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Changing Brake Pads -- Tutorial

 
Old 05-14-2003, 09:00 AM
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Default Changing Brake Pads -- Tutorial

Changing your own brake pads is not only easy it's quick to do, requires few tools and will save you a lot of money. Here is a quick run down off the top of my head to get you started. I'll add pictures and a bit more detail as I get them.

Preparation

To begin your pad change you need to do a few things first.

1. Check your tools! You'll need the following:

- 4 jack stands
- a jack
- an adjustable "crescent" type wrench, thin profile
or
- a thin profile 19mm open end wrench
and
- a thin profile 17mm open end wrench
- a 12mm box end wrench, the longer the better
- a 3"x3/8" socket extension or preferably a caliper retractor tool (parts store)
- a 6" C-clamp or "quick" clamp or massive set of channel lock pliers (6" jaw)

I'm going to describe the process for OE factory pads. If you are using aftermarket pads you'll be missing new shims and anti-squeak grease that come with a new set of pads from Honda. Reuse your shims from your existing pads and the grease isn't required but you can get some at your local auto parts store.

The Steps

1. Loosen the lugs on all wheels and open the hood.

2. Jack up the car and put it on jack stands.

3. Remove all 4 wheels.

4. Starting at the left front follow this procedure for both front brakes:

a. Locate the two bolts at the back of the caliper on which the caliper floats. You'll recognize them by the rubber boots.

b. On the lower of the two bolts: Take your adjustable wrench and attach it to the nut just inboard of the rubber boot being careful not to damage the boot. Take your 12mm box wrench and apply it to the lower bolt head. Hold the adjustable wrench firmly and loosen and remove the bolt. The caliper body should now swing upwards on that remaining bolt, clear of the pads.

c. Remove the pads keeping track of which shims go on which pads (inboard or outboard).

d. Using your clamp, retract the piston into the caliper body. The piston is cup shaped. It will take considerable effort to get the caliper moving but once it starts it should get easier. Be careful not to damage the rubber boot seal around the piston. Retract the piston until it's flush with the cast caliper body.

NOTE! -- If you added brake fluid or replaced the brake fluid with less than full pads you may spill fluid out of the master cylinder reservoir so check it to make sure you aren't pushing more fluid back into the master cylinder than it can hold. Always change fluid with new pads installed and all calipers retracted.

e. Install the shims, grease and new pads. The grease goes between the shims and the pad. Don't use much or it will squeeze out and make a mess. Just a dab will do.

f. Lower the caliper body down over the new pads. It moves in and out so just align it and lower it over the newly installed pads.

g. Replace the caliper bolt just like you took it out. Hold the nut with the adjustable wrench and tighten the bolt with your box wrench. ~25ft/lbs should do it. It doesn't need serious torquing just a good crank.

h. Repeat this process for the right side front brake.

5. Follow this procedure for the rear brakes in turn:

a. Like the front brakes, locate the two caliper bolts but unlike the front you need to remove both bolts.

b. Remove both bolts and lift the caliper body up and away from the pads. Be careful not to damage the ABS cable attached to the caliper. Set it on one of the suspension arms.

c. Remove the pads and like the fronts keep track of which shims go where.

d. Using your 3/8 socket extension or piston retractor and 3/8 ratchet turn the piston clockwise to retract. This is a bit of a bitch. It hard to get started but like the fronts will get a bit easier once it starts. Position the 3/8 extension in the center of the X, get a good grip and turn. The retractor tool offers better grip but I find that a good 3/8 3" extension does the job just fine. I ground down the end of mine to remove the rounded edges and provide a more positive grip on the piston grooves. Retract the caliper flush like on the fronts.

e. Install the new shims, grease and pads and reposition the caliper over them in place to rebolt.

f. Replace the two caliper bolts in the same fashion as you removed them. Be careful to not damage the rubber boots.

g. Repeat for the other rear caliper.

6. Give a couple of squeezes on the brake pedal to extend the calipers. The pedal should firm up after 1 or 2 pumps.

7. If you are going to bleed the brake fluid, now is the time.

8. Reinstall the wheels and lugs.

9. Lower the car to the ground and torque your lug nuts to 80 ft/lbs.

10. Go fishing, you are done.

The first time you do this it will take about an hour. Each time you do it after that it will get much faster. I've got it down to 20mins start to finish. I highly recommend you do this procedure yourself rather than pay someone else $60/hr to do it. It's pretty simple and requires almost no special knowledge or tools. It will also give you a change to inspect the braking components, rotors, boot and seals and learn about how your brakes work.
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Old 05-20-2003, 08:54 AM
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If you are using aftermarket pads you'll be missing new shims and anti-squeak grease that come with a new set of pads from Honda. Reuse your shims from your existing pads and the grease isn't required but you can get some at your local auto parts store.
I'm upgrading to R4S pads.
Do I need shims for the new pads?
Will any grease do?

