Leaky Caliper Problems With Your Imperial's Budd Brakes

Imperial Home Page -> Repair -> Brakes -> Leaky Budds

Question from Norm (1966):

Has anyone had the problem with their Budd brakes where the seal "let go" or did it hold for a reasonable period of time while you drove around with a leak? I notice mine is erratic. Sometimes there is fluid dripping, other times, not. Even when there is fluid on the ground, there is only a minimally reduced fluid level in the Master cylinder, so it does not seem to leak much. Is it even reasonable to suspect that the bolts holding the two pieces of the caliper together are just loose and allowing for a less-than-tight seal? Or am I hoping for the level of luck required to win the lottery?


From Bill:

I have never experienced a caliper just let go, but guess that could happen. Most leakage appears small, not enough to really worry about, just add some additional fluid and go on. In my case, the problem stems from long term storage, which always seems to have a detrimental effect on brakes, transmissions, power steering pumps, etc. I have several spare calipers, and I would like to have new seals in these, so that they are ready when needed. I have found the Budd brakes to be good in a car that is used often, but prone to trouble if idle for long periods of time.

From Mike:


To prevent leaking rebuilt brake parts it is always essential to do the proper honing. If you have done this then it is also important to put the proper miles on the car to make sure the full seating has taken place. If you do not seat the parts they will always leak.


From John:

It was told to me the reason is that a ring of rust & crud build up at the point where the pistons sit. When they are put back in use & try to move past this spot, that is when they start leaking. The same person also said this happens on the 70's NYB's.

Quesiton from William (1967):

I have a '67 Imperial Crown. I replaced the Budd rotors and calipers with used ones. The rotors I got seemed pretty thin but I got them turned and put on. The calipers were off an old car that was going to be demo'ed. The car drove fine for 2 months but now I have a leaky caliper on the passenger side, which is the thinner of the two rotors. My question is would a rotor that is too thin cause this caliper to leak by maybe making it do extra work? Or did my used caliper just leak cause its old?


From Joe:

The Budd's did leak a little more than others mainly because they had more seals to leak. hehe If those calipers sat for a while, you could have rust in the bores whichwould damage the seals and they leak. The best bet would be to just buy new calipers.

From John:

Even better is to get the ones you already have stainless steel sleeved & the rust & leak problems won't reappear.A bit costly, but in the long run, its money well spent.

Question from John (1969):

The '69 I just purchased has a slight leak at the right caliper so I want to get rebuilt and preferrable stainless sleeved replacements. Any input as to where to get properly rebuilt calipers. In the past i have used Advance Auto, but have not had the best luck with their rebuilds.


From Carl:

www.Partsamerica.com, Search for part numbers:

18-4479 (righthand side)
18-4480 (lefthand side)
These are the unloaded A1 Cardone calipers for $139.99 each

Or for a couple of dollars more

R55709 (lefthand side)
R55708 (righthand side)
These are the unloaded Bendix calipers for $142.99 each

Unloaded means that you don't get the shoes with them. The shoes you want are the D10 shoes, not the D85 that are incorrectly specified on www.partsamerica.com

As always, verify and double verify before you purchase. Murphy's law and all that.

From Kerry:

Just a reminder for you Budd uses. I have the correct D10 Budd pads for 25 bucks a set delivered in the continental US. To my knowledge, the chain stores that say they have them actually will try and give you D85 pads which fit later cars and will not fit or work in your Budd calipers.

This page last updated June 8, 2004.  Send us your feedback, and come join the Imperial Mailing List - Online Car Club