Frozen caliper or blocked brake line?


Old 07-07-05, 06:20 AM
Brian H.
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Frozen caliper or blocked brake line?

I have a basic brake question. One of my front calipers is frozen on my '76 Cadillac. I have two scenarios to run by you:

1. With the bleeder open on the caliper and the master cylinder cover closed, I can drive the piston back into the caliper with relative ease using a large C-clamp.

2. With the bleeder closed and the master cylinder cover open, I have a very very hard time getting the piston to return using the large C-clamp.

I was under the impression (maybe falsely) that with the bleeder closed and master cylinder cover open, I should still be able to drive the piston back into the caliper thus pushing the brake fluid back through the lines and up into the master cylinder. I realize that with the bleeder closed and master cylinder lid open there is going to be some pressure because of the the extra lines and distance I need to push the fluid, but I'm feeling like I cannot get the fluid to flow backwards to the master cylinder at all. Is the difficulty I am experiencing in this second condition more a sign of a blocked brake line rather than a frozen caliper, or is it usually really difficult to push the brake fluid back up to the master cylinder in this manner?

Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 07-07-05, 06:30 AM
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Indiana
Posts: 312
Caliper is fine. Although the problem could be further up the line, first thing to check and most likely culprit is the flex hose. You'll need to get the line loose from the top end of the hose to check.

Last edited by pmgheritage; 07-07-05 at 07:40 AM.
Old 07-07-05, 07:03 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA
Posts: 44,042
I agree with pmgheritage. I replaced a caliper on my work van because it pulled to one side. It didn't fix the problem and I had to replace the brake hose.[cheaper and fixed the problem]. A few years later the other side acted like a bad caliper but this time I replaced the hose and it has been fine since.

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