the power brake booster "stick" where it would not fully release the brake pedal (applying brake) where I would need to stick my foot under the brake pedal to pull it up and release it. The fix was to replace the power booster of course (and I always replace the master cylinder at the same time. Although that is not required).


The master cylinder could be sticking internally. If the fluid is old and dirty some junk could have gotten in the cylinder bore. This is the same thing that causes the brake caliper piston to stick too.


However the failures I describe would cause pressure to be applied to all wheels (front more than back) so you may be just "seeing it" in just one wheel heating up - but a bad master cylinder or booster should be causing all wheels to have brakes applied.
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Old 05-29-2017, 04:58 PM
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Well me I would also replace all rubber hoses -2 up front at the calipers and 1 out back from frame to rear axle.


And don't say they look good! You can only see the outside of them. What happens is they break down on the inside and act as check valves and don't let the fluid back out of the calipers or wheel cly.


Now that you know your 35+ year old hoses are good and if it still happens take a wrench with you that fits the nut on the master cly to booster. When it happens undo the nuts a turn or 2 to see if that changes anything.


If so then you need to look into the rod between booster and master if too long.
May also look at the rod between pedal & booster to see if this can also be adjusted but I don't think so.


If that does not show any signs of helping using a wrench again follow the brake lines from the calipers up to a junction and loosen the fitting to see if any fluid to squirt out. If so you will need to get it to hold fluid and move closer to the master at the next fitting and try again.
Keep doing this till you find where no fluid squirts out and the issue is between there and the last fitting.


Guess you could start at the master working to the calipers would be the bestway to track this issue down.
Dave ----
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Old 05-29-2017, 08:36 PM
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Drive it till they get hot and pull it in your work area. Jack up one of the front tires and try to spin it. If there is a problem it will be very difficult to turn it of you can at all.

If it's locked up, the first thing to do is loosen the master cylinder from the booster. Just take the nuts off and pull it away a little bit. Did that free the wheel up? If it did, then either your booster is sticking like someone else suggested, or the rod between the booster and the master is too long. There is a spec for the adjustment of this rod, just make sure you do not pull it out of the booster when messing with it.

What is happening is the compensation ports in the bottom of the master cylinder are being plugged. These are the two tiny holes in the bottom of the reservoirs. When the brake fluid heats up, it needs to expand. It's supposed to expand back into the reservoir through those little holes. But there is an adjustment problem or some other problem that plugs them, then the hot fluid starts applying the brakes instead of expanding into the reservoir.

If you take the top of the master, and then press the brake hard, you should have two geysers of fluid squirt up out of the reservoirs if the compensation ports are not plugged.

P.S. I had this problem with my Ranger, it ended up being the booster. No amount of wd40 would loosen it up, but I found out when the brakes started sticking, I could put my foot under the brake pedal and pull up on the pedal, and the problem would go away. But this problem went through two different owners before I finally figured it out. I got it for free because of it.
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Old 05-29-2017, 10:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoodsy View Post
when I parked it the drivers side was almost hot and the passenger side was barely cooler.
Are you sure you still have a problem? It's perfectly normal for the discs to get warm from normal driving. You may have fixed it but not realized it.

As previously suggested, do your best to recreate the same conditions and then jack up the front end right away. If the brakes are still binding, you'll feel it when trying to spin the wheels by hand..
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Old 05-29-2017, 11:36 PM
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Thanks for the suggestions guys, I'm glad I asked here!

I'm quite sure there is still a problem, After a 10 minute cruise around residential areas the feint wheels are hot to the touch. If I had it up to freeway speeds I'm sure it would get plenty hot.

I have jacked it up when the wheels were hot and there definitely was resistance to turning. Nothing I couldn't overcome by hand but enough to create some heat. I think I will start by driving it to get them warm and sticking again, jack it up the front wheels and see if pulling up on the brake pedal helps it, or if loosening the master cylinder from the booster helps it.

thanks again guys, I got things to check now!
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Old 05-30-2017, 09:54 AM
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I took the van for a drive this morning, took it for a drive longer than I did yesterday. The wheels were warm after the drive this time and only minor resistance to spinning when I jacked up the wheels. I was gong to take the master cylinder off yesterday afternoon but couldn't because I couldn't free the brake lines from it before I ran out of time. The only thing that changed between this drive and the last is I fiddled with the brake controller and chanted the gain. I doubt that would change anything but at this point I won't rule it out.
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Old 05-30-2017, 12:36 PM
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You don't have to undo the lines just yet, we want you to put a gsp between the master & booster to see if that will free up the wheels.

