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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 08-28-2013, 02:38 PM   #1
Twichel04
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Ocala, Fl
Posts: 107
My Ride: 1999 323i
Odd sticking caliper issue.

Yes, I know it's been covered, and I did search, but this is a little odd...

Today I noticed a burning smell while driving with the windows down and a slight ''squeak squeak squeak'' through the parking lot. A brief inspection lead me to the right rear wheel... Hot to the touch, glazed rotor, etc. That combined with my drastic decline in fuel economy the last few days... it was all adding up.

Up on the lift, I confirmed my suspicion of a sticking caliper. Not totally frozen, I could still turn the wheel, but with some difficulty. I carefully drove home. Made some calls and found that the local CarQuest distribution center had a rebuilt genuine BMW part in stock. After some back and forth ''price matching'' I went to pick it up.

Got home, and got to work... I figured it would be a 30min job, 40 tops. Well new parts on, brakes bled.... caliper stuck! WTF??? So now I'm thinking it's something with the car. But how could that be? The brakes were not like this last week, and nothing has happened to the car to cause any such problems. After thinking about it for a while, despite the odds that the replacement caliper would be bad too, I gave the new caliper a once over.

The new one was actually stuck worse than the old one. I took it off and compressed the piston. Easy as pie. It felt like nothing was wrong. Put it back on and still sticking. I put the car in gear with the rear off of the ground, drivers side spins as it should, passenger has no movement. I very lightly tapped the caliper with a hammer and it instantly freed. Pressed the brakes, stuck, tap, free. Brake, stuck, tap, free.

So the new caliper really is bad. I put the old one back on, and same thing- Brake, stuck, tap, free... But here is the thing... I am tapping the caliper so lightly that I would have a hard time killing a lady bug. Seriously. What the hell is wrong with BOTH these calipers, that the force of the axle turning will not free them, but a love tap with a hammer instantly sets them free.

Waiting on a ride back to the parts store for another caliper. Will update later.
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Old 08-28-2013, 07:49 PM   #2
Twichel04
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Ocala, Fl
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My Ride: 1999 323i
Well, despite the odds, it turns out that the new one I got was indeed bad in the same way that my current one was. Got yet another caliper, and all is well.
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:03 AM   #3
heinlein0311
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Location: roanoke
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My Ride: dodge ram
I stumbled across your thread and I am having the same exact problem with my dodge ram. I put a new caliper on and still sticking a little but as soon as I tap the cylinder ever so slightly it frees up. Im getting another new one today and ill se if that helps...could be the brake hose to but I don't think so, I know they can collapse on the inside but that doesn't really explain why tapping on the caliper would free it up. Have you had any further problems after replacing your caliper the second time?
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Old 09-04-2013, 10:08 AM   #4
Twichel04
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Join Date: Aug 2013
Location: Ocala, Fl
Posts: 107
My Ride: 1999 323i
Nope. The second replacement one was fine, and has worked fine since. Though I keep checking it every day, just in case. I couldn't believe that the replacement one was actually worse than the original, lol. When I took the first new caliper back off, I took a good look inside with a flashlight and noticed that it was actually rusty on the inside. When I went back to CarQuest, I checked the second new one out before I left and it looked brand new on the inside. I am not sure what happened. Maybe one slipped through their quality control... maybe they don't know how to rebuild calipers... haha
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