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Old 05-14-2006, 09:52 PM   #1
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Default Help! Brake questions

Hi everyone. I am sorry this is so long- but I have a lot of questions as I have never changed brakes before. I also want to give my procedure so far, in case you guys can tell me if I did something wrong. I drive an '03 SSEi, no mods. I have looked hi and low through the forum to get some nice "changing your pads and rotors for DUMMIES" info. I've gotten bits and pieces here and there, but I have never done these before and I thought that they would be pretty easy. I was wrong. I got new rotors, new pads (they came with new clips) and some brake parts cleaner, broke out my tools, and jacked up the car friday night. I started on the passenger side front brakes. With a little convincing I got the caliper bolts out, took off the pads, took off the bracket bolts (again- some convincing), cleaned everything up, compressed the caliper with a C-Clamp, put on the new rotor, put on the bracket, put on the new pad clips, put on the new pads, and then put the caliper back on. So my first question is- did I miss anything or do anything wrong in these steps? I don't have the wheel back on because I was going to change the fluid after I got all four wheels done (car is on 4 stands).

When I took the bolts out of the first wheel'* caliper and bracket, I noticed that there was hardly any grease on them. I made sure to grease them up with the Bendix grease that came with the pads. Is this correct? My problem came in when I tried to do the driver'* side front. Apparently, there was even less grease on these than the others, and I REALLY had to do some convincing (PB Blaster and even some torching, and plenty of swearing). I don't think that the shop I had them done at last time put ANY grease on the bolts.

Now, I get to the back wheels. I am completely confused. I would think it would be the same procedure- but I cannot get the caliper off. It seems like there is a bolt on the bottom of the caliper, down low. The caliper seems to be a large piece of metal, with another bolt way in back that attaches to a small piece of metal clamped to a hose. Is this the second caliper bolt? I also see two bolts in behind the rotor that look like bracket bolts. Even with all four of these bolts out, I cannot get the caliper off. I looked at alldatadiy.com and found that you have to compress the piston while it is on the rotor- but no more than 1 mm. I just can't figure out how to position the C-Clamp to do this? Also, after I get the caliper off, if you are not supposed to compress the piston with a C-Clamp- how do you do it?

And finally, and possibly the dumbest question I have- can someone go through the bleeding procedure in detail for me one more time. I've found a summary in some threads, but I am missing something. It seems like one way to do it manually is:

1. Fill the resevoir under the hood
2. Have a second person slowly press the brake pedal down while you crack open the valve.
3. Let the fluid drain out.
4. Close the valve and then let the other person release the pedal.
5. Repeat

I tried this, and very little fluid came out- and nothing drained from the resevoir.

Sorry for all the questions. I know most of you probably think this is child'* play, but I'm not yet a "car guy"- I'm still learning.

Any help is GREATLY appreciated. I may, if I have time, try to take everything apart after I get it done right and know what I'm doing, photograph it, and do a write up for the techinfo section.
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Old 05-15-2006, 12:00 AM   #2
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I just checked my suscription at alldatadiy and there was very detailed information on changing the front and rear brake pads. Do they have less for the 2003? If you would put your vehicle information in your profile, it would be helpful.

You did the fronts ok. I often add a dab of grease to the pad retainers, also.

The rears just have one bolt on the bottom of the caliper. The C clamp is place on the outside pad with the other side on the back side of the caliper. These are the instructions:

Remove two-thirds of the brake fluid from the master cylinder.

Jack up the vehicle and support it with suitable stands.

Remove the tire and wheel assembly. Important: Do not use a screwdriver or pry bar to compress the caliper piston into the caliper. Any damage to the piston boot could cause corrosive elements to enter the piston sealing area and lead to the piston seizing in the caliper bore. Important: Do not exceed more than 1 mm of piston travel. Damage to the internal adjusting mechanism may result.

Using a large C clamp compress the caliper piston into the caliper bore to gain enough clearance to allow the caliper to pivot off the caliper bracket. Compress the piston until resistance is felt, but no more than 1 mm of piston travel.

