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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 04-01-2013, 09:56 AM
Kathleenmohara Kathleenmohara is offline
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Mein Auto: 1999 328i
Front Brake Calipers sticking

My 1999 328i has about 89,000 on it. In December I had the front brakes replaced. Now (March) the car just started to shake on the highway and the dealer says it is "probably" the front brake calipers sticking/seizing (don't know the exact term).

Is there any possibility this was a result of the repair not being assembled back in place correctly? Or just something that wasn't broken enough yet to be noticed when the brakes were replaced?

Would like to hear anyone's experience or opinion on this before authorizing the repair.
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  #2  
Old 04-01-2013, 10:40 AM
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dc_wright dc_wright is online now
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If by "having the front brakes replaced" you mean new rotors and pads then it's possible they wouldn't have noticed sticky calipers if it was intermittent. It's also possible that if they didn't clean and lube the caliper guide bolts or replace them if they were worn or scored that this is the cause of your vibration. usually if you have a caliper piston sticking it's pretty evident because you'll feel a pull in the steering wheel and you'll smell hot brake smell. The guide bolts allow the caliper to float its position with respect to the rotor so that there just a small bit of clearance on either side. If the guide bolts aren't lubed or have wear marks the caliper may not float and center itself and you'll feel the slight contact with the rotor as vibration.
Cleaning and lubricating or replacing the guide bolts should have been part of a brake pad replacement. If they didn't do that then the fix should be on their nickel.
If it's a sticky caliper piston then its a coin toss. You can certainly argue they should have noticed it, but they can argue it wasn't doing it when they had it. I'd press that you relied on their expertise and they might cut you a break on caliper rebuild if it's necessary.
You may get some feedback from other forum members that's more extreme (threaten to sue, take them to court, etc.) but I've found taking a pragmatic approach usually gets you better results in the end.
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:50 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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more than likely its a sticky caliper...where the pistons that push the brake pads onto the rotors are not disengaging when you let off the brake pedal...If its vibrating badly, then a rotor has likely warped, or warps as it heats up then goes back to normal as it cools....

guide bolts as mentioned above could certainly be an issue...

Caliper rebuilds are seldom done these days...caliper replacements are usually done. the hardest part of a caliper rebuild would be finding a rebuild kit!.....

JP
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 07lilredwagon View Post

Caliper rebuilds are seldom done these days...caliper replacements are usually done. the hardest part of a caliper rebuild would be finding a rebuild kit!.....

JP
Nearly every parts source carries rebuild kits for E36 calipers and they are very easy to find. It's just an o-ring and a rubber boot. Properly cleaning and honing the caliper housing to make it ready for the kit is the real barrier and why most buy rebuilt calipers. If you don't have a caliper hone and have to buy one between it and the rebuild kit you'll spend as much as just getting a rebuilt caliper.
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Old 04-02-2013, 06:45 PM
07lilredwagon 07lilredwagon is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dc_wright View Post
Nearly every parts source carries rebuild kits for E36 calipers and they are very easy to find. It's just an o-ring and a rubber boot. Properly cleaning and honing the caliper housing to make it ready for the kit is the real barrier and why most buy rebuilt calipers. If you don't have a caliper hone and have to buy one between it and the rebuild kit you'll spend as much as just getting a rebuilt caliper.
good to know....and good point...

also, sometimes, there is a build up of corrosion or brake dust or both that adheres itself to the rim of the bore...right around those seals....I think this is usually what causes the sticking....If the bore is not rusty, or too corroded you can usually clean it up, polish the inside surfaces and it should work just fine with only new seals. If the pistons are corroded, or badly pitted, then its time to replace them.

I would say that if you have the luxury of taking the caliper apart and seeing what is worn or corroded or if its only gunked up....well that would be a start....

I have had good success with cleaning and polishing the parts and replacing the seals. (no real pitting, no real rust was present with the success examples)

JP
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Old 04-02-2013, 07:07 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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Same experience here as JP mentioned above.
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