Both front calipers sticking? - Subaru Outback - Subaru Outback Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 04:00 AM Thread Starter
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Both front calipers sticking?

Impossible, Subaru parts can't fail, what is this?! I rolled down the windows while driving earlier this week and noticed out of nowhere, both my front wheels were squealing intermittently even when the brakes wern't being applied. Thought about it, couldn't remember the last time the pads were replaced, so I checked it out, yup, got about 2 mm left, perfectly even wear both sides, figured it was just both those low pad warning pins squealing at once, went to autozone, got some new semi-metallic pads, put 'em on and ....crap...still the same squeal. Pulled over, figured I'd check the pad clearance in case the new ones had some hot spots and just needed to be worn in a little.........all 4 front pads pressed flush with the rotor. Both calipers couldn't fail at once, could they?

It's gotta be, and my question to the Outback community:

1. A clog in the brake lines somewhere, I haven't checked but maybe after the cylinder but before a 'T' that seperates the lines to each wheel?

2. ...if there isn't a 'T', then a clog in both seperate lines?

3. Both the wheel bearings are bad and the pads actually have a couple microns of clearance?

4. Or the two calipers are in fact, sticky like peanut butter?

A quick seach for 'brake squeal' on this site turned up what seemed to be similiar symptoms for the 00-02 years.

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-20-2008, 08:12 AM
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Did you thoroughly clean the caliper guide and lock pins and bores and relubricate with a light coat of brake grease that states it is suitable for that use?

If any water got behind the caliper piston seals, it may have rusted the exposed part of the piston. Then when the pistons are forced back into the caliper with a c-clamp or whatever, they get stick in the in the rubber seals and caliper bore.

These two items are the most likely if your brakes were functioning properly prior to the pad change. Sometimes flex hoses collapse from the inside and let pressure into the caliper but won't let it all bleed back off and then the caliper sticks.

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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2008, 09:27 AM
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I agree with that, I've seen many pressure hoses causing sticking calipers, much moreso than bad calipers themselves.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-25-2008, 04:25 PM Thread Starter
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Good news is the problem seems to have fixed itself! It's been a week, squeak free and there's a good 1mm between the pads and the rotor! Car troubles are like bad rashes though, I probably just jinxed it; so I'll keep ya'lls advice in mind, could be a wonderful oportunity to do the speed racer thing and get those fancy steel braided lines.
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-27-2008, 09:35 AM
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It's probably other factors causing the noise. Disk brake pads are usually contacting the rotor. Even when the brakes are not applied, the pads still make some contact.

Sometimes if the brakes are squealing, changing the pads to another brand will not immediately fix the squeal until either (1) the pads are fully bedded or (2) the rotors are resurfaced or replaced. This is because the pads leave a transfer layer (of pad material) adhered to the rotor. Changing brake compounds may actually even aggravate squeal if a pad contacts a transfer layer made up of a different compound.

Brake lines clogging is a highly unlikely scenario unless there has been severe water intrusion. And in this case the calipers are more likely to corrode (e.g. seized caliper) rather than the brake line clogging.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 09:23 AM
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i have noticed cheap brake pads and dirty brakes cause squeeking and squealing. Washing the brakes good when washing the car helps and not buying the cheapest off the shelf brake pads is a good idea. I prefer bendix myself. Last year however i had a violent vibration while driving and it took me a while to figured out it was a frozen front driver caliper. I ordered both front calipers and replaced them, my calipers were also dual piston calipers which i never really looked into which cars have them but i know i had a **** of a time finding them. replaced rotor and pads at the same time and car stops great and smooth now with no sqeeking or any other issues
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 10-28-2008, 12:50 PM
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My car is kind of doing something like that. Could've been something like a rock between the pad and rotor. It happened to my mom's Forester, also, and it fixed itself after a day and a half. Scratches on the rotor can be a tell tale sign of this.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 02:02 PM
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Last year i had a similar issue on my 98 OBS. Had one caliper go bad and then two months later the other one went bad. So yes it is possible for both to go bad at basically the same time. Turns out that they heated up the rotors so much they warped and had to be replaced.
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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-18-2008, 09:09 PM Thread Starter
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Hmm, well thank you all for the input. Sad to say though, as an update to my conundrum and a comment on my was the rear brakes making the sqeak. They hadn't been replaced in...well the car's 8 years old now so, probably the first time. Sqeeks gone, the calipers and rotors are all fine, $30 bucks problem solved. BUT, should it happen again, I'm a library on knowledge.
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-20-2008, 12:06 AM
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Hi, newbie here, just joined the forum to add somewhat valuable information.

I had exact same problem, wheezing/grinding nose from the front even when the brake is not applied. Took it to the dealer twice to figure out what happened. It turned out to be a defective steering pump. Repaired it under warranty. The hint was that when I turned the steering to either extreme edge, there was a bit of play on the steering wheel. Not supposed to be like that.

I was so sure that the sound was coming from the front rotors, since it sounded like a metal scratching, but I guess I was wrong. Mine used to come and go, but that loose steering feel was always there.

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