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Brake calipers



John B wrote (with my responses inserted!)
I read your post regarding the calipers on the brakes. Sorry about this but I am only learning and need people like you who know what they are talking about because I am always a bit suspect about dealers and their advice. I want the non biased answers from guys like you.
====I blush! but thank you, other's opinion of my knowledge may be different !
========== What are the calipers and what do they do.
=======If you have disc brakes (large shiny steel discs behind the wheel) then
they are operated by 4 small hydraulic pistons - 2 either side of the disc
- which squeeze 2 fibre faced steel pads against the disc. These pistons
can't be seen as they are inside a large casting that sits at the rear
sector of the disc. Take the wheel off and you will see it and if you look
directly into the centre you will see the outside edge of the disc with the
fibre brake pad either side. All 4 pistons must squeeze at the same speed
and pressure otherwise you have unbalanced brakes. The thing that usually
impedes their efficiency is water. This gets in via 2 ways. First the outer
rubber seal at the end of the piston perishes or its retaining clip comes
off. Second, failure to flush brake fluid at least every 2 years (more
often if you are in a variable climate like me) will leave condensation in
the caliper. This not only rusts the piston's chrome surface but can also
boil when using the brakes and their efficiency drops off considerably
should we say ! I have mailed you off-list a picture of the caliper I
replaced just b4 I removed it - sorry if the download takes a while John.
==================The axel seal on the LHS has been a problem a few times also the( sorry about this but I dont know the name for it) the heavy icecream cone shaped thing with large ball bearings in it that fits in the axel on either side in the front, it has treads on the end of it. This had to be replaced twice. What would you pick one of these up for second hand.
====================What a lovely description for your constant velocity joints ! These are
often known as Birfields after - I believe- the first after-market
manufacturer of same. (They are about 10ins long and weigh about 2kg each,
right?) Usually they are only replaced every 5 years or so for those who
are mostly on the road. In rough country you might replace them every 2
years. If you go rock crawling in Colorado probably every trip out ! But
they need maintenance, though shoving grease through a plug in the top of
the housing as directed seems a little haphazard to most of us who care
about our cruisers. So, only use 4WD (if you can select it that is) when
you need it, like when you know your wheels will be slipping on visible ice
and snow, wet grass, mud, loose rocks. Don't ever use it when the road is
just wet. When they start to go you will hear a clicking sound towards
full-lock. You can put up with that for a while if you only occasionally
use 4WD. They can be reversed to the other side to prolong the evil day of
replacement. But frankly at 80 quid for a pattern part, its not really
worth the work involved. I would never ever fit second hand ones either.
The proper toy parts are horrifically expensive. But you can get them from
Milners or Japanese 4X4 (Brum auto parts). My current set from Japanese 4X4
have been in 21 months without any problem - well used this last week! -
and I am sure they will do another year yet even in my driving conditions.
If you have had them replaced them twice I would suggest that its been used
in 4WD when it should not have. If you have a 'permanent' 4WD system rather
than part-time, then I would get a serious mechanic to look at your
=====================Just thought you would like to know I live in the Irish Republic a little futher south then Ulster, thats why I have so much trouble getting a breakers that has one of these Cruisers, they are rare here, so I have to buy every thing from new.
======================My very sincere apologies John, I appreciate its an insult to a man of the
Republic. Perhaps I was on auto pilot as I used to spend quite a lot of
time in Ballymoney in Antrim. Please forgive me.
=============I hate you for having a good supply of parts.
==================And I am jealous that you have a recognised toy dealer network. In this
whole country we have 'agents' who have done a deal with toy dealers in
neighbouring Croatia. So to get new toy parts except brake pads and filters
is not a funny pastime. Toy should be ashamed of themselves that in
a country full of their product they are not interested in servicing them,
let alone make new sales. I am just fortunate that when the UN had 5000
vehicles here they were mostly driven by gentlemen seconded from hot
countries who were given a snow driving course in the UN car park and then
told to go forth and patrol in the great outdoors on their own. Hence a
huge breakers yard with large heaps of white painted steel. Most of the
vehicles suffering roof damage - as in rollover - but little else wrong
with them. In fact toy even make a whole replacement roof section with
pillars down to the waistline of the vehicle, such is the repair rate on UN
missions. Luckily my 80 had a light shunt to the front LHS and needed a new
valance and wing. It was not repaired by UN cos it was at the end of its
write-off period, so their official bodyshop used to buy them in lots of 40
vehicles at a time then refurb them and sell them off to the likes of me.
Mine cost equivalent of 4200 quid in 2001. Lucky old me. But why not have a
motoring holiday to the Adriatic and we can load you up with bits at
bargain prices - maybe a bulk deal for ELCO Julian ?
Finally, I suggest you immediately get a Haynes manual, not the best but
value for 15 quid. Buy direct from their website or via Amazon. You will
not find one in an auto parts store though.
Take care John
'92 HZJ80 ex UN surplus in Bosnia


