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I had my 98 wagon out for a little drive today and noticed the car seemed to be down on power, and also noticed it was doing a good job of slowing itself down without my help. I smelled hot brakes around this time too, and when I got home, sure enough, the left front wheel was substantially warmer than the other 3. I guess that would also explain why it pulls to the left under braking. Anyway, can the caliper be saved if I took it off and lubed up the guide pins?
 

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A sticking caliper isn't usually caused by binding on the guide pins, but the caliper piston seizing, either from being cocked in the bore, the brake hose collapsing one-way inside, or the brake fluid having cooked and become sticky inside the caliper. Basically then you get a new caliper, unless you have a machine shop and can get the rebuild seals and boots...then you just take it apart and rebuild.
 

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Rebuilding a caliper is a medium job. Medium because you will need a slip ring removal tool and compressed air, caliper bore honing tool.

From there the rest is easy.
 

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Sure they can be saved, you can rebuild them. At this point you may have damaged the rubber seals from all the heat anyway.

Always replace brake calipers or cylinders in pairs.

if you jubed the pins properly and bled your brakes every 2 years, you wouldn't have these problems.
 

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zzyzzx said:
Sure they can be saved, you can rebuild them. At this point you may have damaged the rubber seals from all the heat anyway.

Always replace brake calipers or cylinders in pairs.

if you jubed the pins properly and bled your brakes every 2 years, you wouldn't have these problems.
Don't forget that lines get rusty, sometimes clogged with random junk in 2 years, as well as rubber lines deteriorating internally. I had a similar problem last year when a rubber line collapsed one way internally and stuck the caliper on.

Really though, a rebuilt caliper is very cheap, around $20. There is no reason to try and salvage the thing unless you happen to have relevant tools already.
 

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zzyzzx said:
Always replace brake calipers or cylinders in pairs.
And always replace the hoses with them!
 

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The hoses are optional, imo. For instance: I put brand new hoses late last year on my caliper, and replaced the caliper about 8 months later when a bleed screw broke off (it was a new caliper, too). There is no reason to replace that hose when it's not even a year old, and barely used (less than 5 thousand miles on it). However, if it's 10+ years old, I would agree with replacing the hose.
 

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zzyzzx said:
Always replace brake calipers or cylinders in pairs.

if you jubed the pins properly and bled your brakes every 2 years, you wouldn't have these problems.
Replacing hoses with calipers and calipers in pairs is unnecessary. It sound like something a shop that is trying to rip you off would say.

Who the heck bleeds their brakes every 2 years!? If the boots are good and properly seated then you shouldn't need to lube the guide pins.

I can tell you from experience that replacing the guide pins does not always solve the problem. I had a caliper that had been sticking. The first thing I did was lube the pins but then the problem came back, I replaced the pins and boots and the problem came back. Then I replaced it with a rebuilt one and all the problem stopped. I just replaced the one caliper and have had no problems. It was about $32 before core, which was the cheapest I could find.
 

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Eh, bleeding every 2 years isn't a bad idea, since Dot 3 fluid will absorb moisture from the air, and the reservoir cap is not a perfect seal. Over time the fluid becomes gunky. I've witnessed this in my own system, and tend to re-bleed about every 2 years, and then my brakes work better, with less dark fluid in the system. It's not expensive, doesn't take time (no air), and will not hurt the system in any way.
 

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I bleed my brakes about every 2 years. you are supposed to. I also have all my original brake stuff (except for pads). I would not necessarily replace the hoses just because I was replacing the calipers either. Replacing the calipers is easy. Replacing the hoses sometimes is not if you can't get the nut off where the metal line ends.
 

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Some say to replace the hoses when doing a caliper job because you only need to bleed once that way and it is just standard procedure for most brake jobs.

I have seen collapsed hoses just days after a whole system rebuild.
 
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