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Caliper Rattle


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My 91LS (all back together now) continues to suffer from a rattle that seems to be getting progressively louder as time continues. I pulled the driver wheel off and determined that the only thing that I could move at all was the brake caliper. Basically, I could rock it side to side (from the driver to the passenger side and back again) and hear the metal to knocking from the caliper fingers (or whatever you want to call them) hitting against the outsides of the brake pads. Total play is perhaps an eighth of an inch. When I do this, I notice that the caliper slider pins are what is really moving to allow this rocking to occur. Surely this isn't normal, or is it? This rattle noise is coming from both sides, but I haven't yet pulled the passenger wheel as I found this.

Items I just replaced with OEM parts (unless specified otherwise) relating to the front end include:

strut bar bushings (both sides)

sway bar bushings (both sides)

sway bar end links (both sides)

upper control arms (with new Daizen bushings) (both sides)

lower control arm bushings (Daizen variety) (both sides)

struts (both sides)

strut mounts/insulators (both sides)

outer tie rods (both sides)

inner tie rods (both sides) including rack & pinion

wheel bearings (both sides)

engine mounts (both sides)

tranny mount

brake hardware (anti-rattle clips, etc) (both sides)

Basically, the only thing not replaced were the springs. I replaced the calipers perhaps 6-9 months ago with rebuilt ones from O'Reilly's, along with new Wagner ceramic pads. All bolts, etc. were torqued to the specifications listed in the Lexus service manual.

Any ideas?

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is it a rattleing sound or more like a loose knocking sound?.........does it happen when u turn?

since all the suspension parts are new the only other idea i would have would be the ball joints are worn............

with the caliper bolted on i don't believe it should move.....i did my brakes the other weeked, and i don't recall the caliper being able to move... now there is that rubber bushing that holds the pins, that gives some play when the caliper bolt is removed, but i didn't recall it moving when the caliper bolt was tightened.

good luck

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I forgot to mention the ball joints - they were replaced as well. I am actually beginning to wonder if I have a bad strut, as the noise is heard even when applying the brakes as I go over bumps. The noise sounds as if something is loose. The noise has happened on turns, on straightaways, up and down hill, etc., but is especially evident when going over speed bumps at something over 5mph, or when entering a driveway where the drive is slightly higher or lower than the main road.

The trouble with the bad strut notion is that I remember when I disconnected the upper ball joint from the steering knuckle having trouble getting the two pieces to separate. The puller ended up mushrooming the bolt. This was no big deal before, as I was replacing the upper control arm anyway, but now those arms are new. The absolute last thing that I want to do is damage one or both of the control arms.

I cannot duplicate any noise when the car is parked and I try to use my hands on a fender to bounce one of the corners of the front end up down.

Any more ideas?

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Stupid question-with all the work you did on the front end-you did replace the rotors? I didn't see them mentioned. Not refaced-replaced. The caliper bolts do have a small amount of "give" after being torqued, but it's not enough to cause your problem. Same for the brake pad springs.

Best of luck.

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I had replaced both rotors and both calipers within the last year, so didn't replace them again as part of this project. I have had lots and lots of brake issues on the front with this car, though. First the driver caliper froze up - about September of last year. So...I took it apart and rebuilt it (removed both pistons, cleaned out the rust, replaced the boot seals and spring, and put everything back together). I also replaced both rotors at this time and put on new Wagner ceramic pads. Six months later, the same caliper was frozen again (I evidently didn't all the rust out, eh? <grin>). This time, I purchased a replacement rebuilt, lifetime guaranteed caliper from O'Reilly's (I was lucky enough to catch the issue before uneven pad wear occurred). Two weeks later, that new caliper died (the clip that holds one of the caliper boots on came out and gouged the crud out of the inside of my new rotor. I put on a replacement caliper under warranty, but O'Reilly's didn't have any replacement rotors in stock, so I lived with my gouged rotor and corresponding screwed-up pad. My rotors are very mildly warped now.

Now that I am having to tear into this again, I went ahead and ordered a pair of replacement rotors and replacement pads. Plans are to put the parts on within the next week or so. Someone told me that I could go ahead and upgrade to the larger 93 brakes by just replacing the rotors, calipers, and caliper bracket, but I'll ask about that in another post. I already have 16" wheels on from a 99 GS400 and am tired of warped rotors and brake problems in general.

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My 94 LS had the brakes worked on (rotors resurfaced) at a Lexus dealer at 90K and 94K by a previous owner. When I got the car with 99k, the brakes were still bad. So I had the rotors resurfaced, with new pads.

That was a waste of time, too. Still bad. So I installed new rotors and pads, and the brakes were great. Now with 4K miles on them, I can already feel the smoothness going out of the rotors. I drive mostly in the city, so I use the brakes a lot. It's obvious that I'll need to resurface or replace the rotors in 5K or so miles. Seems the car may be too heavy for the whole system, I think.

Note-Since it only takes about an hour or 2 to remove and replace the rotors, I'll buy new Raybestos type rotors which only cost $60 a pair. Kinda' like throwing out a cheap pair of socks, I guess..

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