Installing brake caliper bolt bushings 99 Montana won't go in-what gives

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Asked by Apr 15, 2012 at 09:26 PM about the 1999 Pontiac Montana 4 Dr STD Passenger Van Extended

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Removed front caliper brake bolts to replace pads and discovered the rubber caliper bolt boots were deteriorated. Also noticed the cylindrical rubber caliper bolt bushings upon removing the rubber boots with press fit collars that fit tightly into the brake caliper bracket. Got a new hardware kit and replaced the deteriorated caliper bolt boots.
Then slid the new cylindrical rubber bushings on the ends of the caliper bolts. They seemed to slide over the small end of the caliper bolt OK. Now tried to slide the caliper bolts and bushings into the caliper bracket. I did clean and dry the recesses in the bracket and the caliper bolt without bushings fit easily but sloppily in to the caliper bracket. I also lubricated the inside of the caliper boots and the end of the bolt with the bushings with caliper brake grease.
The bushings refuse to go in to the caliper bracket.

What am I doing wrong. Have done dozens of disk brake jobs but have never encountered this problem. Can't remember any other brakes which had rubber bushings at the end of the caliper bolts.
The boots were press fit into the caliper bracket and can not be removed without destroying them. The caliper bolt with the rubber bushing and grease on the end fit thru the boots OK but do not want to go into the caliper bracket.
Do you have to push the bushings into the caliper bracket FIRST without being installed on the end of the caliper bolt? If so how do you do this.
I'm stymied by this one and I have the other side to work on after finishing this side.

9 Answers

210,495

If I read correctly you were trying to install the new boots incorrectly attached to the capliter slider pins and trying to push them into the old boots. What you need to do is remove the old rubber boots out of the caliper bracket FIRST. Use a flat blade screwdriver or 2 to push the old boot through and out the other side of the hole. You will then need to reinstall the new boot into the bracket getting the stops in the right place. Grease the boot and caliper hole with dielectric grease to add install. DO NOT use a sharp tool to install these boots! You don't want to rip them.

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I did remove the old boots including the metal ring that was holding them into the caliper bracket. I removed the old bushings using needle nose pliers and thoroughly cleaned out the drilled home in the bracket with brake cleaner. I then installed the new boots which have the metal ring which press fits into the caliper bracket. I now have the old and new rubber bushings about 1 1/2 inches long and was trying to install them by sliding them over the narrow end of the caliper bolt after putting caliper grease inside the boot and on the bushing which is on the end of the caliper bolt. Should I try seating ONLY THE BUSHINGS NOT ON THE CALIPER BOLT with something like a phillips head screwdriver or maybe a thin rod which is about the same thickness as the bushings BEFORE inserting the caliper bolt? Then inserting the caliper bolt which will slightly expand the bushings as it slides into the end of the bushing? With the bushings mounted on the caliper bolt they will not push into the caliper bracket..

210,495

By metal ring, I think you mean a metal sleeve? You can use a small C-clamp to press it in.

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The new boots are pressed on. Now I am trying to seat the 1 1/4" cylindrical rubber bushing that sits at the bottom of the recess in the caliper bracket and receives the narrow needle like end of the caliper bolt. Do I try seating the seating the bushing with a rod which is bigger than the hole which is in the center to receive the caliper bolt end? If I out it in the caliper bolt end it seems to be expanded and won't bottom in the caliper bolt bracket.

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SOLUTION: I used a medium Phillips head screwdriver to push the bushing thru the boot and bottomed it in the caliper bracket. I first used a small stick to insert some caliper grease into the bracket by sticking it into the boot and pushing it all the way into the bracket. The caliper bolt was now able to go all the way into the bracket as it just partially entered the boot. Upon disassembling the second caliper i removed the old boots with a hammer and large screwdriver and punched out the retaining circular ring till it was crushed. The bushings were deteriorated and would not come out using needle nose pliers. I threaded a large self tapping coarse thread metal screw into each bushing and then pulled them out by using vise grips locked on the end of the metal screw. I cleaned out the drilled hole in the caliper bracket with brake cleaner. I will now INSERT the new BUSHINGS along with some grease BEFORE installing the press fit boots. Every new job is a challenge until you find the right way to do it.

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Post Script: SOLUTION: I used a medium Phillips head screwdriver to push the bushing thru the boot and bottomed it in the caliper bracket. I first used a small stick to insert some caliper grease into the bracket by sticking it into the boot and pushing it all the way into the bracket. The caliper bolt was now able to go all the way into the bracket as it just partially entered the boot. Upon disassembling the second caliper i removed the old boots with a hammer and large screwdriver and punched out the retaining circular ring till it was crushed. The bushings were deteriorated and would not come out using needle nose pliers. I threaded a large self tapping coarse thread metal screw into each bushing and then pulled them out by using vise grips locked on the end of the metal screw. I cleaned out the drilled hole in the caliper bracket with brake cleaner. I will now INSERT the new BUSHINGS along with some grease BEFORE installing the press fit boots. Post Script: The bushings STILL did not allow the bolt to go in far enough. I pushed one caliper bolt in far enough to jam in the bushing. When I twisted it out it came out stuck halfway up the thicker part of the caliper pin. I figured that I might have too much grease in the hole and that was not allowing the bushing to bottom. I used a coffee stirrer to bottom out and removed a very small amount of grease. Reinserted the bushing and went back to my medium size phillips screw driver. There is a fine line between pushing the bushing in with the phillips screwdriver and forcing the screwdriver inside the bushing just like the caliper had done. I finally got it in far enough so that I could try the caliper pin again. The caliper pin now went in to where the threads would catch on the piston part of the caliper which is on top of the bracket. 10 minutes later and the job was done. Whoever designed this Rube Goldberg puzzle should be shot. Two days to do what should have been a 2 or 3 hour job.

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I got the hardware kit at AZ. They had a new bracket which did not have any bushings or boots only the hole where they should go for about $21. Did not see the $14.99 item for a Montana. Thanks for your help.

210,495

Glad you got it worked out. The boots on my car go all the way thru and can be pushed out.

Had the same problem with a 2000 Pontiac Bonneville. The new pin boots did not want to go in. Followed bighank's advice and cleaned and lubed the inside of caliper bracket. I lubed the pin boot, then used the back end of a bolt that was just smaller than the bracket hole and used a hammer to tap it until it seated in the bottom.

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