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Old October 8th, 2014, 08:23 AM   #1
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Cursed by faulty rear brake calipers

Ugh! My frustration with my accord's rear brakes is way beyond the tipping point. Long story short, it looks like I'm about to put on my 4th (and also maybe 5th) replacement rear calipers. I just don't know what to do anymore.

Detailed explanation:
Car: 2003 Accord V6 6-spd
Purchased: 2007 @ 63k
Current Mileage: ~150k

It started in the winter, late 2008 to early 2009. I noticed my rear left brake was locking up on me. I'd put the E-brake on and when I went to take it off, the tension in the cable wouldn't release. I could lift the E-brake handle with my pinky finger since there was no resistance on it. The pads would burn and the whole assembly would get really hot and smoke. Inevitably, it started getting worse - eventually getting to the point where it locked up so bad that rotor was glowing BRIGHT RED attempting to drive it 1/4 mile to my mechanic. I eventually got it there. The mechanic replace the left caliper, both rotors, both pads, both brake line hoses, and the E-brake cable.

Everything seemed to be fine up until about a June 2009 when the RIGHT rear caliper started locking up. However, this time the E-brake didn't seem to be the issue as the lever had resistance through the full range of motion - whether the brake caliper was locked up or not. Ended up having to replace this caliper as well.

Fastforward to last summer, August-September 2013. My right rear caliper started locking up once again. I didn't waste any time; I just replaced it right away, got new rotors, new pads, cleaned and re-greased the slide pins, and bled all lines.

Everything was dandy until about a month ago when the left rear again started giving me issues. It was minor, so I didn't jump on replacing the caliper. However, 2 nights ago, it froze up so bad that I ended up having to take off my wheel in Sam's Club parking lot and bang on the caliper with my lug wrench. Prior to that, I'd tried banging on the caliper through my rim with a wrench, engaging/disengaging the E-brake numerous times, slamming on the power brakes, forward/reverse/forward/reverse, manually pushing down on the car above the left rear wheel...nothing worked...had to take the tire off. In my 2 hours of troubleshooting, I determined that the issue lies somewhere in the caliper E-brake mechanism. The E-brake cable was loose, so it wasn't caught or corroded. Once I freed the brake enough to manually spin the rotor, I tried pushing the brake pedal several times. That didn't re-lockup the brakes. However, engaging then disengaging the E-brake would cause the caliper to lockup every time. Since then, I've been avoiding the E-brake altogether, and just parking it in gear with a bungee cord preventing the shifter from popping out into neutral (happens easily in my car). Yesterday, I checked the calipers after driving 20 miles to work. The left rear seemed fine, however, there was the distinct smell of burnt pads coming from the right rear...the 1 year old right rear caliper.

Summary:
January 2009: replaced left rear (@ ~80k)
June 2009: replaced right rear (@ 85k)
August 2013: replaced right rear (@ ~135k)
October 2014: both left rear (severe) and right rear (minor) calipers locking up again (@ 150k)

So here I am once again, looking at having to replace 1-2 calipers for the 4th and 5th time, respectively. I have found some other people online who have had similar issues with this model/year accord, but no one to the degree that I am experiencing. I just cannot believe how many times this has happened and why it just won't go away. I can't afford a new car, but I'm at a loss for what to do. All "high performance" aftermarket braking kits I see online either (a) use the OEM calipers, or (b) cost $2000-8000. So what, am I supposed to just make "replacing the calipers" part of my routine maintenance? That's absurd. Please, someone shed some light on this nightmare!
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Old October 8th, 2014, 11:14 AM   #2
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My rear passenger side caliper has been sticking too i notice when i am slowly reversing. I hope someone can shed light on this issue as well.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 01:19 PM   #3
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Damn that sucks, ive seen this issue working at the dealer and not really a fix for it except replace the calipers, crvs elements tls and tsxs all share these calipers and have the same issue. me personally just replaced my rear oems at 136k because one side got seized up. are you using oem replacement parts or some napa junk?
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Old October 8th, 2014, 04:05 PM   #4
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My right rear calipers have been locking up and essentially the brake pads digging into the rotors... ongoing problem. I feel like I spend more money on the rear brake setup than the front.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 05:40 PM   #5
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i have seen this issue on reman calipers.


make sure to buy new and not reman....


