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How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

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How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by diddyman » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:27 pm

This is the process we used for changing the front and rear discs and pads, you may find your own tweaks, shortcuts, or top tip, but hopefully this will provide a good overview as a starting point.

It may also be helpful to read through and review the pictures even if you're only replacing the pads.

Note: on all screws and bolts, when reinserting to tighten, a small amount of copper grease was applied; this is optional but it is hoped this will avoid any sticking items if they need to be undone at a later date.

THE FRONT DISCS AND PADS

For ease it is best to jack the car up and use axle stands to raise both the front wheels of the car off the ground, so jack up the car and use axle stands in the appropriate places, remember to loosen the wheel nuts first before jacking up the car.

Leave the ignition key in the lock with the ignition off.

Doing this enables you to then turn the discs/steering with ease to gain the best possible access.

Once all front wheel nuts are loosened and the front of the car is jacked up and on axle stands remove the nearside wheel first.

Once the wheel is removed, you can then gain access to the calliper and disc.

Adjust the steering to give you the best possible access to the back of the calliper, at the back of the calliper there will be 4 bolts. The 2 larger bolts secure the calliper to the front suspension, the 2 small bolts on the top and bottom of the calliper allow the main piston part of the calliper to pivot out and away from the disc by you loosening the top smaller bolt and removing the bottom small bolt, thus allowing you access to the calliper piston and pads.

Image

Just loosen the 2 smaller bolts at the top and bottom of the calliper but DO NOT remove the bolts.

Note: Remember to consider the orientation of the bolt being undone and turn the correct way.

Then loosen and remove the 2 larger bolts attaching the calliper to the suspension. This will then free the whole calliper, and it will only be attached to the car by the flexible brake pipe, the whole calliper should then be able to be slid off the disc, however if the disc is corroded at the edge a certain amount of wriggling and some leverage may be require. Also a hooked bungee cord will be handy to the tie up and support the calliper once free of the disc so that it does not suspend or put any unnecessary stress on the flexible brake hoses.

Once the calliper is removed and out of the way, you then have full unrestricted access to the front disc.

The front disc is held in place with 2 large countersunk screws. These were unable to be undone with a standard screwdriver (although we did not try a ratchet type to give better leverage), but for speed and to ensure we did not damage the screw heads we used an impact driver.

First we tapped gently (using a hammer) the detachable Phillips driver end-on to the screw head to ensure it was a very tight and firm fit

Image

We then attached on the impact driver:

Image

Applying pressure towards the disc and also applying pressure in a twisting direction the way we want the screw to turn, we then firmly hit the impact driver with a larger hammer which loosened the screw very easily. This process was then repeated for the 2nd screw.

Once the 2 screws are removed, the disc should be able to be fully removed from the car. If you have issues in getting the disc to move then you will see on the disc there is a small threaded hole (see above picture and also in rear disc section below, it is horizontal to the impact driver, by placing a (long enough approx 1+ inch) 8mm threaded bolt into this hole and then turning, the bolt will eventually break any seal or stubbornness and the disc will then unstick).

Image

Once free just wire brush any dirt/rust from the wheel hub so that the new disc will sit perfectly flush to the hub. Also note in the picture below the bungee cord in the background supporting the calliper which was detached.

Top Tip: While the disc is off you can gain full access to the metal guard behind the disc. These are often rusty, so it will be a good opportunity to give it a quick wire brushing and a coat of Hammerite so it looks better, note that the disc will cover most of the centre of the metal guard, so you only need to paint the parts that will show, see picture below.

Image

Put the new disc back on the hub, ensuring the 2 screw holes are aligned correctly, then reinsert the 2 screws and tighten securely.

Remove the old used pads from the unbolted calliper paying special attention to which pad and shim went where, some tapping and wriggling may be required, pay special attention to the small metal clips in the calliper housing, as these are important (they are located to the left and right just below my thumb in the picture below). The calliper has 4 of these small metal clips in total, 2 on each side, which allow the pad to slide towards the disc.

