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Old 01-25-2004, 08:15 AM   #1
HokieZ
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Default How-to: Change Brake Pads

Someone mentioned they wanted a step by step guide with a few more pictures than that on the ZChickz website so as long as I was changing mine, I snapped a few and figured I'd write it up for the beginners out there. This will allow you to change the front brake pads. I haven't done the rears yet, but will in the not too distant future.

Items needed:
Brake Pads
Jack (can use one included with car)
14mm wrench or 14mm socket/wrench
21mm socket
Torque Wrench
Large'ish C-Clamp
High Temperature Grease
Brake Cleaner

Things to make the job go easier
Electrical tape (to wrap socket in)
1/2" drive 21mm socket
1/2" drive breaker bar
2" long 1/2" drive extender
1/2" drive torque wrench
Roll around floor jack
Trolley jack block from JC Whitney
Large'ish C-Clamp
High Temperature Grease
Brake Cleaner

OK, now onto the actual stuff:

1) Make sure the car is on a level surface before beginning

2) Put on the emergency brake

3) Wrap the socket in electrical tape to keep from scratching the inside of the lug nut wells. (shown is what comes with the car since I couldn't find my extender until I'd already removed the first wheel).

Click the image to open in full size.

4) Break the lug nuts loose while the car is still on the ground.

Click the image to open in full size.

5) Look under the car and identify the proper jack point. It will have 2 small indentations in a rail running underneath the car about 1' to 1.5' behind the front wheel on each side (holy mother of god, could I wash up there please! ):

Click the image to open in full size.

6) Jack up the car in the above location. The jack that comes with the car is suitable for this.

7) Now completely remove the lug nuts (be careful the tire doesn't fall off)

8) Remove the tire (if it hasn't fallen off)

9) You should now be staring at the brake rotor and caliper assembly (note mad photoshop skills)

Click the image to open in full size.

10) On the back side of the caliper there will be 2 bolts as highlighted in the above photo. The picture below is of one of the two bolts, the other is identical but on the other end of the caliper.

Click the image to open in full size.

11) Remove the 2 bolts holding the caliper to the mount (they'll be tight so be careful when they break loose) using the 14mm socket or wrench. (A handy alternative to removing both is to remove the one FURTHEST from the shock/spring. You can then pivot the caliper around the other bolt and don't have to worry about it dangling or falling as in step 12

Click the image to open in full size.

12) Don't let the caliper dangle by the brake line. I simply rested it on the top of the rotor. (If you want to remove the rotor, there are 2 more bolts holding the caliper mount on. Remove those, and the rotor should fall off).

Click the image to open in full size.

13) Remove the 2 old pads. I found the easiest method was to grab the wear tab and pull gently. They came right out with no real effort.

Click the image to open in full size.

14) Transfer the small metal plates on the old pads to the new ones. Put a small layer of high temperature grease between the pad the shim, then between the 2 shims on the back pad (the one the caliper contacts. The larger shim goes on the inside, with the smaller shim going over it, as seen in the picture/step above As best as I can determine, these are for pads that don't have the wear tabs built into them. I'd recommend installing them since the Hawk HPS pads don't have the tabs on one of the pads on each side. Turns out these do have a function. They protect the face of the caliper piston and keep the pad backing from scoring the piston face.

15) I installed the pad that came without the wear indicator on the rear side of the rotor since it was easier and the one with the indicator on the outside. Installing them the other way could be more useful since you will be able to visually see the pad without the indicator through the wheel without having to remove it for inspection. I get under my car alot, so....

16) Since the calipers auto-adjust to the wear of the pads, it will be necessary to compress the piston to fit over the new, wider pads. I use one of the old pads and a large C-clamp to do this. If the pads are especially worn, you may have to open the brake fluid resevoir under the hood and suck out some of the fluid as it backs up into the resevoir. Refill with appropriate fluid if necessary. Since my pads only had a couple thousand miles on them, this step wasn't necessary. It's best, if you have to push the piston back in, to thoroughly clean the piston and caliper with brake cleaner prior to pushing it back in. This removes any debris that could score the piston while forcing it back in.

Click the image to open in full size.

17) Reinstall the caliper and install the 2 bolts which were holding it on. Tighten with wrench very firmly. You may have to slide the portion on the other side of the caliper (the part with the rubber boot) back a little to get the caliper back on.

Click the image to open in full size.

18) You're now done installing the caliper on one side of the car.

19) Put the tire back on and hand snug the lug nuts (I hold the tire with one hand and tighten with the other once snug).

20) Lower the car to the ground and tighten the lugs in a star pattern to 80 ft-lbs. Basically, once one is torqued, don't torque the one right next to it on either side. Example below:

Click the image to open in full size.


Note the word of caution in step 11. If not heeded, you too may need the Mandaid. The crappy adhesive in the stock bandaid didn't work so I supercharged the little bastard with some elctrical tape.

Click the image to open in full size.

Hope this helps any of you out there considering it. It took about 45 minutes from start to finish. I'd HIGHLY recommend cleaning your wheels inside and out while you have them off the car. I live in a new development and had about 8 lbs. of asphalt cinders stuck to the inside of the wheels.

Feedback is welcome. I have other pictures in case someone has questions about any of the other steps involved.

