I'm doing the front disc brakes on a '73 Dodge Tradesman 300 (1 ton)
van. It has the 3300 pound, 8 lug front axle. I bought rebuilt calipers
(A1 Cardone) which turned out to be real Chrysler, or at least a good
enough knockoff that they copied the logo and everything. Each caliper
came with a kit of small parts. I got new copper washers for the brake
line, new retainer clips (the rectangular things about 1" x 3" that hold
the caliper to the adapter), new anti-rattle springs (vaguely triangular,
about 1" on the wide side, that go in the middle of the retainer clips),
and new bolts for the retainer clips and anti-rattle springs. I know
where all that stuff goes.
In the small parts kit, there were also two small rubber bands. They are
black, maybe 1/8" wide and maybe 4" long unstretched. They were folded
into an oval shape in the package. The calipers came with the piston
assembled and the dust boot on, so I don't think they are any kind of a
seal that I need to install. As well as I can figure, they might be
used to hold the brake pads into the caliper while one is moving the
caliper into position on the adapter. The pads don't have the clips
on the back of them that snap into the piston, like some other makes do.
I don't think the rubber bands are meant to stay on the car. Neither
Haynes, the original Dodge service manual (scanned to CD-ROM), or the
install sheet that came with the calipers mentions anything about these.
Is there some vital function for these rubber bands, or are they just
an installation aid?
Here's a tip... at least one vendor lists two different inner grease
seals. One is described as being for the 8-lug front axle and costs
around $10. The other is described as being for the 3300 pound front
axle and costs around $3. The data plate on the van says it has a 3300
pound front axle, but the wheels have 8 lugs. I tried the $10 seal
and its diameter was about 1/2" too big. It had the common U-shaped
cross section. The $3 one turned out to be the right seal. This one
has the usual U-shaped cross section, but also has another rubber
collar coming off of the bottom of the U. In other words, the cross
section is approximately:
Of course, if I had the old part in hand when I went to the store, I
would have caught this.
PS This is the same van I posted about the steering a while back. It
went to the mechanic and got a rebuilt steering box, new ball joints,
etc. It turns a lot better now.