CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

F-150 caliper "pin" rusted, is cleaning and greasing enough?

Last night I changed front rotors and pads on my 2002 F-150 4wd. One of the, I’ll call them pins, that allow the caliper to slide, was frozen rusted. I removed it, and steel wooled, and greased, and reassembled. The boot looked OK, but I was wondering if this will happen again. I had done the brakes 45,000 miles ago, and had not greased them then, and I am at 85,000 now. I am not referring to the caliper piston, but the smaller “pins”. Thanks for any help.

You steel wooled the rust off. I’d just use high temp grease on it and go.

Of course, the best solution would be to replace them. I have, and I’m sure many others have too, re-used rusted pins at some point.

Normally, if it’s rusted bad enough to be frozen, there are large pits in the surface and the diameter of the pin has grown from the rust scale. Steel wool is good for polishing off surface rust but sandpaper designed for metal is probably a better choice to remove the rusted material and get the pin back to size.

Realize that once the surface finish is compromised, it will be more susceptible to rust in the future.

Thanks,
I may just pull it apart again, and replace the pins with new ones, and new bolts. I did see a pitted surface, and don’t like the idea of that on brakes. The threads on the bolts had some corrosion, and although I greased them, I think they could be better.

Thanks for your help.

I worry about putting grease where it contacts ‘rubber’ car parts. Some types of synthethic rubber do not tolerate petroleum well. The extreme case is the stuff they make shoe brake cylinder plungers out of. Those rubber plungers turn to mush if they come in contact with petroleum oil.

If I were to grease those slide pins, I would probably use the silicone(?) grease that you use to assemble brake calipers, with the assumption that it is least likely to attack the rubber used around the slide pins. This is one of those cases where I am most afraid of the things I don’t understand…

I would replace them. Call the local parts store and get caliper hardware kits. These come with everything that mounts the caliper. And while you’re there, get some brake caliper grease. This is formulated to handle the heat from the brakes, while at the same time keeping the slide pins lubricated. And it doesn’t damage rubber components used on the calipers.

Tester

Will do, thanks.

I only pull brakes apart once every three years, so the little tricks are not readily available, and I did not know about the kits, and what all needs to be replaced. I’ll pick those items up, and go to it. Thanks,
Christopher