Edited (things in italics) after some helpful feedback from droideka. Thanks to him for pointing out some helpful suggestions/errors
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Last edited by HokieZ; 01-31-2004 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:05 AM   #2
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thanks for the nice instruction~! =)
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Old 01-25-2004, 09:23 AM   #3
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Excellent guide. Thanks!
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Old 01-25-2004, 10:45 AM   #4
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Thanks for the lesson. I've got Hawks still in the box and will be installing soon.
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for taking time to post this.

Do the Hawks give off as much dust as the OEM pads?

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Old 01-25-2004, 12:38 PM   #6
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I had Hawks on now for at least 5000 miles, by far less dust. But I do recommend putting some squeal stop on the back of the pads, they were driving me nuts at first.
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Old 01-25-2004, 12:47 PM   #7
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I put them on for 2 reasons,

1) Hopefully less dust
2) Less intial bite when first hitting the pedal.

The stocks seemed to grab excessively when first struck and I had the impression of if I wanted to stop that hard, I would have hit the brakes harder in the first place. First impressions are they do in deed have less intial bite. Dust remains to be seen. We're forecasting 5-7" of snow, so it may be some time before I test that one out but others impressions have been favorable.
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Old 01-25-2004, 02:16 PM   #8
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Excellent guide!
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Old 01-25-2004, 02:28 PM   #9
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HokieZ,

How would you rate this on the difficult chart 1-10 and 10 being the most difficult. Esp. for someone that never change brakes before.

BTW how many miles did you had before you had to change your front. I know it is base on your driving but just wondering.
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Old 01-25-2004, 02:52 PM   #10
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and for those of you with BREMBOS you will find the change EVEN EASIER... as you do not have to un-bolt the caliper you just pull the clips and retainer pins - then slide the pads right out!

EASY AS CAKE!

Another reason the BREMBOS ROCK!
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:18 PM   #11
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Quote:
How would you rate this on the difficult chart 1-10 and 10 being the most difficult. Esp. for someone that never change brakes before.
In reality, I'd rate it about a 3 for anybody that is the least bit handy. Out of the 3 cars I have, the Nissan is by far the easiest to change the pads on. The pads are floating with the tabs on the pad backing sliding in a couple of grooves so even they aren't affixed to the caliper. Everything just comes right apart, not pushing, pulling, prying and hoping.

I'd only put 4,000 miles on the car (4,079 to be exact) before changing the pads. There was still tons of material and had I been satisfied with the performance/dusting, I would have kept them. I wanted something that dusted less and had less initial bite which time will tell if these do.
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Old 01-25-2004, 03:28 PM   #12
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Awesome! I've been looking for instructions for us non-Brembo owners.

Thanks much!
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Old 01-25-2004, 06:36 PM   #13
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This was great! Even though I changed my brake pads 2 weeks ago I found your instructions far better and you included answers to one of my question of how do you remove the brake rotor...now I know! Thanks.

I have a question for you: do you have step-by-step instructions on up grading brake lines too?

I'm kinda "iffy" bout this one...maybe cause there's nothing on this subject. Wouldn't it be great if there was a "DIY" (Do it Yourself) catagory here..somewhere?

Thanks again for the great instructions HokieZ!
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Old 01-29-2004, 02:11 PM   #14
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Thanks for the words. I haven't done the break lines yet, but probably will in the future. When I do, I'll take pictures and write it up again. Biggest part will be bleeding the breaks to get the air out but the lines themselves shouldn't be too bad.
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Old 01-29-2004, 02:29 PM   #15
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Cheers for the detailed instructions! I second that vote for a DIY section--great idea!

Waiting for my pads to arrive; can't-handle-break-dust-any-more!
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Old 01-29-2004, 03:06 PM   #16
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Wow... thats awesome that you did a whole how to guide on it! Thanks for the info. Too bad I'm too lazy to do it myself :P
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Old 01-29-2004, 03:48 PM   #17
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Thanks for doing that man, I'm up for a brake job pretty soon. That'll help a lot. Does anyone know how long on average the stock brake pads last? Is there a way to check how much more pad I have left? I want to use the stock pads for as long as I can. I don't really care about the dust because I wash my car like once a week. I do notice the initial bite problem though.
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Old 01-29-2004, 04:05 PM   #18
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thanks for the guide, i dont remember how much the dealer charged me when i had to change my stock pads (at 15000 miles. is that too soon? my parents got angry and said i drive bad) but i remember thinking it was a lot. next time, ill do it myself. is this the same for the back or are there any differences? is anything, ill send over a PM when the time comes
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:08 PM   #19
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I have less than 15,000 miles when I changed out the OEM brakes to Hawks HPS..I think Dealers charge way too much for dropping a couple of pads. Last brake job cost me a couple of hundreds..that included cutting the rotors too I bet and greasing the bearings.

So how do we get a DIY section?
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:11 PM   #20
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I haven't done the rears yet, but if memory serves, they are almost identical, but there is a hub/shoe for the emergency break and sometimes (my Jeep has the same configuration) the hub can be a little snug on the shoes. Usually a little persuasion with a rubber mallet is enough to take care of it if it's a little tight.
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Old 01-29-2004, 05:11 PM
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