Chevrolet Malibu Forums banner

1 - 20 of 26 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I'm worried about this. I like my Malibu and I'm not ready to replace it yet. I had another car that would heat up the front brakes, that I could only fix by replacing the car. Another car had the front wheel catch on fire. Don't remember what we did to fix that one. Neither were Chevys.

This is a base Malibu with drum rears and no ABS.

My front pads were worn down to steel. The new pad were thick enough that the caliper had to be fully retracted as far as it could go to fit over the new pads. It took a lot of pressure from a vicegrip type welding clamp to retract the caliper and with pressure on it it retracted too slow to see it move, but it did finally fully retract. Put it together and did about a 6 mile test drive and the left front wheel wheel was smoking. This was not the normal smell of new pads braking in. The thing was near the point where it could burst into flame. The whole steel wheel was hot enough to steam water as it was sprayed on it.

I took it apart to check to see if the pads were somehow binding and saw no problem. The pins the caliper slides on are not sticking. Did another test drive, this time using the brakes as minimally as possible and this time I got home without them heating up. I thought maybe it's okay.

Next day we did a longer drive to get groceries, maybe 16 miles, and we could smell the brakes heating up. We got home with near flames again.

I just installed 2 new calipers and the brakes are still heating up. The new calipers have the complete new mounting bracket and new slider pins. After about 6 miles, using an infrared thermometer, The left front wheel & hub was 238f degrees, the right was 120 something. Used a water hose to cool it again. If the wheel is 238 degrees imagine how hot the brake parts are.

I previously replaced the front pads at 77497, pads & rotors at 117768 with no problem, now at 151000. The last set of pads lasted 33000 miles. I never any dragging or heating before. The left wheels pads were a little more warn than the right as it was the only one down to steel. Both sides pads were pretty much used up. We didn't drive much with steel on steel so I think the rotor damage is minimal.

The calipers did seem difficult to retract. the calipers should have been the problem.
I know bad hoses can cause this, but replacing hoses has never solved anything for me before. Could it be that the new pads are just too thick?

The car can not be used like this. 20 miles and I'd have a fire.
 

·
Administrator
2011 Malibu LTZ 3.6L V6 Red Jewel Tintcoat
Joined
·
18,242 Posts
Things that come to my mind, in no particular order of severity:
  • How old is the brake fluid? If it has any moisture or dissolved metals, that could be making things worse.
  • Have the bleeders been exercised? There may be something in the caliper that could be removed with the use of the bleeder.
  • Do the brakes feel spongy in any way? There may be air in one or more lines.
  • Are there little nibs on the back of the pads? They may not be inserted into a hole or slot fully, or may be the wrong size.
  • Were the calipers cleaned, especially where the pads and pistons meet? Any excess material could be an issue.
It's not impossible that the pads are too thick. At the store, ask to see 2 or more brands. Use a caliper to measure the overall thickness, including the metal plate.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
DrivenDaily has made some good points that should be considered but do not discount the fact that the brake hose could be deteriorated on the inside and preventing the reverse flow of brake fluid back to the master cylinder allowing the caliper piston to retract. I have seen it first hand. Replacement of the hose requires bleeding of the that brake line. Good luck.

edit: The flexible line is inexpensive. If you are going to change it I suggest spraying the connections/fittings at both ends of the line with penetrating oil the day before. Be careful when undoing the line. You do not want to twist or deform any hardware.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #4
Calipers are new. Actually I have only installed one so far so the left side has new caliper and the right just has new pads. I bled the brakes for the one new caliper. The brake fluid looks fairly clear but the only fresh is the little bit I topped off.
Brakes are not spongy and do stop the car well.
Parts were from Amazon so I can't take the pads back to compare. I'm gonna measure the pad thickness the next time I work on it.

I ordered new hoses and another set of pads from Amazon. I found some cheap enough. I can compare the pads. If the makes it to 180k It will need them again, so it won't be a bad thing to have spares. Pads were only $14.36.
I got 2 other cars to drive, and retired, so I can wait for shipped parts.