Remove the park brake cable bracket from the brake caliper

Remove the park brake bracket from the brake caliper. Leave the park brake cable attached to the cable bracket.

Disconnect the park brake cable from the brake caliper.

Remove the bottom caliper slide pin.

Pivot the caliper body upward.

Remove the inboard and outboard pads from the anchor bracket.

Remove and inspect the pad retainers.


Installation Procedure

Retract the caliper piston into the caliper bore. Use a spanner type wrench to turn the piston clockwise until it bottoms out fully in the caliper. (Some use vise grips or similar pliers to retract the piston. Be very careful not to cut the boot if you do it that way.)

Align the cutouts in the caliper piston to the alignment pins on the back of the brake pads. Important: Inspect the caliper bolt suspension boots for cuts, tears, or deterioration. If damaged, replace the pin boots. Inspect the caliper pin bolts for damage or corrosion. Replace if damaged or corroded. Do not attempt to clean away corrosion. Corrosion is typically caused by damaged pin boots.

Install the brake pad retainers into the caliper anchor bracket.

Install the inboard and outboard brake pads into the caliper anchor bracket. Important: The caliper piston boot must lay flat. Make sure convolutions are tucked into place.

Use a small plastic or wooden tool to lift the inner edge of the boot next to the piston, and press out any trapped air.

Pivot the caliper down over the brake pads and into the anchor bracket.

Insert the lower caliper slide pin. Tighten the caliper slide pin to 85 Nm (63 ft. lbs.).

Install the park brake cable and bracket to the brake caliper.

Connect the park brake cable to the park brake lever on the caliper.

Install the tire and wheel assembly.

Lower the vehicle.
Start the vehicle and apply approximately 778 N (175 lbs.) of force three times to the brake pedal to seat the brake caliper piston and the brake pads.

Refill the brake fluid.


Your 2 man brake bleeding procedure is accurate. Start at the right rear, then left rear, then right front, lastly left front. If you have a significan amount of air in the system, it may take a while before fluid starts coming out.
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:16 AM   #3
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Thanks! Alldata had similar info, but maybe I was looking in the wrong place or they just left out key pieces of info. You seem to have filled in the blanks a little, thank you very much. Amazing how one or two details make a difference.

My only problem is, I may need a bigger C-Clamp. I have a 3 inch one I was trying to use with the nut on the outter pad and the foot on the hole on the side of the caliper. The caliper looks like it goes back pretty deep on my car, but maybe I'm not seeing where it seperates correctly because I don't have it out yet. I am also trying to be cautious because of the 1 mm thing.

Alldata never mentioned the spanner wrench either- was wondering how that was used.
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Old 05-15-2006, 07:15 PM   #4
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Glad that it filled in the blanks for you. There seems to be things that are added and subtracted for varying years. Here'* one of the options for the spanner wrench that Sears carries. Has various sized nubs on each side that fit different calipers

http://www.sears.com/sr/javasr/produ...cegjdghldgfk.0

A larger C-clamp should do fine. Just tighten it snugly, don't over-do and it will move things just enough to flip up the caliper without much effort.
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Old 05-15-2006, 10:36 PM   #5
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I just did my fronts and rears this past weekend. Here are some tips.

Sorry for this lousy post just before this one. I mistakenly hit the <enter> key while typing, "DO NOT USE C-CLAMP".

Anyway, these things come to mind:

1. Don't try to compress the rear pistons. The SCREW IN clockwise. You can not compress them. You can compress the front ones however.
2. Use a touch of hi-temp grease (bearing grease will do) on the surfaces where the pads ride in their stainless steel sleeves. Do this lubing before you finally take a rag (with break cleaner or laquer cleaner on it) and run it around both sides of the rotors to make sure they are squeeky clean before installing the pads.
3. The calipers can be removed more easily from the rears by also removing two other bolts besides the lower caliper bolt. One is the bolt that holds the brake line clamp. The second is the bolt that attaches the emergency brake assembly to to the rear of the caliper (substantial L-shaped clamp). Even with those two extra bolts removed the caliper may still need a little coaxing to remove, but it should swing up in a clockwise direction. A few light taps with a hammer on the bottom of the caliper is all it should take to get it rotating clockwise. Once the caliper clears the pads you can, very gently, remove it by sliding it towards the shock. It slides off of a fixed-in-place stainless caliper bolt.