Image

Then attach the calliper back to the suspension by reinserting and tightening fully the 2 larger bolts at the back of the calliper. Once the calliper is secured, loosen and remove the smaller bolt at the bottom of the calliper. As you loosened the smaller top bolt earlier the main part of the calliper containing the piston should now pivot out (if it is still stuck or does not move easily, loosen off further the smaller bolt at the top of the calliper).

The calliper's piston now needs to be compressed back in. For this we used a simple hand clamp which worked very well, with a large socket placed inside the hollow piston.

Note: Keep an eye on the brake fluid level each time you compress one of the pistons, and drain off to stop the brake fluid reservoir overflowing, DO NOT GET ANY BRAKE FLUID ON PAINT WORK

Image

Image

With piston compressed now remove and clean each of the 4 small metal clips 1 by 1.

Remove only 1 at a time, clean and refit before removing the next one to repeat the process.

Image

Now get the new pads and lay them out to compare them to the old ones, remove the thin metal shims from the old pads and clean with wire brush and fit them to the new pads.

Note: The 2 shims are different, one for inner pad and one for the outer pad.

Image

Now apply a small amount of brake grease to the top and bottom lugs of the new pads, and slide them into place so the lugs of the new pads seat into the 4 metal clips we cleaned up earlier.

This is much better than the old copper grease as it doesn't dry and and it can't contaminate the ABS sensors

Image

Note: Look at the metal clips carefully, as you may have to seat either the top lug or bottom lug first, as the clip may contain a slightly raised part which the lug will have to be placed over to clear and seat properly.

Image

Ensure the new pads are level vertically, in-line and touching the disc, as per picture below, then apply a small amount of brake grease to the area of the shims which touch the metal of the callipers, to prevent squealing when the brakes used.

Image

Now pivot the calliper back down, the calliper and piston should have clearance of the new pads, and tighten the smaller top and bottom bolts. With the 2 small bolts tightened and the 2 larger ones which were tightened earlier, you can now refit the wheel and put the wheel nuts back on but do not tighten the wheel nuts fully while the car is still on the axle stands.

With the exception of the final tightening of the wheel nuts that is the front nearside now completed.

Repeat the same process for the front offside, however while you are under the front offside remove the rubber flap at the back and if you look to the right and up, you should be able to see the steering universal joint, a very generous spray of motorcycle chain protection fluid (or similar) will be beneficial. Ensure the steering is given plenty of turns lock to lock to work the fluid in.

Once the front offside replacement disc and pads has been completed again put the wheel back on and place the car back on the ground, do not forget to do the final tightening of the front offside wheel nuts and also the front nearside wheel nuts too.

Once the car is fully back on the ground press brake pedal several times just to reseat pistons back in to position.

THE REAR DISCS AND PADS

For the back discs and brakes, we will jack up and place on an axle stand each side separately, as one rear wheel will always need to remain on the ground, as the handbrake will have to be in the off position to remove the calliper.

Before jacking up, ensure the wheel you are not working on is secured, by placing a brick or block of wood to ensure the car does not roll. Test by taking off the hand brake before you start to jack up and place the axle stand into its final position.

Image

So after jacking up and placing on an axle stand remove the rear wheel to gain access to the disc and brake. Then ensure the hand brake is off.

Image

The rear discs and pads are slightly smaller than the fronts, and the calliper is secured again by 4 bolts at the back, but they are all the same size. 2 secure the calliper to the suspension, the other 2 allow the pivoting action of the piston similar to the front calliper.

First just loosen the 2 bolts at the top and bottom of the calliper, which would allow the same pivot action as the front calliper but DO NOT remove the bolts.

Then loosen and remove the 2 bolts attaching the calliper to the suspension. This will then free the whole calliper, and it will only be attached to the car by the flexible brake pipe, the whole calliper should then be able to be slid off the disc, however if the disc is corroded at the edge a certain amount of wriggling and some leverage may be required. Once clear of the disc you can support the calliper once free on the suspension arm behind the wheel hub so that it does not suspend or put any unnecessary stress on the flexible brake hose.

Note: There are 2 lugged washers which may drop down on to the floor that sit between the calliper and where it bolts on to the suspension, this will be mentioned again when refitting.

Note: The bottom bolt securing the calliper to the suspension was really tough to undo, see picture below.

Image

With the calliper out of the way, remove the rear disc.

