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      01-22-2013, 10:27 PM   #1
splitsecond
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"Frozen" caliper piston?

I went to a local shop for a brake job today (pads, rotors, sensors). Three of the pads/rotors were fine, but one of the caliper pistons was "stuck" in place. They were able to take the pad out and show me that it was wearing in a weird awkward-looking way. They couldn't open the caliper enough to put in the new pad/rotor... it was open just widely enough for the old thinned-down pad/rotor to fit. He told me that the caliper needs to be replaced.

I have no doubts about his honesty... he didn't try to make money on the caliper (told me that I can buy it myself and he'll just charge me for actual labor hours). I just want to see if anybody knows if the caliper can be rebuilt using one of those rebuild kits, or if maybe there's another option aside from replacing the whole caliper.

And if I do have to replace the whole caliper, would it be OK to go with a remanufactured one?
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      01-22-2013, 11:10 PM   #2
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Hmmm. I do my own brakes and had a similar problem on my wife's a3. One piston was stuck. I had a manual piston compression tool too and couldn't get it to budge. I finally gave up and brought it to a local shop. They freed up the piston and I asked how. They have an air powered tool just for the purpose. They did tell me that this piston made that tool work extra hard and it didn't compress on the first try. I would check with the shop to see if they have this tool before you make the investment in a new caliper.
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      01-22-2013, 11:15 PM   #3
splitsecond
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Hm... good suggestion. I don't think they'd have a tool like that... they don't do a lot of brake work at this shop (they mostly do body work). I notice that you're in Illinois - any chance your shop is near the northwest Chicago area? Maybe I can take it to the same place that you did.
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      01-23-2013, 09:09 AM   #4
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I'd say go the rebuilding route first. You can pop out the piston just using compressed air and a wooden block. Just get new seals and dust boots and you'll be find. Buying a whole new caliper b/c a piston is stuck is a bit overkill.
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      01-23-2013, 12:40 PM   #5
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The caliper needs to be rebuilt. Usually even if you get it to go back in, the piston will bind up again on its way back out and wear the brake pads unevenly. The shop may not want to rebuilt it themselves because of liability reasons. That's why most shops buy them already rebuilt by a manufacturer. It's not rocket science you can rebuild them yourself, especially if you want to switch to steel pistons.
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      01-23-2013, 01:03 PM   #6
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Hmm... thanks for the advice, guys. I found a pretty good deal on a replacement caliper at a junkyard, but it's good to know that mine is rebuildable... I guess that means that I can re-sell it as a "rebuildable" part when I'm done with it (or rebuild it and sell it as "rebuilt")...
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      01-23-2013, 01:38 PM   #7
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The cost of the parts to rebuild one caliper are under $20 bucks...hard to beat that cost...and once off the car it only takes like 20 minutes to do.
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      01-23-2013, 02:05 PM   #8
splitsecond
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Yeah, I think I'll do that and sell it after I'm done. The one from the junkyard was only $100 anyway, so I figured I might as well play it safe in case I have difficulty rebuilding it.
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