98 civic brake drag issue

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Good evening,
As indicated in another post the other day, the fuel mileage in my 98 civic is lacking. I've had it since new, it now has 282000kms on it. It has been
somewhat neglected over the past year or so, as we've had a kid and my spare time is now dedicated to that. I know I know, I need to keep the jalopy safe enough to drive. Explain that to my wife. :)
Decided to check the brakes today, (front side). Sure enough, the front driverside is dragging. I put the car up on jacks, started it and put it in second. Until I hit the gas, only the passenger side wheel would turn.
Other symptoms, which may or may not be related, are that I am getting abnormal tire wear on the passenger side. That tire is cupped beyond what I have ever seen, and is now through the wear bars. The tire on the driver side is fine with about 2-3mm before the wear bars.
Also noticed a hum coming from the front of the vehicle which becomes apparent upon moving.
Note that I have replaced the caliper with a rebuilt to solve almost the same problem a year or so ago. However, the rebuild was not from Honda, and the hardware provided with it did not fit. I had to use my old hardware to complete. All seemed fine since recently noticing the fuel economy drop.
To remedy these problems, I am thinking about the following:
1. New brake pad shims and hardware for the caliper in question (probably both, just to be thorough).
2. Complete brake fluid flush.
3. Check slide pins for wear.
4. Replace wheel bearings? (not sure on this, there is some end play, could a dragging caliper cause the bearing to fail?)
Any other suggestions?
Thanks for your help. Terry in Winnipeg.
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Check -- according to the instructions on my Web site -- in order: 1) Pads seized on mount bracket, 2) Slide pins seized in bores, 3) Caliper piston seized in bore.
You need to pull the brakes apart completely and do a thorough investigation. The usual suspect in the case of a disc brake not releasing is a seized caliper piston (the big one that presses on the pads), but often the rest of the caliper system is in need of care as well.

Wear like this CAN be due to worn suspension components, but is usually badly mounted tire or suspension misalignment, with poor tire mounting covering about 90% of the occurrences.

That's the cupping you hear.

You can rebuild your own front calipers. The dealership sells the seals, and some Sil-Glyde silicone-based grease can be used as an assembly lube. (DON'T use brake fluid to lube the hydraulic seal).

See above.

BLEED and FILL only! Do not use flushig compounds!
And if you've not been in the habit of changing the fluid every few years, do not use the "pedal press" method of bleeding. Beware of seized bleed nipples. Crack one of those off and you need a complete rebuild.

Unlikely unless the hub is getting red ot on you.

Spend some time here: http://www.tegger.com/hondafaq/rustybrakes/brakes1.html
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Thanks Tegger for your hard work on that website and input.
So I replaced the Brake Caliper again. Got it from Partsource. I know this is not a preferred source, but thats where the original replacement came from, and they asked me to try this before they would refund my money.
This time, the clips and hardware that came with the caliper actually worked. As I mentioned earlier, I figured that would be one of the biggest reasons why the brake was hanging in the first place. Sure enough, upon disassembly of the caliper bracket, the old clips were in very sorry shape.
Got it all installed, lubed her up as you indicated (careful not to get any on the rotor surface or surrounding areas).
On another topic, as I indicated earlier, I have now confirmed that the front wheel bearing is bad on the same side the caliper was dragging. Since the caliper was defective, do you think Partsource will help me out on the bearing? Pretty sure the reason it failed was due to heat buildup from the bad caliper. I guess there is a margin for installation error, but is it worth a shot?
So then I bled out the new caliper. Took it for a short spin to try some low speed braking to check for pulling left or right, performance, all seemed fine. Tried a couple higher speed stops, no problem.
On the highway at 80 km/h I hit the brakes pretty hard. The car suddenly went all squirrelly on me, got away from me, and I ended up in the ditch.
So now I have other issues. I am OK by the way. The car is mostly undamaged. It definitely needs an alignment now, along with a few suspension components. I noticed my rear upper suspension mounts are now both loose. Will replace those tomorrow. Here's what I checked over:
1. Both lower ball joints are under a year old. They seem fine using the 'reef on the tire while on the ground' method.
2. Both Upper ball joints - no extra play. Tried moving the steering knuckle back and forth to test this.
3. Tie rods - no extra play. Just grabbed one and tried moving back and forth. There is a small amount of play due to a worn steering u-joint, but the tie rods and rack seem OK.
4. Springs all around. - no problems apparent. Visual inspection in the areas Tegger indicated.
5. Rear upper control arms - both are shot. Once again, the 'reef on the tire' method. LOTS of play here. They are definitely shot. The Rear Upper arm does come with both bushings (inner and outer) so I am hoping this will fix that.
6. Rear Lower control arms - no noticeable play. Wasn't quite sure how to test these, but everything appeared tight.
Did I miss anything?
The car doesn't feel safe at highway speeds right now, though the steering seems fine. I'm thinking its the play from the rear upper arms that is causing the problem here.
So, to anybody reading this, when doing your own brake work, BE CAREFUL when you road test your vehicle. I was EXTREMELY lucky. and probably stupid. OK definitely stupid. :)
Any input on the suspension inspection is appreciated. Once the car is road worthy, she goes in for a final inspection and alignment at the dealer.
Glad I can smile about it now. Terry in Winnipeg.
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loewent via CarKB.com wrote:

