cliveyp

Binding brakes front and rear

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So, first maintenance task has raised its head on the E12 and I thought it may be worth checking on here for any common things to look for on these.

I have a light bit of brake binding from the front off-side caliper, and more from the rear near-side.  It's doing my fuel consumption absolutely no good what so ever!  I know on my previous Vectra, rear calipers were very prone to sticking from corroded slider pins, so this was going to be my first port of call on both ends.

Thoughts are; wheels off; caliper off; strip slider pins from boots, clean and red rubber grease; slightly rewind calipers and refit.  Am I right in believing that the E12 1.6VVTi has a drum handbrake though?  If so, what are the steps to checking this over?  I have only had drum rear brakes on one car some 22+ years ago, so my knowledge of these is pretty minimal!  Is the rear disc caliper a 'turn to rewind' or a straight push?

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Hi,

Think you have covered most things.

The slider pins can seize , but usually can be cleaned up and lubricated ok, but do make a note of which position the one with the rubber end is located in, get them wrong and you have problems.

All four calipers are a simple straight push, so easy enough to test if seized.

The drum handbrakes ,I find just need a dusting with brake cleaner and a brush, then if needed adjust the handbrake by means of the adjusters in the drums and by the handbrake lever if the pull is too many notches.

Also check your flexibles hoses are sound and a full brake fluid change is needed every 2 years.

All well covered in the Haynes service manual, a good buy, which also gives the minimum thickness of the discs before replacement.

 

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Thanks Old Codger, this is much appreciated.  I'm glad that they're all 'push to rewind' calipers, as I had a nightmare with trying to turn a seized piston on my old Vectra which ended up breaking the rewind tool adapter!

I presume the drums are easy enough to remove to go over the inside?

I bought the car with minimal history towards the end of last year, but it was very cheap, so I am expecting things like fluid changes or caliper rebuilds haven't been done.  I don't mind getting my hands dirty if I really have to and for what it cost me it's probably worthwhile.....just need to wait for a dry bit of daylight now and hope that it doesn't get any worse in the meantime!

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6 hours ago, cliveyp said:

 

I presume the drums are easy enough to remove to go over the inside?

 

Hi,

They do not really wear as such being just the handbrake and are part of the disc when you more often replace that.

Normally easy to come off if a bit of copper grease has been applied to the hub.

If they do catch on the shoes there is an inspection hole/rubber to allow the adjuster to be backed off  - all in that Haynes manual.

If you are working though a full service, don't forget the gearbox Oil and the pollen filter behind the glove box, both often forgotten.

What are you getting for fuel   - I typically get 40mpg, about 42 in summer , 38 in winter  currently 106k miles.

Don't go by the radios mpg meter, it can be very fickle, sometimes very close other times way, way off, use the fill the tank to full method,

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Thanks for that.  The rear is getting particularly hot now, but it’s unlikely I’ll get chance to have a look before the weekend due to work....it’ll probably be very tight by the end of the week! 

 

Fuel consumption has only been calculated once, and that was low-mid 30’s from memory.  Radio currently tells me just under 30mpg, but with binding brakes and a 3 mile commute I’m really not surprised.  I’ve seen over 40 on the radio on a run, but didn’t calculate it to compare.

 

I’ll get the brakes sorted first and get the worst of winter out of the way before I run through a full service, but will bear those in mind.  It’s also got its MOT in May so I’m a little reluctant to throw anything into it before I know it’s worthwhile......it only cost me £300 so I think it’s justified to be weary!

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Wow, £300 for a 2005 1.6 !!  ....  get more than that for scrap metal !

Something seriously wrong with it , very high mileage  / bodywork / paint ??

Unless someone has very badly adjusted the handbrake shoes I would suspect the pads/sliders/calipers have seized .... 

 

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Yep, £300 for a 2005 1.6 Colour Collection!  It’s had a rear quarter repair at some point in the past that isn’t great.....it’s not bad either, but you can tell it’s been done. It’s had 3 owners and had covered just under 110k when I bought it in September-ish.  As I say, nothing really that good in the way of history, but everything works and it drives ok so it fills a hole for now.

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So sure enough, the front caliper looks like it was mainly stuck pins that were causing it to drag...the one wasn’t that easy to move but is now.  

 

The rear seems to be majoritively within the drum.  I’ve given everything a good blast with brake cleaner but the only way to stop it binding too bad is to wind the adjuster off, which obviously renders the handbrake useless on that wheel!  The shoes do seem quite stubborn to move and seem to pick up a lot of friction from a backplate behind the rearmost shoe.  What’s the best bet here, or is it that the overheating has killed the disc/drum, as it’s not a constant bind more like something is out of round....

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Hi,

If the drum has been overheated I would expect to see a blue hue to the  inside of the drum, though I doubt that is the case.

Same with excessive wear, would expect your shoes would be worn down before the drum surface wore out, plus you have to renew you disc/drum more because the disc is too thin or worn unevenly.

