Ford F250 Brake Caliper Sticking? Un-Stick it!

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Sticking

When I was first reviving my 2002 7.3 Powerstroke, I noticed that it felt like one of the brakes was dragging—holding back my truck. It didn’t take long to figure out that my Ford F250 brake caliper was sticking.

The tell-tale odor of burning brake pads and metal-on-metal smoking confirmed it. I figured the caliper piston was probably seized.

But it didn’t matter if I had to replace my F250’s brake caliper, rebuild it, or replace the brake lines. I’d have to bleed the brakes — argh!

At first I thought one of the front brake calipers was sticking. But after removing the calipers and inspecting what was left of metal on metal brake pads and rotors, it was clear that my F250’s right rear brake caliper wasn’t just sticking, it was almost seized.

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Sticking - Burned Brake Pad

And from the looks of the other three sets of calipers, pads and rotors… The front calipers and pads weren’t in much better shape. I was in for, at minimum, a brake caliper rebuild. But more than likely total replacement of calipers, pads and rotors!

DISCLAIMER: Working on the braking system of your vehicle is dangerous. Work on your braking system at your own risk.

The following information pertains to 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 Ford F350, F250, and Excursion brake calipers, pads, rotors, lines and other braking components. However, please verify all fitment suggestions independently.

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How Brake Calipers Work

If you’re totally new to your Ford F250’s braking system, or how disc brake systems work in general, read this article on How Brake Calipers Work.

Ford F250 Brake Caliper - Component Diagram

It’s pretty basic and explains component function more than how-to repair, but if you’ve never touched a braking component before, it’s a good place to start.

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Sticking Symptoms

There are three main culprits behind a sticking F250 or F350 brake caliper:

  1. The caliper pins have lost lubrication, rusted, and aren’t retracting the caliper
  2. The brake caliper piston has seized, failed and isn’t retracting
  3. Or a brake line is pinched off or twisted and the pressure can’t go back to the master cylinder

In many cases, it’s the caliper pistons or pins that have become rusted and/or seized. And whether you rebuild the caliper or replace it, first you have to remove the caliper.

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Removal / Replacement

No how-to site about Ford 7.3 Powerstrokes would be complete without paying tribute to “Guzzle”. And he has a detailed 2002 F250 Brake Caliper Removal pdf instruction sheet.

Or you can watch the equally helpful, FordTekMakuloco’s video below.

F250 Caliper and Brake Parts

Ford F250 Brake Calipers

On most vehicles the front calipers and brakes provide 60-70% of the effective braking power. Consequently, the front bake calipers are usually bigger and heavier than the rear calipers.

Ford F250 front calipers weigh around 20 pounds each. While the rear calipers weigh in around 14 pounds each. So, be prepared when working with them — they’re heavy.

F250/350 FRONT Brake Caliper

Ford F250 Brake Caliper - Font

F250/350 REAR Brake Caliper

Ford F250 Bake Caliper - Rear

Those calipers are the exact ones I used to replace my 2002 Ford F250 Crew Cab (SRW), 7.3 Powerstroke, short bed brake calipers.

They come with NEW:

  • Calipers
  • Caliper mounting brackets
  • Caliper bolts
  • Caliper slide pins
  • Caliper slide pin boots
  • Brake caliper/pad grease

So far, they’ve performed very well and, combined with new Power Stop rotors and brake pads, the braking power is awesome.

F250 Caliper Bracket

There are two main pieces to your F250’s brake caliper

  1. The caliper itself holds the pistons that squeeze the brake pads onto the rotors when you press the brake pedal, causing you to slow down or stop.
  2. AND the brake caliper mounting bracket that secures the caliper to the steering knuckle

F250 Caliper Bolt Sizes

F250 brake caliper bracket mounting bolt

  • SIZE – M14 x 2 x 37, 37 Thread

F250 Caliper Slide Pins and Boots

Slide Pins and Boots Kit

Ford has three styles of brake calipers on the 7.3 Super Duty trucks. The pins are different depending on which caliper you have. Here are the most common ones.

Brake Caliper Slide Pins and Boots Replacement Kit:

Aftermarket Slide Pins and Bolts on Amazon:

F250 Caliper Slide Pins and Boots (FRONT)

NOTE: 2 pins and 2 boots repair/replace one (1) caliper’s hardware.

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Slide Pins/Bolts
F250 Caliper Slide Pins and Boots (REAR)

NOTE: 2 pins and 2 boots repair/replace one (1) caliper’s hardware.

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Slide Pins/Bolts - Rear

F250 Brake Pads

These are the brake pads that came in the brake rotor kit I used to replace all four corners of my 2002 F250 4×4’s brake rotors and pads. It includes:

  • Pads
  • Caliper clips
  • Pad (wishbone) clips
  • Brake/caliper grease

F250 FRONT Brake Pads

Ford F250 Brake Pads Front

F250 REAR Brake Pads

Ford F250 Brake Pads Rear

For a complete rundown of the best brake pads for F250 Super Duty, read this article.