Note: There are no screws holding the disc in place, however the rear discs tend to stick more than the fronts, if you have issues in getting the disc to move then place a (long enough approx 1+ inch) 8mm threaded bolt into the small threaded hole and then turning the bolt in a clockwise direction will eventually break any seal or stubbornness and the disc will then unstick) See picture below of the 8mm bolt in the disc.

Image

Once free just wire brush any dirt/rust from the wheel hub so that the new disc will sit perfectly flush to the hub. Also note in picture below the calliper which was removed is just resting slightly behind the metal disc guard.

Top Tip: While the disc is off you can gain full access to the metal guard behind the disc. These are often rusty, so it will be a good opportunity to give it a quick wire brushing and a coat of Hammerite so it looks better, note that the disc will cover most of the centre of the metal guard, so you only need to paint the parts that will show.

Image

Remove the old pads from the rear calliper paying special attention to which pad and shim went where, again like the fronts some wriggling may be require;, then refit the calliper to the suspension by reinserting and tightening fully the 2 bolts you removed earlier.

Note: There are 2 lugged washers that sit between the calliper and where it bolts on to the suspension that have to be put back in place as it is likely they came detached when the calliper was removed.

Image

Once the calliper is secured, loosen and remove the bolt at the top of the calliper. As you loosened the bottom bolt earlier the main part of the calliper containing the piston should now pivot out (if it is still stuck or does not move easily, loosen off further the bolt at the bottom of the calliper).

Note: the picture below shows the calliper pivoting to expose the piston, however you will have no pads currently in place at this point.

Image

With the piston part pivoted backwards, you will now be able to see 4 similar metal clips like those on the front, however do not detach them, but try and clean them the best you can while in-situ, see the picture below, one is at the bottom middle and another is to the centre right edge and blurry.

Image

IMPORTANT:

The piston has to be wound in for it to be compressed, therefore before this is started the rubber seal must be lubricated using silicon spray to avoid it either sticking or being damaged. Gently lift the edge of the rubber seal so that you can see the clean silver metal part underneath and apply some silicon spray, then move about 1/4 to 1/3rd round the seal and repeat and so on until all the seal is lubricated.

Image

For winding the piston back we used a "Draper 52334 3/8-Inch Square Drive Rear Caliper Wind Back Cube" or similar attached to the end of a ratchet with an extension rod, less than £10 from ebay or Amazon.
To wind back the calliper you need to apply pressure towards the piston the turn in a clockwise direction

Image

Below is the original position:

Image

In the picture below, in the background you can see the piston in the final position, the surface of the piston will be a couple of millimetres above the contracted down rubber seal (again you will not have any pads in at this point - unlike the picture).

Image

Remember to keep eye on brake fluid level!
Image

VERY VERY IMPORTANT:

IN BOTH OF THE PICTURES OF THE PISTON ABOVE (BEFORE AND AFTER WINDING IN THE PISTON), NOTE THE POSITION OF THE "CUT-OUT" PARTS OF THE SURFACE OF THE PISTON, A "CUT OUT PART" MUST ALWAYS BE DIRECTLY IN LINE WITH THE SMALL RECTANGULAR HOLE IN THE SURFACE OF THE CALLIPER OR ELSE THE PAD WILL NOT SEAT CORRECTLY AND FLUSH TO THE DISC OR PISTON.

Now get the new pads and lay them out to compare them to the old ones, remove the thin metal shims from the old pads and clean with wire brush and fit them to the new pads. Note in the picture below there is a cut hole in the shim that fits over a raised part on the pad, it is that raised part that slots into one of the "cut out part" of the piston highlighted in the "VERY VERY IMPORTANT" part above.

The inside pads should have a stainless steel extension on the back, fitted such that it's towards the rear of the car, making them right or left-handed.

Image

Note: The 2 shims are different, one for inner pad and one for the outer pad.

Now apply a small amount of brake grease to the top and bottom lugs of the new pads, and slide them into place so the lugs of the new pads that seat into the 4 metal clips we cleaned up in-situ earlier.

Image

Ensure the new pads are level vertically, in-line and touching the disc, as per picture below, then apply a small amount of brake grease to the area of the shims which touch the metal of the callipers.

