2004 Accord - left rear brake issue


Festivus
01-29-2011, 03:14 PM
Last Sunday after I parked I heard ticking coming from the left rear wheel and it was very hot. Drove a little more it was fine.

Heated up again on Tuesday driving home from work. So I took off the caliper, greased the pins, hasn't happened since. Today I decided to do a better job on both rear sides. Clean the hardware, etc.

Right rear caliper turned in easily. Could not get the left rear (the problem one) to turn in (clockwise). Big screwdriver did nothing. Open needle nose pliers barely budged it. Had a helluva time getting the caliper back on. Tested applying the brakes, parking brake, a few times and it works and seems to release fine.

I don't quite get it. I'm thinking of seeing what happens from here. I have some pad life left (maybe 6 to 9 months) so I didn't go ahead and replace everything (calipers, rotors, pads) yet. I dread doing calipers with having to disconnect the lines.

Anyone else seen this intermittent locking up?

BullShifter
01-29-2011, 04:12 PM
No, usually a bad caliper is a bad caliper. If you can't turn the piston in with those types of tools chances are you need a caliper. Almost every Honda rear caliper that rotates I can get in without the special tool.

Autotech3910
01-30-2011, 04:21 AM
More than likely the caliper is bad, however the rubber brake hose going to that caliper may have deteriorated from the inside. Sometimes these rubber brake hoses will "implode", when this happens the caliper piston will extend when you step on the brakes compressing the brake pads (stopping the vehicle)but it will not retract after the brake pedal has been released, causing the brakes on that side to still be engaged when you continue on your way. A seized caliper piston can have the same result.
Here is how to determine if you have bad caliper or not....

First off, when you compress the caliper pistons on screw type calipers you "should" use the correct caliper compressor tool. However most the time you can get by with useing long needle nose pliers.

Open the bleeder valve on the suspected caliper, then try and compress the caliper piston.(you may want to connect a hose to the bleeder valve and allow the brake fluid to drain in a container so you don't make a mess) If it moves freely with the bleeder valve open but not closed you do NOT have a bad caliper. And more than likely it's the rubber hose. If that's the case remove the rubber hose from the vehicle and try to blow through it, you SHOULD be able to blow a steady flow of air through it with a minimal amount of effort.
If you cannot blow threw the hose at all or it is VERY difficult to do, you will need to replace the hose.

But like I said earlier, more than likely it's the caliper, I always see more seized up calipers than i see brake hoses go bad.

You don't have to worry about bleeding the brakes, if you just open the bleeder valve when you try and turn the piston to determine if it's a caliper or not. But, if you have to remove the brake hose to test it you WILL have to bleed the brakes after you replace it.
Bleeding brakes is a fairly easy procedure if you have someone to assist you during the bleeding process.

Let me know what you find out

jeffcoslacker
01-30-2011, 07:38 AM
More than likely the caliper is bad, however the rubber brake hose going to that caliper may have deteriorated from the inside. Sometimes these rubber brake hoses will "implode", when this happens the caliper piston will extend when you step on the brakes compressing the brake pads (stopping the vehicle)but it will not retract after the brake pedal has been released, causing the brakes on that side to still be engaged when you continue on your way. A seized caliper piston can have the same result.
Here is how to determine if you have bad caliper or not....

First off, when you compress the caliper pistons on screw type calipers you "should" use the correct caliper compressor tool. However most the time you can get by with useing long needle nose pliers.

Open the bleeder valve on the suspected caliper, then try and compress the caliper piston.(you may want to connect a hose to the bleeder valve and allow the brake fluid to drain in a container so you don't make a mess) If it moves freely with the bleeder valve open but not closed you do NOT have a bad caliper. And more than likely it's the rubber hose. If that's the case remove the rubber hose from the vehicle and try to blow through it, you SHOULD be able to blow a steady flow of air through it with a minimal amount of effort.
If you cannot blow threw the hose at all or it is VERY difficult to do, you will need to replace the hose.

But like I said earlier, more than likely it's the caliper, I always see more seized up calipers than i see brake hoses go bad.

You don't have to worry about bleeding the brakes, if you just open the bleeder valve when you try and turn the piston to determine if it's a caliper or not. But, if you have to remove the brake hose to test it you WILL have to bleed the brakes after you replace it.
Bleeding brakes is a fairly easy procedure if you have someone to assist you during the bleeding process.

Let me know what you find out

You beat me to it, except my method is a little more telling if it's an intermittent problem....

Drive the car, kept the correct size wrench for the bleeder with you. When it starts doing it's thing, stop the car and open that bleeder. If it shoots a shot of fluid and you hear the caliper relax upon opening, the hose is resisting and is the problem. If just a dribble or nothing, it's a caliper issue.

Yeah, I realize it's hard to get at on the ground with a rear...works better with front wheels...just thought I'd throw it out there in case you wanted to try it.

Festivus
01-31-2011, 08:42 AM
The left rear caliper was shot. The rubber around the piston was torn and simply looked bad. So I figured this was the issue.

