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Tools and Preparation


Tools List
  • jack
  • jack stands (optional but recommended)
  • lug wrench
  • ratchet
  • 15 mm socket
  • 13 mm socket (only if you plan on disconnecting the brake line from the caliper)
  • 10 mm long socket or wrench (if you want to bleed the brakes; it is compulsory if you disconnected the brake line from the caliper)
  • vise grip
  • wire brush, sandpaper (if you want to paint the calipers); alternatively you may want to use a bench grinder (with a wire brush attached) to prep the calipers for painting
  • brake pads, rotors, caliper paint (high-temp), caliper decals, high-temp clearcoat
  • brake bleeder kit
  • other consumables: brake grease (anti-squeak compound), brake fluid (1-2 liters for the whole car at most), brake parts cleaner
  • safety equipment: goggles and dust mask

Warnings and Disclaimer:
  • Remember, safety comes first.
  • Brake dust is harmful, never inhale; always use a dust mask.
  • Use goggles: eyes donít like brake fluid; wash with water in case of contact.

Preparation

Put the car in 1st gear or reverse (manual transmission) or park (automatic). Pull the e-brake. Make sure you have all the tools and other stuff you need from above.

Put wheel stops on the opposite corners of the car, e.g. if youíre lifting the rear right, secure the rear left and front right wheels with wheel stops.

Loosen lightly the lug nuts if you are using a regular lug wrench; you wonít be able to do this safely if the car is already lifted. If you are using air tools, you may ignore this.

Lift the car and secure it, either on jack stands, or put the wheel you just took off under the door on the side you lifted the car. This should break its fall in case the jack gives in.

Changing Pads

  1. The Haynes manual advises to use a large C-clamp on the brake pad and rear of the caliper to compress the cylinder; this way, youíll be able to insert thicker (new) brake pads instead of the used ones. If you only have a smaller C-clamp, you can use it once the caliper is taken off, but itís not as straightforward.

  2. Remove the bottom caliper bolt (see pic); you your socket set and a vise grip or a socket to hold the other side, otherwise it spins with the bolt.

       

  3. Flip up the caliper and the brake pads should come right off.

  4. Place the brake grease or anti-squeak compound on the exterior of the brakes (where they contact the caliper (NOT THE ROTOR) and place them where the old ones were; remember, the pad with the wear indicator goes on the inside of the car.

  5. If you havenít compressed the cylinder yet, you should get creative with the C-clamp and do so now.

  6. Lower the caliper back in place and tighten the lower bolt; remember to hold the other side with the wrench and tighten to specifications.

  7. Put the wheel back up and youíre all done. Donít forget to tighten the lug nuts to spec when the car is on the ground.

Changing Rotors


  1. Use the instructions above to remove the lower caliper bolt. Use the same technique to remove the upper caliper bolt.

  2. The caliper should come right off from the mounting bracket; place it on the rear axle; do NOT leave it hanging from the brake line.

  3. Remove the caliper mounting bracket; it has two bolts attaching it to the rear axle that were particularly stubborn to break loose in my case; I used some lubricant on them, and then the jack wrench for a longer torque arm, as pictured below.

       

  4. Remove the objects on the lugs; they hold the rotor in place. If you are replacing the rear rotors, remember to disengage the parking brake, since it is pressuring the rotors from the inside and you wonít be able to remove them otherwise.



  5. The rotors should come right off with no effort, and the new ones should slide back in. Follow the procedure in the inverse order and youíre done.


Note: if any of the rotors wonít come off or slide back in (rear), it means that the e-brake system is not properly set-up. The procedure for fixing it is not detailed in here.

Caliper Removal


You should remove the caliper (from the brake lines) only if you are planning on thoroughly painting it or exchanging it; it is not necessary to do so for any other reason. If you plan to remove the caliper, loosen the brake line bolt before you unmount the caliper from the mounting bracket.

  1. The Haynes manual specifies that you should siphon out 2/3 of the brake fluid from its reservoir; I did not do so, since I also wanted to flush my brake fluid. In any case, make sure at all times that you have a tiny bit left in the reservoir: air should not get into the brake pump. Make sure the reservoir cap is on an tightened, otherwise, brake fluid leaks 10 times faster.

  2. Have a small reservoir or something to catch the brake fluid; unscrew completely the brake line from the caliper; fluid should come out of the caliper (quite a bit) and also should start dripping at a steady pace from the brake line, so place your container underneath while you work.

  3. Once youíre done working on your caliper, pour some brake fluid into the caliper, then re-attach the brake line and tighten it; after you mount the caliper back on the mounting bracket, make sure the brake line is torqued to spec.

  4. At this point, you have air in your brakes for sure; follow the brake bleeding procedure.

Brake Bleeding


  1. Using the 10 mm deep socket or a 10 mm wrench, unscrew the bleeder screw for Ĺ tour or more, until brake fluid starts dripping.

  2. Attach the hose to the bleeder screw (follow the instructions on the bleeder kit); usually, a hose is supplied that needs to run upwards into a small container; the end of the hose needs to be submerged in brake fluid when youíre done.

  3. Pump the brakes gently 3-4 times or until you do not notice any bubbles in the hose.

  4. Tighten the bleeder screw back; clean everything with brake parts cleaner and properly dispose of the brake fluid.

Caliper and Bracket Painting


This is the lengthier approach of completely removing the caliper and mounting bracket from the car when painting them. While there is a little more work involved and the process is lengthier, the results are definitely better and it allows you to paint the entire surface of the caliper and mount it when itís dry, without any smudging risks.

  1. Remove the caliper and mounting bracket from the car; make sure you donít get any dirt inside the caliper; either plug the hole with something or tape it right up.

  2. Remove all metal spacers / clamps from the caliper and mounting brackets.



  3. Thoroughly clean the caliper and bracket, either with a wire brush, sandblaster or sandpaper; keep in mind, paint wonít stick to dirt/brake dust, and sooner or later it will flake off; mine were particularly dirty, so it took quite a bit of work.



  4. Tape the parts you donít want to paint; remember to leave yourself a place where you can hang/grab the painted part.



  5. Apply the paint from a distance (spray) in even coats, and from all angles; leave 5-10 minutes between coats; the first 1-2 coats wonít look that hot, but it gets better after.

  6. Place the calipers on an even surface or leave hanging for a while; take care not to smudge them.

  7. I read on a caliper paint spray that you should put it in the oven at 300 F for an hour or so (once applied) to dry completely; I tried it, gave it a little bit more than an hour, but the paint becomes rock hard once itís cooled down.

  8. Once the paint it dry, reassemble and enjoy (do not forget any of those spacers like I did); it should look something like the picture shown!

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