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ANYBODY who has a question about why rear caliper pistons are stuck or abnormal wear need to read this. If you are too lazy to do what I do or don't care then you will continue to experience caliper/brake component issues. Any shop will not go into detail like this because brake issues are GOOD money for them.

I am posting this to clear some misconceptions and wrong-doings I have seen people do over the years, when performing a brake job / rotors / pads install. I learned this myself over the past 8 years, after numerous brake instructional videos and self-done brake jobs right and wrong. I have found this to be the most reliable way to service brakes and have them last a long while no matter how hard you drive. It may or may not apply to you or you might just think I'm flat out wrong. This is what has worked for me. I don't experience abnormal pad, abnormal rotor wear or pulsation, nor do I ever have a stuck caliper piston EVER, since I learned the proper way of doing this. My rotors don't WARP, in fact they don't ever warp. And I don't resurface rotors, ever, there is no point taking away heat dissipating material. They are cheap enough these days to buy new. I use only Centric high carbon rotors and semi-aggressive Hawk pads. All tools are lifetime use. The only thing I ever buy are the new pads, and new rotors. This is why I recommend people doing brake job themselves, the right way with 1 time tool investment.

- First the tools, I do have some unusual items:
* I use dental floss to lubricate between the piston boot and the piston before I turn the piston back in so the boot does not get twisted. It is plastic, soft and safe, does not cause boot damage.
* I use fluid film to coat the hub's surface before the mount the new rotors to prevent rust from building

- then the tips during the process: ( I won't go into details of removing bolts)
* I remove the two 12mm bolts that affix the brake line to the knuckle and e-brake cable to allow flex room for the caliper.
* I lubricate between the boot and the piston using CRC brake grease and a dental floss.
* I place a light coat of CRC brake grease on the caliper piston boot, this prevents rust build-up flakes/crap/environment junk from directly sticking on the boot. Junk is sticking on the film of grease instead. Do not use a ton of grease here, because you'll get a lot of dirt stuck to the boot.
* I turn the piston back in, with the brake fluid reservoir's cap open, using a piston rewind tool, instead of a cube tool or screwdriver. I highly recommend this, as it prevents slippage like using a screwdriver or the cube tool. You can get a set for just $20 on Amazon. You can open the bleeder screw so old fluid does not push backwards, however, this depends on the bleeder screws' condition.
* I grind off rust build-up on the caliper bracket's slots and lube there, using a flat file and CRC brake grease. You can see clearly the rust that came off, on the newspaper. This is a CRITICAL step. Getting rust off that surface allows the clearance for the pad back to the original spec. This prevents the pads from getting pinched in the caliper bracket.
* I do not lube the brake hardware
* I always use the screws that affix the rotor to the hub. I do use a ton of anti-seize, they always come off easily. I do not like my rotors flopping around before the caliper is mounted back on. This potentially causes misalignment.
* I clean off the new rotors' surface using CRC brake clean, because there is a film of oil from the factory to prevent rust.
* I grind off rust layer on the hub's surface using a dremel with brush then spray a layer of fluid film on it to prevent rust build-up. If you are lazy and do not clean the layer of rust off the hub's surface, the rotors then do not sit flat on the hub's surface. This is the most common reason for new rotors wobbling.
* I pull out and clean off the caliper slider pins and lube with only 3M silicone paste.
* I place a circle film of Hawk gearhead grease where the inside pad contacts the caliper piston. I do not smear it all over, smearing too much here only attracts dirt.
* I smear the same Hawk gearhead grease on the inside surface of the caliper's 2 forks, instead of on the outside pad's surface. This prevents over-smear as oppose to if you do this on the outside pad's surface
* I use CRC 3-36 multipurpose lubricant and lubricate the e-brake's mechanism and spring
* I roughly clean up the caliper's surface and use flat black BBQ paint and paint over the rusty areas using a small brush. This paint costs only $8 a can at Home Depot and greatly reduces the amount of rust build-up on caliper. I touch up during each service

** I do the above every 6 months, before and after winter.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Last few. And a picture of 100k mile / 3 year, rear Centric rotor with little to no rust near the center. The lines you see on the rotor is from the aggressive Hawk HPS pads, there is zero wobbling / mystified warping.
 

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Jimi, I hear you. Will make this a sticky once people notice and read more about it.

Rather aggravated with people + shops doing all the wrong brake jobs. So here is the instruction once and for all to fix all rear brake issues.
 

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:thmsup:

As with most projects, success is always in the prep. My process is almost to the T.

What I'm still not happy with on my car is the front/rear bias. I think the fronts are working too hard. Rear calipers work, jacked up the rear and tested with the e brake, but I can tell they are not as strong as new when braking. I can't even get the rears lose to locking up with the e brake. Time to replace I think.

And yes, this should be a sticky.
 

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A proper brake job, and the amazing this is, it's not hard at all!

On average, pads wear out around 40K miles, at least for me in the mountainous region. However, one does not need to wait for brake service until the pads wear. Like you said, before and after winter, or at least once a year. Clean and lube everything. There's much dust going on in there.
 

