Different Front Brake Pad Usage

I bought my truck with 30,000 miles on it about 6 years ago. Now I have about 104,000 miles on it. At 75,000 miles (about two years ago) I had to have my front brakes done. Unfortunatly the front brakes -
don't remember exactly which site but I strongly believe it was the left site - suddenly started grinding on my way to work one day and I had them fixed the same day at a shop next to my work place - didn't really have another choice. I was told that the pads on one site - again I believe the left side - were completely gone, but the other site obviously had to be done as well. They blamed it on the caliper not retracting on that site so that they were used more than the other site. So they also replaced the calipers and the rotors and new pads. As I had not checked the brakes myself and needed the car, I had to believe them and I just had to pay. I assume that the brakes must have been done right before I bought the car, so I got about 45,000 miles out of the front. My rear brakes were adjusted only. Now the grinding started again about 29,000 miles later. I am about 5,000 miles above the warranty of the above described brake job, so there is no chance they will give me something for free, so I will attempt to do the brakes myself this time. I checked them out this weekend, haven't actually replaced them yet. Turns out that the inner pad on the driver side seems to be completely gone, the driver side outside pad still looks ok. The passenger side pads look much better. What is actually grinding - not every time I brake however - is the upper caliper bolt on the driver side touching the most outside edge of the disc. The truck is not pulling to either side when breaking nor does it seem that the break performance degraded in a noticable way. When looking at the pads and caliper piston through the little openings in the caliper housing, I noticed that the rubber boot covering the piston is damaged, hanging loose, looking rotten. The dust cap however seems intact. I will run to the store to check what a new one is supposed to look like. Found a couple good articles on the net two, but the pictures don't show that part in the detail needed for me to make a decision. http://www.extremehowto.com/xh/article.asp?article_id `246 http://autorepair.about.com/od/fixityourself/ss/brakepadreplace.htm http://www.pavementsucks.com/tech/caliper.php http://home.insightbb.com/%7Ejbenner/mods/Brakejob.htm
Here my questions: - Does it seem normal that the driver side pads are used significantly more than the passenger side? Again, the truck does not pull side ways when breaking. The truck is equipped with standard rear wheel anti lock break system, in other words, there is nothing controlling pressure between the left and right front, its one line coming from the combination valve to the T that splits between the left and the right. However the break lines to the left side are obviously a lot shorter then to the right. Don't know if that contributes to the different usage. It seems odd however. - Do I need to replace the caliper again because the dust boots are gone? I am ok with the pads replacement, but the caliper should last longer than 2 years. Is there potentially a caliper repair kit available or is it not worth the effort?
Thanks for sharing your experience. Axel 2000 Dodge Ram 1500 Pickup 5.9l 104,000 miles
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Replace the rubber brake hoses this time - they deteriorate over time, and can cause residual pressure to remain at the caliper, causing excessive wear. They cost about $20 each.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2007 04:47:00 GMT, "Tom Lawrence"

This is not a bad tip but you might also check the wheel bearing endplay too because if it it too tight and it does not alllow the rotors to float or flex a bit ( maybe 5 to 10 thousandths or so) to further retract the pads into caliper it can cause them the drag a bit and wear sooner. One more thing, it is hard to rate brake life because it has a lot to do with how you drive and use your brakes because while normal might be 50 or more for one person it might be 20 or 30 K for another because of their driving habits. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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On Apr 24, 12:47 am, "Tom Lawrence"

Checked out the cost for the hoses, they are $19 for right side and $32 for left side at the local parts store.
I also checked on a caliper repair kit: It's about $7 per caliber piston and includes the seal and the rubber dust boot which is the one which is rottened away on all four caliper pistons. Anybody out there who has replaced the caliper piston seal and rubber dust boot before? I would spend only $14 per side id I do that rather than buying an entire caliper which will cost me about $54 per side after turning my old once in. Just figuring out if its worth the effort and we are also talking about brakes here which need to be safe.
Axel
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In article

You need to factor in the cost of new pistons also. If the caliper is sticking causing the uneven/premature brake wear, it's the piston jamming in the bore because it's rusting due to the damaged boot. Once the plating is damaged on the piston, there's no saving it... You'll also want to buy a brake cylinder hone to hone the caliper bores as part of the rebuild, and you'll need a way to properly install the boot without distorting it.
By the time you're all done, you'll probably be better off getting a set of re-man calipers.
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wrote:

Agreed. Greg
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I'll third this suggestion.
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On Tue, 24 Apr 2007 20:38:35 -0500, aarcuda69062

No arguement there. Most calipers fail because of this which cause pads to not retract properly ad wear faster. ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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Well, I started this thread so let me tell you what I ended up doing: I went to 4 different auto parts stores. They all listed the caliper repair kit ranging from $ 10 to $22, but no one caried them. The closest I got was that the warehouse had 1 (I would have needed 4) which they would have needed to ship. So, I ended up buying 2 remanufactured calipers, which cost about $54 each after returning the old cores. Spend $50 on some good pads plus a bottle of brake fluid and a clear hose for bleeding. I had my rotors turned for $10 each. So overall it cost me under $200 and while I was working on the truck in front of our garage, my wife and our two daughters were outside with me and we actually had a nice afternoon. They brakes feel great now and I will do my rear brakes (drums) soon.
Thanks for all the advise. Axel
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What I forgot to mention is the following regarding the different wear I was concerned about: I started out saying that this is the 1st brake job I did. Well, after seeing how fat the new pads are, I take back that I have a problem with significantly different wear. I would say compared to the driver side inner pad, which was 100% gone, the passenger side inner pad was about 90% gone. So, I consider this normal and like stated above, I replaced what I thought was necessary.
Thanks again. Axel
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It is not unusual for the to be samll differences in pad wear. When you have a sticky caliper there will be BIG differences in pad wear ----------------- TheSnoMan.com
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If the dust cover/boot is torn that covers the piston it is very likely the piston is sticking slightly, causing that side to wear faster. You need to replace or rebuild that caliper. Check the prices on kits or a rebuilt caliper. Often there is not enough price difference to justify the time spent rebuilding the caliper yourself. The pads should wear equally on the same axle, but they will not be exactly the same, a small bit of variance is not unusual. If one pad is shot, and the other is 1/2, I would be looking for a problem. As far as life of brake pads, more money spent usually means longer pad life. although more expensive pads are harder and wear the rotors faster too. Once I had brakes done by a local shop. I told them to put in the highest quality pads they had, which in turn lasted 20,000 miles! They billed me about $35 for the pads so I knew by the price they sold me some crap. After that I always did the brake work myself. Pads cost me about $65, but they would last 65,000 - 75,000 miles too! Greg
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