Saturday, August 1, 2009

A Buick that couldn't stop.


So recently I did the brakes on a 90 something Buick. I am not a big Buick fan to start with; I've had no luck with them. I owned a Buick Regal Grand Sport Limited Edition 3800 GT one time, longest freakin' car name ever, and it was a lemon. Nothing but problems. But this one wasn't mine, but it did have those damn hex bolts on the calipers that I'd wanted to get a picture of.

In my opinion that’s what killed GM, those hex bolts on the calipers. The old ones where small, and in between sizes from heat expansion. You had to shove a metric one in and hope to God you didn't round it off. That scared away consumer trust starting around the early 70s, that and building crap with air condition pumps over the distributors. The trend of making cars un friendly to repair.

Buick Caliper Bolt

I was fan of simply cutting the caliper off and then vice gripping the bolts out. But you can't do that unless you replace the caliper.

So any way back to the Buick. It wasn't stopping, and was grinding in the front. It was the brakes of course. Brakes are pretty easy.

Tire off/Jack up the car.

Unbolt the caliper from the back, two bolts, and if they are GM you allen type hex bits/sockets.

Flip the caliper over, pop out one side and "push the caliper open" with a brake tool or C clamp.

Pop out the other pad, put the new ones in.

Check the rotor

Reverse the process.

Buick with brakes off

Easy enough. So the passenger side went about like that. Done in ten minutes with a smoke break.

The driver side however wasn't so good. The pads were down to the rivets, the rotor super thin on one side, and the caliper locked up tighter than catholic school dorms.

Bad rotor and pads

So I unhook the caliper, and popped the rotor off. Put a new caliper on, and rotor, put the pads back in, and was almost done.

New brake pads

I usually make someone help me bleed the brakes out, but this time I was on my own, so I used my "God Awful" one man bleeder. I got sick of it, and ended up just sucking the brake fluid out by mouth like a siphon until I saw no bubbles. Much easier and faster than actually using the bleeder.

With the air out I returned the vehicle to a drivable condition. I was later informed that the driver almost got whiplash the first time she stopped, because she was used to standing on the brakes.

Another job well done.

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