There was one other thing. I started to install the wrong side caliper. Saw my mistake. I removed the caliper only, leaving the new bracket in place. Than put the correct side caliper on. The brackets look the same. Everything fit. Now I see different part numbers for the left & right bracket. I'm gonna switch the brackets. The other side is not installed yet. I don't think this is the cause of the problem, but if there are different part numbers they need to be on the correct side. I'll do that today. I'll let you know what I find. Maybe something is interfering with something.

Another thing that came out of the bracket fiasco. The new caliper/ bracket assemblies were sent with the caliper to bracket bolts not tightened. I never would have checked that if I hadn't swapped a caliper off the bracket.

Just took my minivan for groceries & gas. About 12 miles of gentle driving, several stops at intersections, with a couple 20 minute stops. Can't check the wheel temp with the wheel covers on, but the lug nuts are too hot to touch for more than a second or two. The van did a 5200 mile road trip last fall, but it spends a lot of time sitting unless we have a special need for it. I don't know what normal is. Still the Malibu's wheel is getting to a temperature that leaves no doubt that it's too hot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Okay, correct bracket is swapped in. There's one little nub cast into the brackets that's different on each side. I couldn't see where it's in contact with anything. I inspected the caliper seal to see if it looked burnt. Did a short test drive. Left side was 20 or 30 degrees hotter than the right. I don't want to drive it far enough to let get extremely hot. I gave the brake hose connection and attachments a spray of penetrating oil, on the side that i'm working on.

I'll do some short trips with it until the new parts get here, in case something just needs to wear in.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #6
New hose is on the left side. The side that been giving me trouble heating up. When I took things apart before not much fluid came out of the caliper end of the hose. Fluid dripped out of the new hose and out of the open bleeder screw. All this suggests the old hose was restricted. With the one man brake bleeder thingy on it the bubbles and fluid flowed out by gravity. I gave the peddle a few pumps to make sure.
After my 6 mile test drive the front wheels were near equal temperature, like 125f to 130f degrees. No burning smell. My infrared thermometer is not very precise.
I gotta drive further before I can say it's fixed. The right side still has the old caliper & hose. I might leave it alone. I was lucky to get that hose off without breaking something. I had to use some heat on the brake line to hose connection.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
Arent these calipers the screw type? Meaning you wreck them if you try and compress them? Not 100 % sure though. If they are thougn and you did squash them with vise grips..... probably ruined them.

If not next time open the bleeder screw when compressing them
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #8
Don't know nothin about screw type calipers. Anyway the new calipers installed did not need retracting and the new caliper did not fix the problem.
Now have new pads, calipers & hoses on both sides. Drove about 40 miles today. Left side is still warmer than the right but it's not smokin hot. Maybe it's fixed. I'm just gonna drive for a while and see what happens. I believe the left hose was restricted cus it did not drip fluid when disconnected from the caliper. New hoses did drip. If it's still not fixed, I don't know what else to do. Maybe could bleed the lines again in case there's still some air in it.
Found a bad boot on the right inner tie rod but that's another project
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
Also to let you know there are different sizes too..... when I did all my brakes recently..... pads rotars calipers ALL required my VIN number To check which parts were needed. Possible you have the wrong ones....or a combo of right and wrong
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
Screw type calipers are REAR only used for parking brake.
Equal temps side to side and a firm pedal I'd say your good to go.
Any time a caliper needs replacement the hose should be done also, like RA says don't put good parts in a bad neighborhood.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Darthz

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #11
I've driven the car on a couple trips that would have been enough to get the excessive heating. About 70 miles one day. Unfortunately I had places to go and things to do and I forgot to check the wheel temperature when I stopped. But when it was hot before, it was so hot that you knew, from sight, sound & smell, even if you weren't looking. I checked with the IR thermometer about an hour after stopping and the wheels were just a little warmer than ambient. I think it's fixed.

