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Mechanic recently replaced the Rotors and brake pads on my 2003 Cadillac CTS, they noticed they could not rotate the tires while the car was on the lift, afterwards they confirmed the brakes were locked, They bled the brakes,checked the lines (all ok) , checked the master cylinder all ok, disconnected EBCM still locked, removed the new rotors and brakes and put back the old rotors and pads and its now partially locked up, still not drive able, They flushed the entire system and still. The brake pistons push in just fine. This has been ongoing now for 1 week and they are dumbfounded. This shop has been in business for over 35 years and its a mystery, ANy feed back with ideas would be appreciated. Im not a mechanic but im pretty mechanically inclined and they've tried everything i could think of along with there own expertise input. Please HELP!
 

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06 CTS Sport/Luxury package
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How is this a mystery with a 35 year old shop?

If they wheels wouldn't turn very well, assuming before they started they noticed this. Then the caliper(s) are locked up and need to be replaced.

Also, are these the front brakes giving you the problems? If they are the rear, then check the parking brake to make sure they aren't locked up. But there again, if the parking brakes were locked up they wouldn't be able to remove the rotors. As the parking brakes are actually drum and shoes. And the normal brakes are the rotor and pads. For the rear, the "rotors" are actually both drum and brake built into one.

KOT
 

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Discussion Starter #3
All the brakes are locked. Front and rear. Today they actually installed a new caliper and still locked even Went as far as replacing the hoses. They actually had the calipers with and without fluid and they still won't spin. They are dumbfounded along with everyone I've talked to about this. Thank very much for any help you give.
 

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2005 CTS
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Did they try pulling any codes to see the the ABS system was acting up. There is a possibility your ABS block went bad. But in my experience locked up brake usually means a blockage. All the brake lines might need replacing.
 

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'05 CTS-V
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The only way I can see all 4 corners being affected is either a problem with the ABS, or somehow the master cylinder is stuck and holding pressure on all 4 corners.
 

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2004 CTS Lux/Sport
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I had a problem like that started with my front wheels getting very hot, from brakes not releasing. Turns out the caliper pistons are some kind of plastic and bindup. replaced with rebuilt calipers and alls well. A couple years later same thing with the rears. Replaced with rebuilt calipers. So far no problem. Mine is a 2004 Lux/Sport.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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I am currently having the exact same issue. I've checked a lot of things and I did the brakes myself. I didn't have any brake issues before I changed them except that the rotors were very rusty and worn. I bought it used a couple years ago and because of health problems. it sat in my yard. So, I replaced the brake pads and rotors when I finally got caught up on things. I could turn all 4 by hand until I hit the brake pedal 2 times then they were locked. The first time I hit the pedal it went way down as the calipers came out to meet the new pads. The second time it stopped pretty hard then they were locked up. I removed all the pads and rotors and pushed the wheel cylinders back in again, put them back on and I could once again turn them by hand until I hit the brake pedal 2 times and they were locked again.

I checked the brake fluid, master cylinder, even unbolted it and made sure it wasn't still pushing on the master cylinder. I figured something wasn't releasing so the calipers wouldn't retract. I took one wheel and sucked all the fluid out of it all the way from the master cylinder to the wheel. I could even get it to suck through the ABS pump. This tells me that there is nothing between the wheel and the master cylinder to keep the wheel from turning. So, if I could pull the caliper off and put them back on and it would turn, that only leaves 3 components to keep them from turning. Since it was all 4 wheels, it has to be something that is new. Either the pads or rotors. Both could be too thick. I miced my rotor and it was 1.276" thick. I think that is a little thicker than spec but am not 100% sure. Any ideas or does anyone know the rotor specs? Am I going in the right direction?
 

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2007 CTS 3.6 >129k miles
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"Any ideas or does anyone know the rotor specs?"

According to the Raybestos site the thickness spec is 1.270 for the front and 1.025 for the rear. I can't imagine .006 extra would cause the issue you are having.

My only ideas are master cylinder adjustment or failure. I would start by flushing the fluid. If that doesn't help, have the master cylinder, brake booster, and/or ABS evaluated.
 

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2007 CTS 2.7L
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That thickness will not have any impact on locking up the brakes. After they were locked, you mention you reset everything. Pressed them back in, etc. Did the calipers/rotors slide up and off relatively easy or was it still frozen (clamped to the disk) and you had to compress the pistons or release the pressure with the bleed screw first?

