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'99 STS rear brake nightmare -help!

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Well, the rear brakes worked just fine, but I thought with 60K on the original brakes, I'd replace the rotors and pads. Boy, do I wish I had just kept on driving!

It's kinda rusted back there...and the caliper bolt head was shot, so I had to vise-grip it for removal, then the boot got torn by the vise-grips, then the brake sensor disintegrated when I carefully tried to remove it, all of which now has to be replaced.

But the worst part...how to retract the piston for the new pads? The FSM says to remove the E-brake cable and push the piston in, but the cable is rusted, and I'm afraid I'll get into more trouble, so I left the cable in. The piston won't budge. Do I have to turn the caliper piston or what? If I do, won't the twisting wreck the boot? It sounds like more trouble...and I'm only on the first side! Never did brakes with this setup before. Thanks in advance for help!

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Thanks Jim, do I have to worry about the boot getting ripped when I turn it? And, does the e-brake cable have to be removed for any reason? The way this works baffles me.

The boot will survive if you don't rush the job. Cleaning the caliper with Brake Kleen followed with an application of liquid detergent would improve your chances.

I do not remove the park brake cable. Just remove the one bolt and the caliper will rotate up and clear of the rotor. And since you are replacing rotors you will be removing the caliper bracket anyway.

The rear caliper piston cannot be allowed to retract under pressure; the park brake would not hold if the caliper could be pushed back into the caliper bore when the inboard pad is forced against the rotor by the park brake cable.

You will wish you had three hands, but it is doable. And the second side will be sooooo much easier. :D


Drive your car.

Use your cell phone.


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Buy a tool called a "brake cube" while you're at the auto parts store. It will snap onto a 3/8" drive extension so you can use a ratchet to turn in the piston. With that tool you greatly lower the risk of damaging the dust boot.

You'll need to go to the dealer for a new caliper mounting bolt and possibly the small boot that is around the mounting bolt.

'93 Fleetwood Brougham
'05 Deville
'04 Deville
2013 Silverado Z71

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Thanks guys. I bought the brake cube, and the piston retracted just fine. I cleaned the boot with brake cleaner, then Fantastik just to remove any water soluble stuff that might be left. I turned it while still wet, hoping the water would keep the piston from binding on the boot.

No one had all the parts, so they're on order and I should be able to button up this side tomorrow...we'll see.

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