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Replacing calipers -- 2001 Dodge ram

Posted on 2008-10-01
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Last Modified: 2012-05-05
I have a 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 4WD Extended cab, long bed.

The front driver side brake went metal to metal. I saw it was bad, so just went and bought the rotors and pads without doing a real inspection. When I was swapping them I found the driver side was totally baked, but the passenger side could have done another 20-30K at a WAG.

So it appears the the front driver side caliper is apparently sticking in the open position. I'm getting a little pull to the right but nothing significant.

Right now I don't really have the $200+ free to swap out both calipers. So I'm looking at 2 options:

1) Replace the driver side caliper only. I think the recommendation is to do them in pairs, but does anyone know of a big reason not to do just the one?

2) Apparently there is a rebuild kit available from Autozone for about $20 for both sides. Has anyone ever tried this? Any instructions anywhere?

http://www.autozone.com/R,173608/vehicleId,2602502/initialAction,partProductDetail/store,1958/partType,00054/shopping/partProductDetail.htm
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Question by:Jim P.
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by:moparracing94
ID: 22619038
Yes i own a twin to your vehicle and have had the problem before.

The rebuild kit is just fine, It includes seals. Inspect your calipers, if the wheels cylinders are shot and scored a simple seal kit will not fix the problem. If you are confident in rebuilding the calipers, i would recommend doing it after looking at the wheel cylinders.If they look bad, leak, or are scored you will need to replace them as it will continue to pull.

As i am sure you know, assembly is relatively easy just make sure you thoroughly bleed the lines once it is together, all the way around.

Let me know what they look like on the outside, maybe a picture, and i can help you make the decision on replacement or rebuild.
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by:Jim P.
ID: 22627602
>> wheels cylinders are shot and scored a simple seal kit will not fix the problem

Wheel cylinders -- aren't those on drum brakes? Or is that what the piston is called on a caliper?
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by:moparracing94
ID: 22627883
jimpen

Wow..... must have been to much coffee in the morning. That is a drum brake term. I was referring to the pistons in the calipers. Sorry about that.
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by:Jim P.
ID: 22628368
I've actually have rebuilt drums from the wheel cylinders out -- both reconditioning the cylinders and outright replacement.

I've never had to tear into calipers at all. So is it a matter of pulling the dust seal rubber, and the just pulling the seals out, cleqning polishing the internals and then putting them back?
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moparracing94 earned 400 total points
ID: 22628621
jimpen:

I was thinking about your question today, and it brought up some memories.

Those calipers are slide calipers and chances are its not the seals that have gone bad. Likely its the slide part of the caliper and they are simply stuck or sticking. If you are not familiar with this style the caliper the piston pushes on one side and that slides and clinches the opposite pad towards it. When you let off of the pedal they release and slide apart. Chances are that is where yours is sticking and its not allowing that side to release and is draging.

So, try this first, pull that caliper off and coat and lube the slide points with silicone grease. Work the slides by hand until they slide freely. Put it back together, and go for a drive, to see if it still pulls. Make sure the brakes work before driving off just as a safety precaution.  

Be careful not to depress the brake pedal while the caliper is off as I am sure you know that will knock the pistons right out.
If this does not help or you want to go ahead and rebuild the calipers this a rough step by step to do so:

1) When you remove the caliper open the bleeder and drain out all the brake fluid. Tighten the bleeder and sets some rags in the caliper to cushion the piston. With the caliper opening side down, blow compressed air into the brake line hole to blow out the piston.

2) Remove the bleeder screw, boot and retainer ring (if used) and the square cut seal. Clean off any rust or corrosion from in the caliper bore, seal grove, boot retainer grove, and externally from any slide or contact points. You can use a wire wheel or hone to clean these surfaces.

3) Clean the caliper housing with brake clean and blow dry with compressed air.

4) Use caliper assembly lube to coat the square cut seal, install the seal. Coat the caliper piston and bore. Coat the boot grove with silicon brake grease, coat the top of the piston with silicon grease. Install the boot on the piston.

5) Push the piston into the bore until it bottoms. Work the boot into the boot grove and squeeze out any extra grease.

6) Install the retainer ring into the boot.

7) Lube and caliper slide points with silicon grease and installed the caliper. Bleed the flush the system.
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by:Jim P.
ID: 22628675
That helps. Obviously this is a weekend project. I'll grab the hardware and work on it this weekend and let you know.
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by:moparracing94
ID: 22628727
jimpen:

Glad it does.

You may try just to test the theory before the weekend, get behind the wheel and tap on the caliper to see if it will slide loose......in other words, have someone press the pedal and then tap it. Do it a few times and see if it starts to slide. If so you know what your problem is..... If not it may be really stuck.

Good luck

I am willing to bet they are hanging, so that should be a cost effective fix.

Thanks
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by:JWSmythe
JWSmythe earned 100 total points
ID: 22656699

  I just glanced through the responses, and I didn't see mention of if you should change one or both calipers.  I wanted to clarify this for you.

  If only one is having a problem, you only need to repair that one.  

  It is strongly recommended to change the brake PADS on BOTH sides.  Since your caliper hasn't been working correctly, you may end up in a situation with abnormal braking either now or in the future.  Since you seem to be putting on new pads, you're all set.

  I just checked Autozone's web site.  At least in my area, they're listing remanufactured calipers for $51.99/ea.  There's a $37 core charge, so bring the old one with you to compare them, and so you don't have to pay the core charge. :)  They may offer new calipers in your area, but they aren't necessary unless you have money to burn.   If you have too much extra cash, you can mail it to me. :)

  I haven't worked on your particular vehicle, but I've worked on a lot of cars over the years.   Someone else said that you have a "floating" caliper, or as they described, "slide calipers".  Those would slide (or float) on their bolts.  It's pretty common for them to get stuck on the bolts if they get rusty or dirty.  If the piston itself isn't stuck in the caliper, it may just not be floating properly.  It may be as simple as cleaning them real well, and you've saved yourself $50. :)  It should only take you a few minutes to clean them and reassemble it.  If you have a helper touch the brakes while you spin the rotor, you'll be able to see if that's the problem.  





 
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by:moparracing94
ID: 22660255
jimpen:

How did the brake job go over the weekend?
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by:Jim P.
ID: 22660389
It was overcome by the honey-do list. Its parked for a day or two.
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by:moparracing94
ID: 22660445
the honey-do list strikes AGAIN. Sounds like what i hear before race day.
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