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Old 03-22-2010, 01:52 AM
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Hot rod Seville e-brake caliper problem

I was going to add this to the other thread regarding e-brake calipers but I thought it might search better by itself.

I have the Seville e-brake calipers on the rear of my Willys. As a disc brake they are very powerful for my application so I'm happy there.

The e-brake is as noted weak with the Lokar floor mounted pull up handle. I fixed this by slightly modifying the arms and using a 3000 rpm converter. It's still not the best but it does hold the car in gear.

My task was to install the Detroit locker in the 'pig'. That part was easy...just r & r a bunch of bolts. Lifting the thing in and out laying on the floor was a challenge. That thing is heavy. I think it weighs right at 100 pounds. We'll see how my shoulders are tomorrow.

Well, getting the calipers off was the real problem. They went on very easy and I was able to adjust them so they worked fine. The problem started when I was reluctant to remove the arms and back off the adjusters as they are difficult to get the cables and springs attached. The other option was to crack open the bleeder and force the pistons out a little. I have residual valves so back flow thru the lines doesn't happen easily. My thick headness I guess. Well the left side came off with only a little of brute force and cuss words. One problem is the little raised buttons on the back of the inboard pad hang up on the piston notches. (picture) The other problem is that the pads are very thick ( not even seated in yet) and there is very little of the piston sticking out. The right side was even worse. I thought the piston would move in but I really couldn't pry it in at all. I finally got a bar under the caliper and got after it with a larger hammer. I finally got it off but it wasn't pretty.

Going back together the right side was a problem right away. I put a clamp on the piston and squashed it in a little which was just enough to allow me to tap the inside pad in. It doesn't like to stay in or in place however while you install the caliper bolts. I managed to get the bolts in only to find the dang pad is not lined up for the bolt to hold it. After a few more tries I finally got it lined up and the bolts in. You also have to clock the piston so those little tabs go in the slots, if not it won't adjust.

Clamping the right side piston pushed the left side one out so I had to clamp it. It didn't want to go in at all but finally it moved just a little. I had to re-clock the piston but it stayed retracted long enough to get every thing bolted back up.

I'm sure it would have been easier to open the brake lines but they are far from the easiest to bleed. I made a pressure bleeder but it was clear across town and I just wasn't about to drive over and get it.

Here are some pictures of the back of the pads and the calipers. On re-assembly I used a little Never-seize on the little buttons which seemed to help assembly. The fuzzy stuff is from the paint shop. Must have been some static as there are strings of dust all over under the car. I'll hit it with the small pressure washer when I'm done.

These came after my years in the auto shop so this was my first time servicing them. I'm hoping someone can help me out with proceedures.
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Last edited by bentwings; 03-22-2010 at 01:58 AM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 08:54 AM
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I used the same calipers when I built my '30 Ford Coupe. I had them installed on a 9" Ford rear.

I had to remove the calipers from the cast support brackets so that I could gain access to replace the lug nut studs with longer ones.

I was able to just remove the two mounting thru bolts that hold the caliper on the support bracket and slip the calipers off. I did not have the parking brake engaged but the cables were still connected and I was careful not to step on the brake pedal while the calipers were removed. The pads were still in place. I supported the calipers so that they were not just hanging in the air. I used short flex lines on both sides in the rear. I had to removed the bolts that hold the support bracket to the rear end housing to get additional room to remove the old lug nut studs and be able to install the new longer ones. I did not have to remove the axles, although I thought I might. The support brackets I used are cast and also act as the retainer for the axles. They are slipped on the axles before the bearings are pressed on.

To re-install the calipers was fairly simple. I just held the pads open with my fingers and got them started over the rotors. Once at that point, they just slid back on and I re-installed the two mounting thru bolts. The rotors for my application look like hats and are held in place by the wheel and lug nuts. When re-installing the calipers I put a couple of lug nuts to hold the rotors in place.

The piston in those calipers can not just be pressed back in. As they are adjusted out, the adjuster is actually being screwed out which prevents them from being just compressed back in. You would have to loosen the locknut on the adjuster and then back off the adjuster to be able to compress the piston.

