I'm trying to figure out if my old auto shop cheated me, or if it's just
ignorance on my part.
When my brakes went up in a puff of smoke, they "replaced both front
calipers". However, when I look at the caliper through the wheel, I see
a large piece that the Sears mechanic confirms is not new. I'm unsure
if it's my original or remanufactured or what. He said they replaced
"parts of the caliper". Mentioned that they did it correctly; it was
the drum they screwed up.
I'm not quite sure what's what here. I was charged $125.65 each for the
calipers. In 'researching' at JCWhitney, the caliper picture shows a
large metal piece that looks roughly like the rusted metal whatever I
can see through the wheel. A new one cost $105.00 (other sites it's
much less). Remanufactured costs way, way less.
If they've cheated me, I want to have my ducks in a row before I
confront them about it. I'll also get a second opinion from a brakes
specialist shop, once I can find one.
I'm really unhappy with this shop. They apparently utterly missed that
my wheel bearings and tie bars needed replaced (proven by the improved
performance after wheel bearing replacement, but continued symptoms that
can be traced to the tie bars). I had them look at the brakes at least
twice before they seized and left me stranded, and now those repairs
were screwed up too. I've been going to this shop for years, never had
Anyway, I'd appreciate any education you can provide on front brake
calipers for the 2001 Dodge Dakota SLT 4x4.
Do you have this written on the repair order (RO)? Or only as a word
of mouth statement? If the RO just says 'fix brakes', then there is no
winning for you. If it says replace calipers, you can win unless they
can show documentation that they actually replaced the calipers.
My guess: they did their own rebuild (replaced the seals, which cost
Buzzt... Wrong right there. The list (LIST) for calipers for this
truck at CarQuest is $63.22, and my price for a caliper is $41.49.
They doubled the list price. That is unloaded calipers (no pads).
For calipers with pads the price is $100 (roughly) list, and about $65
my price. So even that is not 'right'.
As well, you can be 1000% sure that they used rebuilt/remanufactured
calipers (everyone does unless new are cheaper or
rebuilt/remanufactured are not in stock.
Sears? They sell lawnmowers and Lands End clothes. Batteries. Tools.
Fix a car? Personally I'd rather walk, but then again I have a full
shop so I don't (normally) need anyone else to work on my vehicles.
Were this me, I'd write 'em off and just not go back, not even for a
It is virtually impossible to not notice loose wheel bearings. You can
usually wiggle the tire/wheel and see movement. Very rare to not have
that show up in the first five minutes.
I guess that (in hindsight!) was a big red flag... <g>
Let's guess: the only good, compentent mechanic went to a better job!
Find out where he went too, and go there from now on? You would not be
the first person to follow a mechanic who is good.
Can you take a picture of the part that you think was not properly
Most sleeze shops at least clean up the used parts that they claim
they replaced! I've even seen 'em spray the old part with paint and
claim it was 'new'. Looks like from your post that they didn't even do
Now, I've earned my cookies...
I replaced the calipers on my 91 4X4. I went to a Napa Auto parts
store and was intending to shop around but found that they were not
very expensive - something like $30 each after the cores were returned
I think the full price was $69 each without returning the "cores."
Replacing was a matter of jacking up the wheel, removing the tire,
taking out two bolts, pressing the pistons into the cylinders to make
sliding it off easy, and disconnecting the hydraulic line. My calipers
didn't have new pads, so I had to transfer the pads - one bolt to
slide a retaining collar off a couple of pins that keep the pads in
place. Reassemble then bleed the brakes and test drive. Total time
about an hour per wheel - but I'm no pro.
They looked brand new even though they were supposed to be
remanufactured - they sand blast them, put in new bushings (if it uses
bushings, new seals and piston (plastic Bakelite type piston on mine),
then paint them black.
But you can easily price the parts if you think you were cheated. I
don't think I've ever replaced any remanufactured part that didn't
have new paint on it except for an alternator.
My original brakes would seize. Both front wheels. I tried everything
I could think of including pulling the calipers apart and rebuilding
them with new seals - the problem was probably too tight a clearance
in the piston to cylinder walls (I used compressed air to drive them
out - that is dangerous, safer to use the hydraulic fluid and just
throw out the waste, but I already disconnected the hose and it seemed
like a good idea at the time - I did have the foresight to put a piece
of wood in between the parts or the piston would have gone sub-orbital
or killed me).
Replacing the calipers fixed the seizing problem for me.
Suddenly, without warning, default exclaimed (5/25/2010 8:58 PM):
Thank you. I'm not sure what's still wrong with them, aside from the
drums being NQR, but the brakes just don't feel right. Today when I
light changed on me suddenly, I wasn't quite sure the truck was going to
stop in time - the brakes just didn't feel right. I still feel like
they might be sticking slightly.
Also, the truck has developed a very slight shudder at speed. No idea
what that is, but would guess it's either the alignment or the tie bars.
They didn't do one after the wheel bearings 'cause "there was no
point, with the tie bars needing replacement".
I'm having problems determining a small local shop I can trust. I've
already heard from multiple sources that Sears is probably not the place
to go (though the mechanic that did my wheel bearings seems competent,
I'm obviously a poor judge of that!)... how's AAMCO? Goodyear? I must
say I'm not sure I trust the local Goodyear, they couldn't even get my
lights' alignment right, insisted they were correct even though I
couldn't see... my old shop corrected that.
I'd pay one of you guys your weight in cookies to fix my truck once and
for all, at this point. Well, except Denny, I can't afford that much
The only thing you might "feel" is air in the hydraulic system mushy
pedal feel - helped by pumping the pedal. You might (just barely)feel
an out of round rotor - calipers have rotors, cylinders have drums.
The rotor wobbles and can (slightly) modulate the pedal your foot is
Sticking piston will cause the brakes to overheat. They overheat and
the rotors warp. Warped rotors will be felt when braking as
surging/stopping as the wheel goes around. It doesn't take much in
the way of a sticking piston to cause the brakes to overheat - you
should be able to feel it on the affected wheels, versus the good
I can't advise there. If I can do it myself, and have the time, I
I did recently go for an inspection and got quoted a $500 price to
replace a bushing in the steering linkage, and the tailpipe. That
seemed steep to me considering the bushing didn't look too time
consuming and how much can a piece of plastic cost? I took the truck
to the guy down the end of the street, he replaced the bushing,
muffler, interconnecting pipe, tail pipe, then inspected it for $200.
I liked his style - there was none of the "our insurance won't allow
you to watch," instead he showed me the bushing and how he would
change it, and didn't treat me like I was a total idiot. He had
stocks of pipe sitting along the wall and a hydraulic bending mandrel
so I knew he could handle a pipe without paying for a OEM part - and
the pipe he used was thicker than OEM exhaust pipe.
The dealership is almost always a good bet for getting it done right
albeit at a higher cost and often less convenience. Beyond that I
trust my judgment of people. Confidence and knowledge are easy to
spot as are subterfuge and lies (generally). I had a dynamite
mechanic for awhile - he cared and loved working on cars and was
enthusiastic. Some racing team snatched him up.
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