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How to Fix a Brake Caliper on a 1990 Cadillac Seville

A burning smell coming from the brakes of a 1990 Cadillac Seville typically indicate problems with the brake caliper -- specifically, they may be "dragging" on the wheel. Loss of braking power can also point to the brake calipers' pistons being frozen. In both cases, the calipers should be replaced immediately to avoid potential injuring. You can rebuild a brake caliper in about an hour or so, making the total repair time for each wheel about two hours.

Tools Used: Automobile jack, Jack stand, Wheel chocks, Lug wrench, Turkey baster, Drain pan, Brake fluid, Brake hoses, Brake pads, Caliper rebuild kit, Air compressor, Wood block

Fix Brake Caliper

Open the engine compartment and depressurize the hydraulic accumulator for the brakes. Drain half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder using a turkey baster, and place it in the drain pan for later recycling. Place a set of wheel chocks behind the rear wheels of the car. Lift the Cadillac with an automobile jack.

Place a jack stand under the Seville near the jacking point. Raise the jack stand up to the frame. Remove the wheel from the Cadillac by loosening the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Place two of the lug nuts back on the wheel to hold the rotor in place. Loosen the caliper bolts with a socket and ratchet, and pull it out of the cradle.

Disconnect the brake hose from the caliper using a wrench. Disconnect the brake hose from the steel brake line using a wrench. Discard the brake hose. Move the caliper to the worktable and strip it by removing brake pads, shims, springs and pins.

Remove the caliper piston by placing a block of wood that is a little thicker than both brake pads combined behind the piston. On the back of the caliper housing is an opening. Place an air line on the opening and force the piston out with low-pressure air. Do this carefully, and make sure you are wearing your safety glasses.

Remove the seals from the caliper using a tool that will not scratch the surfaces. This can be a piece of wood or plastic, as long as it does not scratch. Install the new o-rings and caliper piston. Place the dust cover on the caliper. If the caliper has sufficient damage so that you cannot easily get it apart, you will need to replace it.

Place a new set of brake pads in the caliper. Place the caliper on the Cadillac's mounting cradle and secure it with the retaining bolts by tightening them with a socket and ratchet. Connect a new brake hose to the steel brake line, and tighten it with a wrench. Connect the brake hose to the caliper, and tighten it with a wrench.

Replace the wheel and tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench. Remove the jack stand from under the Seville. Lower the car to the ground and repeat the procedure on the other wheel. Add brake fluid to the master cylinder when the project is complete. Have a helper to pump the brakes and hold them while you open the bleeder valve to expel the air from the brake lines.

Tips & Warnings

Wear safety glasses to prevent eye injuries.

Do not reuse brake fluid that you have removed from the master cylinder or you will contaminate the system and cause possible brake failure.

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