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Discussion Starter #1
My Fiance owns a 2009 CR-V EXL with roughly 165-170k on it. She commutes almost 100 miles round trip 4 days a week. Just this morning, both of her front brakes started grinding pretty bad when she left for work. She drove the car all the way to work then all the way home. I drove and inspected it after i got home from work, and it looks like the front calipers are locked up. The front right pads have absolutely zero pad life and have completely wrecked the rotors, the front left have maybe 3/16" - 1/4" pad life but those rotors are also definitely shot. The rear rotors aren't exactly smooth as butter, but they didn't seem too bad. I don't think the rear calipers are locking up, or if they are it's to a much lesser degree than the front.

So what could cause this? No way it's 2+ seized calipers simultaneously. Can a bad master cylinder cause this behavior? I've never had a MC go in a car before, so I'm not sure what exactly happens when one fails. Any sensors or relays I should check?

Keep in mind, this literally happened overnight, and the car gets very regular use.

Also, if it's at all relevant, she's also been having AC issues...where the AC starts to blow warm after a few minutes. After some failed diagnostic attempts, we tried a second service station (Shell), but they simply insisted it was low Freon (even though they hadn't confirmed the current level). I think that was BS, and I believe she's still having the problems now that the temperature outside is starting to get hotter again. I don't see how this could be related to brakes, just thought I'd mention in case. Seems an odd coincidence this issue began mere days after taking her car to the shop.

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It's rare a master cylinder goes bad.

A few things could be happening.

1) The guide pins on the caliper are not moving freely, which causes the caliper to bind up. The cure is to get the pins out, clean them up (or replace them) and lubricate with a brake anti-seize compound. Note that the top and bottom pins could be different--on the rears, one of the two pins has a flat side to it, and it's important to get them back in the correct location. New guide pins are probably $5-$7 per side.

2) The pads do not slide easily within the caliper. I had this happen on my left rear brake back in July, and it turns out the pads were pretty much stuck in the caliper. (The brake was "howling" at highway speeds, the wheel was hot and covered in brake dust.) At first I cleaned the brake hardware (the metal clips) and ground down the "tabs" on the pads, but since I was taking a long trip out through the mountains, I purchased new Akebono brake pads and a new set of hardware ($10-ish for the rear--front should be similar). That cured it completely--the pads should slide back and forth in their slots in the calipers without binding but, should not flop around either.

3) The piston in the caliper could be seized up and not retracting. I think there are rebuild kits, but some just prefer to replace the caliper at this point to start fresh. It's more work due to needing to bleed the brakes.

Rock Auto would have everything you need. I would suggest avoiding the store brand brake pads from the auto parts chains, as I've had problems in the past with the tabs on the pads fitting in the calipers too tightly and binding up. Akebono is an OE supplier to many auto manufacturers, and the last couple of sets I have purchased fit perfectly. Pads direct from Honda are not too badly priced either, and fit properly.

I'm betting the A/C is not related. I've replaced the compressors in both of our '09s over the past year (August 2017 and May 2018). It was likely the clutch/coil that went bad but, at that point, I felt it better to just start with a complete remanufactured compressor from Honda, as it came with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, and they also took care of a couple of other tiny leaks in the system due to age (replacing some o-rings). When that clutch goes bad, the A/C can be intermittent until it fails completely. Not a cheap fix, I'm afraid, unless you get the new coil and clutch and do the (frustrating) work yourself.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am seriously doubting the brake issue is any of the things you listed. I can't stress enough how much this problem went from 0-to-100 in BOTH front calipers simultaneously (and possibly in the rears too, haven't officially confirmed yet).

I owned an 03 Accord 6spd V6 for 10 years, and i dealt with the rear calipers locking up on that thing over and over again. Replaced the entire assembly twice because they got "orange hot", and that still didn't fix the issue. I ultimately traced the problem to how the rear calipers handle the E-brake and had to stop using the E-brake altogether... Found out the hard way that that tranny likes to jump out of gear on the slightest of grades. So i rigged bungee cords to hold the shifter in place, and that worked for several years until engine issues forced me to get a new car.

Anyway... My point is that I'm more than familiar with locked up Honda calipers. And i can tell just by listening to them and by looking at and feeling the grooves (read: canyons) in the front rotors that these calipers are clamped down hard and not letting go. With sticking pins, you typically get some warning as the problem is intermittent at first. And at the least, you would expect them to free themselves up after 100 miles of stop n go traffic, some reverse driving, and thermal expansion and contraction. But the real key here is that you almost never get two seized calipers at the same time, especially for this long of a period with no relief.

