Penetrants for disassembly
Brake system components are subjected to tremendous heat and can collect road salt, debris or other corrosive materials in the course of daily driving. Fasteners for calipers and caliper brackets are usually torqued to fairly high levels. The use of a quality penetrant at the start of brake service can ease and speed disassembly, preventing broken fasteners or rounded-off bolt heads.
Brake parts cleaners
Savvy technicians evaluate any system before disassembly to assess the condition of various components and look for other evidence of parts failure or unusual wear. This is only possible if the parts are clean enough to reveal the clues. The use of brake parts cleaner during reassembly helps avoid contamination that could compromise the effectiveness of new pads and calipers. Brake parts cleaners are typically offered in professional-strength aerosol cans, and in non-chlorinated form for environmentally sensitive geographic areas.
• Rust treatment/dissolver. Heavily rusted brake components may call for even stronger rust-busting chemicals. Purpose-blended rust treatments can help cut through heavy rust on caliper brackets and help prevent future accumulation of rust on components that are not subjected to high temperatures.
• Penetrants/lubricants for parking brake cables and mechanisms. Parking brake cables, levers and other components are not exercised regularly, making them more subject to rust and corrosion, which can render them less effective or inoperable. These components should be lubricated during every brake service.
There are many chemicals that can be used in reassembling brake systems and sub-systems that can make for a more thorough, long-lasting and reliable brake service.
• Caliper lubricant. The use of caliper lubricant is particularly important when servicing single-piston, sliding-caliper designs. Single-piston caliper halves must be able to slide freely against each other in order to apply equal braking force to both sides of the rotor, and the caliper halves must also be able to move freely on their pins, sleeves, bushings and other hardware. It’s best to choose a brake lubricant that can withstand the high temperatures of today’s braking systems and will not liquefy or wash out.
• Lube for drum brakes. Remember to properly lubricate the friction points where brake shoes contact backing plates, and also to clean and lubricate self-adjusters and related mechanisms.
• Anti-squeal compounds. Historically, brake noise has been a common source of brake service comebacks. This is especially true with replacement disc brake pads that are not fitted with anti-squeal shims. In these cases, the use of an elastomeric compound can dampen vibrations at the interface where the pad contacts the piston or caliper.
• Thread sealants. ABS-equipped vehicles, as well as those equipped with stability control systems, have brake hydraulic systems that operate under higher pressures than previous systems. These higher pressures increase the possibility of fluid leakage at joints and fittings. The use of a chemical thread sealant at junctions and banjo fittings can help reduce the chance of leakage. High quality thread sealants will be resistant to very high pressures and temperatures, and tolerant of both glycol-based and silicone brake fluids.
• Threadlockers. Chemical threadlockers can provide insurance against fasteners loosening due to changes in operating conditions, as well as vibration, rust, corrosion and other environmental factors that can affect the strength and torque retention of various fasteners within the brake system and elsewhere.
• Better electrical connections. With ABS sensors, electrical disc brake pad wear sensors and ride and traction control sensors being used in increasing numbers, technicians can assure the integrity and durability of electrical connections by using a high-quality dielectric grease that will keep moisture and contaminants out, and electrons in.
Courtesy of Permatex