700/900 Front Sliding Calipers
Volvo used top quality brakes on their cars until the mid 1980’s, then the 700 series was introduced with a budget single piston sliding caliper in the front. The 4 piston Girling caliper found on the front of all 240 models 1978-93 (end of production) rarely had problems. The lower cost single piston sliding caliper configuration introduced on the 1983 760 models works ok as long as it is religiously maintained, kept super-clean and well lubed. Anything less can lead to uneven brake pad wear, damaged rotors, and squealing.
Another frustrating aspect was the multitude of calipers found on these models. Some had Bendix, some had early Girling and some had late Girling. Some had been completely changed under warranty to a style different than shown on the car’s ID plate! A two piece hub/rotor assembly was introduced in 1988 to help cut the cost of rotor replacement. This interim solution didn’t seem to do much in the way of addressing the problem of binding caused by the single piston sliding caliper. A final “jumbo” rotor and caliper assembly was introduced in 1991 and seems to be an improvement.
If you’re experiencing squealing, excessive dusting, premature rotor wear, or brake fade, it’s possible to get the system working normally again with a little determination and the right parts. Have your system inspected and maintained regularly for best results. If you’re struggling with 700 or 900 series brakes, consider an experienced shop for best results.