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I want to add to this most excellent write-up: Brake Hardware- make sure it is stainless steel and not "pot metal" which will rust/fail in less than a year. I made that mistake.

I should have taken a wire brush to my existing OEM stainless steel brake hardware, but opted for "new" instead. In less than a year, this new hardware rusted so badly that the brake pads seized and I needed new rotors and pads. If you are buying "new", take a magnet to the brake hardware. Lowest-bidder rust-prone "pot-metal" will be attracted to the magnet. The stainless steel brake hardware will not be attracted to the magnet.

I followed member/moderator @t-rd excellent advice, and filed down the rust on the calipers where the brake hardware sits (see his picture). I had perhaps 5x the amount of rust flakes than he did in his pictures. Another lesson learned.

Interesting about the dental floss pick for adding brake lubricant- will try that next Spring. Thank you!
 

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LISTEN HERE BUD. I appreciate it being meticulous and all, but I am just slappin them puppys on, smacking some paste and calling it a day. If they don't sieze when turning then that's all the attention those (bleeeep) are gettin!

Also, you should probably work for a company that uses carbon brake systems. Very picky with the special tools and making sure the wheel never touches the carbon
 

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Discussion Starter #9
It's up to you whether you'd like to follow my instructions or not, that's what I stated above. You can have a car last a long time, or you can dump it and always buy new. This is what distinguishes a bad brake job from a sloppy shop or DIY-er to a trouble free braking system. I have seen countless threads here about someone who had just changed brake pads or rotors and there is grinding noise or shuddering, a few others complained about stuck rear pistons. But if you follow my instructions, then your brake system will be trouble free. I just did a brake job for a friend's Toyota Sienna and he criticized in front of me how "troublesome" I was while changing pads and rotors. Then he called me back the very next day telling me how great his brakes feel now when pressing on the pedal.

It's your car, you can do whatever you want. The instructions are here, free for you to take.
 

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Very informative. When you say you don't lube the brake hardware are you talking about the clips that snap into the areas that you filed? Eric the Car Guy says to use anti seize there while South Main Auto leaves it alone because it is stainless steel and should not rust. I've even seen videos where the rubber on the lower pin is replaced (not the slide pin boot). Here, my dealer charges 150 per axle for caliper service. I've had brake jobs done at the dealer when they said that I did not need new rotors even though I begged for new ones but never had a problem. Then I heard on a radio talk show that a new pad should always have a new rotor surface because there are microscopic grooves there that will cause the pad to heat up. How much for 4 rotors and 8 pads approximately? I'm on the cusp of doing the rear brakes on an 09 CRV. I just paid 900 in June 16 and the rears aren't wearing evenly. The "hat" design I find a little intimidating for the first try.

Side question: thoughts on gravity bleed?
 

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That's exactly the area he is referring to. I've lubed the caliper clips up until the last replacement. Not true, I used the tiniest amount last service. Too much just attracts dirt.

With rotors so cheap these days it is silly to resurface. Going to a dealer you will feel the added rotor cost but as a DIY this added less than $200 to the job. If you are not replacing the rotors prematurely you should have these on for 50k miles +.

Depending on the brand of rotors and pads (I've tried a lot) I'm back to OEM pads with the cyro treated Centric rotors like shown in this post. Everyone has their pad preference, but I've tried Brembo - good even feel but dust too much, EBC green - similar to Brembo, Akebono performace, and lastly Actbono ProAct. Sorry for the sidebar... DIY for 4 rotors and pads should be less than $350.

I don't gravity bleed. I purchase a power bleeder from these guys so I can do it solo.

https://www.motiveproducts.com/collections/import-power-bleeder-kits



Very informative. When you say you don't lube the brake hardware are you talking about the clips that snap into the areas that you filed? Eric the Car Guy says to use anti seize there while South Main Auto leaves it alone because it is stainless steel and should not rust. I've even seen videos where the rubber on the lower pin is replaced (not the slide pin boot). Here, my dealer charges 150 per axle for caliper service. I've had brake jobs done at the dealer when they said that I did not need new rotors even though I begged for new ones but never had a problem. Then I heard on a radio talk show that a new pad should always have a new rotor surface because there are microscopic grooves there that will cause the pad to heat up. How much for 4 rotors and 8 pads approximately? I'm on the cusp of doing the rear brakes on an 09 CRV. I just paid 900 in June 16 and the rears aren't wearing evenly. The "hat" design I find a little intimidating for the first try.

Side question: thoughts on gravity bleed?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Very informative. When you say you don't lube the brake hardware are you talking about the clips that snap into the areas that you filed? Eric the Car Guy says to use anti seize there while South Main Auto leaves it alone because it is stainless steel and should not rust. I've even seen videos where the rubber on the lower pin is replaced (not the slide pin boot). Here, my dealer charges 150 per axle for caliper service. I've had brake jobs done at the dealer when they said that I did not need new rotors even though I begged for new ones but never had a problem. Then I heard on a radio talk show that a new pad should always have a new rotor surface because there are microscopic grooves there that will cause the pad to heat up. How much for 4 rotors and 8 pads approximately? I'm on the cusp of doing the rear brakes on an 09 CRV. I just paid 900 in June 16 and the rears aren't wearing evenly. The "hat" design I find a little intimidating for the first try.