I had this issue and it was the only way I could resolve the problem.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 05:43 PM   #6
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Damn that sucks, ive seen this issue working at the dealer and not really a fix for it except replace the calipers, crvs elements tls and tsxs all share these calipers and have the same issue. me personally just replaced my rear oems at 136k because one side got seized up. are you using oem replacement parts or some napa junk?
Well this sucks :/

The first two were done at a local mechanic, so they were likely some aftermarket remans. The one I replaced last summer was from Advanced Auto, so it was probably ACDelco. I guess if I'm just going to have to replace them over and over, I should probably at least try to stick to Honda genuine OEM parts.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 05:44 PM   #7
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i have seen this issue on reman calipers.


make sure to buy new and not reman....


I had this issue and it was the only way I could resolve the problem.
How long have the Honda OEMs been lasting you?
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Old October 8th, 2014, 07:02 PM   #8
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Well this sucks :/



The first two were done at a local mechanic, so they were likely some aftermarket remans. The one I replaced last summer was from Advanced Auto, so it was probably ACDelco. I guess if I'm just going to have to replace them over and over, I should probably at least try to stick to Honda genuine OEM parts.

Advance auto should be oem. They will say Nissin on them
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Old October 8th, 2014, 07:22 PM   #9
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I just replaced my rear calipers over the summer with ones from AutoZone. You should always replace them in pairs because one side might grab harder than the other. I'm not sure what brand they are, they do not say Nissin, but they look just like OEM. They are rebuilt ones, they are working fine so far for the last 2 months. My OEM rear driver side got stuck, so you aren't immune to sticking problem just because you are using OEM. The main problem is that the rear piston's boot doesn't protect the piston from outside elements as good as the front caliper pistons. I think the key is keeping the components lubed and clean. Also, use your e-brake from time to time, this prevents the pistons from getting stuck.
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Old October 8th, 2014, 08:31 PM   #10
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I had this issue before I switched from 5AT to 6MT...

I have been switched for about 6 years now...


I run the same factory calipers except I use EBC greenstuff pads and I have the adapter kit from Paul to run the bigger Honda Pilot rotors.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:51 AM   #11
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Advance auto should be oem. They will say Nissin on them
I thought you could only get OEM from Honda? Also, these must have been remans considering how cheap they were. New Honda calipers are $132 (cheapest dealer online) to ~$180 (Honda e-store). The Honda remans are only a few bucks cheaper. I'll have to check what brand I have; however, I don't think it says anything on the outside face. So I might have to crawl under.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:53 AM   #12
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I just replaced my rear calipers over the summer with ones from AutoZone. You should always replace them in pairs because one side might grab harder than the other. I'm not sure what brand they are, they do not say Nissin, but they look just like OEM. They are rebuilt ones, they are working fine so far for the last 2 months. My OEM rear driver side got stuck, so you aren't immune to sticking problem just because you are using OEM. The main problem is that the rear piston's boot doesn't protect the piston from outside elements as good as the front caliper pistons. I think the key is keeping the components lubed and clean. Also, use your e-brake from time to time, this prevents the pistons from getting stuck.
I typically use my E-brake every single time I park. However, when the brakes start locking up like they are now, I can't use it at all. Currently just keeping it in gear with bungee cords ensuring it wont pop out lol

Is there any kind of grease I can generously coat the calendar's rubber boot with to prevent deterioration or contaminates from getting in? When I cleaned the slide pins last summer, they looked like they were in near perfect condition and had ample grease. I cleaned and re-greased them anyway though.
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Old October 9th, 2014, 09:58 AM   #13
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I had this issue before I switched from 5AT to 6MT...

I have been switched for about 6 years now...