See the attached file as to how to adjust them initially.
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Last edited by Frisco; 03-22-2010 at 09:02 AM.
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Old 03-22-2010, 09:38 AM
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Thanks for the TSB. I read that a while back and forgot about it. I hope I didn't damage the calipers by using a clamp on the pistons. The pistons did not move very much probably just .020-030 Maybe I got away with just seating them. I knew I should have removed the arms and backed the pistons out with the screw inside. I'm just hard headed I guess. The screws are left and right hand also. I remember doing the "snap" feature now that I see it again in print. It works but I can see that it might not after there are a lot of miles on them. I hope these are not going to be source of ongoing probems.

Looking at your system you have what is called the bolt on system. I had looked at that when I chose mine which is the weld on system. I had to front mount the caliper as the coil over was in the way by about 1/2 inch. I didn't realize that I don't have very good pictures of mine so I take some pictures today.

Thanks again for the help.
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Old 03-28-2010, 09:26 PM
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Well I got everything reassembled and went on to other items. I went to start the car and found no brakes. #$%
So it looks like I'll be over at the shop at 6 am and get this thing ironed out once and for all. I had very good brakes before and changed nothing. I sure hope clamping the pistons didn't ruin them. I really did not clamp them tight. In fact the clamp kept falling off.

It appears that I will need to readjust the pistons by the 'snap' action described in the TSB. What a PIA.

Also in doing a search I find note of using a 10 psi residual valve instead of the 2 psi. for this application. Any input on this?? i can get one over at the hotrod shop.

An other local guy said to try to run 1-2 clicks on the e-brake handle. This holds the pistons out a bit and give a high hard pedal. Any input on this???

Thanks for all the help.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bentwings

Also in doing a search I find note of using a 10 psi residual valve instead of the 2 psi. for this application. Any input on this?? i can get one over at the hotrod shop.
Those calipers retract about .050 when the brake pedal is released. Most disc brake calipers only retract .005-.010.

Because the calipers you have retract as much as they do, a 10 p.s.i. residual valve should be installed in the rear line. This will reduce the amount the piston can retract. To my knowledge, those GM rear disc calipers are the only calipers that require that particular residual valve. All others work well with just a 2 p.s.i. residual valve.

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Originally Posted by bentwings
An other local guy said to try to run 1-2 clicks on the e-brake handle. This holds the pistons out a bit and give a high hard pedal. Any input on this???

Thanks for all the help.
Adjusting the e-brake so that it has a slight drag on it is NOT a good thing. The pads and calipers will overheat causing the brake fluid to expand and thus apply the brakes constantly. It will also cause premature wear on the pads and rotors. If the amount of distance that the calipers retract is controlled to allow only .005-.010 movement you should still have good brakes with little or no induced drag.

Another item to consider is the pedal ratio. If you have manual brakes, using a pedal ratio of 6:1 or even 7:1 will yield good results. The master cylinder bore of 7/8"-1" is usually used for manual brakes.

A pedal ratio of 4:1 or slightly less works very well when using power brake systems. The master cylinder will most often be around 1 1/8" bore when using power brakes. This is to yield more volume.

The small after-market 7"diameter single diaphragm boosters are not worth attempting to use. If you have to use that small diameter booster, then get the dual diaphragm unit.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:42 AM
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Thanks for the info. Looks like I have some direction. I didn't expect this problem at all. I've been blind sided. haha

I'll get a 10 psi residual valve as soon as the hot rod shop is open. And more brake fluid.

I'm certain that there is at least 6:1 pedal ratio but I'll measure it as I'll be under the car for sure. haha

I do have a 1" bore MC. I didn't see any leaks and it was full Sat when I checked it.

Even with the "no good" 7 inch booster the brakes worked very well before. In fact they were almost to the point of being touchy. It took very little pressure and the pedal was quite high not all the way up maybe 1.5" free play. Not at all uncomfortable.

