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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Vehicle: 2004 Highlander V6.

My front driver-side caliper piston is definitely seized. And as much as I really like and prefer OEM Toyota parts I'm also trying not to go broke. Rockauto lists: Cardone, Nugeon, Powerstop (in bright 2fast2furious red). But I have zero experience with these aftermarket brands.

Also if I replace a caliper does that automatically require a rotor + brake pad replacement at the same time? And is there any harm if only one caliper on one side is replaced?
 

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I don't know the other brands but I and many others haven't been impressed with Powerstop Products. Some pads are okay. Rotor condition will determine if it needs to be replaced. If your using a comparable caliper, I don't see an issue of replacing one. Good idea to replace the pads but even that can be decided on inspection. Thickness, glazing or heat damage.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I don't know the other brands but I and many others haven't been impressed with Powerstop Products. Some pads are okay. Rotor condition will determine if it needs to be replaced. If your using a comparable caliper, I don't see an issue of replacing one. Good idea to replace the pads but even that can be decided on inspection. Thickness, glazing or heat damage.
Darn... the only Caliper, Rotor and Brake Pad Kit on Rockauto is Powerstop. What were the biggest problems that you had with Powerstop products?
 

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I just replaced all the calipers last month on my 2007 V6 AWD with Cardone from RockAuto. The initial quality seems fine to me. They have a nice thick coat of paint, so hopefully they don't rust. I'm happy with them so far. I also replaced the rotors and pads because they needed replaced.

If the pads and rotors are in good shape, there is no need to replace them when you replace the caliper. There's a good chance though that if the piston in the caliper is seized, there is damage to the pads and rotor.
 

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Raybestos

If you use any other brand, clean the pins and bore and grease with correct silicone grease
 
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Discussion Starter #7
If the pads and rotors are in good shape, there is no need to replace them when you replace the caliper. There's a good chance though that if the piston in the caliper is seized, there is damage to the pads and rotor.
I figured that'd be the case. The Highlander vibrates hard when applying the brakes, which I assume is due to the damage to the pads and rotor caused by the seized caliper. That's what happens when the previous owners negelects replacing their brake fluid.

Mainly poor quality and just don't last.
Yeah I don't want to deal with that. So I guess the better option is to just buy the parts individually.
 

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If the caliper is still in good shape, then I'd just rebuild them, even with aftermarket seals like Centric, Raybestos, Wagner or Carlson.

Aftermarket reman calipers can be a crapshoot. In any case, get coated ones if you do.

CRC Silaramic is a JIS K2228 approved brake grease that's compatible with rubbers. Other greases and petroleum based cleaners will swell the rubber and cause caliper pins to gradually seize.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
If the caliper is still in good shape, then I'd just rebuild them, even with aftermarket seals like Centric, Raybestos, Wagner or Carlson.
I never considered rebuilding, only because I don't have access to compressed air for blowing out the old caliper. They aren't in too bad of a shape (sorry this is the only photo I took while bleeding the brakes). Problem is though that the brake fluid was NEVER changed by the previous owner. So I think the piston likely has severe rust and pitting that makes it better to just chuck and replace.
 

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My PowerStop Z23's were best when moist and horrible when hot. So PowerStop left a bad taste in my mouth. Raybesto's EHT's are likely to be my go-to for brake components, if you buy their new calipers (no core exchange) I'd say keep your current calipers and rebuild them and save them for when the Raybesto's go bad. Then you just swap back and forth.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
My PowerStop Z23's were best when moist and horrible when hot. So PowerStop left a bad taste in my mouth. Raybesto's EHT's are likely to be my go-to for brake components, if you buy their new calipers (no core exchange) I'd say keep your current calipers and rebuild them and save them for when the Raybesto's go bad. Then you just swap back and forth.
Not crazy about this option because these repairs are for an older relative. No room for back and forthing. Just want to fix it, one and done. But... also not go totally broke in the process.
 

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If you had a frozen caliper it is likely that the pads are worn unevenly. I would definitely replace the pads. l have tech friends who will only replace pads and rotors together at their shop, and will only work on an entire axle at a time to avoid pulling and sqealing come-backs. They would not replace just one caliper. They also replace brake hoses that are more than 12 years old.
Obviously up to you.
 

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I’d replace both as a mechanic I have seen multiple times one caliper go then the other isn’t far behind it and then the customers come back angry even after advising they replace both. It would also be best to replace the hoses that go with it that could be part of the reason it’s stuck as well. Also just replacing one puts extra pressure on one side because the newer caliper is going to be stronger till it gets some use. I’d go with Raybestos or Cardone or Nugeon as those have worked best for me. Replace pads on both sides as well even if you do just one caliper but I strongly advise from my experience doing both.
 

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Definitely make sure the hoses arent the issue by compressing the caliper piston. If it isn't seized then the brake hose rubber is swelled on the inside and not releasing fluid pressure inside the caliper.
I had bad luck with NAPA calipers and switched to an advance auto caliper. You can always find a coupon online and if there is an issue all you have to do is bring the caliper back to the store and they'll swap it for you, no shipping or waiting.
As far as I can tell, the difference between brands is just the rubber seals and surface coating, if any, and of course the warranty.
 

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If the caliper is frozen then it could be rust or it could just be the rubber piston seal. You really won't know until you remove the piston and see. But yeah, a reman caliper can save you some time in case there's rust inside the caliper. You don't want to disassemble it and then wish you had a reman on hand.

Use a rubber plug (Home Depot had them in various sizes) to plug the brake hose banjo. The banjo is 10 mm, and my 3/8" plug's small end just squeezed in, so 5/16" might work better. Maybe just get both sizes. You can use a kitchen saran wrap and a couple of rubber bands around the master cylinder reservoir opening to help create a vacuum as well. You don't want to run the master cylinder dry and get air into it.

Looking on rockauto's catalog, the Cardones have the heart symbol, which means popular items.

Nugeon is a BBB Industries name. They've been around for a while but not as long as Cardone. Nugeon has lifetime warranty, Cardone 10yr/100K miles. It's a toss up, but given the heart symbol I'm leaning Cardone.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
If the caliper is frozen then it could be rust or it could just be the rubber piston seal. You really won't know until you remove the piston and see. But yeah, a reman caliper can save you some time in case there's rust inside the caliper. You don't want to disassemble it and then wish you had a reman on hand.
There is definitely rust inside the caliper. Previous owner never replaced the brake fluid ever in the life of this 2004 vehicle. The amount that I bled out looked like flat coca cola. Caliper has been bathing in rust for 16 years that much I am certain!


Looking on rockauto's catalog, the Cardones have the heart symbol, which means popular items.
I noticed that, but I don't have much confidence in the heart symbol. Because the Power Stop calipers also have it and apparently that brand is poor quality.
 

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I have a pair of Cardones on the shelf along with hoses. They were $35 ea, no core @ Rock Auto. Quality looks great. I've kept the OEMs going long enough at 247k miles. I have to do a RF wheel bearing and RF axle soon, the brakes could wait until Spring, but may just get it done while the front end is apart.
 
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