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Old 04-06-2007, 10:32 PM   #1 (permalink)
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HOW-TO: Brake & Rotor Install

Here it is, brake + rotor install with pics. Please note, I am no mechanic and this is my first time ever doing this. You should feel comfortable with a wrench and have a good head on your shoulders because it'll come in handy. You may also want a mechanics phone number in case you aren't sure about something. Brakes are the most important part on your car, so don't screw it up. The install took about 5 hours from start to finish. That included me taking pictures and trying to read the cryptic service manual (You do have a copy, right?). Most of my time was spent trying to get 1 stuck bolt off (As always...), and one other thing you'll find as you read. It was not very hard to do, and was well worth saving almost $400 from having the dealer do it.

What you'll need
Brakes + Rotors, obviously. I went with the OEM Rotors (MPSC) and Hawk HPS Pads (Modern Performance)
12mm Socket or use a 12mm stubby wrench (ratcheting preferred).
18mm Socket or wrench (ratcheting preferred).
9/10mm Socket (The Husky ratchet wrench set from Home depot did wonders for this).
1 Socket Wrench, I had to use a large one to get some leverage.
100 Grit sandpaper (May not be necessary)
Bungee cords, clothes hanger, or some form of wire or rope, or use a jack stand (at correct height) or similar for the caliper to rest on. It is important that you have this.

Front Pads + Rotors

Make sure the rear e-brake is engaged. I jack the car up slightly to relive some of the pressure but not enough so I can't get the nuts off without the wheels spinning. I loosen them just a tad and then jack up the car and take them off. I recommend getting the car up as high as you SAFELY can so you can get some space for leverage.

Take out your new front rotors and, if they are like mine you will need to sand the grey coating off both sides. Sand in a circular motion to remove the gray coating. Heavy duty solvent may work but I didn't have any lying around.



They should be shiny silver when you are done. Don't worry about places where the pads don't touch.



Next we are going to get ready to take the caliper off. Place a towel around the master cylinder to catch fluid run-off. Open the master cylinder (The container with the yellow cap behind the battery) and put the cap somewhere safe. I was told to do this if I was not going to bleed the brake lines. If you don't open the cylinder a lot of pressure will build up and the brake fluid will spill out when you push the caliper pistons inside the caliper. Brake fluid is really corrosive so that's not a good thing. You also risk building too much pressure in the brake lines and damaging the hydraulic system.

String your bungee cords up onto your springs (or use jack stand or similar to rest the caliper) . I used 2 cords just for safety because the calipers are quite heavy. You do not want to let your caliper dangle!



Next we need to push the caliper piston back into the caliper. Stick a strong flat head screw driver in the open hole on the caliper. Try to find a crease (Or make one) between the inner pad and rotor. Do not stick the screw driver between the caliper piston and the inner pad as you will probably damage the piston. When you have leverage pull the screw driver towards you. It takes a lot of elbow grease to get the piston all the way back so you can put the new pads and rotors on. I had to use two methods; I use a screw driver to push it back enough until I could get a hammer into the side of the caliper. You can't really see how far you have pushed it back, so you may have to do this a few times. This is really hard to explain. You may want to take the caliper off first before you attempt this so you see what you are trying to push back. Just make sure the caliper is on the car and secured before you do this.



Not sure if the hammer method is recommended, but it worked for me. Be careful not to bend anything.



Remove the caliper guide bolts at the back of the caliper. Use the 12mm socket or wrench.



Once the bolts are out, remove the caliper. You may have to take a screw driver to pry it off. Mine didn't require much pressure, so don't get carried away. Hold the caliper in your hand while you attach it to your bungee cords.



Remove the pads from the caliper. They just slide right out. Takes notes on the difference in the pads. The new pads will go in the same way.

Next we need to remove the adapter mounting bolts. If you have my luck, one will always get stuck, so have a socket wrench with some leverage if possible. I used the Husky ratchet wrench for the bolt on the right and a 1' leverage wrench on the left. The bolt on the right does not need to come completely out, so don't force it because you probably won't get it back in. The bolt on the right is tricky if all you have is a socket wrench. If you can't fit it in there use a crescent wrench, the right bolt was not very tight on my car. Use a 18mm socket/wrench.



After the bolts have been removed, remove the caliper adapter (The only other red thing).

Now we pull the rotor off. My first one came off with just me pulling; the second one required a few taps of the hammer before I could pull it off. Look at how it is on there for reference.

Put on your new rotor. There is no way to secure the rotor on there, which I found odd, but if I pushed it all the way in it stuck enough to hold it there. The service manual said to remove clips, but I didn't see any, and the mechanic I talked to said not to worry about it.

Now we are going to re-attach the caliper adapter. Just do it the same way as above, but in reverse. Torque to 77ft lbs.