Even without the blower the brakes were very strong. With the blower there is very high vacuum under the carbs at cruise. I'd have to look back in the notes but I think there was at least 15 inches almost all the time except when you step on it hard. Even then I think there was about 5 inches. The 2 x 750 carb area is nowhere near what that the blower opening is.

I keep y'all posted.
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Old 03-29-2010, 07:37 PM
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some of them caliper, you have to screw the piston back in..not press them in like the old one's.. Like on the new cars and truck.. They make a key to do it..
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Old 03-29-2010, 08:49 PM
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This set up only has 1500 miles on it since brand new. The adjustment is from the back side on these. I am familiar with the twist style. T-Bird SC have those. I have the tool also.

I measured the pedal ratio and is is 6:1 as I thought.

Today I got a 10 psi residual valve so I have it on hand. My plan is to install it as a separate test to demo this once and for all. Part of what this car is for. Testing.

I then proceeded to lock myself out of the shop by leaving the key on my tool box. It was 2 hours before one of the guys showed up. At least I was able to have brunch. haha

I took the whole thing apart again today and started over. I was able to adjust the right side caliper using the "snap" method described in the TSB. What a hokee way to do this. It took about 40 snaps before I noticed any tightening up of the caliper. I got it down to about .015 clearance with a long feeler gage. I was also able to get the 1/4" gap on the arm.

The left side was another problem as the adjustment was too much to do the snap method. I removed the arm and clocked it a full 1/6 of a turn and then put some pressure on it with the vice grip. I then clocked it another 1/6 of a turn on the hex shaft. This got me pretty close. another 30 minutes of snapping and fooling around got the clearance down to .015. I was also able to get the 1/4" at the arm as the TSB notes.

I put one wheel on and torqued the lugs down fine. the second one I got to the last lug and the blasted stud came loose and backed out. I have screw in studs. Well I was able to get the wheel off and managed to get a modified socket on the back of the stud and tightened it up It only took an hour and a half to get this mess fixed.

Then I tested the brake pedal. I'm now back to the 1.5 inch free travel and hard pedal. This is ok so far I think. The e-brake handle is back to where it was before. about 2 clicks is all I get maybe 3 if really yank on it. I'm pretty sure it will hold the car in gear as it did last year.

I ran out of time today so tomorrow I may be able to get the car started and road test it.

Assuming everything works as it did last year I'll drive it a few days then add the 10 pound residual valve. It looks like a direct bolt in except for bleeding. I still have a home made pressure bleeder so it should go in easy. famous last words.
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Old 10-03-2010, 10:59 PM
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I guess I'll call this a 'bump' and revive this thread.

I was going to our weekly cruise and went to stop at a light on the highway and "whoaa" I've got low pedal...hard but very low. I had just checked the master cyl a couple days earlier and it was ok. A couple more lights and I was still at low pedal but stopping. Then I had to stop quicker as the light changed to yellow and I didn't want to blast thru. I barely made the stop with the front brakes finally locking and smoking. @#$%

Well back at the shop I find the MC rear side low, not dry however. I added fluid and pumped the pedal a few times but it kept going low. So I go and get a new Vette MC. I get it installed and bleed. I see the left rear caliper is leaking very slightly. hardly a streak on the tire. Closer inspection I see the pad is soaked and very loose. It looks like it did not maintain adjustment. There is way over .050 clearance and it barely is taken up with application of the brakes. I use the e-brake almost every day too.

As luck would have it I sold the 10 psi residual valve a couple weeks ago. Dang. At least I made a couple bucks on it. So I have a new one on the way. I also ordered new pads so I will replace them again.

I also ordered a pair of caliper rebuild kits that should be here in a couple days. Hopefully I won't have all the problems I had earlier this year. I have over 10k miles this year alone but I sure hoped these would last longer than that.

I'll keep posting as this rolls out.
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Old 10-06-2010, 10:03 PM
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@#$% Well I now have a car disabled with one caliper removed and disassembled.........wrong parts received. With luck I should have parts tomorrow. Speedway says these are '79-85 Seville, parts store says 80-85.

