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Thorough Brake Inspections Are Comeback Preventers And Profit Builders

How many times have you seen a hand-painted sign in a shop window that advertised a menu-priced brake pad replacement for “$XX.95 per axle.” Of course, a menu-priced brake replacement would be good if a simple brake pad replacement would cure all...

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Automotive Pet Peeves 2: Reader Feedback Is Overwhelming

How many auto repair pet peeves are out there? Well, enough of them that one article wouldn’t hold them all. I’ve received so many emails, texts and phone calls about my article in the February issue that I thought: why not put everyone’s pet peeve...

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Air Filter Show & Tell: Seeing Is Believing

Air filters are normal wear items that ­require regular checks and ­replacement. Their role is to trap dirt particles that can cause damage to engine cylinders, walls, pistons and piston rings. In fuel-injected vehicles, the air filter also plays...

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ZF 8-Speed Transmission Replacement

The ZF 8HP transmission made its debut in 2009, and since its introduction, has been one of the top choices for international car manufacturers. BMW, one of ZF’s largest customers, uses the 8HP across its entire product portfolio. BMWs featuring...

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Shop Folds After Shoddy Brake Work Endangers Woman

A Florida woman was thankful to walk away without injury after her vehicle’s brakes went out for the second time in as many months due to negligence on the part of her local repair shop, ABC Action News reported. Shelly Darling of Zephyr Hills, FL,...

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Air Ride Diagnostics: Reservoirs and Compressors

Just about every Asian and European luxury import nameplate manufacturer has a 7- to 10-year-old vehicle on the road with an air-ride suspension at all four corners. Chances are one of these vehicles will be coming to your shop sooner rather than later. Regardless...

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Can Cordless Power Tools Replace Pneumatic Tools?

I recently attended Milwaukee Tool’s annual media tool preview event where they unveiled over 80 new products that will be available later this year and early next year. Milwaukee Tool is known primarily as a leading supplier of professional-grade power...

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OTC's Technician Challenge Tour Will Award Ultimate Diagnostics for Life

The OTC Technician Challenge is going on tour with dates in six states, showcasing the Encore with new Bravo 2.0 software. Technicians nationwide will compete to win one of three Ultimate Diagnostics for Life packages. Ultimate Diagnostics for Life winners...

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New Productivity Features Added To Coverage In Snap-on Software Upgrade 15.2

Snap-on has increased its vehicle coverage in the new Software Upgrade 15.2 for the Auto-ID, One-Touch Full Vehicle Code Scan and the One-Touch Code Clear features to provide effective, accurate and fast diagnostics out of the box and miles down the road. The...

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BMW Recognized for Engine-Building Excellence

BMW Group’s engine-building prowess was recognized with four wins at the latest International Engine of the Year Awards. The drive unit in the BMW i8 earned two class wins as well as being declared overall winner, with a further class win being garnered...

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Diagnostic Dilemma: The Case of the Missing Code

When doing mobile diagnostic work, no-code stalling complaints are a major part of your agenda. In most cases, the client shop is simply too busy to duplicate the failure or, in some cases, a long test drive will yield nothing in the way of useful...

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Secondary Ignition: The Art of Spark

What is a coil? From the beginning of the internal combustion engine, several different ignition systems have been used to create a high-energy spark. The most popular system, and the one that’s in use today, is a step-up coil. A coil is nothing...

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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.

Latest posts by Andrew Markel (see all)

  • anthony daurnhime

    yeah 2 is always better then 1

    • Danny

      Sure thing

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