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Remove the Rear Brake Caliper Without Dropping the Rear

Remove the Rear Brake Caliper Without Dropping the Rear

Loren

If you see puddles underneath the rear end directly under the rear calipers and it looks like hydraulic fluid --.it probably is. Both of mine developed leaks at about 120000 miles at the same time. Probably seals, but I prepared for a complete overhaul and purchased stainless steel piston replacements and seal kits. But as usual there was more to be replaced for when I moved the calipers to the bench and blew out the pistons with compressed air there were bright areas on the cylinder walls. One recommendation was to use crocus cloth to gently remove the wear--but I really couldn't see doing an experiment when so much time went into removal (8 hours) and replacement would take 16 more including adjustment of the parking calipers. So, I returned the pistons and did a rebuilt exchange for $200 per caliper. They come complete with pads but no crossover pipe. Use your old ones. So far after 3 weeks there are no leaks and the brakes work fine.

  1. Prepare for removal and follow Kyle's account of replacing the differential output oil seal. Recommend loosening the hub joint cover hose fastener and pushing the hub joint cover out of the way in order to see how the parking calipers are mounted with pivot bolts through the main calipers. I found that the pivot bolts were 7/16 ". I had to remove both hydraulic fittings feeding the brakes and used 11 mm --be careful, and use lots of liquid wrench because the pipe flare bolts are rather fragile and round off easily.
  2. The bolts holding the caliper are 5/8" and only an offset box-end wrench will do the job--perhaps one of those ratching box-end types would be useful because there isn't much room for wrenching. Now if you are prone underneath the rear axle here is a trick for breaking the torque on the left side--use a jack with a wood block to jack up the wrench handle. On the right side simply pull down with your weight! The parking calipers slide out the rear of the car around the disc, while the main calipers slide the opposite direction.
  3. If you are ready for the replacement either with a rebuild (like me) or your own parts kit in place--please check the parking brake for proper auto- adjustment operation. To be safe plan for manual adjustment by removing the cotter pin and devising a ratching screwdriver to turn the long bolt holding the small caliper and large caliper together--then you can adjust while everything is back in place. This is still not a easy task and I used a 5/16 mini-ratchet with a flat blade bit to fit. I also used safety wire instead of a cotter pin because it was easier to work with. Difficult to align the hole in the bolt with the hole in the housing but with mirrors it can be done. Found a good description of the hand brake with details from an old series I factory manual.
  4. Pause for mental reflection: the tech manuals say that the discs must be centered within 0.01 inches of each main caliper. Well now, I figured that rebuilds couldn't be too far off and if replacing the disc it probably is more crucial. The scheme for disc centering requires balancing the shims between the differential and the caliper mounting flange--another endless task. Check the clearance when reinstalling the main calipers they should clear the old disc easily.
  5. When replacing main calipers install the top bolt first--then align the bottom one and install--this is all easier said than done. On the parking caliper be sure that the pivot bolts go through the holes--they can slide in without hitting the holes because the threads are only at the tops--look from the side view to insure proper setup. Adjust the parking brakes to just touching the disc before tightening the pivot bolts and remember to get the brass retraction fingers in the pin holes as well.
  6. Attach brake lines--careful again, get both ends started threading a little before all the way on either flare nut.
  7. Bleed brakes, I used a hand vacuum pump on each bleed screw.
  8. Start engine and apply brakes--they go all the way down initially, but should built up and stay hard. Check for leaks.
  9. Re attach hand brake cable and check for adjustment.
  10. Return old calipers and get core refund and brag about your expertise to the parts boys. Just ask Kyle or myself on how good it feels to have finished this job. Or ask for help anytime.
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