So i gotta say that something else must be wrong. I'm certain of that. Either way, the pads and rotors need to be replaced, so that's a non-issue. They're beyond repair/salvage. And i will probably replace pins too anyway, because as you said they are cheap. I think i paid $7 for my accords pins for OEM. Stupid not to just replace them. And I'll carefully spot pb blast them too for longevity. But i want to know what else is going on, cause this isn't just pins.
It's rare a master cylinder goes bad.

A few things could be happening.

1) The guide pins on the caliper are not moving freely, which causes the caliper to bind up. The cure is to get the pins out, clean them up (or replace them) and lubricate with a brake anti-seize compound. Note that the top and bottom pins could be different--on the rears, one of the two pins has a flat side to it, and it's important to get them back in the correct location. New guide pins are probably $5-$7 per side.

2) The pads do not slide easily within the caliper. I had this happen on my left rear brake back in July, and it turns out the pads were pretty much stuck in the caliper. (The brake was "howling" at highway speeds, the wheel was hot and covered in brake dust.) At first I cleaned the brake hardware (the metal clips) and ground down the "tabs" on the pads, but since I was taking a long trip out through the mountains, I purchased new Akebono brake pads and a new set of hardware ($10-ish for the rear--front should be similar). That cured it completely--the pads should slide back and forth in their slots in the calipers without binding but, should not flop around either.

3) The piston in the caliper could be seized up and not retracting. I think there are rebuild kits, but some just prefer to replace the caliper at this point to start fresh. It's more work due to needing to bleed the brakes.

Rock Auto would have everything you need. I would suggest avoiding the store brand brake pads from the auto parts chains, as I've had problems in the past with the tabs on the pads fitting in the calipers too tightly and binding up. Akebono is an OE supplier to many auto manufacturers, and the last couple of sets I have purchased fit perfectly. Pads direct from Honda are not too badly priced either, and fit properly.

I'm betting the A/C is not related. I've replaced the compressors in both of our '09s over the past year (August 2017 and May 2018). It was likely the clutch/coil that went bad but, at that point, I felt it better to just start with a complete remanufactured compressor from Honda, as it came with a 3 year/36,000 mile warranty, and they also took care of a couple of other tiny leaks in the system due to age (replacing some o-rings). When that clutch goes bad, the A/C can be intermittent until it fails completely. Not a cheap fix, I'm afraid, unless you get the new coil and clutch and do the (frustrating) work yourself.
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Pads don't grind to nothing overnight, though. The brakes on Gen3s wear down very smoothly, esp. with higher mileage commutes. They don't really offer warning.

How many miles ago were the pads and rotors last changed?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yes, another good point. There would have been months of squeaking before it got this bad. I should have snapped a photo to show how bad the rotors are now. And pads do not wear that unevenly either. So something's up. Gonna order new pads, rotors, and pins at a minimum.
Pads don't grind to nothing overnight, though. The brakes on Gen3s wear down very smoothly, esp. with higher mileage commutes. They don't really offer warning.

How many miles ago were the pads and rotors last changed?
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Well, on my '09, I drove it for 20 months with no brake issue on the left rear wheel. It was even on two lengthy trips (12,500+ miles combined) on highways, through mountains and desert, rain, etc., no issues. It also made it through two salty winters here.

So why, when we had it up north in July, did the pad suddenly decide to seize up in the caliper, to where the wheel was hot and covered in brake dust? Nothing changed, nothing worked on back there. Yet it seized, and the outer pad was nearly worn all the way down. The right side rear hadn't gotten bad enough to seize. Yet its pads were also a bit stiff in the caliper--it would have been a matter of time before that one seized up.

It happens.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Well at this point i have to start with new pads, rotors, and pins. And if that happens to solve the problem, then i guess we just have the worst freaking luck on the planet with brakes. Not saying it's impossible for two to lock up simultaneously, just never heard of it happening before and the problem being at the caliper.

So i was thinking, Honda oem pins are gonna take probably a week or more to arrive. This car probably doesn't have a ton of life left anyway, so I'm thinking for times sake maybe i just go aftermarket so i can do the work this weekend. Anyone ever buy aftermarket pins from Advance or Napa or any other big box stores? Recommendations on brands of pins and pads?
Well, on my '09, I drove it for 20 months with no brake issue on the left rear wheel. It was even on two lengthy trips (12,500+ miles combined) on highways, through mountains and desert, rain, etc., no issues. It also made it through two salty winters here.

