I bought a remanned front brake caliper from advance auto parts and the seals and pistons are out about 3/8 inch. Should the seals and pistons be flush with the caliper body? [I'm inclined to say YES! The new rotors and pads are thick and the caliper should give clearance for those parts.] Currently one of the pistons is touching the rattle shield or whatever you call it.

I'm going to swap this caliper because I rebuilt a caliper before for a ranger and got everything nice and flush. I think this is just a job poorly done. Am I wrong?

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    so push them in if needed (??).
    – agentp
    Jul 22, 2017 at 16:46
  • What are these calipers for (make/year/model)? Most calipers will, some won't. You probably didn't check, but were your original calipers flush when compressed? Jul 22, 2017 at 16:54
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    The new calipers are more than likely good. I'd suspect they just weren't collapsed the entire way when rebuilt. This isn't a shoddy job, just how they were put together. With them being out a little ways, there's no pressure on any of the internal parts. It's the way I'd do it if I were refurbing them to get put on a shelf for an unknown period of time. Jul 22, 2017 at 16:56
  • The seals and pistons on the passenger side are flush, both on the caliper thats on the truck now and the remanned one I got. The drivers side seal is flush but the piston is frozen way out. I have a 1997 ranger sport with rwd and rw abs Jul 22, 2017 at 16:57
  • @Paul Hm I didn't think about that. Do you have an opinion about the piston touching the rattle guard? (Thats what Ive been calling it, I mean that springy metal piece that the pads touch Jul 22, 2017 at 16:58

1 Answer 1


Your picture does not show enough detail, but I think that the item you call the seal is actually the rubber dust cover and the pressure seals are further back on the piston.

Also you should be able to push the pistons back flush with the body - take care some pistons need to be rotated either clockwise or anticlock due to the mechanism inside, the pistons only need to go back sufficiently to allow new pads to be fitted.

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    your right mike the oil seal is inside I misspoke. That is the dust seal thats sticking out. These calipers have no internal mechanism that requires rotation. I'm heading out now to try and stick it on. Im just concerned that if the pro in the shop couldnt get the piston in fully maybe there was a mechanical reason. You've all put my mind at ease. Im just going to try and put it on now and hope it fits, otherwise Ill find a way to try and push it in farther. Jul 22, 2017 at 17:22
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    As long as the pistons move, then all is fine - push them back flush and fit the pads & discs as necessary
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 22, 2017 at 17:24
  • Ive asked this maybe dumb question just to get some insight from people with more experience to see if there are details Ive overlooked. Thanks for your input Jul 22, 2017 at 17:27
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    When you push them back, use something flat and wide (I have used a cold chisel as a lever : flat wide but no hammers !! ) - a screwdriver can slip and puncture the dust shield.
    – Solar Mike
    Jul 22, 2017 at 18:08

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