Note: Look at the metal clips carefully, as you may have to seat either the top lug or bottom lug first, as the clip may contain a slightly raised part which the lug will have to be placed over to clear and seat properly.

Image

Now pivot the calliper back up, the calliper and piston should have clearance of the new pads, and tighten the top and bottom bolts. With these 2 bolts tightened and the 2 other ones which were tightened earlier, you can now refit the wheel and put the wheel nuts back on but do not tighten the wheel nuts fully while the car is still on the axle stand.

Image

With exception of the final tightening of the wheel nuts that is the one of the rear sides now completed.

Remove car from axle stand, and finish tightening the wheel nuts.

Press brake pedal several times just to reseat piston into position.

Re-apply the handbrake while switching the jack and chock from side-to-side, remembering to release again before starting on the 2nd caliper.

Repeat the same process for the other rear side.

Once all discs and brakes have been completed and wheels and nuts all tightened, make sure that:

1) The item you used to wedge the rear wheel in place is removed
2) You have screwed back on the brake fluid reservoir cap
3) Removed all tools, jack and axle stands clear from car

Now it is test drive time, and remember safety first, be very cautious and assume that the new pads will be made of butter as that is what they will feel like for a bit. The brake pedal will have lots of travel and the braking will be very poor and will be spongier than Sponge Bob himself (remember the discs may be coated with a protective paint that needs to be worn off first). Also the car may pull to one side slightly while any further play and seating of the calliper pistons takes place.

So find a quiet bit of road ensuring there is no other traffic about and brake firmly several times at low speed, then pull up and if needed press the pedal many times until the excess travel in the pedal reduces; there may just be a slight sponginess left. Travel at a little higher speed, brake repeatedly and you will find that the sponginess will go, but the brakes will lack proper bite.

For the final part of bedding in I found a quiet stretch of dual carriageway where I travelled at about 70 mph and just applied the brake slightly for a period of about 5 to 7 seconds to reduce speed down to 50 to 55mph, then speed up and repeated again several times. After that they were about as good as done, and a little extra improvement came over the next 10 to 15 miles driving normally.

After the test drive, just have a quick check of the brake fluid level to make sure it is ok.

Also step back and look at your rust free discs and guards !!!

Finally the hand brake should not need adjusting but check just in case.

Diddy

Location, tools, expertise, help and encouragement, and photographs, courtesy of Dave (Warpc0il)
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EdSpur (Sat Jan 30, 2016 11:02 pm) • warpc0il (Thu Nov 17, 2016 3:00 pm)

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by couper » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:36 pm

Good write up really well explained I feel I have picked up some tips from reading that especially something so simple as to lubricating the rubber boot before winding back the piston.

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by diddyman » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:51 pm

Great - I cannot take all the credit though - Dave (Warpc0il) gave the instructions and I just followed !

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by warpc0il » Tue Dec 04, 2012 10:32 am

Hey Mark,

You made a good job of changing the brakes, just needed someone to show you how and access to the right tools.

You've made a great job of this write-up, so the next guys can see what they need to do and what tools they need to hand.

Well done =D>
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by tractorboy » Tue Dec 04, 2012 8:56 pm

Great write up and excellent photos.

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by Soul » Tue Jun 17, 2014 12:38 pm

Very useful - followed this at the weekend to do my front pads :)
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by brix79 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 6:57 pm

I really should have thought to find this before I did my rears on the weekend!

One question though, if I wanted to fully remove the caliper, is it possible to disconnect from the brake pipe?? :-k
I wanted to give the caliper a more serious clean up and it would be easier if not attached.
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by DanBass » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:37 pm

The rear ones? Yes, you need a line wrench but it just unscrews. You'll also want to bleed the system after refitting. The handbrake assembly is held in place with a slide clip and a hook.
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by brix79 » Tue Jun 17, 2014 7:46 pm

Cheers Dan. :thumleft:
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by tractorboy » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:38 pm

And don't do what I did. Turns out the hose clamp pliers I used on the rears were not tight enough and I ended up with 2 large puddles on the drive.
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by TheManc » Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:44 pm

after spending time on other car forums over the last ten years that's probably one of the best write ups i have seen

Well done top man

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by Mpv2k3 » Tue Jan 26, 2016 9:41 pm

Great write up! Hopefully will be changing my pads next week and this will come in handy.