So why, when we had it up north in July, did the pad suddenly decide to seize up in the caliper, to where the wheel was hot and covered in brake dust? Nothing changed, nothing worked on back there. Yet it seized, and the outer pad was nearly worn all the way down. The right side rear hadn't gotten bad enough to seize. Yet its pads were also a bit stiff in the caliper--it would have been a matter of time before that one seized up.

It happens.
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I'd like to also suggest to check for the brake hoses. Before removing the calipers loosen the brake bleeder see if it the brake fluid squirts hard. If so, you have an internal failure of the brake hoses.
 

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The answer from experience is very simple.
The more worn out a brake pad is, the further out the pistons in the calipers have to extend.
At a certain point in time, with totally worn out pads they are out of movement.
At this point, rather than retracting, the pistons just stay out and a ring of rust will gradually form on the exposed portion of the pistons.
At this point, it's too late to save the calipers.
You are in to replace the rotors, calipers and pads. No other way around it.
Expensive yes. Avoidable yes. Your mechanic needs to be more diligent in recommending more frequent pad changes.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Can you define "hard"? Like how fast is it normally supposed to come out? I think I've only bled brakes once or twice in my life, and i can't picture the normal speed at which the fluid comes out.
I'd like to also suggest to check for the brake hoses. Before removing the calipers loosen the brake bleeder see if it the brake fluid squirts hard. If so, you have an internal failure of the brake hoses.
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Discussion Starter #11
This is the first I've ever heard of something like this... Overextended calipers. I'll keep it in mind, but I'm still contending that the brakes wore down over a very short period of time. So short that it would be unlikely for any amount of rust to form on the piston. It looks like rain today, so I'm going to get all the other parts today and do the work tomorrow morning. I'll assess the calipers pistons once i got them off. I wonder if i can unmount the bracket and just rotate the whole assembly for a look... Otherwise I'm probably gonna have to compress the piston some amount to release it.
The answer from experience is very simple.
The more worn out a brake pad is, the further out the pistons in the calipers have to extend.
At a certain point in time, with totally worn out pads they are out of movement.
At this point, rather than retracting, the pistons just stay out and a ring of rust will gradually form on the exposed portion of the pistons.
At this point, it's too late to save the calipers.
You are in to replace the rotors, calipers and pads. No other way around it.
Expensive yes. Avoidable yes. Your mechanic needs to be more diligent in recommending more frequent pad changes.
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Yes, you should be able to remove one slider pin and rotate the assembly. (You need to remove the bolt locating the brake hose, too.)

Slider pins should be able to be re-used, just lubricate them LIBERALLY with hi temp brake grease. Inspect the rubber bellows on the caliper pistons.. any tears or looseness, then yeah replace the calipers. Don't mix up the top & bottom pins.:Darn:


You can use a c-clamp to compress the caliper piston...but I just pull or pry them fully open, when changing pads. (Pry against an old pad, NOT the rotor.)

Regards the brake fluid squirting 'hard'.. my experience is, a bad hose will bind but then release by the next morning, if its that. It will take 30 seconds or more to move the caliper pistons back even if everything is OK.

Patience is a virtue (as your Mom always told you!):eek: Oh Yeah, don't forget to eat your vegetables too! :sweat:
 

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Thanks. Fortunately, this isn't my first rodeo. I've had to change out pads, pins, rotors, and bleed the lines on my 03 Accord and I've done similar work including full caliper replacement on other cars. I should have all the necessary tools, except maybe the grease (not sure if i bought my own or borrowed my dad's. Will need to check). Also gonna see if i can get a tool to get that flat head screw off the rotor. That was a bitch and a half to get off on my Accord using only a screwdriver and pb blaster. My dad was saying there's a type of manual impact screwdriver you can buy for those types of situations. You just wack it with a hammer and it turns the bit a little.
Yes, you should be able to remove one slider pin and rotate the assembly. (You need to remove the bolt locating the brake hose, too.)

Slider pins should be able to be re-used, just lubricate them LIBERALLY with hi temp brake grease. Inspect the rubber bellows on the caliper pistons.. any tears or looseness, then yeah replace the calipers. Don't mix up the top & bottom pins.:Darn:


You can use a c-clamp to compress the caliper piston...but I just pull or pry them fully open, when changing pads. (Pry against an old pad, NOT the rotor.)

