Advice for removing stuck caliper pistons

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Dec 24, 2003
SE Iowa
OK, so I had this death wobble going on the other day.......after researching here and then beginning exploratory surgery, I found that 3 out of 4 pistons on the passenger side caliper are locked up tight.

Any advice on removing these? I have not tried anything yet (except the air pressure trick that didn't work) for fear of buggering something up. I really don't want to have to buy new pistons if I can help it. Thanks in advance for any insight.

Hook the caliper back up to your brake system. Push on the brake pedal. Have a piece of wood in the caliper to prevent the pistons from totally exiting the bore.
I'll try it. Thanks.

I suggest reinstalling each caliper over the rotor, but leave out a pad on the side that is stuck. After bleeding, if you stomp on the brakes and the pistons still don't move, you might as well turn the caliper(s) into paperweights - you ain't going to remove them by any other method.

John Davies
Spokane WA
I tried what Rich suggested and got all but one to turn loose. John, I was thinking the same thing about the last one. I will try that later tonight when I get more time.

Thanks again for the help, this is why this board is such a valuable resource!!

Hot damn I love this site. I have a stuck piston and was going directly pass go to the paperweight without bothering to ask. Thanks for the tips fellas. :cheers:
One thing that I have found hanging around here is that there is not too much on a Cruiser that can't be rebuilt. They may require a little more attention, but at least (with the help of the people on this board) we can fix 'em.


If your pistons are stuck then it's prolly due to corrosion. If you get all four pistons out, clean them with emry cloth and purchase a small rebuild kit then you'll be in business. However, if you can splurge on four new pistons, then you'll be in a better shape. I don't feel that it's worth salvaging old pistons if you have the resources to purchase new ones. I recommend getting a complete new seal kit because the old pistons are going to destroy the seals on their way out.

Good luck.

Agree on the rebuild kit as if there's corrosion it means the bellowed skirt type rubber sleeve's letting moisture in. I think the kit for both front calipers is $22 from Cdan and includes all 16 seals/sleeves. For the last remaining stuck one, try pulling the bellow skirt outer sleeve dealie and putting a bit of PB Blaster there. Capillary action will get it in and likely loosen it up. Clean the pistons with a rag as if you have actual corroded metal beyond something you can get off with a rag and brake cleaner then the piston should be replaced. Any sanding or abrasion would be impractical since the final surface should basically be a mirror. For instance, mine cleaned down to the faintest discoloration which you couldn't really feel - just see. Look for my post a couple years back for any other caliper rebuild tips.

I have the rebuild kit on the way, it will be in tomorrow morning (Sorry Dan, but I'll be feeding the dogs plenty soon). Doug, that is exactly what I am doing right now, letting it soak for a while with PB Blaster. I have seen that stuff work some miracles in the past, and and hope it's got one more for me.

From what I can see of the pistons now, everything looks pretty good. I'll know more when I get everything apart and if they are not smooth, they will be getting replaced. This is the family hauler, after all.

Hey, look!! 100th post!!

The PB Blaster worked!! All four pistons are now free. Don't know yet if I have any pitting, but I will find out tonight.

Thanks once again for the help.

Excellent. That is amazing stuff.


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