Chevy Trailblazer Calipers

Are 2003 Chevrolet Trailblazer calipers more prone to failure due to the piston and cylinder being dissimilar metals? At 86k brake job 2 years and 20k miles ago it was being recommended.

I recently had the shop check the brakes due to a slight squeaking noise on braking and it ended up being rust on the rotor.

The owner brought up the calipers again and I declined, again, thinking most of my driving is around town so if the caliper ends up sticking I would not be too badly impacted.

I also had them check a squeak I get on bumpy 15mph turns. They test drove the car, heard the squeak, noted that the swaybar links? had been replaced by the previous owner and needed grease, but ball joints bushings etc. all looked good. They greased the links and sent me on my way no charge.

The same highly reputable shop did the brakes on my wife’s van and made no mention of calipers.

Looking for your thoughts on these calipers.

It’s unlikely the calipers are faulty; especially on an '03 vehicle. Inspection of calipers is also not a guessing game; it’s easily verifiable.
When a caliper piston sticks or freezes the usual cause is an aged and hardened square cut piston seal. Metal composition is not it.

Whenever “rust on a rotor” is mentioned I always gets a bit suspect. Rust on the non-swept area of a rotor is normal and rust may even appear on a swept area if the vehicle has been sitting for a while or the enviromental conditions are right.

Greasing sway bar links also sounds strange.[]
You can’t grease them.

Squeaking could be due to glazed pads, pad vibration due to missing clips or worn caliper slides, etc.
Basically my opinion is that there is a 99%+ chance the calipers are fine.

It sounds as though they are trying to sell them to you as a sort of preventive maintenance item. I have heard of some shops doing this, and there is really no real reason to routinely replace the calipers. I would sometimes offer them to a customer if they were dirt cheap, like the $15 reman calipers available for S-10’s or Cavaliers, though I wouldn’t press the issue if they were declined. I think Trailblazer calipers are more than that, so I would pass on them unless there is actually something wrong with them. As far as dissimilar metals, that has been done for years with no real negative track record. The rear calipers with the integrated parking brake on the other hand…

The replacement ones do have zirk fittings on them, I had tried to get my grease gun on them but was unable to as there is not much room. I don’t do much on cars anymore and leaped to the conclusion that it was being done by the reputable independant who does my oil changes.

The rear calipers with the integrated parking brake on the other hand…

Please continue.

I was referring to the spin back calipers used on some Fords and GMs of the mid '90s, especially the ones on the Pontiac Grand Prix/Olds Cutlass Supreme twins. I believe the design also found its way onto some Hondas and Toyotas of the same era. They were, and still are, extremely prone to seizing up. They are expensive and seldom last more than three years before they have to be replaced again, often along with the pads and rotors they ruined by seizing up. Fortunately, the design is dead and gone. I was not referring to the OP’s Trailblazer; sorry for any confusion.

It’s not clear to me whether the zerks are on the suspension or brakes. If they are on the brakes, I suspect that they are drain valves for bleeding the brakes.

I have an '04 with nearly the same mileage. The original OEM front sway bar links are weak and prone to failure IMO. Mine broke about a year after I bought it and they were replaced under warranty with new OEM links. No problem so far. I know some people are replacing with aftermarket but I believe they changed the design to eliminate the issue on the OEM units. If your aftermarket links have grease fittings, all the better. You find out how much work that sway bar is doing when they break!

No one that I know replaces calipers proactively. There are no issues I know of with the OEM calipers. The piston is not in contact with the bore material except through the hydraulic fluid and a “rubber” piston ring. No direct contact, should be no issue with galvanic action as long as the fluid is clean. I’d skip the recommendation until you actually have a problem.

I performed my first brake job this spring, replacing the rotors and pads. ~60k out of the first sets. Not bad for 1/2 highway, 1/2 city (Boston area) driving where daily hard stops are inevitable and lots of towing.

Thanks for the reply, 86k was the first set of pads, 60% left at 20k on the on the pads and all are wearing evenly.

For itsanders here is a pic that looks like my setup, though alot cleaner, definitely not a bleed valve on the sway bar links. Thanks for all the responses.

Explore kenneth white

Calipers should work properly or not. If they’re not working correctly, the vehicle will swerve one way or the other when the brakes are applied. The vehicle swerves right when the left caliper is going out and vice versa.
If the calipers lock up its usually the inner rubber brake line hose breaking down and not allowing fluid to return to the reservoir.
Squeaking pads can be caused from a few causes…

  1. Cheap brake pads
  2. sharpe edges on the pads
  3. worn out pads… One case came in the shop where the (i’m going to guess) a “do it yourselfer” put one pad on BACKWARDS. which I’m sure isn’t your concern.
    The rule of thumb on brake pad wear is that 75% of the life of the pad is on the first half of the pad. After that the life is shortened from excessive heat/wear and tear.
    Just keep an eye on the squeaks…when and where they occur.
    As for zirk fittings, sometimes they can be replaced with a 45 degree angle or a 90 degree angle fitting to make greasing them easier.
    Good luck.