I have never been able to set up the handbrake shoes without a little bit of drag, as below.

You must have a good handbrake action or it will fail the mot.

What I do, is jack up both rear wheels  and then back off the adjusters until they are free to rotate,  and then pull the handbrake on tightly to help centralize the shoes; don't mistake pad drag for the drum drag, if possible push the pads back a bit so they do not make any noise.

You may not get rid of all noise, but if you can easily rotate the wheel with just one finger between the spokes then its not really a problem, I get a slight high spot on mine.

Then turn the adjusters one click at a time until you can feel the shoes biting, then back the adjuster off,  I find you need to back it off two clicks, spin the drum in a forwards direction, and then forward the adjuster one click and its usually just right.

Once you have both wheels done, so they are virtually free to turn, then go to the handbrake and pull it just one notch, turn the wheel and see if its added and resistance.

Repeat another click until you feel the first real bit of bite, checking that its reasonably even between both wheels.

I try and aim for the first bit of bite on the 2nd click, so if your does not, then adjust the cable adjuster by the side of the handbrake lever ( 2 bolts and 2 screws to remove the centre console).

Ideally I try and get it so the wheel are locked hard on 4 or 5 clicks.

Often I will set them up like this then do a good few miles and then recheck and adjust just before the mot.

As said, I can hear a bit of drag but if you can still do the finger test I would not worry, my drums never get hot, more likely any heat is from the disc pads.

It works for me and passes the mot, but expect someone else knows a better way ...?

 

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That’s great, thanks old codger!  I’ll have to clear a bit more room in the garage and get it inside for a bit to go through it.....it’s just going to be too cold this weekend to get outside to do it.

my other thought is to hold off another week.  Give it a bit of time to settle after I’ve had it all apart then I can see what’s causing issues and what isn’t.  As it stands I can turn it easily by hand with no drag, but that’s with the adjuster pretty well wound off.  I’ll strip the other side and clear it all up before I set about adjusting it all properly.

 

thanks again!

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Dragging an old thread back up....I’ve finally had a chunk of decent weather and light to have another look at the rear, as this was the worst of the lot.

the caliper pushed back without too much effort, and the carrier had a good clean/wirebush as the odd we’re pretty wedged in.  They now slide quite well.  Put it all back together and put a few pumps through the pedal.....and it’s binding pretty well again!

Fair to say the caliper is shot?

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Hi,

With all you have done and said its very hard to suggest whats wrong, partic as we cannot see the problem ourselves.

The "caliper pushed back"  you mean the piston ? and how did you push it, by hand or with a G clamp etc.

With the caliper slide bolts out, but the caliper staying in position, I'm able to push the piston back by carefully pulling the whole caliper towards me, enough to easily lift it off the pads.

Are you using copper grease or similar on the metal pad ends and back ?

What is the state of the discs, do they have a large rusty ridge on the outer edge  ?

When you say they are binding after pumping the brake pedal, you need to give the wheel a spin forward to throw the pads off the disc, they always just touch a little

Again its hard to know how hard  " the binding " is.

Perhaps you can do some pics or a video ?

 

Edit, there is another possible problem, and thats a fault with the hydraulics, a known failure is the rubber hoses, they can collapse internally and act as a one way valve, allowing the high pedal pressure to force though to the caliper, but not allow the fluid to return when released, so holding the pads on.

If you press the pedal till they stick on, then open the wheels bleed nipple and if the fluid spurts out hard for a second, it implies that may be the case.

If you then re-tighten the nipple and test the wheel if its free to spin , if so thats your problem.

If the fluid only runs or drips out of the nipple, probably no back pressure.

You will need to properly bleed the line in any event,

 

 

 

 

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Yes, I mean pushing back the piston.  I did this with a G clamp and it took a bit of effort, but not what I would consider a hard task.  I really don’t think I could have pushed it back by hand against the pads.

I have copper-greased the ends of the pads/carrier slides, but haven’t done the back of the pads.  They do need replacing though, but I wanted to get to the bottom of the binding before I did this.  The discs are rusty but don’t have much of a lip.  Chances are I will change these when I do the pads anyway.

i did contemplate releasing the bleed nipple to see if that may help, but didn’t actually get round to it.  It doesn’t seem to slowly release over time so part of me is tempted to suggest the hoses are OK.

as for how much it binds.....enough to make the wheel warm!

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Hi, I had a binding off-side front recently too. While I have zero experience with brakes I did manage to fix mine. My piston didn't like retracting once pushed out thus keeping the pad forced up against the disc. I simply peeled the piston seal back enough to spray WD40 in there, put it all back together, tested, took it apart and repeated 5 or 6 times until it moved easier. Don't know if this wil be a temporary fix but my MPG has gone up by 7 and stayed up there for 2 months now. Hope your fix is as simple as mine!

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