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Classic "easy Diy" Story

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I am new to DIY. That is a warning.

The rear brake sensor for my 09' 328xi was triggered after my last track event in June, so I figured it was time to replace my brake pads. I figured I would do fronts and back with new rotors just to keep things balanced. Besides, the front's were not far behind anyway. I ordered both parts and a new rear brake sensor.

While I was planning, I noted some rust on the rear calipers, so bought some caliper paint. I jacked my car up to put on stands, but then realized my jack stands would require an adapter for the modern bmw mounts. I measured and cut 4 out of wood. Problem solved my car was safe on jackstands.

I watched a 13 minute step by step you tube video of the procedure from start to finish. Easy.

Now this is a winter driven car. Getting the calipers off was not difficult aside from every bolt in the rear being rusted on for dear life. The rotors were rusted on. The rubber mallet worked for the fronts (some surface rust up here, most was in the back) with effort. The rears only dropped rust with each hit. 150$ later I ordered a rotor puller. It worked like a charm, except that the rotor was rusted to the parking brakes (yes the parking brakes were off for the job). A few clips were strained, but I think all went well in the end.

My second child was born. I worked on the car after my daughter went to bed at 7pm, until 10pm, where upon I stopped my garage work and was on baby night call until 1am. I worked a real job days 8-4 or 5.

You could shake the rust off of the rear calipers. I bought some wire brush drill attachments to clean off the rust for painting. My drill died after 10 seconds. I went to buy a new drill (a good one), and the one I wanted was display only and the last one... the guy with the key to unlock the display was not there. I would have to come back the next day. I returned the next day to be told that they could not find the drill bit set that came with the drill I wanted. I bought a drill at another store. 5 year warranty they said. When I got in my car I opened the box and read the manual. I am not sure why. Fine print: 5 year warranty does not apply to corded hammer drills. I bought a corded hammer drill. It has a 1 year warranty. Pissed off, I waked back in 1 minute after buying the drill and informed them about the warranty. I exchanged the drill for another with the same warranty, but a better name.

I spent god knows how many hours cleaning rust off of my disassembled calipers. I cleaned them off. I bought an air compressor and cleaned them again. I cleaned them with spray caliper cleaner. I taped them off and painted them. I polished the slide bolts for ages. I wire brushed, cleaned and painted the heads of the bolts. I wire brushed a few suspension arms sandblasted and rusted over the years. I painted them and sprayed them with rock-guard.

My dad visited and noted a small screw in the passenger rear tire that was stacked. (Michelin pilot super sports... brand new with one track day on them.) Note this was the tire with the least wear on it at the track as it is mostly right hand turns. I slowly removed it and realized it was a long wood screw. Air hissed out. Tomorrow I will get it patched.

I slathered caliper grease in appropriate spots. I realized that my outer front brake pads had clips on them that were not on OEM. I cursed and shook my fists as I got these from the US and replacements would take 1-2 weeks to arrive. I swore some more then got out my metal saw and cut them off. God damn clips.

I assembled my brakes, rigging some clamps to push in the pistons. I knew to watch my brake fluid reservoir for overflow. I got occupied compressing the last piston (finicky bastard) and just as I was almost done, I thought "I had best check the brake fluid level..." and then noted the drip drip drip of brake fluid near the wheel well on the garage floor. Luckily it was from the top bottle, not a line.

Anyway... in hind sight, new pads and rotors are dirt easy... it is all the other crap that hits you that makes a day job a 9 day job. Still, I cut no corners and think I did a damn good job.









Edited by gliding_serpent
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Mr. Serpent, I think your DIY info is more suited for the E90post.com?


Not as friendly or knowledgeable a crowd.  Besides, this is less about the car, more about the story.


E90post.com (I spend some time on the e90 section of Bimmerforums) and the like are far less interesting and 50% of posts are from 16 year olds who are asking about buying 335i's and then the old guard shoot them down.  Fun for a while. 


This has been the best forum I have been to.  Well, that and one about African Cichlids... 

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great post - I can relate to rust - living on the east coast and in NH where salt in the winter is king.  I loved the fact that you were on baby duty until 1am.  I think I had the same shift.  I hated the hours from 1 until 5am - yuk.  Mom did those - phew. 


keep wrenching and stealing hours -



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It's amazing how much cars rust these days:  your car is only an '09 and you had to do some serious work breaking rusted parts free.  I had the same experience replacing the drums on my wife's '05 Toyota.  I could believe how rusty the non-galvanized pieces were.  The stuff they use on the roads these days must be super corrosive compared to the road salt of days past.  I think if I drove my '02 in winter it would dissolve before my eyes.



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Not as friendly or knowledgeable a crowd.  Besides, this is less about the car, more about the story.


E90post.com (I spend some time on the e90 section of Bimmerforums) and the like are far less interesting and 50% of posts are from 16 year olds who are asking about buying 335i's and then the old guard shoot them down.  Fun for a while. 


This has been the best forum I have been to.  Well, that and one about African Cichlids... 

but we do have an off topic section in this forum for posts like this......if it ain't about an 02, that is where it belongs.

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Great story--regardless of the make/model some "easy DIY aspects" are all the same.  Living in Ohio salt country, I'm constantly amazed as to what is rusted stuck, and what isn't.  My lifetime-in-salt '87 E30--body already rusting in the classic spots--desperately needed a new inner lower control arm bushing (the one that goes in the lollypop, for E30 folks).  I expected the bolts holding the lollypop to the body to be a mass of rust, requiring heat or even drilling to remove.  They came out dry and clean with a 3/8 drive socket/rachet handle.  Thank goodness so did those recessed Allen bolts that hold rotors to hubs.  I think they were easy 'cause I had bought a couple of spares, just in case. 


Y'all that live outside the rust belt don't know what you're missing:  a chance to learn new skills and vocabulary all in the same procedure.



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