Replacing Brakes – Retracting Caliper

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 201,930
    ASE certified master automobile techinician Richard Cottingham demonstrates how to replace the front brake pads and rotors on a 2004 Chevy Silverado including working with the retracting caliper.

    Richard Cottingham: My name is Richard Cottingham, from Tysons Auto Specialties. Today we are going to show you how to replace the front pads and rudders on this Chevy pickup truck. Next we are going to show you how to retract the caliper properly.

    Next we are going to retract the caliper pistons. Rolando is going to use an old brake pad, he is going to first break the bleeder loose, so you can move it as its loose. Okay, alright now he is going to take an old brake pad and a pair of channel locks and as he is squeezing the piston back end, he is going to open the bleeder. This way we don't return dirt or debris up into the ABS, anti-lock brake Hydraulic Control Unit which will ruin or could do damage to a control unit. So we want to be careful not to force any dirt backwards through the system.

    Now before the brake fluid quits running out, Rolando's going to want to check, shut the bleeder off. Normally, we do this over a drain pan or we put a piece of hose over the end and then we run it into a bucket. But we want you to be able to see what was going on, so we made a little bit more mess than we normally do. Alright then he tightens, tighten the bleeder back up. Now our caliper is ready to be installed when we get the rest of the brake parts back on the vehicle. That's what he was pushing back and he was retracting these two pistons and on this truck, it has two piston caliper system. Some have four and some vehicles only have one. So in this instance with two, we have to use a pad so we could retract both pistons at the same time because if you push on one piston at a time, you will force the other one out and then you will get problems to put the piston back in and thats no easy task especially at home when you have never done it before.

    You can see the rust here, this isn't too bad. On most cars, you want to at least take a little pad like the Scotch-Brite pad, just make sure you would knock off the top of the rust. Make sure that you don't have bigger lumps or rust on there because rudder won't sit tightly or flush up against the hub. So we spend a little bit of time to clean it, spend a little time cleaning the hub that will fit that lot better.

    As with anything if you spend a little more time and do it right, I dont have to worry about doing 2-3 times over again. This now is smooth and you don't have any big lumps of rust, you are good to go, you are good to stick the rudder back on.

    So that's how you retract the caliper properly. Next we are going to install the rudder, the pads and the caliper back on the vehicle.