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Brake Caliper Servicing


Steviewevie
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Following on from the other thread about brake calipers, this got me thinking.

Now it seems that the IS200 is quite prone to brake caliper problems, e.g. sticking calipers. When that situation arises then there are options such as replacing the whole caliper/cylinder assembly, or perhaps fixing the problem by using Lexus's kit to overhaul it.

So, I was wondering. Is it worth considering doing some sort of caliper servicing at some point, as a pre-emptive method, to hopefully keep the calipers working properly ?

I was thinking that perhaps you could just take apart the calipers and re-grease them, and perhaps that will help ? i.e. minimal cost of spare parts (just some grease). Obviously you could go the whole hog and use the Lexus kit, but this seems a bit OTT if the caliper isn't exhibiting any problems.

Stupid idea ? Worthwhile ? Easy job ? Difficult job ? What do you think ?

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I would say that its certainly worth taking the caliper off, taking sliding pins out and cleaning it all up, re-greasing it all and re-assembling. At the same time I would try the pedal and see if both pistons move freely, if not then clamp them in and push them out a few times to free them up.

Shame there isn't a group buy on a set of sliding pins, boots and bushes. :)

All of the above is very simple and anyone should be capable of doing it. You don't have to take the pads out or anything usually.

The guide that someone did is basically it really.

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I'd agree with Kev, greasing the calipers and slide pins is simple enough. I would say that if you find any of the dust boots split, then you need to seriously consider overhauling the caliper, or at the very least replacing the dust boots (on the caliper pistons or on the slide pins). At the end of the day, everyone should know their limits as far as DIY mechanics go, if you aren't confident in what you are doing, the brakes are critical afterall, then replace the caliper rather than get an overhaul kit. Replacing the caliper and bleeding the brakes carries a lot less risk than taking the whole thing apart. Or of course trust it to the professionals.

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umm, agreed.

I would guess its far more common to see a torn dust boot for the pins that tears in the dust seal rubbers for the pistons - but maybe not. the first is easy to do, the second requires more skill and effort (and time/money)!

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I've found Ormi's thread on serving the calipers. I'm just wondering whether it's worth doing an overhaul on perfectly good working calipers, or whether it's just as well to wait until they have problems.

Wondering whether an inspection and re-greasing (and possible cleaning up of the pins and pistons if corroded) could help extend their life at minimal cost ? i.e. not replacing parts yet.

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Personally (and I have not stripped the calipers so it might not be the case), I would say, leave the pistons etc well alone if they are fine. You could try clamping them all the way in and pushing them out a few times, just so they get a good travel.

But you risk damaging the seals and rings etc if you took them out just to clean them. In which case you could then end up spending £70 odd on the rebuild kit for no real reason!

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ok, thanks, that's the sort of thing I was wondering about, risk of damaging stuff.

Do we know what the typical cause of a sticky caliper is ? Is it the slide pins, or the pistons ? Or can it just be either or do we really not know ?

Even though brake calipers shouldn't (to my knowledge) normally need "servicing", I'm still wondering whether it's something we should consider on our IS200s.

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I think its more likely to be sliding pins. I spoke to a mechanic friend of mine who used to work at Renault and Mercedes and he says they always stick.

What I suspect happened on mine is that the pins seized which in turn my have contributed to a sticking piston? If you push the piston out and grease it up then would help keep in in good nick. If any rust on there just wet n dry it off.

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Good idea to start this thread Steve. It's not just the IS200 that suffers from caliper related problems, the GS is a bugger too! It's about time we started getting some definitive answers for brake problems and fixes to check out. It's a collective LEXI' problem and probably one of the weakest areas on LEXI'

It would be doubly nice if we could get a thread that details symptoms, causes and fixes. Eventually, its only a matter of time, we should have a useful check and fix list that can be pinned.

I am about to replace the discs and one caliper (due to sticking piston) :-( on my GS this weekend (see GS300 threads)

Phil

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Common across the board as use similar sliding caliper designs! :(

What caliper did you buy, BTW?

I bought a refurbed one suited to the car. £134.00 from eBay, £34.00 returned to me if broken one sent back to them. I did have a quote to have both refurbed for around £150.00 but it meant the car off the road for 5 - 7 days.

P

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Ths GS300 Mark I and the IS200/300 use exactly the same calipers, so I presume have the same problems. I think that some Supras (possibly JDM only ?) also shared them.

Yes, the GS Mark II calipers look similar to the IS200 ones too. Though mine have 01H stamped in the top of them, I cannot quite make out what the IS200 ones on eBay say, it's not 01H though. What the hell does this mean anyway?

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I think its more likely to be sliding pins. I spoke to a mechanic friend of mine who used to work at Renault and Mercedes and he says they always stick.

What I suspect happened on mine is that the pins seized which in turn my have contributed to a sticking piston? If you push the piston out and grease it up then would help keep in in good nick. If any rust on there just wet n dry it off.

with the lexus's i've worked on(just serviced a members on here he had the seized piston) i've found it was the bottom piston that seizes up(happened to mine too) most of the time you can get away pushing it in and out and you'll free it up.

i put the guide on for those peeps that can't free off their caliper off by working it in and out and feel they could recon the caliper them selfs.

but if your not confident working on brakes i advise you dont do the recon!!!

I spoke to a mechanic friend of mine who used to work at Renault.............served my time with reno approx 8 years wasted!! the megane 225's suffered from sticking or seized pistons!!

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I still think its more likely for the pins to stick - but maybe you wont notice that as much as a sticking piston?

