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Old 05-06-2008, 08:13 PM   #1
mk43
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Default Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

(Skip this paragraph if you don't care for the background/rant)
After the car works again, I'm never touching another damn thing on the car as long as it runs. Did a little preventative maintenance - driver side axle had a torn boot, so I replaced it before it got bad, had a hell of a time getting the right axle, then getting a wheel bearing pressed). Somehow in this my front brakes almost quit working, I'm guessing they need to be bled. I start with the right rear, and the bleeder snaps off as hard as I try to not snap it. An EZ-out won't take it out (unless maybe I take the whole knuckle out and work on it on a bench), so I have to replace the wheel cylinder. I take the drum off, the liner on the shoe falls right off. I knew they had to be replaced anyway. I can't get the damn c-clip off the e-brake cable, and the wheel cylinder won't come out.

To get a better angle on the wheel cylinder bolts (and because it has to come off anyway) I try to take the brake line off, same deal. They're so rusted from being in Michigan for over a decade and a half that the 10mm will no longer fit, but anything that does fit on it will round it off.

Anyone else have a similar time dealing with rear drums that haven't been touched for the life of the car? What did you do? Any suggestions? If I go back out there today I'm going to smash the car with a floor jack.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:17 PM   #2
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

thats why ur supossed to not let it rust in the first place. try using some vice grips and pb plaster or wd 40, whatever u got.
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Old 05-06-2008, 08:33 PM   #3
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

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Originally Posted by banditkaine View Post
thats why ur supossed to not let it rust in the first place.
And you suggest that the REST of us, who DON'T live in places like Miami, do this HOW, exactly?

BTW, WD40 will do NOTHING for rusted fasteners, etc. It's a lubricant, not a penetrant. The good stuff, as you said, is PB Blaster, and the important thing is to assess the situation BEFORE putting a wrench on a single hex head, and anointing whatever looks like it might be a problem FIRST.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:00 PM   #4
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

It's been soaking in Seafoam Deep Creep for two or three days now. And thanks for the suggestion about not letting it rust, but I live in MICHIGAN and the car wasn't mine for about fifteen years of its life. Not a whole lot I could have done there. I wish cars could hold up around here the way they do down there, but that's just not the case at all.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:16 PM   #5
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

All I can say is good luck, and I feel for you. After replacing the cylinders, hardware, and shoes on my cars's rear brakes 2-3 years ago, I made the same oath ("never again").
It may be time to invest in some bolt extracters if vise grips won't cut it.
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Old 05-06-2008, 10:44 PM   #6
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

Just take a deep breath and realize that northern cars will rust like this. Chances are even if you do get the brake line fitting to turn the line will be rusted to it and you'll twist/snap the line too.

When I take stuff apart like this and replace it with new I usually try to throw some grease on everything (obviously not on the shoes ) like fittings and what not after it is back together (my own version of a rust barrier). It probably doesn't do a damn bit of good, but it makes me feel better about myself.

If you think the brakes are bad try doing some suspension work. Nothing more fun than bolts that are completely frozen in suspension bushing sleeves.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:07 PM   #7
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

Buy the cheap rubberized undercoating in a spray can. It will keep the parts from rusting.
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Old 05-06-2008, 11:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

If you didn't have the system opened, there was no reason at all to bleed the brakes. It's a closed system. If you didn't open it, bleeding the brakes isn't going to help, and as you learned the hard way, is only going to cause you more problems. So you had the front end apart, then you put it back together and had problems with the front brakes? Sounds to me like your caliper is installed incorrectly and probably pinched off the hose. It isn't the car's fault or the weather's fault, but poor diagnostics that caused this problem.
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Old 05-07-2008, 07:09 AM   #9
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by ringed1 View Post
All I can say is good luck, and I feel for you. After replacing the cylinders, hardware, and shoes on my cars's rear brakes 2-3 years ago, I made the same oath ("never again").
It may be time to invest in some bolt extracters if vise grips won't cut it.
I have bolt extractors, but can't really fit them in the rear wheel well. I might have to bite the bullet and yank out the whole knuckle back there so I can get a better angle on it, but then the alignment will end up a little goofed in the back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KevinVarnes View Post
Just take a deep breath and realize that northern cars will rust like this. Chances are even if you do get the brake line fitting to turn the line will be rusted to it and you'll twist/snap the line too.

When I take stuff apart like this and replace it with new I usually try to throw some grease on everything (obviously not on the shoes ) like fittings and what not after it is back together (my own version of a rust barrier). It probably doesn't do a damn bit of good, but it makes me feel better about myself.

If you think the brakes are bad try doing some suspension work. Nothing more fun than bolts that are completely frozen in suspension bushing sleeves.
Yeah I was sort of expecting that the line might end up getting replaced too. I can see how horribly frozen everything is. I'm really close to going ahead and doing a rear disc swap since everything on the back is toast anyway, but not if the guy at the junkyard wants $50 a side. That's before pads, rotors, e-brake cables, and the possibility of having to replace a caliper or two.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Squareback View Post
If you didn't have the system opened, there was no reason at all to bleed the brakes. It's a closed system. If you didn't open it, bleeding the brakes isn't going to help, and as you learned the hard way, is only going to cause you more problems. So you had the front end apart, then you put it back together and had problems with the front brakes? Sounds to me like your caliper is installed incorrectly and probably pinched off the hose. It isn't the car's fault or the weather's fault, but poor diagnostics that caused this problem.
The rear brakes were about dead anyway. The friction material fell off the shoe and the braking on the passenger side rear had become 50% metal on metal, which was scoring the drum.