the wishbone civics are very sensitive to the rear being good. top joints will definitely cause a problem, as will the main trailing arm pivot. at nearly 10 years old, there's a good chance they need attention. jack the rear off the ground and inspect for cracking. when all's good, make sure you get a good rear alignment done.

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You should apply a bit of Sil-Glyde to the hydraulic piston so it will slide more easily on the seal. The Sil-Glyde helps prevent gum buildup that causes piston seizure. Aftermarket remans often are assembled with brake fluid, to save on costs.

And making sure to put just a tiny dab (1/8" dia on rears, 1/4" on fronts) on the squeal shims. The grease will spread like crazy once the piston clamps everything together.

I suppose so, but I don't think you'll get very far. They can simply point out that wheel bearings go bad all the time through simple corrosion. You can't know for sure unless you remove it and take it apart.

Sorry to hear that.
What may have happened here is that the replacement of just one caliper caused an imbalance in braking effort. It is always best to rebuild or replace in axle sets, just like shocks. This way you're assured of equal effort from either caliper.

Not reliable. Pop the taper, lever the lower arm out of the way, then wiggle by hand. That's the only sure way to tell.

Again, not necessarily a good test. Test as lower balls above.

Were the tires jacked up so they were at their usual attitude relative to the body, or were they hanging down? Wear will be masked if the steering linkage is not at its usual riding attitude.

Broken springs tend to be experientially invisible; you won't know the spring is broken unless you look.

Replacing the upper arm is very easy, but it's best to use an impact wrench.

Check for cracks in the big bushing. Let the tire hang so as to distort the bushing, then have a look with a strong light. Cracks will be obvious. Anything but a complete breakup means the bushing is OK for now.

It's possible. At this point I would take the car to a trusted shop and have the entire suspension gone over by a pro.

I think the primary problem here was the repalcement of just one caliper.
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Thanks for the replies.
Will do a more thorough suspension check tonight. On the way home from work, I will be picking up:
Passenger side caliper Both rear upper suspension arms Wheel bearing
Hopefully doing the suspension arms will make the car roadworthy enough to bring to a shop.
Anyone got anything against Kal Tire for alignments? I was thinking about getting 2 new tires, thought I could kill 2 birds with 1 stone. The Honda dealers in winnipeg aren't great for alignments.
Thanks t
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Perhaps stupid question.... Should front wheel bearings be done in pairs?
t
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Not necessary, no.
However, if one is going, the other will be a year or three behind.
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unless my theory is correct and the brake caliper overheating caused the bearing failure.
Oh yeah, they gave me a 35% discount on the bearing when I brought it up. Decided not to push it.
t
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loewent via CarKB.com wrote:

not likely unless the caliper was near locked. you can race hondas with the disks glowing and the bearings seem to do just fine.

