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Brake Calipers: Little Parts with a Large Part to Play

2019-10-09


brake caliper            
What Role Does a Brake Caliper Play in the Whole Braking System?

A brake caliper is a vital part of the disc brake system of a vehicle. A disc brake, as illustrated below, is a type of brake that uses a brake caliper to squeeze pairs of pads against a disc-shaped rotor to create friction to decelerate or stop the vehicle.


Specifically, inside each caliper is a pair of metal plates bonded with friction material, known as brake pads. The outboard brake pads are on the outside of the rotors (toward the curb) and the inboard brake pads on the inside (toward the vehicle). When the brake is stepped, brake fluid from the master cylinder generates hydraulic pressure on one or more pistons in the brake caliper that forces the pads against the rotor. The brake pads have high-friction surfaces and are used to slow the rotor down or even bring it to a complete stop. When the rotor slows or stops, so does the wheel as they are attached to each other.

How Many Types of Brake Calipers Are There
Brake calipers can be variously categorized according to their structure and power source.
fixed and floating            
fixed brake caliper & floating brake caliper

A floating brake caliper moves with respect to the disc, along a line parallel to the axis of rotation of the disc; a piston on one side of the disc pushes the inner brake pad until it makes contact with the braking surface, then pulls the caliper body with the outer brake pad so pressure is applied to both sides of the disc. However, floating caliper designs with a single piston are vulnerable to sticking failure because of dirt or corrosion entering at least one mounting mechanism and stopping its normal movement. This can lead to the brake caliper's pads rubbing on the disc when the brake is not engaged or engaged at an angle. Sticking can be a result of infrequent vehicle use, failure of a seal or rubber protection boot allowing debris entry, dry-out of the grease in the mounting mechanism and subsequent moisture incursion leading to corrosion, or any combination of these factors. Consequences can include reduced fuel efficiency, excessive heating of the disc or excessive wear on the affected pad. A sticking front caliper may also cause steering vibration.


Another type of floating caliper is a swinging brake caliper. Unlike a pair of horizontal bolts that enable the caliper to move straight in and out respective to the car body, a swinging brake caliper uses a single, vertical pivot bolt located somewhere behind the axle centerline. When the driver presses the brakes, the brake piston pushes on the inboard piston and rotates the whole caliper inward, when viewed from the top. Because the angle of the swinging caliper's piston changes relative to the disc, this design uses wedge-shaped pads narrower in the rear on the outside and narrower on the front on the inside.

pneumatic and hydraulic            
Pneumatic brake caliper & hydraulic brake caliper

When it comes to the power source that pushes the piston, brake calipers fall into the hydraulic type and pneumatic type. The former uses brake fluid to push the pistons while the latter works with air pressure. Pneumatic brake calipers are more widely used when the requirements for power and pressures are not that demanding, whereas hydraulic brake calipers are used where greater amounts of power and pressure are required. Both of these two types have their own distinct advantages, some of which have been detailed in the chart.


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    • caliper


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    • JHY brake calipers come with a semi-loaded status condition and are almost ready to use when you get them from us.

    • ◪Provision of complete accessories

    • JHY brake calipers are when requested, accompanied by levers, Banjo bolts, and copper washers and so on. The complete accessories will facilitate the use of customers and help to give the brake calipers into full play.

    • ◪Customization

    • We provide the most complete catalog of brake calipers of the industry that suit a wide range of cars. However, in case you have special requirements for brake calipers, we are most willing to help to transfer your blueprint to final products.


    TIPS

    What Factors Will Reduce the Service Life of a Brake Caliper?


    1.Excessive Use

    In the event of excessive use of a vehicle, the heat generated from the braking system can weaken and break down seals inside the calipers and cause the failure of the caliper.


    2.Improper Maintenance

    As time goes by, a brake caliper may become rusty or dirty, which calls for frequent and proper maintenance. Improper maintenance will speed up the death of a brake caliper.


    3.Substandard Material

    The aging process of substandard tubes, pistons, and seals will make them decay in a faster way which may lead to brake fluid leakage and other problems.


    What Evidences Potential Failure of a Brake Caliper?

    The breakdown of a brake caliper can be reflected by a host of indications. The brake and the brake caliper should be checked immediately in the event of one of the following.

    1. The brake continuously squeaks, squeals or grinds.

    2. The warning light of the brake or antilock braking system (ABS) is on.

    3. The car jerks or pulls to one side when the car brakes.

    4. The brake will not work properly unless you slam on it.

    5. The brake pedal feels unusually soft or hard.

    6. Brake fluid leakage is noticed around the wheels or the engine compartment.


    How Are Brake Calipers Supposed to Be Maintained?