Thanks Jon, Lal
Maybe we should change the subject matter from brake calipers to some thing else , we seem to have moved on a bi, this is great for me and the more that others join in the more we will all learn, or maybe its just me who needs to learn. I have a lot of catching up to do on you guys. I did get the pictures of the caliper, thenks Jon, now I know what it is and where it is. Jon you seem to have all the fun where you are, snow, mountains, valleys, wolves, etc. Are you sure your not leaving anything out, or just giving a sample to get me jelous. In Ireland its hard to find the craic your having even if it is your job. We have no pay and play sites, no green lanes, only rip off prices for all the 4x4 stuff. You are right about the brake hoses, they are the flexable ones that had to be replaced. It would seem that the more off road you do the more problems you get because of the wear and tear on the parts, is that true. Or in my case I have never been off road all I have to do is think about using it and BANG some thing else goes wrong. I really look after the Cruiser very well but I think the guy who had it before me did not give it the tender loving care it needed so because he saved money on it now I spend it.I should have seen this before I bought it. I was just taken with the fact that there was one for sale at a price I could afford and I had wanted one for so long. The tyres on it were remoulds and in bad shape the oil was very thin and black and he said that it had been out of use for 11/2 years, there was green moss on it in places. I thought great not used for a while means less milage , what a gobshite I was. From what I am learning if the oil was not replaced at once before it was started after the long rest it had it was doomed. The oil brakes down over time and moister gets in and the damage is done, unless you give it a chance by changing the oil, air, fuel filter as well. Hey is that why I got trouble with the injector pump because of the old Diesel in the fuel tank. Jesus I am starting to think for my self now, I will have to go and lie down for a while after that experience of having an idea about why why why why I have had so much trouble. Please tell me I could be right my brain cells need it. Keep all the ideas coming in please I would like another spark in the brain cell department. Lal on your post it says Colarado do you live in the States.
Sorry about some of the spelling.
John c



I've had to have two new front calipers in the last 12 months.

A piston was getting stuck periodically causing a pull to one side, especially when braking hard, to the extent that I couldn't hold it in a straight line... a bit scary on one or two occasions.

I know they can be rebuilt, but I went for new ones: =A3200 a shot (not badged OEM). The brakes are miles better now!
Been following the ABS thread as I have occasional brake pull to the left but no abs lights come on. I might have a stone caught in the caliper or something more serious...


Thanks. I=B9ll check this. Let you know...
On 5/7/05 14:56, "Christopher Bell" <[Email address removed]> wrote:
> Jeremy
> I've had to have two new front calipers in the last 12 months.
> A piston was getting stuck periodically causing a pull to one side, especially
> when braking hard, to the extent that I couldn't hold it in a straight line...
> a bit scary on one or two occasions.
> I know they can be rebuilt, but I went for new ones: =A3200 a shot (not badged
> OEM). The brakes are miles better now!
Jeremy Llewellyn-Jones
07831 458 793