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The brakes on my 84' 99 GL are still squealing, and when the calipers were dismantled and examined, the garage tell me that the arm is working, but that there appears to be an issue with the "piston" inside!

I get a clunking when I brake in reverse, and the handbrake is not working at all...

HELP!
 

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It sounds like you need to strip down and clean or replace the calipers.

The handbrake not working says that something is wrong in there!

The handbrake works on the front calipers - that little arm on the back pushes the inner bits of the caliper about using a cam.
Even though the arm itself is free, the bits inside could still be sticking or anything. If its an 84, on its original calipers, they are most likely going to be fairly full or gunge.

I have had success stripping mine down and just cleaning them out and reassembling (though I do have a big pile of spare bits which i used where necessary to replace bits that were rusty). It took about 4 hours to do the first one and about 2 to do each of the rest. You will have to bleed the brakes afterwards too.
You can also buy seal kits - but the only seals mine really needed were the dust cover.

If you dont fancy rebuilding them yourself then plenty of places sell replacement calipers - they also come up on ebay fairly often.
 

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Apparently the SAAB dealers were told to bend the U-shaped pins to hold the pads more firmly. This was supposed to cure the clunk. I never had much success, and learned to live with the noise.

The hand brake levers needed regular cleaning to free them up, but I did manage to do it by unbolting the calipers, but not always disconnecting the brake pipes, so avoiding bleeding the system.

Don't overtighten the handbrake cables, or eventually it will stop working altogether. Adjust the levers on the calipers using a feeler gauge, as described in the red edition Haynes manual (worth getting if you haven't got one. They do come up on e-bay), to as near their specification as you can get.

After you have wound the pistons back in, and then replaced the pads, you have to pull on the hand brake (5 clicks or so from memory) and then pump the brake pedal. It takes a lot of quite vigorous pumping, (if you know what I mean!) to reset the adjustment.

In the end (130,000 miles) I bought 2 reconditioned calipers from Two Stroke to Turbo. Almost no clunk, and a handbrake that works a treat. About £60 each.

Good luck.
 

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The clunk noise will almost certainly be due to wear between the cradle (that goes round the disk) and where it locates in the main calliper body. As you probably brake whilst going forward most of the time the cradle is all the way forward so no clunk, its only when you brake in reverse that it shifts back and you get the noise. This explaination is probably a bit confusing, apply the handbrake, take the wheel off and rotate the disk back and forth and you will see the cradle moving. The reconditioned callipers I bought had the metal built up on the cradle location points which stopped the clunk.
 

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If you take one apart and look at it, it will all make sense! I dont know how so much gunge builds up inside calipers but it does!

The handbrake assembly on the back is supposed to be full of grease too (I presume), but after 20+ years saab grease just seems to turn into some kind of wied hard stuff - and the handbrake adjustor bit just stops working.

My cars are so much nicer now that they both have nice rebuilt front calipers! (my drum braked series landrover stopped better than the saab until i worked on them!)
 
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