A caliper is not going to go bad per say. They've got a bunch of individual components that might fail. It's kind of like saying "how can I tell if my engine is bad?" It doesn't really make sense. You might have a bad cylinder inside your caliper that is sticking or binding. Does it make noise or feel funny when you apply the brakes?
Yea, I know that feeling of not being able to stop. After I finished putting the new rotors and pads on I back out of the drive way with out pumping the brakes and ran in to the neighbors drive way.
The brakes feel fine when applied, however they do squeak. The brakes also make a wierd noise when pressing the brake while the car is stoped. The noise sounds like a worn out bed spring. I figured this was the calipers sliding over the prongs that hold the pads in place. The only thing that really bothers me is the rubbing noise I hear when slowing down, brakes applied or not.
Beleive it or not it is not too hard to rebuild the caliper. In fact even a cheapie Haynes manual from autozone has the procedure, step by step, in it. You might want to take it to a mechanic and just get his/her opinion. You don't have to have them do any work, just see what they say. They might have some better insight than I can give.
Thanx for the info, I have a Ford original dvd with all the shop manuals for all Ford cars 96-02. I also took a good look at the rotors in the rear and I found that the one of them is has a deep groove on the out edge. I'm going to rebuild the front calipers and change out the pads and rotors in the rear.
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