Regards the brake fluid squirting 'hard'.. my experience is, a bad hose will bind but then release by the next morning, if its that. It will take 30 seconds or more to move the caliper pistons back even if everything is OK.

Patience is a virtue (as your Mom always told you!):eek: Oh Yeah, don't forget to eat your vegetables too! :sweat:
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After pumping the brake pedal a few times wait for 5 seconds then release the brake bleeder it should not squirt hard. If so , you have build up of pressure inside the brake hose. Are the rear brakes ok?
 

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Thanks. Fortunately, this isn't my first rodeo. I've had to change out pads, pins, rotors, and bleed the lines on my 03 Accord and I've done similar work including full caliper replacement on other cars. I should have all the necessary tools, except maybe the grease (not sure if i bought my own or borrowed my dad's. Will need to check). Also gonna see if i can get a tool to get that flat head screw off the rotor. That was a bitch and a half to get off on my Accord using only a screwdriver and pb blaster. My dad was saying there's a type of manual impact screwdriver you can buy for those types of situations. You just wack it with a hammer and it turns the bit a little.

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Yes, definitely get an impact screwdriver. They only cost about $10-$15 and will save a lot of time in removing those rotor screws. The should look more like philips than flat heads, but are most likely JIS, the philips bit in the impact driver should work though. You can look them up on google and youtube to see how they work.
 

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About the unlikely failure on both wheels at the same time: Just a thought from an ignorant: Could the extreme heat generated while driving with "locked" brake on one wheel for a considerable distance, have affected the caliper on the other wheel, making that lock also? Like break fluid heating up to vaporisation in the front brakefluid tubings??
 

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I think Rocky hit the nail on the head. Some other issues can be associated with this type of event. You can disassemble calipers without damaging them if careful, and look for rust or corrosion. Another thing this could indicate is water in the brake fluid. That condition can cause a number of maladies, like stuck valving in ABS and other brake fluid distribution junctions, including the master cylinder. It can also deteriorate seals, hoses and metal lines on the inside. So, damage to metal and non-metal components. The presence of such evidence in the bores of the caliper can mean interference with proper function of the pucks' in/out movement. I always have the brake fluid flushed each time pads are replaced, or with any discoloration at all, even slight, from clear. If fluid darkens, that is a sign of deteriorating black rubber seals, which means the entire brake system is contaminated and damaged. And one other thing. Water in the brake lines can freeze or boil. Think about that for a minute. Heck, water in air brake lines is a very bad thing on a big truck, so you can imagine how bad it is in a hydraulic system. And it only takes minute amounts. AS a side note, the wrong brake fluid type can also be a disaster in this regard. If caliper bores are severely pitted, new calipers are indicated, but if they are not severely damaged, I rebuild them. It's much less expensive and I've been able to successfully do it way more often than I've had to replace them entirely. But it's a job that needs surgical precision and cleaning. Most calipers are well made and unless very seriously damaged can last forever with good quality rebuilding, which is not complicated, just painstaking care and good kits. I rebuilt my Jeep calipers a couple of years ago - they were almost twenty years old and had never been done. They turned out just fine.

Another thing I've seen in the past is the situation where pads wear down past normal minimum thickness and allow pucks to travel outward too far, causing them to leave the bore and become canted/misaligned and unable to move back inwards (Nowadays some are made with design changes to prevent this, but not all). This can happen without breaking the seal's containment of fluid, allowing the brakes to continue moving inward and applying force on the thin pads, and then not properly retracting into the bores. I have literally seen rotors worn down to a knife edge by this. I honestly didn't see how the car was still able to move forward, but it did. Like fingernails on a chalkboard.


I haven't looked at my CR-V yet ( I just got it), but most modern cars have a distribution block inline after the master cylinder (often times it sits right underneath it), which routes fluid to wheels and ABS components. A problem causing the same effect to two wheels could indicate a problem with the block. Interestingly, different carmakers connect wheels in different patterns, such as both Front and Both rear, or Right Front and Left Rear, etc. ABS functions can also affect this, though often an ABS warning light will result, but not necessarily always. I have seen situations where non-stock replacement brake lines of non _OEM lengths have screwed the system up royally, though it was long ago when I saw this happen.


Another thing I always do with my brakes, aside from fluid replacement, is to replace rubber brake lines each time rotors are turned or replaced. It might be premature, but an ounce of prevention, eh?
 