Now get out your brake pads. The inner and outer pads look almost alike, but the inner pads have an extra clip or whatever, called a wear indicator. The pad that has the extra clip hanging off to the side goes on the inside of the rotor. The one with no clip goes on the outside of the rotor. Make sure you put the pads in there right; the tops of the pads should sit pretty flush with the top of the rotor. Lubricate both steering knuckle caliper slide abutments with a liberal amount of Mopar Multipurpose Lubricant, or an equivalent.



After both pads are in place, grab the caliper and slide it back into place. Make sure the spring clips on the pads do not pop out of the caliper hole. They should be putting back pressure on the caliper. If the caliper does not fit, use a large C-Clamp to squeeze the piston back some more then the caliper will fit.

This is where my fun began. I didn't push the caliper piston back in far enough first few times I tried so the caliper didn't fit. If the caliper does not fit you have to re-do a few things. (Maybe not but I couldn't find a good way to push the piston back in while keeping the brake line from stretching). What I did was removed the new pads and put the old ones back in, then re-attached the caliper (with the guide bolts tightened!) and kept trying to push the caliper piston back with my screwdriver and hammer, being careful not to damage my new rotor or the piston. I didn't really care about the old pads.

Secure the caliper the same way you took it off. Tighten the guide bolts to 26ft lbs. If you noticed, the caliper guide bolts weren't very hard to get off, so don't go insane torquing them back on.

Congrats! You just saved $175.00! Make sure everything looks correct (Look at the other side for reference) and put your wheel back on. Tighten lug nuts to 100ft/lbs. Do the other side the same way.

The fronts took me about 3 hours to install. Having trouble with that one bolt and not pushing the caliper piston back in far enough took most of my time. The other stuff was pretty easy.

GOTO NEXT POST ->
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Last edited by RUgoinUp; 03-16-2008 at 12:51 AM.
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Old 04-06-2007, 10:33 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Rear Pads + Rotors
A lot of people told me these would be harder than the front. I found the rear to be a lot easier. Maybe it's just because I learned of few tricks on the way, but the rear's only took me about 20-30min a piece after I had the wheels off.

Again, jack the car up from the back this time. Get it as high as you SAFELY can. Make sure you have blocks of wood or something to put under the front wheels so your car doesn't go rolling away. You'll want to release the e-brake now.

The first step (Now learning from the others) is to push the caliper piston back as far as you can so you can get the new pads and rotors on. Take a screw driver, get some leverage in the caliper hole between your inner pad and rotor and pry towards you. Again, do not stick the screw driver between the piston and inner pad as you will probably damage the piston. The rear ones were super easy for me, it only took a little bit of pressure to get the pistons back all the way.


The picture looks backwards because this is the oposite side of all the rest, I forgot to take a picture.

Get your bungee cords ready; again attach them to your springs. Remove the caliper guide pin bolts from the rear caliper. I think I used either a 9mm or 10mm socket to get the bolts out.



Getting off the rear caliper gets a little tricky. Get out your flat head screw driver and position it at the top of the caliper. You'll have to pry the caliper outward a little bit until it's loose, and then pull it upwards to take it off. Be careful here as the brake line is pretty stiff and we don't want to damage that. Firm but gentle.



After the caliper is off and attached to your bungee cords, remove the rotor. It should come out pretty easily. My rear rotors didn't have any of that grey coating on them, so I skipped sanding and slipped them on.

Next we have to remove the pads from the calipers. This is also tricky because you have to remove clips, while holding the caliper so it doesn't extend the brake line. Pry off both ends of the outer pad clips and slide the pad out. Firm but gentle =). Takes notes on how the pads are in place.



Next we remove the inner pad. Take a screw driver and position it behind the pad and just pry or pull towards you. It should come off pretty easily. You could just use your hands, but mine were rusted so a screw driver was necessary.



Now get out your new pads and put in the inner one first. I was not able to push mine in with my hands while holding the caliper (hands hurt by now) so I had to take some pliers and crimp the brace things closer together. Just a tad is all you need. You still want them to be in there securely so don't crimp them to close together.



Next install the outer pad. For this one I had to pry the clips up just a bit so I could get them started around the caliper. They still need to fit securely so do not pry them up very much. I'm talking just a tad here. Install the outer pad how the original one was installed. You did take notes right? Make sure the pads are in the caliper snug.



Now we re-install the rear caliper. Remove it from your bungee cords and slide it back on in reverse to how you took it off. You will have to pull the rubber pieces out for the caliper to go all the way in. Do not force it in. It took me awhile to figure this out. They are on the top and bottom of the caliper, where you took the guide bolts out. Just pull them out enough to slide the caliper back on.



