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Steel vs Phenolic Piston #4458593
07/13/17 06:35 PM
07/13/17 06:35 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 581
NE Ohio
Ifixyawata Online shocked OP
Ifixyawata  Online Shocked OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 581
NE Ohio
I think I already know the answer to this but here goes.

My neighbor asked for my help on replacing the rear (disc) brakes on his 2001 Lincoln Town Car. I took a quick glance at it to confirm that they were discs. I noticed that the rotors were pretty worn. Money is tight for them but I probably would've urged them to do new rotors either way. I found that Rockauto has a Power Stop kit (rotors, pads and slide pins) for about $75, this looks like a good fit but it makes a distinction between Steel and Phenolic caliper pistons.

Is there any chance in the world that there's any way to determine steel or phenolic pistons besides disassembling the whole thing?


2004 Mercury Mountaineer 4.6 M1 High Mileage 10w-40 (Summer)
2001 Ford Focus 2.0 Zetec Pennzoil Euro L 5w-30
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458607
07/13/17 06:49 PM
07/13/17 06:49 PM
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,696
Massachusetts
turtlevette Offline
turtlevette  Offline
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,696
Massachusetts
Just go with phenolic. Doesn't transfer heat to the brake fluid.


USA-1
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458623
07/13/17 07:10 PM
07/13/17 07:10 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 581
NE Ohio
Ifixyawata Online shocked OP
Ifixyawata  Online Shocked OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 581
NE Ohio
I'm not replacing the calipers.

They list two different pad/rotor kits based on whether you have Steel or Phenolic caliper pistons.


2004 Mercury Mountaineer 4.6 M1 High Mileage 10w-40 (Summer)
2001 Ford Focus 2.0 Zetec Pennzoil Euro L 5w-30
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458629
07/13/17 07:14 PM
07/13/17 07:14 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,501
Clovis, CA
Merkava_4 Offline
Merkava_4  Offline
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,501
Clovis, CA
There's something different about the back of the pads depending on whether the caliper piston is phenolic or steel. You might have to pull one caliper to take a peak. But before doing that, PM Trav.

Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458633
07/13/17 07:20 PM
07/13/17 07:20 PM
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 5,091
USA
NHGUY Offline
NHGUY  Offline
Joined: Oct 2011
Posts: 5,091
USA
Its how the inner pad clips to the caliper piston.Get the wrong one and the pad wont fit.

Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: NHGUY] #4458638
07/13/17 07:26 PM
07/13/17 07:26 PM
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,501
Clovis, CA
Merkava_4 Offline
Merkava_4  Offline
Joined: Jan 2007
Posts: 17,501
Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: NHGUY
It's how the inner pad clips to the caliper piston. Get the wrong one and the pad won't fit.


Interesting. I learned something on BITOG today. smile2

Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458655
07/13/17 07:38 PM
07/13/17 07:38 PM
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 19,990
CA
The Critic Offline
The Critic  Offline
Joined: Aug 2004
Posts: 19,990
CA
Yes, you need to confirm the piston type - or else the pads may not fit.

For a good "budget" brake kit, get Centric 105 posiquiet ceramic pads with their 120 series premium rotors. Both are quite inexpensive on rockauto and are a much better product than powerstop.


2011 Toyota Prius - 173k - Various 0W-20 (Brew)
2007 Honda Accord 2.4 - 131K - Mobil 1 EP HM 5W-30
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458692
07/13/17 08:14 PM
07/13/17 08:14 PM
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,406
Atlanta
DuckRyder Offline
DuckRyder  Offline
Joined: Oct 2005
Posts: 4,406
Atlanta
Cruising a couple of OEM Lincoln parts websites it appears Ford/Lincoln only list one set of rear pads for a 2001 Town Car. My guess would be that there is an actual year/VIN changeover and the aftermarket suppliers just specify the difference in calipers VS the year VIN changeover.

Lot can happen since 2001 though, so what it left the factory with isnít a guarantee that is what is present now.

Incidentally - OEM parts are not what I would call expensive.