The plan was to bleed the brakes and, if the problem persisted, inspect/replace lines up front. If a line did at some point get pinched (which would not have been during reinstallation), then it would have to be replaced and at that point the brakes would have to be bled anyway.

I asked for any suggestions or experience with rusty rear brakes on a Saturn, not for you to come into this thread and be a wise-ass. I realize you are knowledgeable when it comes to Saturns and I've seen some of your more helpful responses, but I fail to see any worthwhile information or response to the question itself in what you wrote.
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Old 05-07-2008, 09:55 AM   #10
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

I suggest finding a six point socket that is slightly smaller than the bolt. Get the largest hammer that will fit in the wheel well, and beat the socket onto the bolt. I have had a lot of success with this method (in general, not on brakes)
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Old 05-07-2008, 10:10 AM   #11
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

I feel for you. I spent 30 winters in Ohio, 12 of them driving. And I don't miss sacrificing cars to the salt gods at all. That is one of the few things I like about the desert southwest, my Saturn looks like new, no rust problems.

Vise grips, small grinder, PB blaster, Liquid Wrench, hammer, chisel, etc.
You might end up just grinding all of the bolt heads off and installing new wheel cylinders and brake lines. Scrap the old stuff and install new. The last resort.
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Old 05-07-2008, 04:24 PM   #12
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by mk43 View Post
The rear brakes were about dead anyway. The friction material fell off the shoe and the braking on the passenger side rear had become 50% metal on metal, which was scoring the drum.

The plan was to bleed the brakes and, if the problem persisted, inspect/replace lines up front. If a line did at some point get pinched (which would not have been during reinstallation), then it would have to be replaced and at that point the brakes would have to be bled anyway.

I asked for any suggestions or experience with rusty rear brakes on a Saturn, not for you to come into this thread and be a wise-ass. I realize you are knowledgeable when it comes to Saturns and I've seen some of your more helpful responses, but I fail to see any worthwhile information or response to the question itself in what you wrote.
Squareback can be a wise-@ss when he hasn't had his daily MMO soak yet, but he's right about the bleeding. Even if your pads and/or shoes were down to 100% metal on metal, there could not (well, should not) have been any introduction of air into the hydraulics. Always replace friction parts, clean and adjust, lubricate "floaters" (e.g. disc caliper pins), resurface or replace drums/rotors, etc., THEN test, BEFORE opening up the hydraulics. The idea that you need to bleed the brakes any time you service them is beyond myth, it's dangerous advice that leads, well, right to where you are now. No one means to be a wise-@ss (well, maybe Squareback does), but lesson learned, I guess. Squareback's reply was certainly more relevant than the "don't let it rust in the first place" from post #2 in Disneyland.
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Old 05-07-2008, 11:00 PM   #13
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

Quote:
Originally Posted by madpogue View Post
Squareback can be a wise-@ss when he hasn't had his daily MMO soak yet, but he's right about the bleeding. Even if your pads and/or shoes were down to 100% metal on metal, there could not (well, should not) have been any introduction of air into the hydraulics. Always replace friction parts, clean and adjust, lubricate "floaters" (e.g. disc caliper pins), resurface or replace drums/rotors, etc., THEN test, BEFORE opening up the hydraulics. The idea that you need to bleed the brakes any time you service them is beyond myth, it's dangerous advice that leads, well, right to where you are now. No one means to be a wise-@ss (well, maybe Squareback does), but lesson learned, I guess. Squareback's reply was certainly more relevant than the "don't let it rust in the first place" from post #2 in Disneyland.
Yeah but like I said, if the line up front got pinched, the brakes would have to be bled anyway, so there was no avoiding it.
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Old 05-08-2008, 02:11 AM   #14
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

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Yeah but like I said, if the line up front got pinched, the brakes would have to be bled anyway, so there was no avoiding it.
"Like you said"? Actually, Squareback was the first one to mention anything about pinching, and he was probably referring to the flex-line on the front caliper, from it being "flipped" and looping the wrong way. Fix would be (if it were the case) to remove the caliper and "flip" it back, in order to make the flex section loop the right way. Still no introduction of air.
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Old 05-08-2008, 07:02 AM   #15
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Default Re: Rusty Ass Rear Brakes

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"Like you said"? Actually, Squareback was the first one to mention anything about pinching, and he was probably referring to the flex-line on the front caliper, from it being "flipped" and looping the wrong way. Fix would be (if it were the case) to remove the caliper and "flip" it back, in order to make the flex section loop the right way. Still no introduction of air.
Sorry for the misunderstanding, I had mentioned before about having to bleed the system if I replace the line in the front, and I thought you were referring to a metal piece being pinched. Before Squareback said anything, I had considered the possibility of a line being screwed up in the front, but didn't post anything about it. I talked to my dad about it because he was aware of the little situation with that line. Didn't mention it here because it's less of a problem right now. The outer rubber protective hose was rubbing on the inside of the tire, so I was trying out holding it back with a ziptie, and when the brakes were goofy (which may or may not have been from the ziptie) I clipped it off, but they didn't get any better.

Now what I've been wondering is if there is a metal line inside the rubber hose? Something that could get pinched off and not spring back? And as for having the caliper flipped, would that create a visually obvious kink, or would it be a kink in the small hose that's hidden inside the larger one? I'll look into it this afternoon.
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