Now my lawn tractor has quit. Had to tow it out of the middle of the yard with a long rope attached to the car. The mood to work on it has not come yet.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5 Posts
Arent these calipers the screw type? Meaning you wreck them if you try and compress them? Not 100 % sure though. If they are thougn and you did squash them with vise grips..... probably ruined them.

If not next time open the bleeder screw when compressing them
Good advice on opening the bleeder screw when compressing the caliper piston . The ABS system doesn't take well to the old nasty fluid from the caliper bore being forced into it . Before ABS it wasn't such a big deal but now it is . The price of ABS components are high , crack the bleeder screw and save yourself a potential repair .
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #13
I have 2 vehicles from 2005 that do not have ABS, this Malibu and a Chrysler minivan, but the advise about cracking the bleeder screw is taken. I did replace pads on the front of our 2001 Impala, which does have ABS, once. I did not open the bleeder screw on that one. The Impala doesn't see a lot of use, since we're both retired, and only has 72000 miles, so it's only had one brake service.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
If changing a caliper let the old fluid drip out so fresh fluid will flush through. ABS pump will never have a issue.
DO NOT let the reservoir run dry, air will get into the ABS pump and a high level scan tool will be needed to cycle the pump to purge out the air.
Same applies on a pad / rotor change, put a small hose on the bleeder and let the old fluid gravity drip out, no touchy brake pedal, while working on it.
Since I've been doing this I have not had any caliper or master cylinder issues on my fleet.
 
  • Like
Reactions: DrivenDaily

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #15
Front brakes are ok. Was leaving for a grocery run and the red brake fault light came on. Brake fluid is leaking at right rear wheel. I've owned the car since about 44k miles. Now at 155k. Two front brake pad changes ago I inspected the rear drums and they were still good enough. Had to use heat to get the drums off that time. Haven't checked them since. I think the rear shoes are original equipment still. I did hear some grinding back there recently. Could the brake shoes wear enough to let a cylinder cup push out? I'll jack it up and pull a wheel tomorrow and see whats going on.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
2,099 Posts
I doubt the shoes have worn enough to allow the piston in the wheel cylinder to over travel and push out the brake cup. It just wouldn't be designed that way. The wheel cylinders are probably just simply worn and the seals have aged.

Your car is almost 16 years old and you believe you have the original rear brakes? Give it a break [pun intended], replace the wheel cylinders and all other brake hardware. Be careful when undoing the brake lines as they may be brittle, rusted and/or easily twisted and damaged. Apply penetrating oil to every accessible fastener a day or two before you do this job.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
514 Posts
Wow you have drums on the rear.? Agreed its ridiculous to expect more out of your brakes. Anotyer thing i wouldbe warry of is your backing plates that hold the wheel cylinder. If you were loosing brake fluid..... or have you noticed the rears locking up easilly. .... the backing plates wear out....and allow the wheel cylinder to kinda kick out sideways a little... causeing the afformentioned symptoms
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #18 (Edited)
New brake shoes, purchased July of 2015, are still in the box. That must have been when I inspected the rear brakes and decided to wait.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
94 Posts
Discussion Starter #19
It looks like it's leaking where the metal hose end attaches to the wheel cylinder. I think the metal hose end is rusted. If I can just replace the hose, then I don't even have to pull a drum. Removing a plastic inner fender provides good access to the hose without getting under the car. the connections are soaking in penetrating oil.
I know I should rebuild the rear brakes but my enthusiasm is with the 2004 Trailblazer I just bought. It's mostly rust free and I only paid $1250 for it. I'm attempting to rebuild the front suspension. It's RWD so front end work is a little easier. I didn't want a 4WD Trailblazer because of the silly idea of an axle going through the engine oil pan.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
1,673 Posts
Brake lines do rust out.
Getting old line out of the wheel cylinder may be a issue due to rust so be prepared to replacing not only the lines but hoses and wheel cylinders. Basically your going to be working backwards from the leak until you can get stuff apart. Don't forget to see if you can open the bleeders on the wheel cylinders to bleed the system even if line disconnects from it.
Mucho experience with replacing rusted brake lines.
 
1 - 20 of 26 Posts
Top