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: Doin it myself. Brakes... I hope


dman248
07-12-2005, 10:51 AM
I was about to decide to do my front brakes and rotors my self for the first time in my life. But after reading on here i was kinda discouraged after reading Warlords and some others articles about C-Clamps, pistons, etc, etc. I don't know what a C-Clamp is or where to find it and what to use it on. I've spent about 2 days reading up on it and viewing pictures from the internet to give me some advice, but i'm still sceptical. I will have a hole day to work on the project but this is my only car and can't afford to mess something up and be without a ride

The reading on here has been like french to me with bleeder screws and pistons and etc.. I mean i want to do it myself but is it really that hard to do and that complicated. I thought i would take the wheel off, un-screw this and that and remove and replace. Now i'm just bout to go to dealership

JoeKD
07-12-2005, 11:02 AM
a C-clamp is a large screw type clamp that you can find at any hardware store

honest opinion, it is a very easy thing to do but if you have never even looked at brakes before recruit the help of a friend who knows a little more about car repair

kcj393
07-12-2005, 11:04 AM
If you don't know what a C-Clamp is, then I would advise you not to do this repair...It is very simple though and if you knew some-what of what you are doing then it should only take a maximum of 1.5 hours. But, if you are new to brakes, then you should just take it to pep boys or R&S strauss and let them do it for like $60...pads included!!! Don't go to the dealership as they will charge you more for this repair...possibly $100 or more...

wrench
07-12-2005, 11:19 AM
Just take the wheel off and take a look. It is easy, and the best way to learn to do something is by doing it. Hell, you always have the other wheel to compare it too as long as you leave one together. I do not use a C-clamp. I use a large screwdriver or prybar and force the piston back in while the brakes are still on the car by pry against the inner pad. It is easy, put the screwdrive between the pad and the rotor and pull the handle away from the car until the piston is all the way compressed.
Just a side note about the bleeder screw, everyone has their own opinion. I do not open the bleeder to compress the piston. The force that you are moving the piston back will not have enough force to put any thing that has settled into the caliper into the ABS system.

dman248
07-12-2005, 11:25 AM
Just take the wheel off and take a look. It is easy, and the best way to learn to do something is by doing it. Hell, you always have the other wheel to compare it too as long as you leave one together. I do not use a C-clamp. I use a large screwdriver or prybar and force the piston back in while the brakes are still on the car by pry against the inner pad. It is easy, put the screwdrive between the pad and the rotor and pull the handle away from the car until the piston is all the way compressed.
Just a side note about the bleeder screw, everyone has their own opinion. I do not open the bleeder to compress the piston. The force that you are moving the piston back will not have enough force to put any thing that has settled into the caliper into the ABS system.


I agree with you and thanks for the input. Like i mentioned earlier i have been reading up on this and it's doesn't seem that complicated. I want to learn how to do it so that I will be able to save $$ in the long run. I'm gonna try it and hopefully everything goes well. I think i just have to take the wheel off as you said and take a look. ANy other tricks i should know???

JoeKD
07-12-2005, 11:31 AM
tip -- take pics of everything before you take it apart so that you will have somethign to refer to if you get stuck

important tip -- make sure you loosen the master cylinder cap before using the C-clamp and also make sure you tighten it before touching the brake pedal again

Just out of curiosity where are you located? You could suprise yourself and find a member here close to you and more then willing to help who already has all the tools

dman248
07-12-2005, 11:33 AM
tip -- take pics of everything before you take it apart so that you will have somethign to refer to if you get stuck

important tip -- make sure you loosen the master cylinder cap before using the C-clamp and also make sure you tighten it before touching the brake pedal again

Just out of curiosity where are you located? You could suprise yourself and find a member here close to you and more then willing to help who already has all the tools


I'm located in Maryland.. FortWashington to be exact. I live right in the Washington, DC-Metro area..... Thanks for the info!! :claps:

wrench
07-12-2005, 10:11 PM
I agree with you and thanks for the input. Like i mentioned earlier i have been reading up on this and it's doesn't seem that complicated. I want to learn how to do it so that I will be able to save $$ in the long run. I'm gonna try it and hopefully everything goes well. I think i just have to take the wheel off as you said and take a look. ANy other tricks i should know???
Make sure to grease the caliper slides

lextrep
07-13-2005, 02:32 AM
I agree with you and thanks for the input. Like i mentioned earlier i have been reading up on this and it's doesn't seem that complicated. I want to learn how to do it so that I will be able to save $$ in the long run. I'm gonna try it and hopefully everything goes well. I think i just have to take the wheel off as you said and take a look. ANy other tricks i should know???

