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Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby SunDogAZ [OP] » Apr 09 2020, 5:24am

If you haven't read the "Brakes 101 - Class is in!" thread yet, wow, like others have said, one of the best in depth auto related threads you'll ever read. I read it all the way thru before starting this topic.

So, a couple days ago I bought a 2005 GMC Sierra 5.3L 4x4 Z71 quad cab with 154,000 miles. Clean carfax, and I see that it spent most of its life in New York (2005 to 2018). The interior and body / paint is in amazing shape for a 15 year old truck, seems like it was garage kept. There is a very little bit of rust coming thru the paint in a couple spots. Not a big deal to me, as I live in Phoenix AZ, and it is pretty dry out here. However, there is rust discoloration underneath in a lot of places. This may be a concern. More on that later.

The reason for my post is that when test driving it, the first thing that I noticed is the brakes were super spongy and it was a little scary trying to come to a quick stop. I was ok with that, figured I could do a brake job and should be set. And the vehicle was priced $4K under the carfax retail value, so I'm ok with spending a few hundred or more to get the brake system up to snuff. I bought it for $6400 and smiled all the way home :D . Let's hope it's just the brakes that need attention! :shock:

I have changed brake pads on other vehicles (not a full size truck yet), but have not done anything such as rebuilding pistons, bleeding brakes, cycling ABS pump, etc. I am an avid DIY'er, and am mechanically inclined, and have lots of tools. So, with all that said, I need some help getting this brake job started.

So far, I checked the master cylinder, the fluid is clear and golden, but the level is way above MAX. I will need to drain some of that, maybe when I bleed the brakes. Oh, and this truck has disc fronts, drum rears.

I also did a power booster test, where you, with the engine off, pump the brake pedal a few times until it becomes stiff, then press moderately on the brake pedal, then turn on the motor. Supposedly, if the brake pedal gives and moves forward, then your power booster is probably ok, probably... :?

I then started with the front left disc brake, measured the rotor thickness with my digital caliper, and it measured about 29mm. My local O'Reillys auto parts store says minimum thickness is 28mm, so I guess that rotor has a little life left. They also said that my factory pads were ceramic, and for the rear drum shoes, organic.

My first obstacle was trying to remove the caliper. I removed bolts 1 and 2 (see image), but the caliper won't budge. I probably need to use a pry tool or flathead to move the two pistons back, but I don't see where to do that.

Back to the rust. It seems that the under carriage has been sprayed with that black under carriage protective coating that I remember from when I used to live in Pittsburgh back in the 80's. So, wondering if / how I should inspect for rust damage and what potential issues may arise from the carriage protective coating. But, mostly, I am interested in doing the brake job.

Any thoughts?

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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby ricka182 » Apr 09 2020, 12:31pm

Welcome to the forum. I know your pain dealing with a older truck, with rust. I'm in MA with a 2006, and I had my own issues doing brakes, amongst other things a few years back.

First I'd say, don't bother measuring the rotors. Replace them and the pads at the same time. You can go OEM, or move a up a bit to PowerStop, which is a great product. You will definitely feel a difference from OEM...of course, right now, OEM would be better than what you have.

If you're willing to do that, I would also remove that brake line, and then just pound the caliper off with a mallet. Concerning if the caliper is that stuck, almost makes me think you'd want to replace those as well.

Once you have it all off, clean everything else well, and then put it all back together. For bleeding, you do it with a friend, or you need other tools to do a one-man bleeding. Unless you have a ScanTool or similar with ABS pump cycling and/or bleeding capabilities, you won't get all of the fluid from the ABS system. Bleeding order is very important as well. Start with rear passenger, then rear driver, front passenger, and finally front driver side.

I can recco a Russel SpeedBleeder valve as well. Pretty cheap, and they simply replace the bleeder valve you have now. You open it up, and then can press the pedal and an internal check-valve prevents the line from sucking bad fluid or air back up the line.

On the rust, it's expected for almost any truck and definitely more for a salted road are truck. That coating can be removed, but if you do, you have to clean and repaint or coat with something else. Even in your much drier area, you'd want something to protect the frame if you can.
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby Capt Hoss » Apr 09 2020, 1:30pm

In my old 05 I have done several sets of brakes. The caliper will get stuck on, just take a decent sized screw driver and pry. One side and then work the other. One main thing to watch for on these trucks is the brake lines, they are very prone to rust. I had to have ALL of mine replaced.

