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Brake pad install DIY


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Are you 100% sure the pads need to be changed/have you bled the brakes yet? Pad change is relatively simple, make sure the "+" looking thing comes off, then there should be 2 pins going through the caliper at the top and bottom of the pads. Knock those out, then wiggle the pads out. When putting the new pads in, make sure to rub them on concrete a little bit so the surface is not as smooth (helps with squeaking).

If anybody sees that I forgot something please correct me!

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Before installing the new pads, carefully examine the rotors. If they're seriously grooved or rusty to the point where they won't clean up, you'll need to replace 'em. 2002 rotors usually can't be turned without going below minimum thickness. New rotors are pretty cheap anyway.

Once you've determined the rotors are OK you can proceed.

Knock the two pins out first, then the cross-shaped spring will pop out. Replace the spring if it's really rusty or the rivet is corroded. You can use an appropriately sized nail (I think a 10d is about the right diameter) to knock out the pad retaining pins. Use a screwdriver to remove the pads, hooking the blade under one pad ear and then the other, and prying up. They'll wiggle out.

Before installing the new pads, you'll have to retract the caliper pistons. A large pair of arc joint pliers is a good tool for this. Before retracting the pistons, though check the fluid level in your reservoir. If it's full or nearly so you'll have to remove some fluid; otherwise when you push the pistons in, the fluid will overflow the bottle and eat any nearby paint.

Once the pistons are all retracted (4 per caliper) the new pads will slip right in. If you find a piston that won't retract, you'll need to free it up or you'll wear that pad out in a hurry.

After everything is back together, before driving the car, press the brake pedal once or twice to push the pistons back out against the pads; otherwise you'll think you have no brakes the first time you use 'em while driving.

Have fun


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Guest Anonymous

I've found that using the thin teflon/plastic inserts behind the pads makes the brakes quieter - dunno if anti-squeal paste would work as well. The inserts are re-useable.

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I got as far a removing the pins, spring and outside pad. The problem I am having now is retracting the piston at all. It will not budge!!

What are you using to retract the piston? It takes a fair amount of pressure. However, if you have a piston that is frozen, you will have to rebuild it or install a rebuilt caliper (the latter makes more sense for a "shade tree" mechanic).

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