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The Problem With Living In The 'Now'

I once had a shop manager who concentrated on the “now.” Every day was a mad dash to complete the jobs at hand. He wanted to know who was working on what, where the parts were and when everything would be done. He was constantly reacting to a customer’s...

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ASE G1: Drive Belt Inspection, Replacement

The ASE G1 Certification test contains 55 scored questions, plus 10 unscored ­research questions, that cover a range of skills and knowledge related to maintenance and light repairs in engine systems, automatic transmission/transaxle, manual drivetrain...

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Amateurs and Hacks Provide Job Security For Automotive Service Professionals

Two cars pull up in front of my shop. The drivers didn’t come in, but I heard the commotion from my office window. The boyfriend opens the hood of his girlfriend’s car. They both stare at the engine; she tells the boyfriend that she was supposed...

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Audi Engine Timing Chain Failure Due to Lack of Maintenance

If you’ve been working on cars as long as me, you’ll remember the first timing belt you did and thought, “what was wrong with timing chains?” It was only a year ago, when I was working on a 2005 Audi A6 Quattro with a 3.2L engine with a broken...

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Acura: Clunk Noise While Turning

Model: Acura RSX 2005-’06 Symptom: The front suspension makes a ­clunking noise while turning. Probable Cause: The front springs are moving on the spring seats. Corrective Action: Replace both front springs and do a four­-wheel alignment. Diagnosis:...

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Inside Import Car Collision Warning, Automatic Braking Systems

Anything that moves under its own power also has to stop, so brakes have been a safety feature on cars since day one. Over the years, technical innovations such as antilock brakes (ABS) have ­improved the ability to stop with minimal skidding on...

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Bendpak Breaks Ground On New Warehouse and Shipping Complex

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Pulling Codes: 7 Common Causes of Misfire Codes

A flashing check engine light and a P0301 to P0312 diagnostic trouble code (DTC) is a surefire indication that one or more cylinders are misfiring. Occasional misfires may pass unnoticed, but a steady misfire is hard to miss. The engine usually feels...

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Analyzing the Cylinder Pressure Waveform from a Running Engine, Part 3

By Vasyl Postolovskyi and Olle Gladso Contributing Writers and Instructors at Riverland Technical and Community College in Albert Lea, MN   In Part 1 of this Maximizing Tools series, we discussed an alternative approach to diagnosing an engine...

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‘Green’ Bullets: Tips for Servicing Hybrid Vehicles

Newsflash: Hybrids are here to stay. The oldest Toyota Prius models are now 14 years old and many other hybrids from other manufacturers are crossing the 100,000-mile mark every day. Here are a few of my Silver Bullets, — or in this case “Green...

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Legendary Spark Plugs: The Six Toughest Vintage Spark Plug Replacements

1. AMC Pacer: The Pacer was supposed to get a GM Wankel rotary engine. If this were the case, the four plugs would have been easy to access. But thanks to emissions problems, the Pacer would get the regular AMC straight six. This forced the engineers...

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Battery Service and Diagnosis

A good battery with an adequate charge is absolutely essential for reliable cold starting. A weak battery, or one that is rundown, may not deliver enough amps to crank the engine when temperatures plunge and the oil thickens. Cold weather can be hard...

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Home Brakes Twin-Piston Calipers: Are Two Pistons Better than One?

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generate more torque. More torque means more stopping power. Also, by using the floating caliper design instead of an opposing piston design, engineers are able to avoid wheel clearance issues and other robust design features of the floating caliper.

With a single-piston caliper, the footprint of pad is limited in some ways to the diameter of the piston. The diameter can only grow so large in relation to the rotor and brake pads. If the pad is too long, it flexes. When the pad flexes, it creates an uneven friction coupling on the rotor’s face. The uneven friction can create unwanted noise. If the flexing is sever enough, the friction material can separate from the backing plate. An example of this is the early Chrysler Neon. Also, there is a direct relationship between the diameter of the rotor and the diameter of the single piston caliper.

With dual- or twin-piston brake pads, the pads can be larger with even pressure distribution. A larger brake pad has several benefits. First, a larger pad will absorb more initial heat (less thermal shock). Second, a larger brake pad will have better wear characteristics and a longer life due to even pressure distribution. Third, a larger pad is able to absorb more unwanted noise and vibration because it is able to cover more of the rotor.

Another advantage is in the area of drag and fuel savings. With dual- or twin pistons, it is possible to have more aggressive piston seals that can pull back the pads more effectively after the driver removes his foot from the brake pedal.

SERVICE CONSIDERATIONS
Dual-piston calipers can be serviced in the same manner as single-piston calipers with a few exceptions.

  • Look for uneven pad wear. If the pads have tapered wear, it could mean a problem with the caliper. Tapered wear could mean that the slides are binding or that one piston could be exhort more force than the other, or both conditions could be present.

    The slides and bushings play a critical role on dual-piston calipers. If there is too much play, the caliper could rotate on the slides. This will cause uneven pad wear.

  • The pistons on dual-piston calipers may be difficult to retract. Both pistons must be pushed back at the same time and rate with special tools. If unequal force is used, it is possible to scrape the pistons against the bores. This can damage the finish and coatings on the pistons and bores. Also, it can damage the seals.

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Andrew Markel

Andrew Markel is an ASE Certified Technician and former service writer, and he brings this practical knowledge to the Brake & Front End team as editor.
  • anthony daurnhime

    yeah 2 is always better then 1

    • Danny

      Sure thing

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