The piston seal looked very slightly damaged due to heat from me leaving the E-brake on and driving about 2 miles. It got pretty hot. It's also theone I had trouble with last spring.

Caliper kits are hard to come by. NAPA has no listing anymore. but gave me the wrong parts. O'riely will have them tomorrow. Only 2 sets in stock anywhere. AZ says 1-2 days. Well we will see.
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Old 10-11-2010, 12:14 AM
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Well I think I finally put some closure on this mess. There is even a bit more to this than I'm posting here.....long story short thing. haha

I finally got the correct parts for the calipers. Also got much better pads.

I disassembled the left side and found a slightly damaged piston seal. You had to look at it under a magnifying glass to see the wavy edges.

The big spring rolled under a rag and I missed it due to disassembly one day and 2 days later reassembly. Sure went together nice. i installed it and bled the system. As I was adjusting the E-brake I noticed the piston was not retracting as much as it should. ????? Well the phone rang and I sat down at the bench and Viola!!! the dang spring rolled out of hiding. Well so much for that hour of work. haha

So r&R again. Now is where the meat of all this comes. After a lot of cussing I got the spring back in and fully reassembled. Make sure the E-brake adjuster is retracted and the arm is attached finger tight with the gaskets. Now I clamped the caliper in the vice so the bleeder was at the very highest point. The caliper is clocked and then slanted. A 2 axis move. Then I removed the bleeder screw and carefully poured brake fluid into the hole while holding a finger over the banjo fitting. When the caliper seemed full I gently tapped it with a small hammer. Bubbles came out of the bleeder hole. Add more brake fluid. Keep doing this until there are no more bubbles. These are coming from the inside of the piston where the one way clutch is and trapped space from the spring.

I then installed the caliper. Some fluid leaked out but that is easily taken care of while bleeding. I previously installed the 10 psi residual valve. I also bled this prior to reinstalling the calipers. Both calipers have been installed here.

To bleed the system just gently push the pedal down then let it up only part way like you were pumping the brakes to stop. The residual valve prevents back flow. I used a long board to operate the pedal so I could watch what was happening. It was pretty clear when the air was removed. I locked up the bleeder and headed for the E-brake adjuster.

Now with the system fully bled you could very easily operate the adjuster and watch the piston move. It will extend and contact the rotor, put plenty of pressure on it then just let it up. You will have to 'clock' the arm a couple times on the shaft but the 1/4 inch number is very easy to get this way. None of this 'snapping' BS is required. Also with the 10 psi residual valve the piston only retracts about .010-015 measured with a long feeler gage. BTW when clocking the arm don't push on the shaft or you may lose it in the caliper. If it gets away you will have to remove the caliper and start over. I really don't think you can remove all the air just by re-bleeding. Most of the problems with these systems is due to not getting the air out.

Once both sides are adjusted you can try the pedal. I came up with a rock hard pedal at about 1 1/2 inch travel after starting the motor for vacuum. About 3/4 inch is general play in the mechanical system, the other 3/4 inch is the actual hydraulic travel. This is with a 1 1/8 bore MC and 'junk' 7 inch booster.

A good road test proved that there is almost a metal to metal hard feel and very solid brakes. They are getting better as I put more miles on. I went on a 120 mile cruise yesterday and they work great with a nice high, hard pedal and great performance. The E-brakes works ok but I really need to adjust the handle linkage a bit more. It is very important to use the E-brake every time you drive the car in order for the system to maintain adjustment. The Cadillac mechs make a ton of $$$ in repairs to these because the E-brake is not cycled properly.

My system is biased with the proportioning valve much more to the rear with the big rear tires so the rear brakes are important. Testing on a sandy parking lot showed this. The car stops very well even on less than perfect traction. Far better than my dually does without the trailer.

So with all this I'll close this out.

If anyone has questions or comment please PM me. My computer is down but I use this one at the community center as much as possible. I'll try and be as prompt as possible.
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