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Floating Caliper Pins

2019-06-28

As we mentioned before, "floating" calipers slide on guide pins from side to side over the brake rotor. As caliper pistons move outward, the inboard pad contacts the rotor first, causing the caliper to slide over until the outer pad makes contact with the rotor. When the brakes are released, the floating caliper self-centers itself over the middle of the rotor. Your vehicle owner manual may tell you whether your disc brake calipers are fixed or floating - but if not, a quick call to the manufacturer's headquarters should provide an answer.


If you do have floating calipers, it's important to inspect the slides, pins, and rubber bushings that are integral to their operation. The pins are subject to the same corrosion concerns as the pistons. Note that these items should be cleaned and "greased" periodically with brake lubricant paste, and they should be replaced whenever new calipers are installed. Usually, a new caliper includes such pieces.


A common failure with floating calipers is "stuck" guide pins which prevent the sliding portion of the caliper from moving. This leads to either a brake that won't apply, or a brake that is always applied. 

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