I would say the pins will get gunked up quicker and therefore require cleaning regularly - say once every 6 months or a year.

Will be taking mine back out tomorrow so will see how they have faired over the last 2 months since they were last out!

Got new parts this time - beware, the total is £50 odd for all the pins, bushing, boots etc so not that cheap!

One of my boots is split too which is not helpful!

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I would say the pins will get gunked up quicker and therefore require cleaning regularly - say once every 6 months or a year.

Will be taking mine back out tomorrow so will see how they have faired over the last 2 months since they were last out!

This was one of my main reasons for starting this thread, i.e. although you shouldn't really need to "service" your brakes (other than of course checking pad thickness etc), perhaps on our IS200s we should start doing so, but how often should we do that, and should we be checking the sliding pins, or pistons, or both ?

Checking them every 6 months sounds a bit OTT though, I hope they don't need checking that often ! Will be interesting to see how yours look after 2 months.

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I am not sure I agree with the statement that they shouldn't need any other servicing as sliding caliper arrangements are prone to seized pins and therefore should have them service anyway.

I would guess every year strip pins and clean them, then check the piston movement, if one looks slow, then free up. Any more than that and as you say, its overkill.

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I think my lexus also has a sticky piston, cause the alloy wheel on the right front side of the car has more brake-dust on it then the left wheel. I also hear a craking noise when the car almost stands still when braking, so that's why i believe it's the caliper. I want to overhaul my calipers, but must i also replace the brakes and discs of the car?? And is there a product on the market that whill clean your piston??

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My caliper was changed due to a piston that was stuck. My mechanic sad that old brake fluid contains a small amount of water if it's not changed for a long time. The water then makes the pistons to rust and stick from the inside. They also told me that it wasn't worth taking the caliper apart to prevent pistons from sticking, they sad that you risk damaging more then you will prevent...Or damaging the caliper and therefor end up buying a new one anyway...

As I understand it all that can be done is changing brake fluid and greasing the surfaces around the brake pad to prevent that from sticking.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Right, sorry for the delay in replying but I have been off work the last week to do my ensuite!

The other weekend I took apart the front brakes on my IS200 and my dads GS300 to replace the pins/boots etc.

All went well, surprised to see that none of the pistons on my dads car were stuck or that the pins were that stiff - all looked well greased still.

With mine, although I had knackered dust boots on my car, from the last time I freed it all (around 2 months ago), all was still looking well. The rubber bush on the bottom pin on the near side was completely gone so god knows where that went!

Anyway, both cars now have new pins etc on the fronts and all seems well.

One thing I also decided on looking at was the rears on mine - and thank go I did. I think the pistons are ok, but the pins/pads were rusty as hell. Had to take caliper off completely and hammer the pads out as the pads was corroded into the caliper housing.

Also means that the inner side mainly of the disk is rusty and pitted so I guess I will have to do them at some point.

So what I would also advise is that people strip and clean the rears as well as the fronts. The pin that keeps the pads in was mega rusty on mine. Also had to clean up and de-rust the caliper where the pads seat and also the pad backings themselves - mainly on the edges.

Little use and lack of maintenance probably caused this!

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Right, sorry for the delay in replying but I have been off work the last week to do my ensuite!

The other weekend I took apart the front brakes on my IS200 and my dads GS300 to replace the pins/boots etc.

All went well, surprised to see that none of the pistons on my dads car were stuck or that the pins were that stiff - all looked well greased still.

With mine, although I had knackered dust boots on my car, from the last time I freed it all (around 2 months ago), all was still looking well. The rubber bush on the bottom pin on the near side was completely gone so god knows where that went!

Anyway, both cars now have new pins etc on the fronts and all seems well.

One thing I also decided on looking at was the rears on mine - and thank go I did. I think the pistons are ok, but the pins/pads were rusty as hell. Had to take caliper off completely and hammer the pads out as the pads was corroded into the caliper housing.

Also means that the inner side mainly of the disk is rusty and pitted so I guess I will have to do them at some point.

So what I would also advise is that people strip and clean the rears as well as the fronts. The pin that keeps the pads in was mega rusty on mine. Also had to clean up and de-rust the caliper where the pads seat and also the pad backings themselves - mainly on the edges.

Little use and lack of maintenance probably caused this!

On my IS i also want to do a full brake/caliper overhaull. I have read a couple off threads about bleeding the brakesystem and spoke a couple off mechanics about it. The question of how to bleed a system with ABS is not answerd the same. Some people say you must activate the abs device with the diagnostic computer, others say you must bleed with the engine running and some say you do it the standard way with two people. Does anybody knows whats is the most proper way off doing it on an IS200, build in 2001?

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On my IS i also want to do a full brake/caliper overhaull. I have read a couple off threads about bleeding the brakesystem and spoke a couple off mechanics about it. The question of how to bleed a system with ABS is not answerd the same. Some people say you must activate the abs device with the diagnostic computer, others say you must bleed with the engine running and some say you do it the standard way with two people. Does anybody knows whats is the most proper way off doing it on an IS200, build in 2001?

The standard procedure is here. It doesn't say anything about activating the ABS or having the engine running.

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do one caliper at a time also clamp off the flexi once you have removed the pistons. once you have done the recon check the brake fluid level(top up if req) get the second person in the car open the nipple get them to pump the pedal approx 10 times on the last pump hold the pedal down then while its down tighten the nipple job done(check fluid level top up if req).car running or not doesnt matter i prefer to do it with out the engine running,you would only need to activate the abs pump if you got air in the system that high up ie replacing the master cylinder or replacing the abs pump.

hope that helps.

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