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Discussion Starter #1
Fellas, I'm stumped. Yesterday, I drove to work just like I have been for the past 3 years. 10 miles. Truck drove fine. Came out after work to drive home, and truck drove fine for first few 100 yards and then I started noticing a left pull. I got out on the local highway (55mph), and the longer I drove, the harder it pulled to the left. By the time I got home, if I let go of the steering wheel, it damn near pulled me into the ditch. So, I got home, and could smell a strong odor from the front left wheel well. It was extremely hot to the touch. So, I jacked up the front left, and it was almost seized. I could move the tire, but it had no spin free play. So, I let it cool off a couple hours, pulled the wheel off, and inspected the calipers. One of the slide pins was seized, so I pulled it out, cleaned it thoroughly, applied silicon brake lubricant, and put everything back together. The seized caliper pin was the smoking gun obviously, right?!?! I drove around the neighborhood (10mph) and everything seemed fine. Well, I hop in the truck this morning, and I pull out of the neighborhood and it starts pulling hard left again. The further I go, the harder it pulls. The weird thing is, without brake applied it pulls left, but when I apply brake, it then pulls hard right. Soooooo, I'm a bit confused. Pulling left when no brakes, pulls hard right with brakes. Are the caliper pistons stuck on the front left caliper?? I replaced the hubs with Timken hubs about a year ago, so I think I can rule out bad hubs. But as it heats up, it seems like it makes the problem worse... What are your thoughts???
 

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I think you still have brake/caliper issues, it may be time for new calipers and/or rubber hoses which are known to collapse with age causing the calipers to stick . Plus when everything got so hot you probably boiled the brake fluid especially if it is old and has moisture in it so I would change that too.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Is there anyway to lubricate the caliper pistons without disassembly and having to bleed the system? I want to start simple. The pins are lubed and free, so that's the not the problem. The next thing I would think would be the pistons not wanting to release due to age/rust/debris... Maybe clamp them in, and put some lubricant??
 

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There is no lubing the caliper pistons even with disassembly. Any lube would be from the brake fluid in the bore. They sell rebuild kits that have new pistons or you can just buy new calipers.
 

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Just get new/rebuilt calipers. This is a rather common problem, I replace mine with every brake job. Take a close look at the pads and rotor it does not take much abuse like that to cause a lot of wear.
DENNY
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the inputs fellas, pulled the caliper again. The slide pins were still moving as they should, so the next culprit would be frozen caliper pistons. I didn't even mess with trying to clamp them and see if they were stuck. That seemed to be the next logical thing that would cause the left side to drag. Went by Advance Auto and gave them my VIN, pulled up the correct part, took home and installed. Everything went together super easy, the pads didn't have much wear. Had the ol lady hop up in the cab and did the standard yelling at each other for bleeding, and everything is all good now. Drove back to Advance to drop off the core and the truck drove as it should. Thanks again for the input. Now if the passenger side starts doing that, I'll know what to do. I think I could change it out in about 20 mins, then bleed it in about 2 mins.

Side note; We did the bleeding while the truck was running. I would yell "open" and she would push the pedal down and say "down" and then I'd say "closed" and she'd let the pedal up and say "up." The ol 7.3 is pretty loud, so we were yelling at each other during this process. I bet my neighbors now think we had an argument or something, hahahahaha.
 

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I bet my neighbors now think we had an argument or something, hahahahaha.
That's funny. You don't have to have the truck running to bleed the brakes. I don't think I've ever done it that way. Also, it is highly, highly recommended to replace brake parts in pairs. If one side is bad, the other can't be far behind and you really want your brakes to be equivalent side to side. Especially in an emergency braking situation. You think it pulled to one side before you did the repair...
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
You don't have to have the truck running to bleed the brakes.

So, without the truck running, my pedal is very stiff. This was my first time doing brakes on this truck, and it didn't feel right trying to bleed with the pedal being super stiff when the truck was off. I read some stuff about how you should bleed the brakes with the truck running because of the hydroboost????? Is that incorrect? Regardless, it bled without any problems with the truck running. About 4 cycles of pushing the pedal and cracking the bleeder got it squared away.
 

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I can’t see how it would hurt anything doing it with the engine running - unless you had an occluded bleeder that broke through and sprayed you with highly pressurized brake fluid. I had that happen a few decades ago. The pedal should be stiff on any power brakes with the engine off.


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It looks like I’m replacing all four calipers and hoses during the 4th of July Holiday for the same thing this coming weekend. This past Saturday (29th) I was on a very steep boat ramp at Carlyle Lake. Used the 4WD also.
After loading and heading for home I had the same thing happen that acade described in his OP. Truck started pulling hard to the left, push on the brake pedal and it would swerve across the lane to the right. I pulled over, checked parking brakes, 4wd disengagement, and then got up to a faster speed and really hit the brake pedal hard a few times and it cleared up, staying straight without holding the steering wheel and doesn’t swerve right anymore when braking. I’m wondering if the steep boat ramp was just a coincidence in having to apply greater braking pressure.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I can’t see how it would hurt anything doing it with the engine running

It just seemed to make more sense doing it that way...and I was more comfortable doing it that way.

Truck started pulling hard to the left, push on the brake pedal and it would swerve across the lane to the right.

It's scary, isn't it?!?! After 10 miles of driving with the caliper basically seized, the wheel and hub were extremely hot, and when I slowed down to turn in my neighborhood, I hit the brakes and it damn near pulled me into the ditch on the opposite side. The caliper was the culprit, and a quick fix (thankfully). Good luck!!
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Also, it is highly, highly recommended to replace brake parts in pairs. If one side is bad, the other can't be far behind and you really want your brakes to be equivalent side to side.

In general, I agree, and I appreciate the advice. The other side looked fine from a visual inspection. The pads are still in great shape and the slide pins move freely. I think I'll leave it alone for now, but if it happens again, I'll know what the problem is.
 

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Truck started pulling hard to the left, push on the brake pedal and it would swerve across the lane to the right.
It's scary, isn't it?!?! After 10 miles of driving with the caliper basically seized, the wheel and hub were extremely hot, and when I slowed down to turn in my neighborhood, I hit the brakes and it damn near pulled me into the ditch on the opposite side. The caliper was the culprit, and a quick fix (thankfully). Good luck!!

Thanks acade! Yep, not a good feeling. It was on my list of things to do this past winter but had so much going on I decided to wait. I’m just going to do all 4 as I figure I’m on borrowed time with 188K now and all original parts as far as I know.
 

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acade, curious how many miles are on your truck?
 

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