Get a copy of the Haynes Repair Manual at the auto parts store. It will list all steps for pad replacement and guide you with photos. Also a good investment for any other repair on your car and only about $15. Most of their manuals pretty much take a car apart and put it back together with photos and are really worth the money
Also remember your brakes are a very important component for your safety! If you have any doubts about how anything is supposed to be you might be better off watching someone else do this one time to learn. But it really isn't that difficult but you do need basic mechanical knowledge to know what to look for as far as possible worn parts
GOOD LUCK!

justme-
07-13-2005, 10:07 AM
Just take the wheel off and take a look. It is easy, and the best way to learn to do something is by doing it. Hell, you always have the other wheel to compare it too as long as you leave one together. .
There's a lot of good advise in this thread, but this first line isn't some of it.

If you don't know what a C-clamp is learn BEFORE screwing something up. Brakes, especially disc brakes are a piece of cake- IF you know how and are mechanically inclined. A screwdriver between the rotor and pad is asking for a gouged rotor- a prybar is better (it's softer steel and usually wider) but NOT for the entire process of compressing the piston back in- only to get the caliper off the car- then use the c-clamp to do it the resat of the way. Useing a prybar allows you to force the piston at an angle instead of straight in (not always going to happen but CAN happen) and this CAN cause the piston to jam. Minimal damage is a minor gouge in the caliper inside where major damage from the same situation can result in needing a new caliper.

Buy a haines book- read it and follow it to the letter. Rear discs are a little different from fronts in design and procedure. Rotors need to be resurfaced from time to time too, which cannot normally be done at home. IN the drum break era having another wheel together to look at was great, disc brakes don;t necessarily work that way- you can;t see what's going on until it's apart so it's too late.

I change front pads in my Truck in under 15 minutes per wheel- it's easy when you know what you're doing.

ALSO as Wrench says don;t open the bleeder- waste of time. the fluid in the master cylinder that filled the space in the caliper as the pads wear will go right back as long as you have NOT added brake fluid. The systems are designed so when you have 4 brand new brakes (pads and rotors) and the system is properily bled for air the master cylinder is at the top level line. it will not go below the bottom level line with all the brakes in the service life limits. In other words- if you your fluid at the master cylinder is below the "add" line you have a problem in the brakes. Pressing the piston back in will send the fluid back to the master (if you added fluid it may overflow if you didn;t it won;t) If you have contamination in the system you have problems anyway- change the fluid as required and there should be no issue.

peva
07-13-2005, 10:55 AM
Actually on our front brakes, you can stick the screwdriver in the vents of the rotor and pry the piston all the way back in with no problem and no damage to anything. You can do the rears that way too, but they have no vents, but if you take your time and apply gentle pressure, the rotors won't be damaged (not an issue anyway if you're having them turned or replacing them). In both cases (front and rear), the fulcrum point for the screwdriver is on an opening in the caliper - pads are never touched by the screwdriver, and, on the fronts, the working surface of the rotors are not touched. Works great.

I do that and then use the brake pedal to move the pistons all the way out. I repeat that 4 or 5 times - right after removing the wheel *BEFORE* removing the caliper (pads and rotor still on). Doing this ensures that the piston is not stuck or thinking about sticking in the future. You can't do that with the C-clamp (at least, not quickly - would have to remove and re-install caliper each time).

dman248
07-13-2005, 10:56 AM
There's a lot of good advise in this thread, but this first line isn't some of it.

If you don't know what a C-clamp is learn BEFORE screwing something up. Brakes, especially disc brakes are a piece of cake- IF you know how and are mechanically inclined. A screwdriver between the rotor and pad is asking for a gouged rotor- a prybar is better (it's softer steel and usually wider) but NOT for the entire process of compressing the piston back in- only to get the caliper off the car- then use the c-clamp to do it the resat of the way. Useing a prybar allows you to force the piston at an angle instead of straight in (not always going to happen but CAN happen) and this CAN cause the piston to jam. Minimal damage is a minor gouge in the caliper inside where major damage from the same situation can result in needing a new caliper.

Buy a haines book- read it and follow it to the letter. Rear discs are a little different from fronts in design and procedure. Rotors need to be resurfaced from time to time too, which cannot normally be done at home. IN the drum break era having another wheel together to look at was great, disc brakes don;t necessarily work that way- you can;t see what's going on until it's apart so it's too late.

I change front pads in my Truck in under 15 minutes per wheel- it's easy when you know what you're doing.

ALSO as Wrench says don;t open the bleeder- waste of time. the fluid in the master cylinder that filled the space in the caliper as the pads wear will go right back as long as you have NOT added brake fluid. The systems are designed so when you have 4 brand new brakes (pads and rotors) and the system is properily bled for air the master cylinder is at the top level line. it will not go below the bottom level line with all the brakes in the service life limits. In other words- if you your fluid at the master cylinder is below the "add" line you have a problem in the brakes. Pressing the piston back in will send the fluid back to the master (if you added fluid it may overflow if you didn;t it won;t) If you have contamination in the system you have problems anyway- change the fluid as required and there should be no issue.