I run the same factory calipers except I use EBC greenstuff pads and I have the adapter kit from Paul to run the bigger Honda Pilot rotors.
Has this helped you think? Does "bigger" rotors mean larger diameter or just thicker/vented? I guess either would help reduce stresses though and potentially reduce/eliminate lockup issues (assuming heat stresses contribute to this issue).
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Old January 4th, 2015, 10:23 PM   #14
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I have a question on brake caliper upgrade...I have a 07 coupe M/T v6.. I just upgraded my rotors n calipers since they needed change.. to a g35 caliper n rotors.. Car brakes good n all n better..My axles all of a sudden went bad and I'm in a debate should I be good with stock axles or do I have to get upgraded axles??? Any advice helps


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Old January 5th, 2015, 06:55 AM   #15
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Insane shafts makes some nice aftermarket performance axles.
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Old January 5th, 2015, 03:22 PM   #16
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it gets sticky because the brake fluid isn't properly bled and serviced. fluid gets contaminated, + heat = stick.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 12:45 PM   #17
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Thanks I decided to go with another set of stock axles ...car is good again now...one more question! My car makes a rattling noise when driving low speed n sometimes when higher speed only on driver side...to me I'm thinkn it's the clamps on intake may be loose n causing the annoying sound..have any had issues with their clamps coming loose at all while driving???


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Old January 9th, 2015, 01:58 PM   #18
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I've dealt with the same issue. Honda will not acknowledge there is a problem with this though it seems to be the #2 complaint from owners 2nd to AT failure. The problem seems to lie in the center piston that the pad actually sits on. It becomes worn (I'm guessing due to inferior materials or manufacture/design) and eventually seizes. It should move with little coercion and due to the integrated e-brake design it must be turned counter-clockwise to back it out. That is where they seem to all F-up. It doesn't have any type of proper seal to keep out contaminants and is compound by people who routinely use degreaser/tire cleaner, etc... It is a pita but if you keep an eye on it and back it out by hand compress it that has seemed to work for me.... so far. I just chalk it up as a new routine maintenance task.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 02:07 PM   #19
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BHONDA24 does the noise have a kind of whistle to it as well? Bc I had this issue as well but only when the engine hits around 2400 rpm in park neutral or drive. I had a Honda tech take a listen and his "best guess" was the idler tensioner set-up. I am going to be doing my timing kit service within the next few weeks and plan on replacing that at the same time. I will let you know if it changes anything.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 02:10 PM   #20
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^that's not the reason why, its because people don't service their brake fluid.

I'm running the same caliper since 2004, I race the **** out of my car, but I bleed my brakes annually, I have 0 problems.

Go take a picture of your brake master cylinder reservoir. I guarantee the fluid is black.
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Old January 9th, 2015, 02:16 PM   #21
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BHONDA24 does the noise have a kind of whistle to it as well? Bc I had this issue as well but only when the engine hits around 2400 rpm in park neutral or drive. I had a Honda tech take a listen and his "best guess" was the idler tensioner set-up. I am going to be doing my timing kit service within the next few weeks and plan on replacing that at the same time. I will let you know if it changes anything.
It's not so much a whistle sound just rattling like noise like leaves or something is tangled in btwn somethin...very annoying..it does sometimes start around 2400 rpm...but only when driving not parked or neutral...it's been gng on a for a week or so..but yea let me job what you figure out..I just hope this ain't something that will cost me a lot of money to repair


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Old January 10th, 2015, 08:02 PM   #22
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^that's not the reason why, its because people don't service their brake fluid.



I'm running the same caliper since 2004, I race the **** out of my car, but I bleed my brakes annually, I have 0 problems.



Go take a picture of your brake master cylinder reservoir. I guarantee the fluid is black.

My unc rode in my car and told me he had same issue with his car...he believe it's minor and that it was the heat shield touching the body causing the aggravating noise


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Old January 30th, 2015, 11:58 AM   #23
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I'm a relatively new 7th gen owner but have beat up Hondas and Acuras for over a decade...
While contaminants and degreasing agents may play a small role. I believe Mr. Kiet is right when he says check your b fluid reservoir.
Where I live it's necessary to get Krown undercoating every year, and I've yet to have an issue with any honda rear caliper seizing/failing.

On a lighter note I have had issues with overlooking fluid condition and levels.

Honda owners are sometimes prone to over look the simple in lieu of the complicated.
Remeber not all cars are created equally but they all work the same way! Fluids first...

Last edited by State.Of.Prime; January 30th, 2015 at 12:01 PM..
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