Thanks
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Old 05-21-2003, 08:21 AM
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The R4S's do not come with shims. Just re-use the shims from your stock pads. Clean up your stock shims with some brake cleaner and just put them on the R4S's. From what I remember there are a total of three shims, two go on the inner pad and one goes on the outer pad. Verify this when you remove your stock shims.

Just any grease won't do. The braking components get very hot, especially on track days and will decompose most greases. To eliminate/minimize squeaking on the street, I use a thin layer of anti-sieze between the back on the pads and the shims, between the two shims, and between the shim and the brake piston. Make sure you don't get any anti-sieze or any other foreign substance on the surface of the disk or the active face of the brake pad. I emphasize thin, just a dab on your finger, and then spread it to cover the entire surface your applying it to.
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Old 05-21-2003, 08:58 AM
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Thank you for the info.
I just have to wait for the pads to come in now.
Anyone have any feedback on Bulletproof?
I ordered the pads last Tuesday and it's been a week and a day so far with no pads and I can't get hold of them on the phone or e-mail. I was told yesterday that I would have a tracking number by the end of the day, but still no response as yet. I can honestly say that I won't be ordering anything else from them in the near future.
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Old 05-21-2003, 09:11 AM
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My experience with Panther Plus semi-race pads is that shims make zero difference.

Shims are designed to reduce noise, and they simply aren't effective on these pads. They might stay quiet until a hard track day, then they are noisy as hell, with or without shims. I do continue to grease the "ears" so they slide in the caliper easily.
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Old 05-21-2003, 12:07 PM
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I'm going to describe the process for OE factory pads. If you are using aftermarket pads you'll be missing new shims and anti-squeak grease that come with a new set of pads from Honda. Reuse your shims from your existing pads and the grease isn't required but you can get some at your local auto parts store.
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Old 05-21-2003, 07:58 PM
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I can't resist...
Swapping pads on Wilwood front calipers requires no tools once the wheels are off. Use gloves if hot.

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Old 05-21-2003, 08:37 PM
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Nice write-up. I never thought of using a 3/8" socket extension for the rear pistons. Good idea.
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Old 05-22-2003, 04:09 AM
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To eliminate/minimize squeaking on the street, I use a thin layer of anti-sieze between the back on the pads and the shims, between the two shims, and between the shim and the brake piston.
I just want to make sure anti-sieze is the stuff to use. I mentioned it to a couple of people and they kind of looked at me funny.
Is this made of the same ingredients as the anti-squeek lube?
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Old 05-22-2003, 04:28 AM
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I just switched pads again yesterday, getting ready for Gingerman on Sunday. Here's some added comments:

Tools used:

12 mm offset box wrench. Not 14 mm; did they change sizes? I have a '01 model. It works for the three bolts that require removal (one on front, two on back) on each side of the car.

19 mm open-end wrench to hold the brake boot nut in front.

17 mm open-end wrench to hold the brake boot nut in rear.

13" bungy cord to hold the calipers when undone.

3" c-clamp

7" trim crowbar. Used sideways to turn-in the rear caliper piston.

Large channel lock. For a secure hold of the rear calipers while reinserting the piston using the small crowbar.

3/8" open-end wrench. Used for opening/closing the speedbleeders (your size may vary depending on bleed screws).

19 mm socket & torque wrench set at 80 lbs. for replacing the wheel lug nuts to specs.

Other comments:

The Helms manual doesn't mention this but I've always heard you do not want to back bleed an ABS system, so even when I'm changing pads, I open the bleeders a touch so the fluid comes out the bleeder instead of going back into the ABS valves when pushing the pistons back in. Probably not needed but I thought I'd mention it.

Before I removed the wheels for the first time, I painted the wheel stud bolt tip that is opposite the valve stem with red paint. When reinstalling the wheels this ensures that all four go back on exactly in the same positions they came off when they were originally balanced on the car.

I usually do a brake fluid flush and bleeding after each pad switch. Naturally when all done and everything is buttoned up, I take the car for a test drive. As a final safety measure I always closely inspect the insides of all four wheels to ensure there is no signs of brake fluid from a bleeder screw that wasn't 100% closed. Any splatter or wetness is bad and needs attention.
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