Robert
  • 2007 Toyota Prius Touring
  • 2005 Honda Civic Sedan
  • 1972 Ford F100
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458705
07/13/17 08:25 PM
07/13/17 08:25 PM
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 10,434
Illinois
javacontour Offline
javacontour  Offline
Joined: Jun 2003
Posts: 10,434
Illinois
How much is shipping on rotors?

Seems like this might be best at a local parts store. I.E. buy both sets of pads and one set of rotors.

Return the unused pads.

You take it apart ONCE

You don't pay to ship two pretty large iron rotors.

You know you have the right pads because you bought both and only used the ones you need.


network down, IP packets delivered via UPS -BOFH
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458723
07/13/17 08:40 PM
07/13/17 08:40 PM
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 581
NE Ohio
Ifixyawata Online shocked OP
Ifixyawata  Online Shocked OP
Joined: Sep 2015
Posts: 581
NE Ohio
I need to do a full price comparison. Admittedly I got excited at a $70 price tag.


2004 Mercury Mountaineer 4.6 M1 High Mileage 10w-40 (Summer)
2001 Ford Focus 2.0 Zetec Pennzoil Euro L 5w-30
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4458770
07/13/17 09:45 PM
07/13/17 09:45 PM
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
Johnny2Bad Offline
Johnny2Bad  Offline
Joined: May 2013
Posts: 2,093
Saskatchewan, Canada
I would just ask the Lincoln parts guy at the dealer. They're not poisonous; you will get your answer.


'57 FL Straight 50 wt
'90 Miata 1.8L w/Rotrex Supercharger [Mobil1 0W-40]
'96 Ram 1500 [3.7L Mobil1 0W-20 / 1L 15W-50]
'01 PT Cruiser [Mobil1 0W-40]
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: turtlevette] #4458942
07/14/17 05:00 AM
07/14/17 05:00 AM
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 593
Margate England
Claud Offline
Claud  Offline
Joined: Feb 2014
Posts: 593
Margate England
Originally Posted By: turtlevette
Just go with phenolic. Doesn't transfer heat to the brake fluid.



How does that happen?. Might take longer for the piston to get hot, but also longer to cool down again.

Claud.

Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Claud] #4459035
07/14/17 07:41 AM
07/14/17 07:41 AM
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,198
Ontario, Canada
IndyIan Offline
IndyIan  Offline
Joined: Sep 2008
Posts: 9,198
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: Claud
Originally Posted By: turtlevette
Just go with phenolic. Doesn't transfer heat to the brake fluid.



How does that happen?. Might take longer for the piston to get hot, but also longer to cool down again.

Claud.

The plastic just doesn't transfer heat fast and probably has a pretty low thermal energy storage capacity compared to most metal. Just like wood.


07 Focus ZXW, 5spd manual, 210km M1 5W30
18 Outback 2.5 CVT 10km 0W20 "bulk subaru" whatever that is
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: IndyIan] #4459259
07/14/17 12:59 PM
07/14/17 12:59 PM
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,480
Ontario, Canada
mightymousetech Offline
mightymousetech  Offline
Joined: Apr 2017
Posts: 1,480
Ontario, Canada
Originally Posted By: IndyIan
Originally Posted By: Claud
Originally Posted By: turtlevette
Just go with phenolic. Doesn't transfer heat to the brake fluid.



How does that happen?. Might take longer for the piston to get hot, but also longer to cool down again.

Claud.

The plastic just doesn't transfer heat fast and probably has a pretty low thermal energy storage capacity compared to most metal. Just like wood.


Until the phenolic one disintegrates from heat.


Mighty Mouse Tech
BMW Tech, Former Acura Tech
2010 Civic Si Castrol 0W40, Redline MTL
2013 BMW 135i M Sport Edition Castrol 0W40, Redline MTL
Re: Steel vs Phenolic Piston [Re: Ifixyawata] #4459463
07/14/17 04:11 PM
07/14/17 04:11 PM
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,947
Ohio
L_Sludger Offline
L_Sludger  Offline
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 3,947
Ohio
For the OPs sake I did a lot of searching and reading on phenolic vs steel brake caliper pistons, and wasn't able to come to a good conclusion other than knowing that phenolic pistons are cheaper to produce.


too many cars and oil combinations to list in 150 characters or less
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