Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Shocks, springs, anything to do with the running gear

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Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby PeterN » Wed Jun 01, 2016 5:39 pm

We have just returned from our annual sojourn to the far north of Scotland, but such were the events of the previous few weeks we didn't even know if we would get there. We were going in the C5 which is generally used as a spare car but on the Monday before we left we did a trip to Telford, around 400 miles in total to pick up a 2.2 Coupe for our son which I drove home and was most impressed with, the C5 behaved impeccably.

On the Wednesday, two days later we were driving round locally when the car was suddenly surrounded by a huge clous of what I thought was smoke, look liked a 1950's smog - if anyone remembers them, I subsequently found that it was in fact steam and the whole contents of the cooling system had been discharged through the exhaust pipe, either the head gasket has gone or the head is cracked, in any case its now in the row of cars at the top of the field.

We were now faced with the prospect of going in the 406 which apart from the dreadful fuel consumption was suffering a power steering fault, I changed the pump to no avail and was going to change the rack, I disconnected the one from the silver car but couldn't get it out without dropping the subframe, but by this time it was to late to do anything about it, so we went in it as it was.

As I was going to Axminster Tesco's to fill up with diesel there was a clonking noise which I chose to ignore, until we got on the motorway when it turned into a rumble, I pulled into Sedgmoor services and tightened the o/s front wheel nuts and the noise dissapeared. :shock: :oops: First time I've done that for many years.

As we proceeded up the M5 I was aware of a vibration and steering wheel wobble, but after a while it went away so I ignored that as well, didn't happen again until I used the brakes, then each time I used the brakes, I eventually came to the conclusion that the n/s front calliper was sticking - severely. We managed to reach our destination with a very hot front wheel so the following day I removed it and indeed the brake was stuck hard on.

The calliper looked in good condition with no rust or corrosion, even the piston was shiny, but I pulled back the rubber boot and poured a liberal amount of brake fluid over the piston and the sliding mechanism, I felt pretty sure this would ease the problem as it always had in the past - but it didn't. By this time every time you applied the brakes there was a loud squeal for about a mile followed by a rumple and vibration then it went off so I used the brakes as little as possible and got very annoyed if someone did something silly and caused me to brake. I managed the 111 miles of the A9 from Inverness to Perth without braking once but by this time the linings were down to about the thickness of a fag paper.

I did make it home and the following day swapped callipers with the old silver 406, they were a bit sticky so gave them a good dose of brake fluid and they loosened up quite nicely. The result is that the car is now doing 50+mpg locally as opposed to the 37.7 it has been doing it also goes up hills much better :roll: .

We have had the car for six months and this problem was obviously there when we bought it but surprisingly it hasn't got any worse or better in all that time, or in the last 1600 miles or so. The piston was stuck solid, I even attacked it with a large hammer and drift but it wouldn't move, the sliding part was fine, I have never had that happen before - and, the power steering is all right now :oops: .

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Re: Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby steve_earwig » Wed Jun 01, 2016 7:08 pm

Oh blimey, sounds like a right nightmare :(

I had a piston sticking on a Marina once (dual opposed jobbie so it was warping the disk to apply the brake so it took my younger self a while to figure it out), there was just enough wear in the caliper for the piston to turn slightly sideways and jam. It wasn't that old either, would have been a 1979 in 1983 or thereabouts.
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Re: Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby PeterN » Wed Jun 01, 2016 11:30 pm

It didn't exactly improve our holiday. :(

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Re: Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby Doggy » Thu Jun 02, 2016 5:42 pm

Sorry to hear about this spoiling your holiday, but at least you've found the problem and solved the fuel consumption issue.

We all get the odd trip that's memorable for the wrong reasons, (my last two were return trips from Cornwall with overheating Vauxhalls). Hopefully you'll get some peaceful motoring now.
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Re: Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby PeterN » Thu Jun 02, 2016 10:36 pm

Yes,at least I can now drive the car without continually staring at the MPG readout. I have already done quite a bit of work to find the fuel consumption problem so was delighted to find that was the cause. I have had cars with binding brakes and hot wheels before but they never had much effect on the consumption, there had been no evidence of the brake problem for the last six months, just the lack of economy and performance. I was about to change the injectors and exhaust - and the steering rack and am very pleased I don't have to do that now, my faith has now been restored in the 2.0. Hdi 8)

My abiding memory of problems in Cornwall was also with a Vauxhall, a 1956 Velox, I broke a rear spring, took it into a garage in St Austell and they fitted a new one while I wandered round the shops, total bill four pounds ten shillings - that was some time ago though. :D

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Re: Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby Welly » Fri Jun 03, 2016 7:17 am

I laid up my 2005 Volvo over Christmas just* gone and the rear calipers stuck on, they had to get very hot to release and I too tried to avoid braking which is not easy.

Glad you've found the issue and resolved it with the spare car as donor. Surprising the affect on MPG but I guess its as simple as you basically being 'on the gas' more. A bit like towing something.
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Re: Binding brakes and fuel consumption.

Postby PeterN » Fri Jun 03, 2016 12:50 pm

That's right, I was having to accelerate going down hill! No indication of the problem though until our 1600 mile round trip to Scotland, a hard lesson but one that I won't forget - although I seem to forget most things nowadays. :?

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