This is admittedly a pointless story.
I’m drawn to DIY automaintenance even though I don’t have a house NOR a garage----this means I do it right on the street (perhaps risking annoying neighbors.) A triumph can be very…triumphant but when things go wrong, it can be very stressful. You lose your daily driver, you’re not sure where you’re going to get the correct part and/or tool.
Today I had a little bit of a triumph, and a major setback then…hope
So, the 2007 Corolla developed a little steering vibration upon braking. A little internet research points to the brake rotors being the most likely cause. I decided to replace the rotors and pads altogether.
I knew getting the rotors off after being rusted on for 12 years would be a problem but I was prepared (after watching Youtube videos.)
I bought a set of bolts with nuts so I can thread them through the steering knuckle for the purpose of PUSHING the rotor off but, “YIKES! The bolts started to deform and Broke off!” Still enough pressure was applied that the rotor was pushed at a few degrees angle away from the HUB.
ROTOR REMOVAL TRIUMPH******
After much stress and brainstorming for an hour, I decided to try something: I’m going to jack up the entire front of the car so the front drive wheels are off the ground (FWD car.) With the parking brake on, I’m going to rely on the power of the engine and transmission to spin this thing (thus angling the entire rotor) and VOILA! it worked, the rotor popped off through sheer power!!! I didn’t even watch this on a Youtube video. This is a nice little triumph, I’m beaming!
So, I proceed with the task at hand when I realized another (perhaps much worse problem,) ONE of the caliper slides pins had seized in the caliper bracket. It was impossible to remove. In fact, this was probably the cause of the braking pulsation and steering wheel vibration.
I took the bracket home with me and applied WD40 and Liquid Wrench, nothing works.
I considered my options
DIY videos suggest using a blow torch, and lots of hammering, and pulling. I can’t do that in my apartment!!!
No local AutoZone or Advance Auto carries a caliper bracket in store (not even for a ubiquitous car like a Corolla.) Maybe I’ll go the Toyota Dealership and order the part but they probably don’t have it in stock which means they’ll have to order it (and it’s 175 dollars.) Ordering it from RockAuto will still take about a week (but cost only 33 dollars for a remanufactured CardOne unit.)
Oh boy, it looks increasingly likely that I’ll have to have it towed and/or I won’t have my daily driver for a whole week. So much stress and worry.
So, I spent the next 5 hours worrying about how I’m going to solve this problem as I put all my hope in that penetrating oil.
My little 5th floor apartment is not just built or set up for this type of major work.
I was about to give up and give the local mechanic a call so he can tow it into his shop when I happen upon pictures of caliper parts (in my search for solutions) and I notice that they all seem to come with the caliper brackets. I did a search for calipers (and not specifically for caliper brackets) for my Corolla at AutoZone and Advanced Auto and, “Voila!,” most of the caliper parts come with brackets! I was so worried because I was so fixed on that single part: the caliper bracket----I hadn’t realized that in the auto-parts world a lot of combo parts are sold as single units. All that stress and brainstorming for nothing.
So, not only was the part available for local pickup at Advanced Auto AND AutoZone but it turns out I don’t even need it----because I already have it in my closet. So why do I have this part in my closet in the first place? Well, 2 years ago, the calipers on the OTHER side seized and I ordered the part for that side and did the replacement. So, why do I have the right part for THIS side? I went on a parts buying binge earlier, I do that sometimes just because I’m crazy: it’s that simple. I ordered because I figured it might come in handy. Well, I was HALF right, the calipers were technically fine. I had forgotten that they come as a single unit.
Talk about serendity!
This is ONE time when predicting when a part might go bad and ordering ahead of time worked out!!!
I got a brand new (not remanufactured) Raybestos Opti-Cal, all the hardware is there, I don’t think I even have to lube the guide pins. I only need to mount the entire unit to the steering knuckle and install the brake pads.
Side question: this unit comes with two washers. Am I supposed to use TWO washers on the brake line into the caliper???
PERHAPS ONE LESSON LEARNED HERE IS THAT CALIPERS ARE LESS FORGIVING THAN OTHER BRAKE PARTS.
EDIT 2: I should add that this rotor removal technique is only for those who wish to replace and discard the old rotors.