I went through the worst case, just in case.
Pulls can take some work to figure out. Lets first go through the normal problem areas:
- Brake hose blockage
- Caliper piston stuck
- Uneven brake pad temperature
You did the hoses and they should be good unless
you let the caliper hang from a hose.
Rebuilt calipers should be good but sometimes one has a problem.
Pad temperature. This situation has a long history even when the vehicle was new.
An issue with any semi-metallic pads like all of the type sold for this vehicle (even when they are called ceramic) is that any temperature difference side to side will cause a pull to the hotter side. This is the first thing to check.
Go for a drive of about a mile or two without any major use of the brakes and coast over to the shoulder. Hop out and check if you notice either front center wheel sections hotter then the other. If the wheels are too cool, you can check the rotor but remember that they can get very hot, so do so cautiously. If you have a heat temp gun, that can save a burnt finger.
If you have a temp imbalance I would recheck the slides to make sure they are moving easily. You can do this on the drivers side by turning the wheel all the way to the right, then slip behind the tire and loosen both slide pin bolts about two full turns, then using the bolts still attached to the pins see how easy it is to move the slides back and forth. Tighten back up.
If it’s not the slides, then it’s time to start looking at the brake assembly, so off with the wheel. First thing is to check the hose and make sure it didn’t get twisted during the last install. It happens.
You can inspect the caliper and pads without fully taking off the caliper. I usually pull the top slide pin bolt and remove the vacuum hose off the hub nipple, then rotate the caliper back towards the rear of the truck. I use a cord or strap to keep the caliper from rotating too far back and putting too much strain on the hose. But this strain is nothing like hanging a caliper from the hose.
Make sure the pads slide easily within the brackets. Aftermarket pads can be a little out of tolerance in length or width where they fit in, sometimes just with excessive paint. If they don’t slide easily you can sand or file the tabs of the steelback lightly to remove the excess. The pads should move easily enough that it’s a PITA to get the caliper back on because the wishbone spring forces the pads out.
Try pushing each caliper piston back into the caliper with your thumbs. Each should take about the same amount of force.
Here’s a goofy thing. Occasionally we would run a test with new calipers and start to see a temperature imbalance left to right. We would go through what I just described and find nothing. With two people, we would push the brake pedal to get the pistons to move out about a half inch, then push the pistons fully back into the caliper. We’d do that twice. Can’t tell you how many times we solved temp spreads by just doing that.
If none of that helps, these vehicles have a high scrub radius, meaning the center of the tire is far away from the center of the angle between the balljoints. And just like using a breaker bar, the leverage of unequal braking turns the steering. Around the 2000 model year due to the high warranty complaints for pulls, it was found that this vehicle has to have brake pads from the same batch on all four front locations in order to prevent pulls. There was a TSB about that.
If this is the cause as aftermarket pads tend to have worse mixing cycles then OE pads, then the choice is to wear through the discrepancy, or start flipping just the outer pads left to right and see if that is a better match for all four pads.