Side question: thoughts on gravity bleed?
You don't listen to Eric the Car Guy, because I did and put anti-seize there. However, when you put anti-seize on the "ears" of the pads resting on the brake hardware, they burn to a crisp when the brakes get hot and anti-seize stain/stay on top the clips. I know this because I followed his practice and did this years ago, then realized it was the wrong thing to do. I follow what SMA Eric O says, and his philosophy is correct.

You can replace the rubber boots if you see deterioration. I have replace the front caliper bracket boots, the rears have been fine.

Your dealer isn't having you buy new rotors to pair with new pads because they resurface your existing rotors. Resurfacing rotors make them more money than them selling you rotors making $20 a piece.

You get get 4 quality brand new rotors and 2 sets of pads (front and rear come in pairs) for under $200, but this depends on the type of rotors and pads you choose of course.

Everyone should go over this video, and see why I follow my practice regarding brake hardware:

 

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Discussion Starter #13
Eric O from south main auto just posted a rear brake job on a Honda Ridgeline. Fast forward to 8 minutes in and start watching from there, you'll see how he cleans the caliper bracket's slots and lube there, he does not lube the brake hardware. And he mentioned NOT grinding the ears of the pads off, as I never have to either.

Minute 13, he cleans the hub's surface to make sure the new rotor is not sitting on a layer of rust.

 

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This is the most informative brake job thread I've ever read. I'll be doing mine soon and really appreciate the information shared here. This should be made into a sticky.
 

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I use Permatex Ceramic Extreme grease for everything but the slide pins where I use Sil-glide silicone. Permatex is way better than CRC Brake Grease and won't cook to a crisp at high temperatures.

I don't clean the hub beyond wiping with a dry cloth, because any sort of abrasive is more likely to create a wavy surface so I view a consistent layer of rust as fine. In AZ we don't really get more than surface rust anyways.

I don't lubricate where the piston contacts the pad. Maybe not a bad idea but I've never done it. Probably not too important since the shims on the pad are graphite coated anyways.

I do lubricate the pad ears, as well as the metal clip itself on both sides (the side that touches the caliper and the side that touches the pad ear). When the pads want to pop out after installing the retaining springs on them, that tells me that everything is nice and happily lubricated between them and the hardware.
 

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I never have to change my rotors unless they are warped. Even when I resuscitated my seized CRV rear brakes with dull grooves on the rotor, they shined back up several weeks after servicing the brakes...and that was 7 years ago and still using the OEM ones. Never tried the Permatex but only used the Honda Molykote spread lightly as per factory service manual. Definitely a lot of dust and rust caking up on the hardware. Still hesitant in not using any lube though.
 

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Lubing the ears, in the snow belt, just causes problems and more rust to build up. I used to do this, and the lube would attract salt and dirt to accumulate, to the point that the protective layer of the pad started rusting and flaking off. So I don't recommend this.
 

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Lubing the ears, in the snow belt, just causes problems and more rust to build up. I used to do this, and the lube would attract salt and dirt to accumulate, to the point that the protective layer of the pad started rusting and flaking off. So I don't recommend this.
Makes sense, I will give it a try. But the ears will rust anyway, hopefully less dust/dirt accumulation. So far my brakes have been well with my servicing in spite of snowy winters. My CRV trouble was due to my neglect. I will still use wire brush for the stainless steel clips, and emery cloth on the caliper body and pad ears. With. regards to the cyclinder boots, I am not sure if the CRC grease is good for the boots. I use the silicone paste sometimes.
 

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Your assessment of Honda brake calipers and their need for proper (should I say excessive?) lubrication agrees with my 7th gen having had 3 rear caliper replacements in 140,000 miles. In my younger days, when I couldn't afford a proper brake job, and I didn't have YouTube to teach me how to do it the right way, I used to just take the pads out and replace them. My Saab, in particular, never had a caliper issue even so. I guess they don't make them like they use to.
 

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I agree with everything in the original post, as that's pretty much how I do my brake jobs. I really like the advice about using a file to clean the caliper bracket. I've always used a wire brush for that, but sometimes there is quite a stubborn build-up of rust. I'll use a file for that now. Lubricating between the piston and boot is another tip I'll be sure to incorporate as well.

And not lubricating the brake hardware is something to me. I'll have to watch the posted video later. I do agree with the fact it can attract dust.

I was just doing rear pads and rotors on my mom's Altima, and it took about an hour per side. I thought to myself, there's NO WAY a garage would spend that much time on a brake job to do it right. They would slap in the new parts, and if things seize up a few months later, that's just more work (business/money) for them.

And I also agree with the post directly above. My Accord had both rear calipers replaced by the previous owner because they seized up. I'll be sure to give them a good servicing ASAP.
 
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