Brake Caliper Dragging - Vintage Mustang Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 08:05 AM Thread Starter
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Question Brake Caliper Dragging

Here's a question for those of you with experience in brake systems. This is for a 2002 Mustang, not a classic Mustang, but I would love to hear the opinions of VMF members.


I recently had to change the passenger ball joint on the Mustang (it had started to make some noise, torn boot), and noticed that the passenger brake pads were worn past the wear indicators. I thought, OK I'll replace the pads while I got this apart. Moved to the drivers side and the pads aren't nearly as worn as the passenger side. Put it all together and take it for a test drive and I could tell something wasn't right. Got back and the passenger caliper was really hot to the touch, and you could smell that it was hot. Jack the front up and I could only turn the wheel with significant effort. Without the wheel, I can't turn the rotor at all.



In my limited experience, a dragging brake was either a caliper with issues or a damaged hose. So I pumped the brakes, the caliper has hold of the rotor and won't budge. Open the bleed valve and a little fluid trickles out. Aha! I say, its the caliper, piston isn't retracting with the change in pressure. If the hose was holding pressure, then a lot of fluid would quickly come out the bleeder. So I get a re-manufactured caliper, install it and ... same problem. In frustration I get a new hose since they are cheap and in stock and install it - and still no joy.


I did notice after all of that that the brake pedal does not appear to fully return to its position. I had a helper pumping the brakes so I was unaware of this during the parts changes. It's close, but not quite even with the clutch pedal like it should be, maybe a 1/2 inch low. (I should measure this, it could be more) I'm beginning to think maybe the master cylinder has an issue. I'd like to hear your opinions, and specifically how to verify the issue before swapping parts. I hate just buying parts to see if it fixes the issue. Thanks for your help

Last edited by Ford.P51; 11-02-2018 at 08:09 AM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 08:34 AM
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I've seen this many times with my cars or family members cars. My experience with a HOT "stuck" caliper has been one of the following:
Stuck caliper: One way to tell is once off, I use a "C" clamp to compress piston. If it takes a lot of effort to compress piston back in, then either caliper or rubber brake hose collapsed inside (usually where there's a brkt clamped on the hose.
Most times I'd go with caliper. But to see if hose, open the bleeder, if fluid just barely comes out, it's the hose. If it flows out normal, then caliper.

Now another thing it can be if the brake pads are to tight on the "slides". That's from to much dirt/corrosion or paint finish on the points where pads sit on slides. For that I've taken a metal file and cleaned that contact area up a bit. Pads when installed must move around little bit. If they don't "float" then they'll hang up. One overall solution is to buy the "caliper assembly loaded". It'll be caliper and clean brkt.


If your problem is not ant of the above then I'd start with opening up bleeder screw and note the fluid flow, then compare to other side.

Or just thinking, a small chance you got a bad new caliper. Make sure with and without brake hose on, piston retracts easily.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 02:42 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sixtysevenGTconv View Post
I've seen this many times with my cars or family members cars. My experience with a HOT "stuck" caliper has been one of the following:
Stuck caliper: One way to tell is once off, I use a "C" clamp to compress piston. If it takes a lot of effort to compress piston back in, then either caliper or rubber brake hose collapsed inside (usually where there's a brkt clamped on the hose.
Most times I'd go with caliper. But to see if hose, open the bleeder, if fluid just barely comes out, it's the hose. If it flows out normal, then caliper.

Now another thing it can be if the brake pads are to tight on the "slides". That's from to much dirt/corrosion or paint finish on the points where pads sit on slides. For that I've taken a metal file and cleaned that contact area up a bit. Pads when installed must move around little bit. If they don't "float" then they'll hang up. One overall solution is to buy the "caliper assembly loaded". It'll be caliper and clean brkt.


If your problem is not ant of the above then I'd start with opening up bleeder screw and note the fluid flow, then compare to other side.

Or just thinking, a small chance you got a bad new caliper. Make sure with and without brake hose on, piston retracts easily.

I wondered what the chances are that I got a bad new caliper. It is a re-manufactured part. How much force is easily? It's a two piston caliper, and they both move with roughly the same force. Can't push them by hand, but its not difficult with a c clamp.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford.P51 View Post
I wondered what the chances are that I got a bad new caliper. It is a re-manufactured part. How much force is easily? It's a two piston caliper, and they both move with roughly the same force. Can't push them by hand, but its not difficult with a c clamp.
If a two piston caliper and both crank back in w/o much effort then gotta look else where.
Like do pads float or move easily when in place?
When you bleed brakes, same amount of fluid coming out equal on both sides?

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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-02-2018, 07:59 PM Thread Starter
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I haven't bled the driver's side to see if its similar. I did jack up the driver's side, and the wheel is almost as difficult to turn as the passenger side, so I think both front wheels are experiencing the same thing.


Yesterday, what surprised me was that when I disconnected the hose from the new caliper it did not release the rotor. I need to repeat that test. That had me thinking the new caliper is bad.

What I'd really like is a way to measure the pressure in the caliper.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 06:57 AM Thread Starter
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Just to close this thread out, the driver's side was just fine, so I convinced myself that the new caliper was bad. Returned it for another one, installed that one and it worked great.


So to sum it up, I wasted a whole bunch of time because I didn't want to believe the new part was bad, even though everything was telling me it was. Sigh....
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 11-05-2018, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Ford.P51 View Post
Just to close this thread out, the driver's side was just fine, so I convinced myself that the new caliper was bad. Returned it for another one, installed that one and it worked great.


So to sum it up, I wasted a whole bunch of time because I didn't want to believe the new part was bad, even though everything was telling me it was. Sigh....
Thanks for closing and updating us. It's how others learn. It's what I kinda thought it might be.
Now enjoy
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