Ford F250 Brake Rotors

Brake rotors (also called brake discs) are what your F250’s brake pads squeeze on in order to stop your truck’s wheels from spinning. There are two main types of F250 brake rotors — drilled and slotted.

The main reason for drilling or slotting brake rotors is to dissipate heat from the rotor. But just as important is to drain water away from the rotor surface.

Drilling and/or slotting brake rotors perform both of these tasks. The difference being that some believe drilling holes in a brake rotor weakens it, so they like the slotted-only ones.

I like the best of both worlds, because my F250 has to have plenty of braking power to help slow heavy loads. Even with trailer brakes my truck’s braking system heats up pretty well. As such, when I did my brakes, I put drilled and slotted rotors on it, replacing all four rotors.

This is the kit I used. It came with brake pads and clips…

Ford F250 Brake Discs and Pads

Here’s my quick video of what these brake calipers, rotors, and pads look like installed.

F250 Brake Pad Clips

There are two types of F250 brake pad clips you need to worry about:

Ford F250 Brake Caliper Clips

The kit above has all the clips (hardware) for the front two calipers on Ford F250 brakes. 99-03. (includes the caliper bolt rubber boots which you may or may not need to replace)

  1. The wishbone brake pad clips that help keep the brake pads separated when not braking (so-called drag reduction clips or anti-rattle clips)
  2. And the caliper mounting clips that help hold the brake pads to the caliper

It’s not so common on my 2002 F250, but my 2010 E350 passenger van loses the anti-rattle (wishbone) clips ALL THE TIME!

Synthetic Brake and Caliper Grease

On all the metal-to-metal contact points on your brake calipers, you should use some grease. The mechanical reason is to prevent metal parts from chafing each other and causing wear and tear.

The more pressing reason from a practical standpoint is that it helps prevents all those annoying squeaks coming from your braking system.

Most brake pad and caliper kits come with a small tube of grease for the installation. But if you find yourself in need of more or you find out like I did that the little tube of it was damaged in shipping…

Ford F250 Bake Caliper Grease

Torque Specs for Brake Caliper Bolts

F250/350 FRONT Brake Torque Specs:

  • Brake caliper bolts (F250, F350) – 56 ft. lbs. (76 Nm)
  • Brake caliper bolts (F450, F550) – 46 ft. lbs. (63 Nm)
  • Brake caliper flow (banjo) bolt (brake line bolt to caliper) – 35 ft. lbs. (48 Nm)
  • Brake caliper anchor plate/mounting bracket bolts (F250, F350) – 166 ft. lbs. (225 Nm)
  • Brake caliper anchor plate/mounting bracket bolts (F450, F550) – 295 ft. lbs. (400 Nm)
  • Wheel hub extender nuts – 130 ft. lbs. (176 Nm)
  • Brake disc dust shield screws – 8 ft. lbs. (11 Nm)
  • Lug Nuts – 165 ft. lbs.

F250/350 REAR Brake Torque Specs:

  • Brake caliper bolts (F-250, F-350 single rear wheel) – 26 ft. lbs. (35 Nm)
  • Brake caliper bolts (F-350 dual rear wheel) – 56 ft. lbs. (76 Nm)
  • Brake caliper bolts (F-450, F-550 dual rear wheel) – 46 ft. lbs. (62 Nm)
  • Brake caliper flow (banjo) bolt (brake line bolt to caliper) – 37 ft. lbs. (35 Nm)
  • Brake caliper support bolts – 101 ft. lbs. (137 Nm)
  • Brake caliper anchor plate/mounting bracket bolts (F-450, F-550 dual rear wheel) – 295 ft. lbs. (400 Nm)
  • Brake caliper anchor plate/mounting bracket bolts (F-350 dual rear wheel) – 203 ft. lbs. (275 Nm)
  • Brake caliper anchor plate/mounting bracket bolts (F-250, F-350 single rear wheel) – 203 ft. lbs. (275 Nm)
  • Lug Nuts – 165 ft. lbs.

F250 Brake Caliper Sticking Summary

One of the best things about your Ford F250/F350 Superduty—diesel or not—is it’s stopping power! Huge disc rotors on all four corners help bring your beast to a halt, and fast. But they can’t do that if the caliper pistons are seized, your brake pads are worn out or you’ve neglected your brake fluid.

Do yourself a favor, if for no other reason than hearing your tires squeal when you lock up the brakes, inspect your pads often, flush your brake fluid when you need to, and keep your rotors and calipers clean.


I'm Steve. I've owned over a dozen diesel pickup trucks in my life and always worked on them myself. I'm the owner of Dead Head Diesel. I live in California. You know, the diesel "friendly" state.

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