Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Who needs brake hardware?

Fifty years after Saab began producing their model 93 (1956), I finally figured out the problem with the rear brakes on the 900 Turbo. After replacing the rotors and pads and re-adjusting the position of the caliper piston, I was surprised to hear a squeal and a scrunching noice. It would only do this when the brake pedal was pressed down 2/3 of the way. To make matters worse, the sound was very loud. So, you can imagine how self-conscious I felt each time I applied the brakes anywhere.

A neighbor friend and I looked at the problem last week and narrowed it down to the right, rear brakes. After tightening a loose caliper slide pin, the sound was gone! I took several laps around the parking lot across the street without a sound. We were sure the job was completed...until I took the car for a longer trip. Ugggh! After three blocks, the sound had returned. So, back to the drawing board I went. Buying a new caliper would cost over $100. I wasn't sure that would really solve the problem. So, I settled for purchasing new caliper slide pins at NAPA.

Yesterday evening, I installed the new slide pins, sanded down the edges of the pads, and applied synthetic grease to most everything I could think of (including a liberal amount under the caliper piston boot). But then I thought about the one part I had yet to replace—the brake hardware. Why would I buy new brake hardware when I already own what seems to be a perfectly usable set already? For this system, the brake hardware is made up of one spring clip. While the caliper slide pins hold the caliper to the inside of the rotor assembly, the spring clip keeps the outside section of the caliper in place.

It needed to be replaced but NAPA hade none in stock. The closest part was in Maine of all places. So, I broke down and tore apart the rear brakes on the red Saab. The spring clip was in slightly better shape after sitting for over a year. I'm glad that I did that. After road testing the car for 30 minutes, the noise is gone. Hurrah!

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