Rebuilt caliper = reseized caliper? Help!

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st louis, mo
Six weeks ago, my daughter-in-law's car (2010 Ford Fusion) was giving a lot of vibrations on the highway. I found that one of the front brakes was dragging badly - the affected wheel was getting very hot and the car would not roll naturally in a parking lot. I replaced the front brake pads and rotors and I put a rebuilt Raybestos caliper in to replace the one that was dragging. The car was fine after that.

Until today. It started doing the same thing again. Dragging brakes leading to a pulsing vibration on the highway. What is going on?

All I can figure is that either: the rebuilt caliper has failed and caused the problem to return OR there is another problem that is causing this caliper to drag. I can't think what that other problem would be, though.

Any ideas?
 
Six weeks ago, my daughter-in-law's car (2010 Ford Fusion) was giving a lot of vibrations on the highway. I found that one of the front brakes was dragging badly - the affected wheel was getting very hot and the car would not roll naturally in a parking lot. I replaced the front brake pads and rotors and I put a rebuilt Raybestos caliper in to replace the one that was dragging. The car was fine after that.

Until today. It started doing the same thing again. Dragging brakes leading to a pulsing vibration on the highway. What is going on?

All I can figure is that either: the rebuilt caliper has failed and caused the problem to return OR there is another problem that is causing this caliper to drag. I can't think what that other problem would be, though.

Any ideas?
Has the exact same issue on our former 2011 Fusion last year. I replaced both front calipers, only to end up finding that it indeed was a bad front brake line.

Also, like your case, even though the caliper wasn’t the issue, the problem did briefly go away after the caliper was replaced for some reason. Replace the brake lines on both sides, the other isn’t far behind. In fact, might just replace all 4. Shortly after I repaired the bad front line, one of the rear brakes had a similar problem. We ended up selling the vehicle, so I never bothered fixing it, but I imagine it was also a bad brake line.
 
The brake line.

What can happen is the crimps rust and crush the rubber part so that it can’t flow freely.

I had it happen on a 1999 Dodge Ram 1500. I installed new calipers but the lines were crusty. The caliper locked and removing it freed it up. New lines fixed it right back good as before.

Since it’s going on for one side, plan to do both to prevent another incident in a few weeks. 😀
 
Be careful working on this car, if you get air in the MC/ABS you'll need a darn good scan tool to bleed it. Not Forscan. Better.
 
The master break cylinder can supply enough pressure to get the fluid to flow past the restriction and into the caliper. But the caliper cannot provide enough back pressure to get the fluid to flow past the restriction and return it to the master when the brake is released and that results in the pistons of the caliper causing drag on the brake shoes.
 
The standard service recommendation is that replacement calipers need new brake hoses. Typically original 10+ year old calipers have corresponding 10+ year old brake hoses.

After 10+ years especially in the NE winter salt region, degradation is highly likely. My personal observation and experience.
 
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I think there could be different possibilities -

The ABS system:

My wife's bought new by us 2006 Mercedes POS had a brake problem that the dealer could never correct. The right front brake dragged at times. Just this one wheel. I finally gave up on the dealer and tried to fix it myself.

Eventually I pulled the ABS fuse and THE PROBLEM WAS GONE!!! I didn't even bother with a "proper fix" because this fixed it as far as we were concerned.

The first 25 years of our driving lives were in cars without ABS and we never ran into anything, We kept that POS Mercedes for 3 or 4 years with the ABS module disabled. That right front brake NEVER AGAIN dragged.

Pull the fuse before you replace hoses and all. Pulling the fuse takes 5 minutes. Do that first and see if that fixes it.

The vacuum assist booster:

My 1991 Taurus SHO (I loved this car!) had a tendency to overheat all four corners during spirited driving. The brakes on SHOs were too small so I upgraded to much larger Baer rotors and calipers. The problem persisted.

I finally realized the brake pedal was not releasing fully because the ATE vacuum booster was defective. I discovered this by putting my foot under the brake pedal and pulling it back to its actual "resting position". I was able to pull the pedal back 3/4s of an inch or so IIRC. R&R'ing the brake booster on an SHO is a monumental PITA so I simply put a secondary return spring on the brake pedal.

Net time when the brakes are shuddering on the highway, check to see whether or not the brake pedal has fully returned to its fully disengaged position.

Scott
 
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I think there could be different possibilities -

The ABS system:

My wife's bought new by us 2006 Mercedes POS had a brake problem that the dealer could never correct. The right front brake dragged at times. Just this one wheel. I finally gave up on the dealer and tried to fix it myself.

Eventually I pulled the ABS fuse and THE PROBLEM WAS GONE!!! I didn't even bother with a "proper fix" because this fixed it as far as we were concerned.

The first 25 years of our driving lives were in cars without ABS and we never ran into anything, We kept that POS Mercedes for 3 or 4 years with the ABS module disabled. That right front brake NEVER AGAIN dragged.

Pull the fuse before you replace hoses and all. Pulling the fuse takes 5 minutes. Do that first and see if that fixes it.