Thanks for the info people. I'ma go today and get that manual and probally me and my father will work on the brakes this weekend or next week sometime. I think my rotors are badly warped and my pads need to be changed. I sound like a freakin school bus when coming to a stop! It's embarassing

Jus' Trepping
07-13-2005, 12:02 PM
I did my front brakes awhile ago my skills around a B - pretty easy.... probally one of the hardest parts are those damn clips between the pads those were a bitch for me.... plus I didn't put the caliper perfectly back resulting in a soft pedal( and $20 for a shop to reposition them) I'm guessing a didn't lock in that little tab on the caliper properly. I used the c -clamp method with a wrench across too start ....

peva
07-13-2005, 09:15 PM
Careful with the C-clamp on our front calipers: The brake fluid line comes out of the back of the caliper in the area where you would otherwise want to rest that end of the C-clamp. If you aren't aware of that and not paying attention, you can crush the brake fluid line. You have to offset that end of the C-clamp to the side a little bit (while the other end of the C-clamp is in the center of the piston). (In reality, it might just dent the pipe a little bit rather than crushing it totally closed, but who wants that?)

justme-
07-14-2005, 10:41 AM
Actually on our front brakes, you can stick the screwdriver in the vents of the rotor and pry the piston all the way back in with no problem and no damage to anything. You can do the rears that way too, but they have no vents, but if you take your time and apply gentle pressure, the rotors won't be damaged (not an issue anyway if you're having them turned or replacing them). In both cases (front and rear), the fulcrum point for the screwdriver is on an opening in the caliper - pads are never touched by the screwdriver, and, on the fronts, the working surface of the rotors are not touched. Works great.

I do that and then use the brake pedal to move the pistons all the way out. I repeat that 4 or 5 times - right after removing the wheel *BEFORE* removing the caliper (pads and rotor still on). Doing this ensures that the piston is not stuck or thinking about sticking in the future. You can't do that with the C-clamp (at least, not quickly - would have to remove and re-install caliper each time).


NOTE: I never mentioned damaging the rotor- but damaging the PISTON in the caliper, although that is a good point Peva. Forceing the piston back into the caliper other than perfectly straight CAN cause it to gouge the inside of the caliper or stick. Useing a screwdriver to pry all the way CAN work, but it also CAN angle the piston. Just be careful. Your method of pressing the brakes to move the piston after to unstick will show the piston is not stuck, however remember any damage done is still done. And everytime you re compress the piston back you risk damaging it again. (doing that method once is suffecient, by the time the brakes wear to cover the entire piston travel corrosion can set it anyway) A gouge in the piston or the piston bore may not show up right away as a leak if it's behind the seal with new pads....

They make a tool that is a screw with handle (like a c-clamp's screw part) but that has a plate (rectangular) on it instead of the c frame that is used to press pistons back. You put it in the caliper (with the pads out), the plate against the outside pad holder and the screw pushed the piston in. Sears has them, almost all discount automotive tools places have them.

Also, some (most actually) rear disc brake systems require the piston to be rotated as it's pushed into the caliper, not simply pushed back. Based on Peva's last post I assume our's does not. (they make a special tool for that too)

Smudga
07-14-2005, 10:03 PM
Dman, the brakes on this car are probably the easiest you will ever do yourself and, you'll feel so much better not paying someone once you find how easy it is to do!! The guys and gals on this site are the best on the net so, any probs, just Holla!!

My only piece of advice to you would be to steer clear of NAPA Semi-Metallic pads. They claim to produce lest dust but in my opinion, they produce far more than stock!!

C

peva
07-15-2005, 07:36 AM
NOTE: I never mentioned damaging the rotor- but damaging the PISTON in the caliper, although that is a good point Peva. Forceing the piston back into the caliper other than perfectly straight CAN cause it to gouge the inside of the caliper or stick. Useing a screwdriver to pry all the way CAN work, but it also CAN angle the piston. Just be careful. Your method of pressing the brakes to move the piston after to unstick will show the piston is not stuck, however remember any damage done is still done....My method pries against the caliper and the vents in the rotor - the tilt of both parts is pretty much cnostrained. There is no side pressure on the piston - it inherently gets pushed straight back all the way.

...Also, some (most actually) rear disc brake systems require the piston to be rotated as it's pushed into the caliper, not simply pushed back. Based on Peva's last post I assume our's does not. (they make a special tool for that too)Correct. Ours does not. That only is the case on disk brakes that have the parking brake mechanism built into the caliper. It is the case on some Fords and on the fronts of some Subarus, and I'm sure a few others.

dman248
07-15-2005, 09:39 AM
Dman, the brakes on this car are probably the easiest you will ever do yourself and, you'll feel so much better not paying someone once you find how easy it is to do!! The guys and gals on this site are the best on the net so, any probs, just Holla!!

My only piece of advice to you would be to steer clear of NAPA Semi-Metallic pads. They claim to produce lest dust but in my opinion, they produce far more than stock!!

C


Damn...thanks, that just made me feel a whole lot better about doin this job. I will keep you good people posted on how it turned out, and if i run into any problem i'll be sure to post them! :bgtup: