Brake caliper question (Rear Disc Brake)

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  #1  
Old 06-28-06, 06:28 AM
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Brake caliper question (Rear Disc Brake)

97 Chevy Lumina 3.1L V6 124K miles

Symptoms
Emergency brake pedal goes down all the way. It started yesterday.

What I have done so far
Removed wheels and applied emergency brake.
On Left Rear, cable is pulled all the way but the wheel is still loose. With the emergency brake released, I can pivot the cable linkage (of the caliper) all the way with hand and the wheel still spins. On Right Rear, cable pulls slightly and the wheel gets locked. Talked to AutoZone. They suspected caliper.

Question
Can I drive the car as is? Even though the emergency brake portion doesn't work, will the hydraulic brake portion still work? Or is it too great a risk to take?

Thanks.
 
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  #2  
Old 06-28-06, 06:41 AM
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The hydraulic portion of your brake system is independent of the parking brake system which is cable actuated. It should be no problem to continue to drive your vehicle. There is an adjuster on your parking brake cable to allow you to take the slack out and an equalizer to allow you to have equal pull on the right and left. You might try taking a look at the equalizer and seeing if you can adjust the left side up a little bit.
 
  #3  
Old 06-28-06, 06:41 AM
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I would suspect you have a broken parking brake cable also because it started all at once and not gradually. If you can move the cable around on the one caliper when the pedal is down. If the caliper was bad the cable would be tight pulling on the caliper and it wouldn't be engaging the brake pad.

After reading that 8 more times to get all the looses and tights straight, adjustment as described above would be first. But be careful you don't over adjust it and then put the pedal down becuase you will break the cable. If the lever on the caliper doesn't move then you need a caliper.
 
  #4  
Old 06-28-06, 06:48 AM
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After reading it 3 more times caliper is starting to look like your culprit, does the lever move as much on the other good caliper as the suspected bad one.

Read it 4 more times, when you say pivot linkage you mean the lever that the cable connects to caliper because now your starting to describe a bad caliper.
 
  #5  
Old 06-28-06, 06:52 AM
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Thanks for the replies.
1) Broken parking brake cable: The cable is okay. When emergency brake is applied (pushed in), the cable linkage on the caliper pivots. It just pivots all the way and the wheel is still loose.
2) Parking brake adjuster: There is only one adjuster I see, not separate for right and left. The Right Rear is no problem. If I tighten the adjuster, Right Rear will be dragging excessively during normal operation. This is disk brake.
 
  #6  
Old 06-28-06, 06:58 AM
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I knew that car had only one bolt for the adjuster add you would not be able to correctly adjust it, because thats uaully the case when it happens right away. So if you say the cable is not broken then you need a caliper.
 
  #7  
Old 06-28-06, 07:22 AM
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Can I drive the car with the caliper? I was wondering if I could delay repair till this weekend or the next. If the mechanical braking side (including the pivoting part that is connected to emergency brake) is totally separate from the hydraulic side (even though both are in the same caliper housing), can I drive the car around for a couple of weeks? Or is it too great a risk to take?
Thanks.
 
  #8  
Old 06-28-06, 07:26 AM
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If the caliper is not leaking fluid and if it were my car I would drive it, The rear brakes only do about 20-30% of the braking any ways. If one caliper back there is not pulling its share, I wouldn't be to concerned (to hold it off a few more days or weeks) as long as it is not leaking, rear calipers not working is very common to see in shops.

Plus your front hydraulic system is separated from the rear. So even if the rear goes you still have the front more important brakes. I had a buddy whose rear brake line broke and he drove around with it like that for a few days because thats how long it was till he had time to fix.
 
  #9  
Old 06-28-06, 07:37 AM
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The hydraulics are not leaking at all. Thanks.
 
  #10  
Old 06-28-06, 07:41 AM
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it is not an emergency brake

It is a parking brake. For grins, try to stopping with one. It is designed to keep a stopped car from rolling (not diving). Everyone knows someone that has gone for an extended drive with a parking brake fully engaged.

Your car only came as an automatic. Leave it in park and forget it.
 
  #11  
Old 06-28-06, 08:06 AM
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By him stating that the parking brake is not working on the caliper, would also lead me to suspect that caliper may be frozen and not working as it stands, and with a vehicle with that many miles I wouldn't doubt the caliper is frozen to.

You should always use the parking brake when parking on really steep inclines.
 
  #12  
Old 06-28-06, 09:04 PM
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The caliper was replaced last September. I took a few hours off this afternoon and replaced it (warranty replacement). The parking brake is working okay now. Thanks for your helpful suggestions.
 
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