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I think that's rather unlikely.
The bearing failures I've seen are caused by corrosion and impact.
If the heat from the caliper were to cook the bearing's grease enough to cause bearing damage, I can't see that being evident for many tens of thousands of miles. Before you heard noise, the surface of the balls would have to begin breaking up, which doesn't happen in a few weeks.

Take it. It's a good deal, considering they are almost certainly blameless for the bearing.
Get the old bearing back and take pictures if you can. I'd like to see them. I'll bet you'll find rust on the races.
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Busted the lower bolt on the passenger side rear upper arm.
SHIT.
t
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You mean the outer bolt, the one that goes into the top of the trailing arm?
Did the head break off?
Did you use an electric impact wrench (rentable)?
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Its a #10 x 62 bolt as per Majestic Honda microfiche (98 civic LX 5MT, Rear lower arm), which I am pretty sure is the one you indicated. Its part number 18 on this page : http://tinyurl.com/youdwa
I was using impact, borrowed my bro-in-laws compressor. Tried 2 guns, first the big beasty he has (650 ft-lb) and then the little one (more bangs per minute). The bolt was severely seized inside the outer bushing. I had put some Zep 45 penetrating oil on it several times over the past couple days in preparation for this job. The driver side was difficult as well, but I broke through the rust on that one. The passenger side never came close to letting go. I guess sometimes thats just the way it goes.... :)
On the driver side, the inner bushing fell out of the arm when I removed the inner bolts. Obviously in need of replacement. The outer bushing was not in terrible shape, but there was some play.
On the passenger side, the inner bushing was worn, and I was able to get it out with a little effort. The outer bushing I have no idea as I destroyed it trying to get the freakin bolt out.
In fact, the bolt was so seized in the bushing sleeve (made of aluminum of all things) that it started to push the mounting points apart and bend the trailing arm. Put a stop to that buy using a C-Clamp to prevent them from spreading. Had to be careful though, as I did not want to ruin the threads in the welded nut. After I got it out, I whacked the mounting points back in line with a hammer. Then used the bolt I didn't snap to ensure it was lined up.
After an hour of impact, I used the breaker bar on the stubborn bolt and the head snapped off. I used and angle grinder to get the rest out.
Off to the dealer for a new bolt. I'll probably get 2, the bolt is machined with ridges on it to prevent spinning. I'm thinking a new bolt on both sides will help prevent loosening over time as there is no other method being used to prevent spinning out.
Or should I be using loctite on the welded nut?
By the way, inspection of the front big bushing on the lower arm yielded some cracking. However, I think these have a ways to go before they will need replacement. Guess I will find out during the alignment.
Also, I realized I didn't respond to your question a few messages ago about my suspension inspection (ie the tie rods). I had the car on ramps and was underneath on a creeper, so to answer your question, yes the wheels were at ride height, since all 4 tires were on the ground. :)
t
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Here's a trick you might want to try next time: /TIGHTEN/ the bolt before trying to crack it loose.
Another trick: Since you don't care what happens to the bushing rubber, heat the bolt head and nut to orange with a torch, then let them cool all the way down. Then try the tighten/loosen thing. This is remarkably effective.
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Forgot to mention that I used those technics as well (didn't mention cuz they didn't work!). Though I only had a propane torch, so I doubt I could get it hot enough.
Also, the big reason impact is less effective in this application is because of the rubber bushing. It cushions the assembly from the full effect of the impact.
Just got back from the dealer. I'm walking a little funny... The bolts they gave me cost $12 each!
Majestic Honda = $0.78.
WTF!! I hate dealers.
t
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A propane torch should be just fine. You only need to head up the threads in the nut, and the bottom of the head. Another thing you could try is to dump a large amount of ice water on the orange-hot parts. The thermal shock may well break the rust seal.

That's why you tighten first. Tightening clamps the bushing sleeve to the arm, forcing the bolt to be the one and only thing that moves. With the sleeve clamped thusly, the bushing has no effect on impact effort.
If you tried all these things and the bolt just wouldn't let go, you must have had some seriously bad corrosion. One of my rear bolts (damper fork/LCA) was like that, and required to be ground off.