* I wasn't there* so I can't pretend to know exactly what was going on with your brakes on the Mercedes, but deactivating the ABS to solve a dragging brake seems very strange. If it worked, it worked, but one thing to keep in mind is that on some vehicles, the ABS fuse does more than just ABS, for example pulling it might also disable the speedometer or something else, and potentially set a check engine code light besides just the one for ABS, and either way if the light is coming on it may not pass a state inspection.
 
* I wasn't there* so I can't pretend to know exactly what was going on with your brakes on the Mercedes, but deactivating the ABS to solve a dragging brake seems very strange. If it worked, it worked, but one thing to keep in mind is that on some vehicles, the ABS fuse does more than just ABS, for example pulling it might also disable the speedometer or something else, and potentially set a check engine code light besides just the one for ABS, and either way if the light is coming on it may not pass a state inspection.
Good point, something I thought about. The fuse I pulled on the MB was for the ABS pump only. Yes, I got an ABS warning on the dash. But at least that right front wasn't dragging anymore! Had the car needed to be inspected I would have simply put the fuse back in.

You comment about this sounding far fetched, I actually remember the Car and Driver road test on this car (a 2006 C230 sport). They complained that the brakes seemed to release slowly and drag at times. It tells me MB had issues with the ABS system.

Another thing that POS did, it had a driveline rumble at cruising speeds at, say, 68 to 72mph. We bought this cr brand new. At the time the dealer I bought it from had a knowledgable service manager. After shimming the driveshaft a few times he finally confided in my that this model did this but most people didn't notice. He did make it clear that MB had no fix for the issue.

Between the dragging brakes and the drivetrain rumble I should have lemon lawed the car. I looked into it but there were a lot of hoops to jump through so I let it slide.

At about 75k miles we were returning from dinner at our friend's house. They live in the sticks and we left late. Halfway home, out in the middle of nowhere, it started running on 5 cylinders (it was a V6). But now the car had become a transportation appliance. No way are we walking! I made it home, about 5 or 6 miles from when it lost the cylinder.

The next day I pulled the plugs to gain a clue on what happened. One of the plugs had the electrode gap hammered closed. That cylinder (I forget which one) inhaled something. I took it to a local Euro car guy I trusted and he found a movable part of the multistage intake manifold had broken off and was inhaled by that one cylinder, hammering the plug gap closed. He put a new intake manifold on. I was DUMBFOUNDED with all the moving parts INSIDE that intake manifold. What a stupid, stupid, stupid, overly complex design!

The mechanic warned me that the MB cats were fragile and I may have damaged one by driving it 5 or 6 miles with that misfire. Well, sure enough. Just 3 or 4 days after getting the car back I needed a new catalytic converter for that engine bank. I always use OEM parts and all these MB OEM parts are expensive!

Fast forward to 100k miles. While pulling away from a traffic light I have virtually no power. I quickly find that the transmission was stuck in 7th gear. At least I was able to get home in it.

I took it back to the shop that did the intake manifold repair. He told me the "conductor body" had gone bad and this was a problem with MB's 7-speed autos. The conductor body (I think it's called that) is a complex electronic control module which sits above the valve body, so it bathed in oil. Weird design, to me at least, and another expensive repair.

The M272 engines were also known to have incorrectly heat treated balance shaft gears. The problem is they gears wear to the point it caused catastrophic valve train or timing chain failure (I forget which). There was a way to check wear on the gears. I did that and even after reaching 80k or 90k miles I didn't detect any wear. Lucky me, because the entire front end of the car needs to come off to make that repair. At the time that was a $6,000 or $7,000 repair.

Another rant. The MB POS had very limited front suspension travel. We have smooth roads in Cali but that car was ALWAYS smacking the bump stops.

Oh, here's another MB POS design "thing". Even on manual transmission cars, the accelerator had a kick down movement that you find on cars with automatics. Really MB?

In summary, I can imagine how you might question how the ABS could drag just one brake. Well, it did and pulling the fuse fixed it. Given the many engineering problems with this car I wasn't surprised at all.

Scott
 
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Hoses -- typically Sunsong-- can be stupid cheap, esp from RA or Amazon. IME Amazon orders are typically drop shipped directly from Sunsong.

Oftentimes the B&M stores are incredibly expensive (at the retail level), eg I've seen hoses be $60 that are $13 on RA. Sure, there's a little shipping but hoses are small and light .....unless you've got a Ram with the stupid hose crimped to a rear axle hardline making the package unnecessarily huge-- but I digress!!

Anyway, the point is that with a little planning adding hoses to the job adds very little expense. But if you're in the rust belt dealing with threaded fittings and even the clips at the frame can suck.
 
I used sunsong, but the fitting on the body end of the hose has a d-shaped boss with a notch in it that clips to a d-shaped hole in a bracket. Only the left sided hole didn't have the machining on the boss, so I had to make the flat side of the "D" on my bench grinder. And I cross threaded the brake line on the right side, but ended up getting it together eventually.

Stuff wasn't really rusty. This car has bubbling rust on the door sills, but is pretty clean everywhere else.
 
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