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Mk1 Binding Front Brake - Worth Checking Routinely For Hot Brakes


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#1 aspire_helen

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Posted 29 March 2018 - 10:57 PM

I recommend owners of older C5s occasionally check the temperature of their front wheels after a drive. A warm (or very hot!) wheel will indicate a binding brake which is not otherwise apparent - until the pads catch fire!.

 

A few months ago, when I stopped, the front right brakes were smoking, almost on fire. There were no indications whilst driving, and using cruise control may have disguised any sluggishness.  The pads actually looked ok, so I removed the caliper, generally de-rusted the pad support and re-lubed the guide pins. For the following weeks I only drove short journeys and checked for a hot wheel after every one. Sometimes the right wheel was warmer than the left wheel and other times the same - so I had an intermittent problem.  Indeed, I now think that this problem may have been occurring for a long time, and may have caused the previous pads to partially delaminate through unnoticeable regular over-heating.

 

So, the next focus was a possible sticking piston, and I note Coastline Taxis advice on sticking handbrake lever arm on the caliper.  However, I decided not to mess around anymore and fitted a new caliper. A reconditioned Bosch caliper from Mister Auto took over a week to arrive but at a cost of around £75-80 (after refund of deposit on return of old caliper) it was a quick and best fix. I am still monitoring the wheel temperature just in case the new caliper has merely disguised another cause.

 

I dismantled the caliper before returning it to Mister Auto. It could have been sticking; there was no rust on the piston but the walls had numerous black deposits which rubbed off with solvent, presumably rubber from the fluid seal.  The seal itself was not leaking.  If the left caliper were to exhibit the same binding in the future I might just renew the fluid seal first before replacing the caliper.  Just a note on removing the piston if the caliper has been disconnected from the brake hose.  Simply operating the handbrake lever numerous times will extend the piston most of the way (watch out for fluid squirting from the hose hole). When it stops extending, it means the piston has reached the end of its threaded worm-screw and is now free to be removed.  Then its just a question of pulling out the piston whilst twisting. Make sure the dust seal remains stuck to the caliper body.

 

Another factor on the 2.2Hdi is the air deflectors which are prone to rust, fatigue and failure. Both mine departed several years ago. Now, the metal brackets are no longer available and I have yet to find another C5 with them still intact.


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#2 paul.h

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Posted 07 April 2018 - 03:06 PM

The brake deflector brackets are the same parts (482810 left and 482811 right) on the C5 to 2008 model so you could have a look at cars not as old as yours for the bits.



#3 aspire_helen

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Posted 12 April 2018 - 05:39 AM

Thanks Paul

They are the same parts and are "NFP" (No Further Production), and hence unavailable to order. Citroen UK refused to check if there were any "in the system" anywhere. The plastic deflectors are available with up to a month's lead in. I wonder how many other parts are becoming NFP??

H


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#4 HDI Hatch

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 12:12 PM

Sticking due to corrosion of the handbrake mechanism in the front caliper has been a pain on our C5 mk1. A new caliper was the cure. Both front wheels done. The corroded rears have been renewed as well.


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#5 Smerflet

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Posted 23 March 2019 - 10:36 PM

In my experience, sticking of the handbrake lever in the caliper can be relieved by liberal application of WD40 and repeated operation with the cable removed using, for example, a short length of tube to go over the lever. It may seize again after a few months but sometimes it does 'get the message' and stay free. 

 

However, the return spring on the caliper is not particularly strong and if your handbrake cable itself is failing - usually at the transition from flexible cable to (dreaded) steel tube - then the handbrake may not fully release. I've known both a sticking lever and a failing cable to both be present on one side of a C5. So, if your brakes are binding, both these areas may require attention.

 

*Warning* read other posts relating to changing C5 handbrake cables before attempting this apparently simple task!! In short, it is essential that you cut the nipples from the cable at the handbrake end before you withdraw the old cable!! If you don't, the nipple will almost certainly jam in the steel tube and these too will then require replacement which, without a vehicle lift, is another Citroen 'job from hell' if you tackle it on ramps or axle stands. Again, see other postings by me and others before starting this job.


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