Majestic may be buying local bolts rather than ordering them from Honda. The correct bolts have fine threads, and usually have fluting on their shanks.

I bought all my suspension fasteners from the dealer. A big price, but at least they're correct for the car.
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Alrighty. First, thanks Tegger and jim beam for your input.
Put the back end of my car back together tonight. New rear upper arms, and new shocks (monroe). Seems to have taken care of the play I mentioned earlier. New shocks also make the car sit a little higher than before. The old shocks were tired.... :)
Snapped another bolt (shock mount to lower arm), but thankfully I had an extra (dealer actually sold me those bolts instead of the other one I broke yesterday, they didn't have the right one in stock. These are the shock mount bolt and the lower arm to trailing arm pivot bolt).
Drives like a champ. Well a champ in need of an alignment... Saturday will bring me to the front end. Will be doing that wheel bearing, the passenger caliper, and the front shocks. The guy at Partsource sold me some stabilizer bar links. For the life of me I can't seem to remember there being a stabilizer bar on my car. I thought that they were just in the SIs. But perhaps I've just never noticed it.
One thing... how hard is it to screw up reassembly of the strut in the rear? For some reason, I couldn't get the top mounting collar to seat where I thought it should. The strut went back on no problem and everything seems ok, but I found it a bit odd.
After front end stuff is done, its off to the tire shop.
And after seeing how complex the rear wishbone is, its going to the dealer for alignment. Don't trust just any monkey to monkey around with all that stuff... :)
t
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Alrighty. First, thanks Tegger and jim beam for your input.
Put the back end of my car back together tonight. New rear upper arms, and new shocks (monroe). Seems to have taken care of the play I mentioned earlier. New shocks also make the car sit a little higher than before. The old shocks were tired.... :)
Snapped another bolt (shock mount to lower arm), but thankfully I had an extra (dealer actually sold me those bolts instead of the other one I broke yesterday, they didn't have the right one in stock. These are the shock mount bolt and the lower arm to trailing arm pivot bolt).
Drives like a champ. Well a champ in need of an alignment... Saturday will bring me to the front end. Will be doing that wheel bearing, the passenger caliper, and the front shocks. The guy at Partsource sold me some stabilizer bar links. For the life of me I can't seem to remember there being a stabilizer bar on my car. I thought that they were just in the SIs. But perhaps I've just never noticed it.
One thing... how hard is it to screw up reassembly of the strut in the rear? For some reason, I couldn't get the top mounting collar to seat where I thought it should. The strut went back on no problem and everything seems ok, but I found it a bit odd.
After front end stuff is done, its off to the tire shop.
And after seeing how complex the rear wishbone is, its going to the dealer for alignment. Don't trust just any monkey to monkey around with all that stuff... :)
t
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Alrighty. First, thanks Tegger and jim beam for your input.
Put the back end of my car back together tonight. New rear upper arms, and new shocks (monroe). Seems to have taken care of the play I mentioned earlier. New shocks also make the car sit a little higher than before. The old shocks were tired.... :)
Snapped another bolt (shock mount to lower arm), but thankfully I had an extra (dealer actually sold me those bolts instead of the other one I broke yesterday, they didn't have the right one in stock. These are the shock mount bolt and the lower arm to trailing arm pivot bolt).
Drives like a champ. Well a champ in need of an alignment... Saturday will bring me to the front end. Will be doing that wheel bearing, the passenger caliper, and the front shocks. The guy at Partsource sold me some stabilizer bar links. For the life of me I can't seem to remember there being a stabilizer bar on my car. I thought that they were just in the SIs. But perhaps I've just never noticed it.
One thing... how hard is it to screw up reassembly of the strut in the rear? For some reason, I couldn't get the top mounting collar to seat where I thought it should. The strut went back on no problem and everything seems ok, but I found it a bit odd.
After front end stuff is done, its off to the tire shop.
And after seeing how complex the rear wishbone is, its going to the dealer for alignment. Don't trust just any monkey to monkey around with all that stuff... :)
t
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