Binding brakes on the Golf

When, a couple of weeks ago the Golf failed its MoT, there was an advisory about binding rear brakes.  Well, they weren’t joking!  A few days later, there was an obvious loss of power and some mightily hot brakes.  I hoped, when I bunged the car up on the axle stands, that just fitting new pads and clearing out the grooves in the calipers would be enough, but sadly the caliper pistons were seized solid and couldn’t be re-wound.  A year or so ago I renovated a caliper on the Fiesta, but it was a tricky job and the calipers on the back of the Golf are more complex as they include a handbrake mechanism.  So, with the car needed for visiting relatives over the festive season I opted to buy some refurbished calipers and today I finished fitting them.

As it happens, the calipers went on quite easily.  The only significant snag was that I couldn’t find my 15mm open ended spanner which is needed to grip the guide pins.  I had to use an adjustable and this was a bit too thick.  The brakes seem to work OK (the car stops!) but they feel quite a bit softer than they used to and much more like the feel of the brakes on the Fiesta.  I think in a couple of weeks I’ll have another go at bleeding them.

Whilst I had my pressure bleeding kit attached (an excellent Christmas present from a year ago) I decided to have a go at bleeding the clutch. To my knowledge this has never been done and that is partly because you can only bleed it by pressuring the system.  Anyway, I opened the bleed valve on the slave cylinder as directed and was shocked by the black gunge that came out.  Never have I seen old brake fluid looking anything like it.