    Carrying out maintenance for brake calipers can effectively lengthen their service life, prevent the occurrence of potential failure and guarantee the safety of the car and the driver. Maintenance is suggested to be performed on the brake caliper at intervals of 4 to 12 weeks, depending upon the frequency and duration of the operation. General maintenance should include the following aspects:

    • Check both brake levers for easy of movement.

    • Clean all bearings and glide points

    • Lubricate all bearing and glide points.

    • Check to ensure that the brake pads do not rub against the brake disc when the brake caliper is open.


    Check for fixed bolt / screw connections:

    • Brake caliper to the machine component

    • Brake chamber to caliper-lever arm

    • Brake pads to caliper-lever arm


    Check the following for proper seal/leaks:

    • Brake chamber

    • Hose connection


    Checking brake pad wear:

    Brake pad material must have a thickness of at least 6 mm (from the top surface of the brake pad to the top surface of the steel mounting plate).


    How to Change a Brake Caliper?

    As time goes by, calipers risk rusting or getting locked in place which can make brakes freeze up or squeal. Immediate replacement is of vital importance to driving safety. Here are some steps that are suggested to follow when a brake caliper is to be changed.

    Remove the Original Brake Caliper

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    Park the car on a flat and level surface. Lift the car and place jack stands under it. Crank the jack to lift the side of the vehicle until the wheel you need to remove is off of the ground. Once you lift your vehicle, put safety stands under the frame to ensure safety.
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    Take off the wheel that’s in front of the brake caliper. Use a tire iron or a ratchet to loosen the lug nuts. A lubricant may be needed if the nuts are way too difficult to loosen. Grab both sides of the tire and carefully pull it straight off of the bolts holding it in place to expose the brake assembly.
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    Remove the 2 bolts on the back of the caliper with a ratchet. The caliper is the large metal piece that clamps around the large metal disc behind your wheel, also known as the brake rotor. Locate the 2 bolts on the back of the caliper that attaches to the springs on the side. Fit the end of a ratchet on the bolts and rotate them counterclockwise to loosen them.
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    Pry the caliper off of the brake pads with a screwdriver. Try pulling the caliper up and off of the brake rotor first. If you can’t remove the caliper by hand, then place the end of a flathead screwdriver between the brake rotor and caliper. Pull the screwdriver handle up to lift pry the caliper off of the brake pads. Once you remove the caliper, you’ll see the brake pads held in place by the caliper bracket.
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    Remove the brake pads from the caliper bracket. The brake pads are the rectangular-shaped pieces on either side of the rotor that was covered by the caliper. Pull the brake pads straight out from their housings on the bracket to remove them from the brake assembly.
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    Take out the 2 bolts holding the caliper bracket in place. Locate the 2 bolts on the backside of the caliper bracket that are on the top and bottom. Use your ratchet to rotate the screws counterclockwise to loosen them. Once you remove both bolts from the back, carefully lift the bracket up off of the brake rotor to remove it.


    remove brake caliper


    Install the New Brake Caliper

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    Get a new brake caliper that’s compatible with your vehicle. Search for a brake caliper that matches your vehicle’s year, makes, and model. Choose a caliper that includes a bracket so you don’t have to match the hardware to your old one. Make sure that the caliper is the same style as your old one or else you’ll also need to replace the calipers on your other wheels.
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    Unscrew the banjo bolt on the caliper that connects to the brake hose. The banjo bolt is on top of the main caliper piece and attaches to the hose leading to the brake’s main cylinder. Grip the bolt with your ratchet and rotate it counterclockwise to disconnect the hose from the old caliper. Once you remove the old caliper you can throw it away.
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    1
    Secure the hose onto the intake port on the new caliper. Look for a large hole right next to a small hole on top of the new caliper. Screw the threaded part of the banjo bolt into the large hole. Locate the L-shaped bend where the hose attaches to the banjo bolt, and position the end of the bend in the small hole. Tighten the banjo bolt by hand to secure it in place before tightening it with your ratchet.
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    Screw the caliper bracket against the brake rotor. Position the bracket included with your caliper on the brake rotor in the same place as the old one so the bolt holes are on the backside. Feed the bolts through the holes on the bracket and hand-tighten them until you can’t rotate them anymore. Use your ratchet to tighten the bracket back in place so it doesn’t move or shift around.
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    1
    Slide the brake pads onto the front and back of the caliper bracket. You can use the same brake pads that you had before or you can buy new ones if they need to be replaced. Slide the ends of the brake pad into the slots on the top and bottom parts of the bracket until it contacts the brake rotor. Position the other brake pad on the backside of the rotor so it’s secure in the caliper bracket.
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    1
    Attach the new caliper to the bracket so it fits around the brake pads. Position the caliper so the side with the piston is on the backside of the brake rotor. Set the caliper over the brake pad assembly and slide the bolts through the holes on the top and bottom. Tighten the bolts by hand until you can’t spin them anymore before securing them with your ratchet.
    install brake caliper

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