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Old 05-25-2022, 01:03 PM   #1
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Anyone rebuilt their own calipers?????

I have a 2001 E 450 Itasca
I have decided to do the brakes myself since I can't get anyone to work on it and the one quote I did get was $3000.

I have ordered new rotors, pads, and bearings from Amazon.

Now I'm wondering about the calipers. I saw a youtube video on rebuilding them myself and it looks pretty easy: remove dust boot, remove old seal, replace with new seal, replace with new dust boot. As long as the piston isn't pitted it looks like a pretty easy job.
So
I think I am going to try to rebuild them myself.
My plan is to rebuild the calipers, put back on rig with old pads, and drive it around to make sure they work ok. If so, move on to the rotor.
So my question is,,,, has anyone rebuilt their own calipers.
The kit only costs $10. Seems to me I don't have much to lose.
As long as the new seals don't leak when installed, not much else can go wrong.
Any advice?
thanks
Kip
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Old 05-25-2022, 01:38 PM   #2
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If your mechanical skills are confident in lifting an RV, then replacing the bearings, rotors and pads. Then rebuilding the calipers is just slightly more in skill than replacing them.

Have rebuilt many a caliper in my 48 years as a mechanic. If you have access to some shop air, and a rubber tipped blow gun, you are golden. Honestly, it takes longer to clean the piston, piston bore, and caliper body, then it does to assemble.

When working on dual piston calipers, I cut up a couple blocks of wood so that I can loosen (but not completely) remove each piston. The first block I'll make a 1/2" smaller than the pistons completely inserted piston. The second block of wood I make an 1" to 1-1/2" thinner. That way I can blow (with compressed air) the first piston out pretty far, while the other stay put. Then I remove the first block, slide in another thin block, and blow that piston completely out of the bore. The wood just acts as a cushion to keep from nicking the piston itself. Then I can usually wiggle the second piston out.

The other good thing is you can walk the calipers over to your bench and do everything there verses, working inside the wheel well of a RV.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kwftlaud View Post
I have a 2001 E 450 Itasca
I have decided to do the brakes myself since I can't get anyone to work on it and the one quote I did get was $3000.

I have ordered new rotors, pads, and bearings from Amazon.

Now I'm wondering about the calipers. I saw a youtube video on rebuilding them myself and it looks pretty easy: remove dust boot, remove old seal, replace with new seal, replace with new dust boot. As long as the piston isn't pitted it looks like a pretty easy job.
So
I think I am going to try to rebuild them myself.
My plan is to rebuild the calipers, put back on rig with old pads, and drive it around to make sure they work ok. If so, move on to the rotor.
So my question is,,,, has anyone rebuilt their own calipers.
The kit only costs $10. Seems to me I don't have much to lose.
As long as the new seals don't leak when installed, not much else can go wrong.
Any advice?
thanks
Kip
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Old 05-25-2022, 04:03 PM   #3
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Just a few other suggestions. Use brake fluid as a lubricant when installing the seals. Years ago, my self and another teacher re-built both calipers on a motor home. Couldn't get the air out of the lines. I think we put 1/2 a gallon of brake fluid through. Still a soft pedal. After thinking on it overnight we checked and sure enough we had swapped calipers. They fit just fine but the bleeder screws were on the bottom.

Believe me you only make that mistake once. Yes, I always told my students that story just to show them anybody can make mistakes.

One other bit of information. The seal is actually called a square-cut seal. It's not round like an "O"-ring. It also has a very important roll in the brake caliper. When brakes are applied the piston presses against the rotor to create the needed friction. When you release the brake pedal the square-cut seal which has slightly distorted returns to it's original square-cut shape which pulls the piston in just enough to creates a very small space between the pad and rotor. When that seal looses it's ability to distort then resume it's original position the pad drags against the rotor creating un-wanted friction and therefore heat. Eventually you'll have really hot to smoking brakes due to failed square-cut seal. You may also have some pulling because usually only one sticks.

Back in 1977 or 78 we were prepping for a trip back East. I took the 1976 23' Chrysler chassis MH out to fill up the tank. It was a short trip and driving into the sub it started pulling which it hadn't done before. The pistons were phenolic and prone to warping which I already knew. When I got home I felt the temperatures of both front rotors. One was much, much hotter than the other. After a quick re-build of both calipers we went on our way.
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Old 05-25-2022, 08:09 PM   #4
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I would think you can grab a basic automotive repair book for ford vans and on mine it covers e motor home chassis.. Haynes gives you pics and torq. Specs