Is the controller tied into any of the brake lines?
If so is it the front brake line?
even so I have never seen one do that before.
Dave - - - -
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:21 PM
dgoodsy dgoodsy is offline
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I understand the advice about loosening the master cylinder from the booster, that's what i plan on doing. I was trying to remove the brake lines and master cylinder yesterday before i read that advice.

Yes, the controller is t'ed into the front brake line right off the master cylinder. After my test drive this morning i tried to change the gain on the controller up and down and then push the brake pedal a few times to see if i could cause the sticking caliper situation but couldn't.

For what it's worth the rear wheels and drum centers have been cool to the touch whenever i have touched them to check temp. I do think they are working though, they squeal under light braking but are silent when not braking and under harder braking.
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Old 05-30-2017, 01:31 PM
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You need to make sure and use the brakes a lot before the jack test. If it's what I suspect, the brake fluid needs to warm up, and then the brakes will start applying as the fluid expands.

A little bit of drag and a lot of driving will probably cause it also, but using the brakes should make it happen quicker. Since it's now happening to both front brakes, it has to be something common to both. When my ranger was messing up, even though the booster is common to the front and the rear brakes, the rear brakes never gave me a problem, it was always the front.
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Old 05-30-2017, 02:09 PM
dgoodsy dgoodsy is offline
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I hear you Franklin2, I just had a half hour before I had to leave so I figured I would take the same route that induced brake dragging previously. I wanted to drive it more but ran out of time. I don't think i will have time to try anything more until tomorrow unfortunately i'm thinking.
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:52 PM
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Disc brakes do drag a little. If you spin the wheel it should make 1 turn before it stops.
On the rear there is no drag unless you just adjusted the rear shoes and not driven it.

This is because the rear drum system has springs that pull the shoes back from the drums, disc do not have this to pull the pads back from the rotor.

It is 1 reason why you feel heat from the front and not the back.
Also most braking is done from the front because weight shifts to the front when stopping.

I am thinking what Franklin said on the fluid heating and then the issue shows up so need to drive it more.
Again I have never seen that type of controller cause any issues with the brake system and I ran many of that type and different cars & trucks.
The gain only applys to the electric part going to the trailer.
Dave ----
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Old 05-30-2017, 05:59 PM
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Yes, I'm trying to make time to drive it some more and make sure the brakes get some use.

I understand how the brake controller works and i know what the gain does. As the gain is changed though, isn't the motion of the brake controller piston changed as well? I was thinking that turning the gain down means the controller piston moves less, and as a result less fluid has to return to the system when the brake pedal is released. I don't remember if i changed the gain up or down but i know i played with it. Again, I really don't think it is the cause of my issue but i don't want to forget it until this is resolved.

thanks again guys, this is good food for thought.
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Old 05-30-2017, 07:01 PM
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IIRC the adjustment on the controller only adds/removes more pressure on a spring that is between the adjustment and lever that moves when you push on the brake pedal.
If you add more pressure the lever will not move till more pedal pressure is also added.
I feel if you do have an issue it is not from the trailer controller.
Dave ----
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Old 06-05-2017, 10:06 AM
dgoodsy dgoodsy is offline
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I had a chance to take the van for a spin and get the brakes warm again. An interesting note is that i found dragging the brakes fairly significantly didn't cause any extra heat in the front wheels that i could tell by touching them. They were still too hot to hold a hand on them, but they would get that hot without intentionally dragging the brakes.

Anyways i got them brakes good and warm jacked a front tire up and tried to spin it. all i could muster with one spin was about a 3/4 turn. So i loosened the master cylinder from the booster and then i could almost spin the tire 2x as far in one push. I ended up pulling the master cylinder away from the booster and removing the pushrod (not sure what the technical term is but I'm talking about the rod that pushes into the master cylinder, not the one pinned to the brake pedal arm). I shortened the push rod a half a turn and put it back in. I took it for a test drive and the wheels were still warm but cooler than before.

I seems that push rod was too long and not letting the master cylinder piston return all the way. My question now is how should that rod be adjusted? I just took a guess but i figure i may as well do it the proper way. I am currently waiting for a shop manual to arrive, but until then can someone help me out?

On a side note i ruined a brake light switch by forgetting i had partially disassembled the brake pedal linkage and pushing on the brake pedal. Don't do that!
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