I hope you took a mental note on how the caliper was fitted before you took it off. You could always use the other side for a reference. Make sure this is on correctly and snug. It's probably not a good thing if it isn't =)! Pay attention to how all the pieces look before securing the caliper.



Next you just re-attach the caliper guide bolts and you're done with the rear.

Congrats! You just saved another $175.00! Make sure everything looks correct (Look at the other side for reference) and put your wheel back on (Tighten lug nuts to 100FT/LBS). Do the other side the same way.

PUT THE MASTER CYLINDER CAP BACK ON, DO NOT FORGET THIS! Make sure you pump your brakes before you go for a test drive.

Pump the brake pedal to set the brake shoes to the brake rotors, then check brake fluid level in master cylinder reservoir. Adjust brake fluid level as necessary.

I started my car and pumped the brakes a good 2 dozen times, maybe an overkill but I am paraniod and I wanted to make sure they were good to go.

Hawk HPS Break-in (Burnishing):

1. Make 6 stops from approx 30-35 mph applying moderate pressure.
2. Make an additional 2-3 hard stops from approx 40-45 mph.
3. Allow 15 minutes for brakes to cool down.

DO NOT DRAG BRAKES!


These pads stop on a dime! After a week or so check your brake fluid. If it's low tip it off with some DOT3 Brake fluid.

I hope you enjoyed my How-To! If I missed anything or if you have any suggestions please let me know. I would also like to know if this worked for you.


Download PDF:
http://www.phphq.net/junk/srt/brake-install/HowTo - Brakes + Rotors.pdf

-Scott
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Last edited by RUgoinUp; 03-16-2008 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 04-06-2007, 11:57 PM   #3 (permalink)
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good write up. thanks!

1. from what i know (havent tried on the srt yet), to change the pad you only need to remove ONE of the bolt holding the caliper, then take the screw out and rotate the caliper then you will have full access to the pads.

2. i do not recommend to use the screw driver to pray the cynlinder back in. because it may damage it and if the cynlinder is old and rusted it may easily break it. i suggest to use a C-CLAMP (like 5 bucks) to push it back once the caliper is off.

Anyways thanks for the good info!
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Old 04-07-2007, 06:08 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Quote: Originally Posted by ac_srt4
2. i do not recommend to use the screw driver to pray the cynlinder back in. because it may damage it and if the cynlinder is old and rusted it may easily break it. i suggest to use a C-CLAMP (like 5 bucks) to push it back once the caliper is off.

I forgot to mention not to stick the screw driver between the piston and pads. I updated the how-to.. I will also remember the C clamp for next time, that would have came in handy... Thanks!
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Old 04-07-2007, 08:23 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Great stuff!
I certainly saved the pdf file.

Thanks.
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Old 04-12-2007, 12:05 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Is this going to be added to the approved how-to's?
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Old 04-12-2007, 10:30 PM   #7 (permalink)
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God damn your car is rusty as hell under there.

Good write up though, I was always wondering how the rotors stayed on. They always fall off on GM cars wen you take the brake pads off.
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Old 04-14-2007, 11:17 AM   #8 (permalink)
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that's hows like up north
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Old 11-29-2007, 04:45 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Sticky this please!!!!

great writeup with not only the essentials but even every detail....thanks mate!
will probably not only help replacing my brakes on the srt but will also help installing some bigger brakes on my base neon
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Old 02-28-2008, 01:34 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Stickied.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:09 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Btw you can also use a wire hanger to hold up the caliper if u dont wana spend money on bungie cords. thats what i was told to use in my ase brake class
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Old 03-02-2008, 10:31 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Quote: Originally Posted by RUgoinup View Post
Stickied.

Thank you
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Old 03-16-2008, 12:59 AM   #13 (permalink)
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You're welcome. And thank you, I just used this today. I added some previous (and new) suggestions to the 2 original posts to help others out.

BTW, for those reusing their stock rotors, I had mine turned @ "Just Brakes" for $16 per rotor.
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Old 04-14-2008, 08:02 PM   #14 (permalink)
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I used this HOW-TO this weekend and did all four rotors and pads. It was as easy as the write up said. I was done in under 2 hours total ncluding break-in. You probably could include when and where to use the C-clamps.

-Once the caliper is off and the pads removed use a c-clamp to push the piston back.

Other than that it was good to go.

I am using Morse-ceramic brake pads and Duralast rotors all around.


Kris
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Old 07-07-2008, 10:51 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Well it's been over a year since I did this so I thought I would report back...

The pads still stop on a dime, there is almost no brake dust and they are squeak free.

If you are pondering whether or not you should do this, just do it! It's really worth the savings. If you use your head and follow the how-to you'll probably do a better job than an underpaid mechanic that doesn’t care about your car.

Like usual, if you used this how-to and found a better or easier way to do something let us know.
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