Oh it is super easy.. just give insides of calipers light sanding.. like 300 or 400 grit..
Use air compressor at 30 psi to blow out pistons.. and put 1in thick wood block to catch it.. use all safety precautions and keep figures out of way..
Painting calipers will make them last longer.. I never see them behind my tires so I don't care about looks.. use brake oil to lube pistons and seal..
Change brake oil every 2yrs and they will last a very long time..
The hardest part of all.. is getting the torq. Right on the bearing spindle.. it is usually in inch pounds.. not foot pounds.. and you must be turning rotor at same time..
This was on my 1993 ford e150.. just did entire front end.. takes a little time.. but save $$$$ when done..
Haynes came in real handy .. I saved many times book cost.. covers eng and trans too.
Good luck and keep us posted
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Old 05-26-2022, 11:41 AM   #5
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I did mine. the inside of fhe calipers looked OK so replaced the rubber parts and went on my way. Some time later I had a front caliper overheat and smoke. Took off the tire and inspected. Didn't see an obvious problen but ordered a set of new seals because I didn't trust the ones I had installed. When I took apart the smoked caliper, I removed the rubber and discovered that the piston was slightly dragging. I honed the bore until I felt no resistance, Did this to all the calipers and so far they have worked perfectly. Turns out the slight bit of rust in the bore was the problem.


Don't have a before pix.






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Old 05-26-2022, 12:03 PM   #6
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Easy enough to rebuild them yourself.
You'll need a cylinder bore hone, some wet/dry fine sandpaper, brakleen and some patience. Keep everything extremely clean and insure the Pistons move freely in the bore before assembling with seals. If the Pistons are frozen or pitted you may want to just purchase reman calipers. Also, don't overlook the mounting/sliding hardware. Kits are available for that also.
Use extreme caution blowing out the pistons. I had an apprentice cut off about an inch of their fingertip once being careless.
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Old 05-26-2022, 12:13 PM   #7
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It's not a hard job. After you remove the pistons , remove the seals from them , then make sure they slide easily in and out of the bores. A little sanding on the pistons and bores may be required . Then carry on with the assembly process.
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Old 06-03-2022, 09:04 PM   #8
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Give those phenolic pistons a toss. They swell over time. SS pistons will serve you better. I have yet to find a need to hone my caliper bores. Never found any rust. Your friends at Rockauto have what you need

Richard
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Old 06-03-2022, 11:57 PM   #9
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"Give those phenolic pistons a toss. They swell over time. SS pistons will serve you better. I have yet to find a need to hone my caliper bores. Never found any rust. Your friends at Rockauto have what you need

Richard"


Part number please!
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Old 06-04-2022, 03:32 AM   #10
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I have not done rebuilding of calipers in 40 years..

For that E450 I did a few searches and you can get new or reman , calipers that are coated, new hardware and even mounting brackets for 45-$100.. pick your poison....
It is not worth my time to take apart, Clean all that stiff PROPERLY.. hone,, the cost of rebuild kits and hardware pins and kits,,,

When you get the rotors get all bearings, cheap enough,, seals and the dust cover for the axle nut.. they get can get kinked when removing....

ALSO get NEW rubber brake hoses.. they are 20+ years old and failure is near.. LOL

Get good coated rotors and pads.. you said you got a kit, then OK..

take your time, support vehicle well..
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Old 06-11-2022, 08:16 PM   #11
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I ended up putting new rotors, calipers, pads, bearings on the front brakes
Total cost $550
Flushed the brakes too.
Worked great, got rid of the wobble when braking,

List of parts:

New front calipers, bought at OíRileys ( lifetime see receipt or my phone number
For replacement $140

Flush brake system DOT 3 fluid 1 gallon Dot 3 brake fluid $25

New front pads Wagner Severe Duty SX655 Semi-Metallic Disc Brake Pads
Amazon $43

New front rotors bought on Amazon $95 each
CDelco Silver 18A724A Front Disc Brake Rotor and Hub Assembly

New bearings bought on Amazon
Outside Genuine NTN Bearings Cone Bearing - 15101 $14 each
Inside Timken SET47 Bearing Set $14 each

Wheel seal National 4160 Wheel Seal
$5 each
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Old 06-12-2022, 10:05 AM   #12
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I really dislike phenolic pistons!
Rebuilt calipers my 2001 Jeep WJ GCL and struggled like crazy to find SS pistons. The few you can find selling are very proud of them too $$$..... But it ends up worth it in the end for the dependability IMO.
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Old 06-12-2022, 11:34 AM   #13
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I read both pros and cons on the plastic cylinders. The rebuilt calipers that I got said it had them, but when I got them and checked them they were metal.

I did take out my old SS cylinders from my old calipers and I'll save them. Not sure if they are the same size on the front calipers and in the rear ones.
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