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Replacing front brake calipers

I have a question…I am needing to have the calipers on my '97 Toyota Camry replaced due to rust, and one of the calipers is worn out so that the pistons aren’t retracting after depressing the brake causing the wheel to heat up and warping the rotors badly. So I’m curious if it’s a reasonable idea to somehow pinch the rubber brake lines while replacing so won’t have to bleed the brakes? I live alone and it may be hard to find someone to assist me with bleeding the brakes, and to be honest, I don’t have a clue how to bleed the brakes, but I am mechanically inclined on replacing calipers, rotors and pads. I’m just wondering. Thanks!

@Rusty you’re going to have to bleed the brakes.
Don’t try to be a cheapskate.
That brake fluid is likely as old as the car.
Brake fluid needs to be flushed every 2 years.
Buy loaded calipers.

As far as that caliper . . . Is it just surface rust? That doesn’t affect the caliper’s operation.
Have you thoroughly cleaned and lubricated the pins and sliders with silicone grease?

Loaded calipers? Meaning they come with fluid inside or what?

Meaning they come loaded with brake pads.

There are two ways (I know my wife hates to do it). You can buy a vacume bleeder for a one man operation-don’t know how they work. Or there is a one way valve that some have bought to install in place of the bleeder screw that allows one man operation. I’ve heard good and bad on those. I guess I’d either try the vacume outfit that maybe could be rented from one of the parts places, or you should still have brakes but very spongy to take it in and have the fluid replaced afterwards.

Pinching the rubber brake line is not going to save you from bleeding the brakes. As soon as you break loose the banjo bolt on the caliper, air will be introduced to the system and the new calipers will be full of air anyway. You can’t avoid bleeding the brakes.

Proper bleeding is a two man job. I have a simple, inexpensive one man bleeder with a vacuum pump and sealed container. It works ok, but the old two-man ‘pump the pedal’ method gives me the best pedal pressure. It’s like the vacuum is not as good at air removal as pressure.

Loaded calipers? Meaning they come with fluid inside or what?

Loaded calipers is a common term that means the calipers comes with the pads and hardware kit already attached. All you have to do is unbolt the caliper and put in the caliper.

"All you have to do is unbolt the caliper and put in the caliper. "

And then bleed the brakes.

If you are having problems with one of the calipers not releasing it may be the brake hose that is the problem in the first place.

Think about replacing both calipers and hoses.

I just went through this on my 97 Accord. You can do this one man easily as long as you never let the reservoir of the master cylinder go dry. as long as air never gets into the master cylinder or upper brake lines, you can gravity bleed it.

You will need either a one man bleed kit (about $9) or make one from some 1/8" clear aquarium tubing that you can get at Walmart or any other store that sells fish and a small bottle or other container.

Start with the master cylinder reservoir, use a suction bulb to draw out most of the brake fluid, then refill to the top and leave the cap off.

Then move to the rear, replace the rear wheel cylinders and hoses first, one at a time. It does not matter which side you do first as you have a X feed brake system. After you do one side, attach about a foot or so of the clear aquarium tubing to the nipple of the bleeder and route the hose to a place slightly higher than the bleeder and into a container. Then keep an eye on the master cylinder reservoir to make sure it does not empty out. when the brake fluid runs clear (fresh brake fluid in the tube) tighten the bleed valve and move on.

Then do the fronts, one side at a time, hose and caliper. You will need to have a good catch pan under each brake as you do it as brake fluid will be constantly leaking as the lines are open and there is fluid in the master cylinder reservoir. As long as fluid is moving down the brake lines with the cap off the master cylinder, then air is not getting into the hard lines or the master cylinder itself.

Once you have connected the new hoses to the hard line and to the wheel cylinder or caliper then gravity pulls the fluid down from the master cylinder and through the new hoses and wheel cylinder/caliper and purges them of air. Having the aquarium hose going slightly elevated from the bleeder prevents air from getting back into the system when you close the valve. Do not elevate it too high or it will slow down the process. The highest part of the hose should not be more than a couple of inches above the bleeder.

Your car is going on 16 years old now so if you are having trouble with one rubber part, then the rest will follow soon, so you might as well do them all. I would recommend that you consider unloaded calipers and get higher quality brake pads like Wagner thermoquite pads.

You may also want to replace the master cylinder at this time too, but considering the equipment needed to power bleed the brakes after, this probably should be done by an independent mechanic with the correct adapter for his power bleeder.

BTW, you will need at least two large bottle of brake fluid, maybe three.

Ok sounds like I’ll have to bring it to a shop to have the caliper replaced. Do you think it will be ok to replace one caliper? Or I should do both sides? Of course I’ll have the rotors and pads replaced but should both calipers? Thanks

I think @Bisbonian has a very good thought. Bad rubber hoses can turn into check valves, letting only fluid go one way (or at least go one way better than the other).
Definitely replace the rubber lines. You’ll really feel the difference.

Rusty, it’s always a good idea to replace calipers in pairs. For safety reasons, you don’t want uneven braking. Besides, with such old calipers there is an excellent chance that if one failed, the other one may not be far behind. Then you will have to buy another set of pads and rotors if you cook the brakes on that side.