Just change the rotors, simple since you are in there anyway. Just make sure you hit the bolts on the bracket with some good penetrating lube before you start.
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby DrPepper » Apr 09 2020, 2:42pm

Yep, watch out for the OE brake lines. I had an '05 dually that spent it's entire life in VA. No salt. And the under side of the truck looked fantastic. Well the hard lines started to rust at the clips which hold the hard lines to the frame. A good spot to hold moisture. Lucky for me, mine burst in my driveway. Not pulling a 11K camper.
Bought new hard pre-bent lines from a Chevy dealer for $125. And the new lines were coated w/ plastic. Guess GM figured out there was a problem.
Replacing the line going under the bed is doable without taking the bed off. It takes two people and a fish line. Tie the fish line to the old brake line and pull the hard line out. Then using the fish line, pull the new hard line back into place. This process takes patience and a little prying on the respective lines. But it's possible. It took us about 2 hrs to replace all the hard lines on that truck.
Good luck w/ your truck.
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby SunDogAZ [OP] » Apr 09 2020, 7:02pm

Thanks guys for the replies. Yeah, good advice, I'll start pricing pads, calipers, rotors, and brake lines.

I just took a look at the front left again and was surprised :o (or not so suprised :P ) to see a severed line. It isn't the brake line, but seems to be an electrical line. Here is a pic.

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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby CritterGitter » Apr 09 2020, 9:10pm

Well... First things first. Bolt 1 and 2 are the caliper float pins or whatever you wanna call them. Bolts 3 n 4 are actually the bolts holding the caliper to the knuckle. Your not gonna be able to remove that caliper until you take out bolts 3 and 4. Use penetrating oil because that joker has a fair amount of rust.

Also, the severed line looks to be your ABS sensor line. I'm surprised your not seeing sometime of code on the dash because of that. Def want to get that taken care of too.
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby SunDogAZ [OP] » Apr 09 2020, 9:46pm

Thx for the info. I did remove bolts 3 and 4 at one point and the caliper along with the rotor was coming off. Didn't need any lubricant either, which was suprising.

Regarding the ABS sensor line, no, no codes, but will have to take another look. I will take care of that ABS line, and will check the others. but that will likely come after getting the brakes working properly. Just curious if, after getting brakes up to snuff, will driving with at least one ABS line severed just mean ABS won't be in effect for that wheel? Obviously, it needs to be repaired, just wondering if I will be safe to drive for a week or two until I have time to look at ABS?

Now that I think about it, I wonder if the ABS sensor lines all need to be working properly before I can do the ABS cycling with scantool?
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby SunDogAZ [OP] » Apr 09 2020, 10:13pm

Another thing I noticed is that, when you first turn the key, and you don't have to start the motor, you hear 5 normal beeps, then followed by 33 rapid beeps. Seems to happen every time. Still, no codes or check engine light on the D.I.C.

Perhaps the rapid beeping is another way of indicating a code? And, if so, maybe 33 beeps is the code for: ABS sensor fault? :lol:
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby Nick_M » Apr 09 2020, 11:49pm

When the key is turned on a bulb check for all of the warning lights is performed automatically. Are all the indicators lighting up (check engine, abs, air bag, etc) and then going out when you start the truck. It seems very unusual that the abs light is not on with that cut wire.
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Re: Starting brake job on 05 Sierra

Postby SunDogAZ [OP] » Apr 10 2020, 1:11am

Nick_M wrote:When the key is turned on a bulb check for all of the warning lights is performed automatically. Are all the indicators lighting up (check engine, abs, air bag, etc) and then going out when you start the truck. It seems very unusual that the abs light is not on with that cut wire.


Here is a video that will tell all:

https://youtu.be/X52J2Tu3YAg

Is there a better way to embed a youtube video than what I just did? Using the youtube tag didn't seem to work?

I am now looking at some other youtube vids on instrument cluster repair, and comparing to my vid, I see that my ABS and Parking Brake lights don't even come on at all. I am a solder monkey, so if it is a quick solder joint fix on the instrument cluster board, I should have that done tonight. Could also be fuse(s) or bulb(s). Will report back later.
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