Oh, one other thing. I would not use heat on the front caliper bolts. Those bolts ride inside of a neoprene sleeve inside the caliper bolt hole. It is quite possible that if you get the caliper bolt hot enough it can damage that sleeve! For the record all my caliper bolts were very clean and nicely lubed when I removed them. Hope this helps a little.

Regarding your brake bleeding procedure, it sounds correct. If you are getting no fluid during the bleed you may have a clogged line (but I think braking action would have been terrible before the bleeding) OR you are not opening the bleeder screw enough before compressing the brake pedal.
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Old 05-16-2006, 01:41 PM   #6
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Archon and compyelc4,
thanks again for your replies. Again, you both helped to fill in the holes that were missing.

I tried a larger C-Clamp on the rear brakes, and it was not really working (possibly because I was too worried about damaging the piston, even though the alldata info said you should move it back 1 mm with this method). I finally gently tapped it loose with a hammer. However, after the fact, it occurred to me that the piston may be easier to compress if I opened the bleeder screw a little, or actually checked to make sure the resevoir was at the right level. I didn't realize how important checking the fluid may have been until it was done.

Also, once I figured out that the rear calipers flip up on a hinge, and don't pop off the bracket by undoing the bolts, it made more sense. I just undid the bottom caliper bolt, the bold that attached the back of the caliper to the e-brake, flipped it up, pulled the pads, and then pulled the two screws for the caliper bracket to pop off the rotor. I didn't undo the brake line, since it wasn't necessary. It may have been easier to maneuver with it off though. I also had to be a little more careful since it was still attached and use wire to hang the caliper.

And finally- the using heat on the front calipers. There are two rubber boots on the caliper bracket that cover the caliper pins, is that what you were talking about Compy? Those boots, supposedely, are supposed to be replaced everytime you do the brakes or something along those lines. Of course I didn't think it was necessary. I am getting new pins, bolts and boots for that wheel though. I didn't round them off this time, but the heads are dinged up now, and I am concerned that if they get stuck again, they may round off the next time and I'd be in a bad situation. I am going to grease them up nicely though- unlike the shop. Alldata says you use a flat tip to pry them out of the bracket and replace them. I also found it interesting that every place I called did not stock the pins, bolts or boots. The manual says to replace them, but the dealerships don't even have them in stock for when they do brakes...hmmmm.

Archon, that link does not work, but I think I know what you linked to. I went looking for a tool at all the auto places around here and they had nothing for sale. I went to sears and didn't see anything at first, but then found a little square socket-type thing that had different patters for caliper pistons on each side. That is exactly what I used to spin the calipers back into place.

I should have the new pins today, and then I will bleed the lines tonight and button everything up. I didn't think it would have taken this long, but it'* all in the details.

I am suprised we dont' have a tech article on this, since it'* such a simple job. I want to take apart a wheel on the front and one on the back and take some pictures, and write up a tech article- but I'm too physically tired to do this now.

I couldn't have done it without your help. Thanks guys!
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:05 PM   #7
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Default Just did rear pads on 2003


There are little posts on the brake pads that must line up with the slots in the piston. So you have to screw the piston in clockwise to allow enough space for the new pads but when you try to lower the caliper over the brake pads, chances are it will not go all the way down (so the pivot bolt can fit in).
Check through the top with a flashlight on the back side of the pad and you will be able to see if the piston needs to be rotated right or left to line up the post on the pad.
I found that a simple pair of c-clip pliers can rotate the piston easily with the tips (they are adjustable for spacing) I just did rear brakes on 2003 Bonn. Thanks for the info above, it helped a lot.
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Old 11-21-2009, 03:51 PM   #8
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I think he probably got that finished back in 2006, please look at the dates when you are searching through threads
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