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This is a SEAT ibiza MK3 (6L) with FSIII brake calipers mounted (Factory VW).

The car makes an annoying rattling sound over bumps and bad asphalt since I bought it a year ago and I've finally found the problem, the front brake caliper is loose and doesn't contact the brake carrier like it should, I've confirmed the issues by applying the brakes when driving and the noise stops. This car has the FSIII brakes.

I found that there was slight play in the caliper, enough to cause the brake pad and caliper to bang against the carrier with every jostle and bump. The caliper should only be moving in and out along the sliding pins, but since there is a soft bushing around the pins it kind of pivots slightly up and down allowing a tiny bit of movement between the caliper and carrier which makes a huge racket when driving. All parts are genuine VW parts as the car was serviced at a dealership when the brakes were changed last.

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My initial thoughts were worn out or loose pins and bushing, but upon closer inspection the pins where correctly torqued (28 Nm) and they were in immaculate condition with no rust or gouging on the surface, they also had a very tight fit (almost interference) inside the bushing with no play so I doubt that's the problem. The official SEAT (VW) repair manual makes no mention of any lubricant whatsoever, neither on the sliding pins or the sliding surfaces of the brake pads, only a thorough cleaning and rust removal. The brake pads also fit snugly on the caliper with no movement so springs seem to be intact.

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Are these calipers designed to wiggle around a little? Any suggestions to fix the noise?

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The mechanic who installed the brake pads may have had trouble mating the pads to the caliper, and bent one or more of the three spring clips on the back of the brake pads to make assembly easier. This would allow the caliper to jiggle around relative to the brake pads until you step on the brake. I think you can fix that.

Remove the caliper and pads from the vehicle by the usual means and pop the pads off the caliper if they don't fall off on their own.

Check the fit of the three spring clips against the inner piston bore and the corresponding pad mounting point on the outside of the caliper. There should be no movement at all. All three spring clips on each pad should be firmly in contact with the caliper under forceful spring tension. If any are not, carefully bend the clips back where they belong so that they may hold tight to the caliper.

Important: Confirm that the pad on the piston side has large clips and the pad on the outside has small clips as shown in your diagrams. If not, the mechanic mixed up the pads!

Reassemble and test drive. Hopefully the noise will have stopped.

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  • Interesting, the outer pad is rock solid and doesn't budge but the inner one seems to have some play so I'll check that. I thought the retaining springs just held the brake pad attached to the caliper but I guess they might reduce excess movement of the caliper somehow.
    – Aden
    Jul 11, 2023 at 22:29

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