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Did you find a solution? I am having a similar problem with my rear inboard pads wearing out incredibly fast. I have had the rotors and calipers replaced multiple times and two different mechanics doing the work. Both have said everything is moving as it should be. I take it in a few days after the parts are replaced and everything is fine, then a few days later I hear the squeal of worn out pads, and the rotors are too hot to touch (the front are fine to touch). Only the inboard pads are wearing out, and the same on each side.
137583


My Fiance owns a 2009 CR-V EXL with roughly 165-170k on it. She commutes almost 100 miles round trip 4 days a week. Just this morning, both of her front brakes started grinding pretty bad when she left for work. She drove the car all the way to work then all the way home. I drove and inspected it after i got home from work, and it looks like the front calipers are locked up. The front right pads have absolutely zero pad life and have completely wrecked the rotors, the front left have maybe 3/16" - 1/4" pad life but those rotors are also definitely shot. The rear rotors aren't exactly smooth as butter, but they didn't seem too bad. I don't think the rear calipers are locking up, or if they are it's to a much lesser degree than the front.

So what could cause this? No way it's 2+ seized calipers simultaneously. Can a bad master cylinder cause this behavior? I've never had a MC go in a car before, so I'm not sure what exactly happens when one fails. Any sensors or relays I should check?

Keep in mind, this literally happened overnight, and the car gets very regular use.

Also, if it's at all relevant, she's also been having AC issues...where the AC starts to blow warm after a few minutes. After some failed diagnostic attempts, we tried a second service station (Shell), but they simply insisted it was low Freon (even though they hadn't confirmed the current level). I think that was BS, and I believe she's still having the problems now that the temperature outside is starting to get hotter again. I don't see how this could be related to brakes, just thought I'd mention in case. Seems an odd coincidence this issue began mere days after taking her car to the shop.

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Did you find a solution? I am having a similar problem with my rear inboard pads wearing out incredibly fast. I have had the rotors and calipers replaced multiple times and two different mechanics doing the work. Both have said everything is moving as it should be. I take it in a few days after the parts are replaced and everything is fine, then a few days later I hear the squeal of worn out pads, and the rotors are too hot to touch (the front are fine to touch). Only the inboard pads are wearing out, and the same on each side.
View attachment 137583
I'm not entirely sure if I ever identified the problem per se, but it hasn't been a problem for some time now.

I don't recall at what stage of the repair i was when i made the OP, but I ended up working on the brakes 3 separate times. The first time i just did pads and pins all around due to heavy rain and working outside in it. The second and third times (rear then front) i did pads, rotors, cleaned hubs, re-cleaned and re-greased pins, and replaced some of the caliper bracket hardware.

I suspect cleaning the hubs and the thorough cleaning of the pins and pin holes in the caliper bracket is what really made the difference. Upon removing the rotors, i discovered a sticky residue buildup on the hub that was caked on really bad. I think this was likely the residue that comes on new rotors from factory... Should have been cleaned off before installing. I think this prevented the rotor from sitting completely flat on the hub. I painstakingly cleaned the hubs with a wire brush and brake cleaner... Took me like 2-3 hours per hub. I'm sure it would have gone faster if i had access to power tools, but that residue was REALLY caked on there. After cleaning the hubs and the new rotors, i applied a film-coat of copper anti-seize to the hubs.

As for the pins, i had originally cleaned and greased the bracket pin holes with the bracket installed due to rain and difficultly breaking the bolts free. The second time i went at it, i was prepared with a good breaker bar and some Kroil (thanks to a recommendation here). These, combined with a little PB Blaster got me to finally break the bracket bolts free. Upon inspection, i could see that i hadn't properly cleaned out all the old grease. I'm a pretty meticulous person, so that was kind of a surprise. So this time i made sure to thoroughly clean out the holes, the rubber boots, and the pins. Then i re-greased with sil-glyde and reinstalled.

In addition to the above, i very carefully cleaned the caliper cylinder and boot (mostly just getting the big stuff off). I was being very careful not to destroy the old boot. I then applied a very small amount of brake grease to the boot just to protect it from the elements and perhaps assist in movement a little. I used another film-coat of anti-seize on the back face and ears of the pads and made sure they moved freely in the caliper before reinstalling.

After doing all this, it pretty much drove like a new car, err stopped like a new car i should say. My wife hasn't had any problems since.



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