One question,.....should I use the new shims that came with the front pads or just reuse the old ones?
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by kiopo » Thu Mar 10, 2016 8:09 pm

Mpv2k3 wrote:Great write up! Hopefully will be changing my pads next week and this will come in handy.

One question,.....should I use the new shims that came with the front pads or just reuse the old ones?
I was also wondering this, most guides / videos I've seen for the RX8 people seem to be using the old ones. What's recommended?

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by tractorboy » Thu Mar 10, 2016 9:23 pm

Use the new ones if provided. Well, that's what I do.

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by kiopo » Sat Mar 12, 2016 8:22 pm

Just wanted to say thank you for this guide, I used this today when I changed all the discs and pads with a friend. Wow, it took a long time! Took us around 5 hours as we ran into a few problems.

Firstly, I don't think my discs had even been changed, and most of the nuts were badly seized. Plusgas and as much leverage as possible was needed on most of them. We changed discs and pads on another car last week and honestly, my RX8 was just a complete pain in the ass by comparison.

Then, the screws that hold the front discs in place. That caused plenty of expletives and they refused to budge, and taught me (again) another lesson: don't use cheap tools. I had a silverline impact driver and bit, and on the last one the bit snapped and nearly threaded the screw. Went and got a Halfords advanced one and it worked almost straight away. If only I'd spent a bit more money originally...

Finally, rewinding the calliper back in was fine but only realised when I had wound it in that I didn't have a big enough spanner to loosen it to allow the rewind tool to be released from the housing (it was a different tool to that in the pictures, laser one). Cue more expletives and delays.

Originally my handbrake lever was really high up afterwards, but after a motorway run it seemed to adjust itself again. Not sure why that was!

Anyway, hope that helps anyone else thinking of doing it. Glad it's done and feels good now with no squeaks or other noises, but next time I think I'll pay someone else to do it!!!

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by Happy_Snapper » Mon Mar 14, 2016 2:28 pm

They will come off a lot easier next time!
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by augerdh » Wed Jun 29, 2016 11:03 am

Hi, just followed your guide. Really good write up! Got a quick question, closing my rear drivers side caliper took a lot of effort, even with the piston wound in fully. Is this going to effect the braking of the car?
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by RX88 » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:54 pm

Can I use needle pliers to wind the rear caliper piston back?

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by warpc0il » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:59 pm

Probably not, it's surprising how much effort they can take to move, even with a squirt of silicon oil to ease the seals.
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by Rotary Potato » Sun Feb 05, 2017 9:59 pm

Yes - i did just that a couple of weeks ago.
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RX88 (Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:05 pm)
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by SeeJay » Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:45 pm

Is it possible/probable that using a piston winding tool,if the piston is particularly stubborn,could possibly have the effect of 'spraining' or ''spreading' the caliper :?:
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by PeteH » Sun Feb 05, 2017 10:54 pm

SeeJay wrote:Is it possible/probable that using a piston winding tool,if the piston is particularly stubborn,could possibly have the effect of 'spraining' or ''spreading' the caliper :?:
Nope. The caliper and carrier are designed to take massive brake forces. Your little caliper wind-back tool will never get anywhere near.
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by SeeJay » Sun Feb 05, 2017 11:01 pm

Thanks Pete..that's ruled out something that's been playing on my mind for a particular reason,which I won't go into here..suffice to say your response puts my mind at rest :thumleft:
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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by sKenDread » Mon May 29, 2017 11:13 pm

I wish I read this thread before replacing my pads today. Had a b***** of a time getting the Calipre wound back. Thankfully the shop around the corner gave me a piston winding tool to try. The clockwise one worked perfectly

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Re: How to change Front and Rear Discs and Pads

Post by New Duke » Sat Jun 15, 2019 12:45 am

This is such a well executed guide that I come back to often. Can it please get a sticky? It found it languishing on page 2 which feels wrong.
Ian's engine mount guide feels like it needs a sticky too.
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