So I attempted to change pads, rotors and calipers yesterday. Started with right rear and couldn't get the phillips head screws out. I knew they would be horrible so I tried an impact driver right from the start. Broke the tip of the driver head. The tip is now stuck in one of the screws. Tried another head a few times on the other screw, inspected it after a few whacks and saw that the four rails were bending on the head. And yes, in the proper direction. Who engineered this?:headshake

So I had to leave the old rotors on. Didn't have time to put it back together and run out for replacement screws if I drilled out the ones.

Got the calipers and pads changed without much issue. The bolt holding the emergency brake cable to the caliper was awful to get loosed. I guess that 110k miles will do that.

But now my brakes are a bit spongy. Not too bad, just a little. I used the clear hose on the bleeder valve method with about 6 oz to start in a jar at the other end and had the wife pump the pedal. I bled through about a quart of fluid. Probably a pint on each side.

Second time I've done calipers on a car and this seems to happen to me every time. The first time it fixed itself, somehow.:smile: Might mess with again next weekend if it doesn't fix itself. I hate removing brake lines...

BullShifter
01-31-2011, 09:38 PM
The left rear caliper was shot. The rubber around the piston was torn and simply looked bad. So I figured this was the issue.

So I attempted to change pads, rotors and calipers yesterday. Started with right rear and couldn't get the phillips head screws out. I knew they would be horrible so I tried an impact driver right from the start. Broke the tip of the driver head. The tip is now stuck in one of the screws. Tried another head a few times on the other screw, inspected it after a few whacks and saw that the four rails were bending on the head. And yes, in the proper direction. Who engineered this?:headshake

So I had to leave the old rotors on. Didn't have time to put it back together and run out for replacement screws if I drilled out the ones.

Got the calipers and pads changed without much issue. The bolt holding the emergency brake cable to the caliper was awful to get loosed. I guess that 110k miles will do that.

But now my brakes are a bit spongy. Not too bad, just a little. I used the clear hose on the bleeder valve method with about 6 oz to start in a jar at the other end and had the wife pump the pedal. I bled through about a quart of fluid. Probably a pint on each side.

Second time I've done calipers on a car and this seems to happen to me every time. The first time it fixed itself, somehow.:smile: Might mess with again next weekend if it doesn't fix itself. I hate removing brake lines...

The screws are only there to hold the rotor on when the car is being made. There is no need to replace them if you have to drill them out, unless you feel you need to. As far as the impact driver goes we break lots of bits for them getting Honda brake screws out. If it doesn't come our right away I use a 2 hammer method then try the impact driver again. I use a small ball peen hammer with the rounded end on the screw then I take a bigger hammer to hit the smaller one a few time, 2-3 good hits. It shocks the screw and 90% of the time the impact driver gets them out with this method. If this doesn't work then a hammer/chisel is tried next. If that doesn't work an air hammer w/ chisel tip is used to break the screws loose.

If the left rear caliper was taken off, then only that one needs bleeding. Is the bleeder pointing up? If it's down then you got the wrong side, it happens. Sounds like you have air. If you bled all 4 wheels, you need to re do it.

Autotech3910
01-31-2011, 10:26 PM
It does sounds like there is still air in the system. How exactly did you bleed the brakes? Did you have your wife pump up the brake pedel and hold it hard to the floor while you released the bleeder screw? Then tighten the screw before she released the pedel?

Festivus
02-01-2011, 07:01 AM
Update: I read yesterday about the 2 rotor screws. They're like the human appendix. What a hassle. After ruining 3 impact bits and 5 or 6 drill bits I got all 4 out by drilling them and replaced the rotors last night.

Yes, the bleeder valves are pointing up. I made sure to look at the position of the old ones before installing the new ones. Pads are on correctly too. Inner pad with indicator down.

Bled the 2 back calipers, right rear first using a 3/8 inch clear tube immersed in a jar of brake fluid. Had the wife pump the pedal at least 10 times each side until I saw no bubbles. Then closed the valve. Was careful to not let the MC reservoir get low.

I'm thinking that I may have to do all 4 wheels in the recommended order. I just hate jacking up and removing every wheel, again. Just too hard to see anything without doing that. I'm due for a timing belt, water pump, other belts, and transmission maintenance so I'll probably just have the shop bleed all 4 wheels while it's there.

For now, the brakes work fine, just a touch soft. I tested them this morning on ice. ABS works fine (activated it a dozen times) and the pedal is far from going to the floor.

BullShifter
02-01-2011, 06:42 PM
You should have some one push the pedal down then open the bleeder, let fluid out, close bleeder, then have the person let the pedal up, and repeat.

Festivus
02-03-2011, 07:55 AM
Yeah, I tried that method, without the hose, on the alero. Still ended up with a mushy pedal that eventually went away.

I've read on another forum that air bubbles can get trapped in the caliper and that no amount of normal bleeding can get them out. Instead, the caliper must be removed, rotated, and smacked repeatedly to release the bubbles while bleeding. Kinda hard to do that while brake fluid is shooting out the bleeder valve. And even if you have a hose attached to the valve the hose twist and moves too.

Like I said, for now the brakes are fine. Pedal travels further than before but not much more. I think I'm done screwing with it. I'll let a shop deal with it later.

Update: Brake pedal is now more firm. Alero brake pedal is really firm now. Weird.

Add your comment to this topic!