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Old 08-07-2007, 12:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi,

My first time posting on TCCA. Great idea. Hoping to find the answer. My problem is that when I drive, my car constantly pulls to the right. This happens when I don't brake and increases in severity when i brake. It will happen at all speeds. To add, the steering wheel shimmies left to right when I brake, and gets drastic at 120km/h to such a degree i can hear a shudder. I recently replaced front rotors, pads, a slider pin, both rear drums and shoes. My friends mentioned the outer tie rod ends so I replaced them.. seems to cut down a bit on the shimmy but the right drag is still there and the shimmy is still apparent. I am convinced I have a frozen piston in my drivers side caliper. when I remove the wheels I can manually slide the caliper on the passenger side to some degree that i am sure the pads are not gripping. the drivers side is impossible to move. I need to push the piston (with great force) in with a c clamp. then and only then can i manualy slide the caliper. Right drag would make sense with a drivers side brake problem. Can I get some advice on this? How can I test a frozen piston. i have heard of bleeding and checkin for piston movement. Any other ideas?

Tanks!!
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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As for pulling to the right, when you replaced the tie rod(s) on the car, did you have it lined up afterwards?

As for the possible sticking caliper piston, try this. Jack the wheel off the ground. Spin the wheel by hand to check how freely it turns. Then have someone press the brake pedal hold it for a second or two, then release it. Right after they release it, try turning the wheel. If it frees up right away, then it should be fine. If it's dragging or stuck, try this. Open the bleeder screw, then shut it. If the wheel frees up from opening the bleeder screw, then you more then likely have a collapsed brake line. If it makes no difference then you have either sticking sliders or a sticking piston.
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Old 08-07-2007, 04:59 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Seems like you have the exact same problem I had. The right rotor was swelled up from rusting so much that it was always dragging and shaking. When I got on the brakes, it got worse.
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Old 08-07-2007, 10:44 PM   #4 (permalink)
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no alignment done. The pull was there before I did the Tie rods. i will have it done after I troubleshoot the brake. Thanks for the troubleshooting tips. How does a brake line collapse?

Previous in the life of the car I had driven with a seized parking brake (warning light was dead). The brakes were smoking, and the pedal bottomed out at one point. I bled the lines after and the first 200mL of fluid looked like coke. I pushed enough fluid to refill the lines. I am wondering if that gunk has stuck up my calipers......


later

I have no rust but the olf left rotor had pitting and heat damage......another sign I thinks



later
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Old 08-08-2007, 04:40 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Well I'd suggest get it lined up soon, anytime you replace tierods you need an alignment. Not to mention that the car may have needed one prior to replacing the tie rods. Also the longer you leave it go without an alignment, to more your ruining your tires.

As far as the brake line collapsing, it will collapse in the rubber hose behind the wheel. As brakes lines get old this happens. When the internal piece collapses, it acts basically as a check valve. The fluids is forced through, but has a hard time returning back to the reservoir. So what happens is that brake piston stays pushed out.
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Old 08-09-2007, 10:35 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Thanks for the advice. i will definately get an alignment. Still need to troubleshoot the brakes. I am guessing that any trauma to the brake system will cause a chain of damage including warped rotors (if the piston is sticking). to what age do brake lines last?

Cheers

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Old 08-10-2007, 04:19 AM   #7 (permalink)
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If you're getting a pulsing in the brakes and can feel it in the brake pedal, then you'll need to replace the rotors or drums. If you're getting a shimmy in the steering wheel when the brakes are applied, then it's the front rotors that are warped. If you're getting a pulsing in the brakes and no shimmy in the wheel, then it's more then likely the rear. But to be sure, at highway speeds apply the parking brake for a second or two. If the rear brakes are warped, you will feel the car pulsing. I should mention that this will not work on cars with the disc and drum combination on the rear because the the disc brakes will stop the car normally, but the parking brake uses a small drum built into the rotor.

Brakes can last anywhere from 6 months to several years. It really all depends on quality and how hard you are on them. (ie: riding one foot on the brakes while driving) My front pads and rotors have been on my car for a little over a year now, and the pads have 3/4 pad material left. I just replace the rear onces after two years, because the rear rotors warped. And I wanted ceramics pads on the rear also. The pads on the rear looked quite new still, very little wear.
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Old 08-13-2007, 05:14 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Hi,

I replaced the calipers on front end. got a good deal on rebuild from NAPA. Brakes seem stronger and the pull has diminished significantly. The shimmy is still there. I still have to have the front end alignment done. If it doesn't go away i will blame it on my tires. Plugs in two of them. otherwise the braking is stiffer and easier to apply by foot. i think I have more than one issue. get back to ya'll when I the alignment done

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Old 08-13-2007, 11:40 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Alignment will fix your pull. When you break, weight shifts to the front compressing the front struts making the bad alignment worse.

The dragging caliper will cause the rotor to overheat, causing it to warp giving you a shimmy in the wheel. I had a slight shimmy in mine when my brakes were starting to get bad and it was fine after pads and rotors were changed.

If you jack up the side and cannot spin the wheel the brake is locked up. There should be slight movement from the standard slop in the cv joints and the tranny parking gear locks enough to move spin it a few degrees.

I pretty sure my brake lines are original at 138K miles.
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Old 08-14-2007, 07:58 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Also, when you get the alignment, have them balance the tires. An out of balance wheel can cause a shimmy in the steering.
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