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Old 09-07-2007, 07:49 PM   #1
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Default Doing my own Brakes?

Hello Everyone.

I am considering doing my own brakes, but have never done brakes before. In my younger days, I had 83 grand prix that I did lots of engine work on, Alternator, Water Pump, Fan, but never touched the brakes.

Now I have an 05 GXP and have had brake work done under warranty twice, and am in need of it again, but this time out of warranty. After reading lots of your posts about how frequently everyone had to change their brakes, I am pondering learning on my own, but as you all can attest to, it'* a very nice car and I don't want to scar it.

I consider myself very mechanical but as I said it has been years since I touched my wrenches. I am hoping someone wouldn't mind answering a few questions of mine, and perhaps providing a newb with some foresight.

The first question I have is regarding parts. there have been several posts with brand names mentioned for pads, but there hasn't been any follow up as to whether or not there was a 'preferred' brand.

Since I am sure asking what the 'best' brand is will 'stir the pot' up too much, how about i ask what brands of pads and rotors i should stay away from. I was thinking of using bendix ceramic pads, but was unsure about the rotors.

Can somebody offer me a source with part numbers? I already have done a google and found stores online
. Some look a little too generic for my taste. Are there any favorites out there?

What about misc parts. Do I need any lubes, washers or clip in addition to the pads and rotors that are easily lost or broken that I should buy in advance?

I could also use some tips on jacking up the car and putting it on stands. The GXP is the biggest girl I am trying to lift. And tips on Jack stand placement?

Any other advice would be appreciated.

Thanks again for any help you guys can provide. Hopefully nobody will find this question annoying.
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Old 09-13-2007, 09:52 AM   #2
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Hi Dialtone76,

I just had my brakes replaced at the dealer simply because I couldn't stand the brake dust form the stock pads. I had the dealer put on a set of GM Durastop Ceramic pads and minimally turn the rotors to clean them up. So far, I am very happy with the new ceramic pads as my wheels are no longer black within days of washing the car. I looked into replacing the rotors but felt I'd wait until they needed to be replaced out of waranty. My car only has 5500 miles on it so i don't want to take the chance of the voiding any coverage. When I do replace the rotors, I will be using the slotted and dimpled rotors as they are durable and provide much better cooling than stock or OEM style. I've read that the slotted rotors help keep the pads weraing evenly and prevent the pads from glazing.
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Old 09-14-2007, 10:14 AM   #3
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Dialtone, The GXP pads are about as easy as they come to replace. As far as pads, yes, yes it'* like oil. Everyone has an opinion. As long as You use GM or a name brand, You'll be alright. I use Napa Carbon Ceramics. They give you a balance of features. I jack my GXP up with a bottle neck rigt on the big rubber/washer/nut on the rear of the engine cradle, then put your jackstand a little further back on the frame.(Square pressed tube that runs the length of the car. Remove the caliper sliders/bolts by holding a a thin wrench on the holding nut (has two flat spots for wrench) and loosen the bolt with a socket wrench.
Pull the caliper off and let it hang carefully. Remove the old pads and then the clips that the pads slide onto. The new set of pads should have a new set of clips as well. Never use old clips. They rust and can leave a pad hung up against the rotor. Put the new pads in the clips and smear the enclosed grease on the back of te inboard pad. I put a dab on the forks of the outboard side of the caliper as well. The grease is to help keep the pads just off the caliper when you let go of the brakes. Use a small C-clamp to compress the pistons back into the caliper carefully avoiding hitting the rubber boots. Slide the caliper back over the assembly and put the pins back in. Use moderate torque when tightening. A strong man could strip them. When You have the tire back on and the car down, start the engine and pumped the brake pedal until is feels normal. I ave all but vacant roads around here and get my car up to a high cruising speed and gently, and smoothly bring the car to a full stop to break the pads in before I take the car to town and get in traffic.
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Old 09-21-2007, 12:52 AM   #4
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Used the NAPA Ceramix ones here too. Unless you do it during a weekday, NAPA won't turn your rotors (if they're still within spec) on a weekend. In which case, you'll have to buy new ones. All told, with those ceramix pads, this cost me about $230. These large rotors on a fairly uncommon car are what drive the cost. I think each rotor was $70 or $80.

Brakes on this car are a piece of cake. removing the time that I used to from me being anal retentive about cleaning stuff, I had my fronts done in about 20 minutes.

It was cleaning up the calipers from all that friggin brake dust, checking piston seals, cleaning slider pins and checking their rubber boots, etc that took my time.

Of course I was ready too as I have all the tools and supplies at my disposal as I do brake jobs on my fleet of vehicles nearly as often as I change oil.
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Old 09-11-2008, 12:48 PM   #5
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Hey everyone. Thanks so much for posting responses to this. Life got in the way for awhile (I am sure we all have had that happen) but here I am a year last and I finally did my brakes. I figure I would post my thought in the hopes someone else finds it as useful as I found your posts as well. Also because I am not the type to post in a forun and not contribute back!

I bought my bake pads from Discount Auto Parts. They stocked Bendix brakes (which were premo pads back in the day). I originally ordered Fronts from there to but they were out of stock. They automatically credited me for the pads, and didn't pull the ole switcheroo and ship me something I didn't ask for. I would order from them again. I ended up getting front ceramic pads from a local Auto Parts store.

I bought rotors from R1Conepts on eBay. I am not sure if anyone has used these before, but I am on about a month with them, and they are great so far. So i would recommend them as well. I of course cleaned them up real good with brake cleaner before installation

As far as the actual labor, it was a mixed bag. I had a real difficult time with Jacking up the car. I didn't want to use the bottle jack that came with the car. In hind site it would have save me some headaches. I used a regular floor jack and messed up the pinch weld behind my wheel. You cant see it unless you look under the car, but still it was a newbie mistake. Once the car was up I found a better spot after identifying the suspension arm.

The assembly of the from Brakes was really easy, just like you said. I had difficulty getting the caliper mounting bolts off, but I found an 8" piece of conduit that i used as a cheater bar and was able to get them off. Everything else on the front was a breeze. Pads snapped out. I lubed the caliper pins, and used a C clamp and an old brake pad to push the caliper pistons back in place after I removed the cap to my brake fluid reservoir.

The old rotors were rusted to the wheel hub, so they needed some heavy persuasion with a hammer to get them off. I sanded off the rust and put some anti seize compound on them to help with future changes. I snapped the new pads back in place and I was in business.

The rear rotors were much the same but at the same time a bit different. There was one one bolt holding the caliper on, so I removed it and pivoted the caliper so that I could remove the pads. The Mounting bolts were again a pain so the cheater bar became my best friend. The rear calipers only had one piston. This piston couldn't be compressed using the C clamp. I figured out that you actually have to "screw" the piston back into position. I imagine there is a special tool for this. I managed to work it back using the fork end of a 3/8" wrench.

Well that'* about it. a story a year in the making. Thanks again to everyone that gave me input.
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Old 09-16-2008, 01:53 PM   #6
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Your Welcome, Glad you got them changed out OK.
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