The ABS module or master cylinder are my guesses, too. The fact you can press the pistons back in semi-normally and get the brakes to pump up to stop are good signs. There is something not letting the pressure come off the lines. OR, like I had on one side, when tightening the calipers to the hub, the guide PIN spun and did not sit properly in the caliper binding it up once the brakes are pressed down. Pressure never released. If you notice, the pins have slight grooves or flat spots on them for an alignment when installing. They appear to not matter the alignment, but they do.
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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I didn't think that amount would have this effect on them but I wanted to ask. When i reset everything I mean that I removed the calipers and pads by prying it off the rotor with a 15" pry bar. It wasn't too difficult but it wasn't easy. Then I used a C clamp to push the pistons back in. After that I can put everything back on and I can turn the rotors by hand. 2 pumps of the brake pedal and I can't turn the rotor not even with a pry bar. After I sucked the brake fluid out (I used a vacuum pump) I was still unable to turn the rotor using the 15" pry bar.

In the morning I will take everything apart, pads, calipers, rotors, pins and see how easy the pads slide before I get everything put back together. Maybe it's just an issue of something binding up a bit. I also thought that it could be the backers on the pads. It doesn't seem like there is very much room for the pads to travel but it doesn't need a lot of room.
 

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2007 CTS 3.6 >129k miles
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Are you able to bleed the fluid at the calipers? In other words, if you open the bleeders and press the pedal, does the fluid come out or is it clogged? Keep in mind that the symptoms suggest the fluid may be under pressure at all times, so it would be a good idea to wear eye protection when opening the bleeders!
 

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Yes, I understand what you mean. I completely removed all of the fluid from one wheel so there is no way there could be any pressure on that wheel and I still could not turn the rotor.
 

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2007 CTS 3.6 >129k miles
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I assume you did this on a front wheel (?) Otherwise this may be the drive wheel and the gears (or parking brake) could have prevented turning. Assuming front wheel, I dont see how the caliper could press on the pads with no fluid in the lines. Unless the caliper is bad...but I have never seen all 4 go bad at the same time!
 

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2003 Cadillac CTS
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Yrs, it was a front wheel. Driver's side. After the installation was finished on each wheel, I physically turned each rotor by hand so none of them were locked until I hit the brake pedal. I didn't think that all four would or could have went at the same time either. So, I don't think it's the caliper unless they could have some debris on the outside of the piston allowing it to bind up. I'm going to check that today.
 

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Just had another thought...when you changed the brakes did you remove the pins, clean and lube them, and ensure they slid freely before reinstalling everything? I have seen several cases of rusted/seized pins causing binding issues (not generally all four wheels at the same time, but the car is not exactly new any more).
 

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2007 CTS 2.7L
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^^^EXACTLY^^^

My issue was TWICE, the pins were binding. Did not really notice it until I tried to remove the frozen caliper/pads and the thing would not slide at all on the pins. then after getting thew pads loose, it noticed they were not moving well even though I cleaned them and lubed them properly. I think those flat areas have something to do with it.
 

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When I did the brakes, I pulled the pins even though they were moving freely. They were pretty well lubed as well so I put them back in. When I work on them next, which will probably be Monday, I will pull them out again, clean them off and re lube them. I will also check where the flats are and make sure that they are in correctly.
 

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06 CTS Sport/Luxury package
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You mentioned that you were able to remove the brake fluid from one of the wheels. (Caliper hose to master cylinder.) However you did not mention if you were able to turn the rotor when you removed the hose from that specific wheel. In other words if you were able to remove the hose, and I presume the brake fluid just oosed out, rather than a pressure change of any kind. Like air being sucked in, or brake fluid spraying out.

I am wondering if the sliding brackets, not the pins being talked about above. But the brake caliper hardware. Like in this link... please note I just looked up "brake caliper hardware." So this is NOT the correct one's for your CTS... though it could be, I just used a generic picture. https://www.genracer.com/centric-front-brake-caliper-hardware-kit-for-genesis-coupe-non-brembo/

The hardware maybe bad, and/or there maybe rust under them. So either replace the hardware and/or clean under them and such. Use a wire brush of course.

KOT
 

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When I did the brakes, I pulled the pins even though they were moving freely. They were pretty well lubed as well so I put them back in. When I work on them next, which will probably be Monday, I will pull them out again, clean them off and re lube them. I will also check where the flats are and make sure that they are in correctly.
May I suggest pulling the pin boots as well, and wiping out the old lube before reinstalling. Not usually a problem to leave the old stuff in there but just trying to eliminate all the potential issues.

Also, even with new hardware installed as KOT described, I have noticed that the ears of some pads do not always slide freely in the brackets (manufacturing imperfections). They should slide freely both directions; if any binding occurs they may not release and could remain pressed against the rotor (although I wouldn't expect them to be so tight that the wheel is stuck). If they are binding, take a file and remove any bumps or casting that prevents sliding.

Again, just trying to eliminate potential issues with the brake pads!
 
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