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Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

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Old 11-16-2017
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Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

I'm doing the brakes on my 2004 Civic LX. It's my first time doing brakes, though I've managed to complete a number of other jobs successfully in the year I've owned the car (replaced drive belts, new oil pan, some exhaust work, replaced ISB, new clutch, fixed some wiring in the door, replaced ball joint). I'm following the instructions in the factory service manual and the Haynes manual.

When I reassemble everything and press and release the brake pedal a few times, I'm finding both rotors become hard to turn by hand: the driver side a little, and passenger side very much. After pumping the brake pedal a couple of times, I need two hands to move the passenger side rotor. I can move it with the wheel on but the brakes are clearly dragging.

I've replaced the rotors and pads with aftermarket (Brembo), as well as the abutment clips (Carlson). Greased the back of the pads and shims, greased where the pads seat in the clips. Cleaned and regreased the slider pins (they were in good shape and slide smoothly). Dust boots on the sliders are intact. I can push the piston back with a C-clamp and it seems to slide smoothly.

The brake hose is in good shape and is not twisted. When the rotor is "stuck" I can open the bleeder valve though no fluid escapes (unless we pump the pedal, then we get good flow), and it doesn't relieve the pressure on the rotor. There's corrosion inside the piston and around the edge, though I haven't looked under the boot to see what the rest of it looks like. The dust boot on the piston looks a little funny (see photo). Rear drums spin easily.

I wasn't having any dragging or other trouble with the brakes before I disassembled them - I just wanted to change them before winter. Actually - they were "clicking" when I started from a stop, and I noticed the abutment clips I removed were corroded. Other than that - no trouble with the brakes before this. I'd appreciate any insight or ideas, especially as I've never done brakes before so I'm not sure what's normal!


Passenger side caliper

Last edited by dnmacdon; 11-16-2017 at 09:38 PM. Reason: Corrected some details.
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Old 11-16-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

drive and test,
try a pad bedding
check if any of them hotter than others. Don't drive too much when testing.
temp check is approaching the hands to the rotors, not touching then, mind you :P
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Old 11-16-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

wait, you opened the bleeders without pressure?

Bleed them!

test drive first, if pedal soft, you really need bleed them

rust normal, the temperatures cook them off
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Old 11-16-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

Originally Posted by sdaidoji View Post
wait, you opened the bleeders without pressure?

Bleed them!

test drive first, if pedal soft, you really need bleed them

rust normal, the temperatures cook them off
Thanks. Yeah, I did bleed it right after, I just wanted to see if it would release the piston.
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Old 11-16-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

you need to drive test to really know if the drag is really happening after changing rotor/pads


again, not for too long. just for test
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Old 11-17-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

Disc brakes almost always drag a little. If you can still turn a bare hub/rotor by hand that's fine.

Are the pads free, you didn't have to force or pound them into place to get them to fit?

Does it drive OK?
Is any wheel screaming hot after a test drive?

After a drive, park on flat pavement and leave in neutral.
Can you roll the car by hand?
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Old 11-17-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

Ok great, thanks. Sounds like it might be normal. I'll take it down and test it out this afternoon. Any particular break in procedure I should be following? I live in the city and don't really have access to the "deserted road" that most break-in instructions I've read seem to require. At least, not without driving 20 miles out of town first...
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Old 11-17-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

The factory doesn't do any brake bed-in procedure on brand new cars AFAIK, so......why should we?

I will usually go drive a fresh brake job just a couple miles and do a slow down about every 1/4-1/2 mile along the way. 60-30 ish mph, never a complete stop. Less times if it's hot out, I don't want to overheat the brakes at all....my only goal is to get some pad material stuck to the fresh rotor surfaces.
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Old 11-19-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

Thanks, that makes sense.

I haven't had a chance to work on it - been out of town for a couple of days. Before I left I didn't have time to take it for a drive, but we did start it up and put it in gear (on jackstands). D/S front wheel spun like normal, P/S didn't budge. It's really quite tight, like I need two hands and lots of force just to turn it after we've pumped the pedal to get everything in position. That can't be normal?

I'm going to disassemble it again, clean everything up, reinstall. I may put in the old components too just to see if it sticks with them as well. Should I be concerned about the caliper? As far as I know it was working fine before I took it apart. Pad wear was about even between the two sides and I didn't see any evidence of excessive heat buildup...
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Old 11-19-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

It's really quite tight, like I need two hands and lots of force just to turn it after we've pumped the pedal to get everything in position. That can't be normal?
Ya, that does not sound right.

You need to figure out why.
.
(I thought you had decided it was okay after I wrote "turn a bare hub/rotor by hand")


Should I be concerned about the caliper? As far as I know it was working fine before I took it apart.
Wait wait wait....You took apart a caliper? Like stripped the piston and boot and seal out of the housing?

Or just removed and installed the caliper, whole?




Did you get a twist/kink in the brake hose because the caliper was twisted before install? That could keep a brake applied.

Does the caliper piston need excessive force to retract (push in)? It should retract the same as the opposite side.
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Old 11-19-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

No, I didn't disassemble the caliper. I just mean disassemble the brakes, i.e. removed entire caliper, replaced rotor, remounted caliper, removed and replaced pads, shims, and clips, retracted piston, cleaned and greased pins. The pads popped right into the clips, and with the caliper swung up I can slide them in the clips by hand quite easily (I'm pretty sure... I'll double check that when I get back home). Pads are greased on the backs and the ears that sit in the clips.

The piston didn't *seem* any harder to retract than the other side, and it did retract fully. I used a C-clamp.

The hose was not twisted or kinked at any point and looks totally fine. I do get a good quantity of fluid out of the bleeder valve when pressure is applied to the pedal.

Not sure if it's relevant but I did accidentally pop a piston out of the wheel cylinder when doing the back. Also had to replace a bleeder valve on the other (driver side) caliper. We bled pretty thoroughly afterwards though, at all four wheels. During all bleeding I'm closing the valve before the pedal reaches the bottom of its travel.
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Old 11-19-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

^ you forgot to mention you removed/greased the slider pins

no, it's not normal for them to not budge at all...

let us know what you find after disassembling/reassembly
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Old 11-28-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

In the end I replaced both calipers, and both sides are now working fine. Thanks everybody!
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Old 11-28-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

Ouch, I suppose Canadian salt does a lot of damage...
mine still have a lot of rust around under belly/suspension, etc after two winters back in 2010-2011...

Originally Posted by dnmacdon View Post
In the end I replaced both calipers, and both sides are now working fine. Thanks everybody!
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Old 11-29-2017
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Re: Replacing pads and rotors, brakes sticking

Dude I've seen cars up here that are only 5 years old with rot issues it's brutal.

Glad you got the brakes sorted ok dnmacdon!
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