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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 02-06-2013, 08:02 PM   #1
Afrosheen
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Question What should I be aware of before starting my first brake pad change?

I'm going to be initiating my first brake pad change and I'm wondering what things other people who did this themselves wished to have thought of before they started the project?

• I'm driving a 2005 325i with 99,800 miles on it.
• I'm going to install Performance Friction Carbon Metallic Brake Pad 0558.20 for the front wheels.
• My father replaced the rear pads with Duralast pads at $50 which he says has lifetime warranty on them. I don't particularly trust them — probably replace them some time after I replace the front pads.
• Do I need to purchase new brake sensors each time I buy new brake pads, or can I reuse the ones that are on there? My father didn't regard this when he replaced the rear pads and the brake light was still on. Don't know whether it was because he wasn't aware of knowing how to properly reconnect them or whether the light is for the front.
• Anything else that I'm not thinking about but should be aware of before I buy and install the brake pads?

Thanks for the consideration.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:54 PM   #2
Mflara20
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It's pretty straight forward of you DYI inclined. You need to buy new sensor wires if you want the brake dash light to go off an really tell you when you need new pads.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:11 PM   #3
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If it's not too late, try to exchange those PFC Carbon Metallics for the Z-Rated version. Trust me on this one. What type of rotors will you use? Brembo blanks got chewed up by the Z-Rated pads so choose wisely!
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:14 PM   #4
wildirish317
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Brake pads are an easy DIY. If the pad sensor caused the SEL light to come on, it's toast. Replace it. If you check your pads regularly, and don't need a sensor to tell you it's time, plug it in but wire it back away from the caliper and you'll never have to replace it again. Replace the one your father left in as well.

Also, replace the rotors when you do the pads. They are cheap. If you are going to start running metallic pads, you'll have to replace them with the pads anyway.
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Old 02-06-2013, 09:19 PM   #5
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If you got a warning light then the sensor must be replaced. From the sounds of what you wrote, you need to replace the rear sensor anyway. You might as well get two (one front, one rear). The way the sensors works is that when they contact the rotor (i.e. your pads are worn) the sensor wears away and triggers the light. They can be re-used only if this has not happened and they are in good working condition.
What condition are the rotors in?
Read thru the DIY's on this. It's a straight-forward job to do.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:45 PM   #6
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Thanks for the input guys. This has helped me a lot. But in regards to the rotors, how necessary is it to get new ones? They were replaced through the dealer when the car still had warranty in the middle of 2011. I'm thinking of buying the pads first then when installing them I'll inspect the rotors. But looking at them through the wheel, they still look pretty good.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:10 AM   #7
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Buy a tool for compressing the caliper pistons. Don't use a C clamp or Channel locks to compress the piston. You can get the piston cocked, and damage the bore, or the piston ring. Do it the right way, with the right tool. It is also much easier with the correct tool. They run from simple, to somewhat complex sets that work on most models of cars. Even a simple screw type is better than winging it.

Last edited by MJLavelle; 02-07-2013 at 12:11 AM.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:15 AM   #8
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^ Any type of lever is fine so long as you're not being dumb with placement.
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Old 02-07-2013, 12:27 AM   #9
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Since you're a newb on this....which light is on? brake light or brake sensor light? They are two different things.

Also since you may have close to 100000 miles on these rotors, you most likely should replace them.

Also replace the guide pin bushings. And the anti rattle clip.

Make sure you clean caliper slide thoroughly before installing new parts. Use brake grease on metal on metal parts.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:07 AM   #10
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My favorite DIY, 'cause you get to work sitting down.

I've done a lot of brake jobs w/out a compression tool for the calipers as well, but there's nothing dumb about having appropriate tools for the job.

Have fun.

And be careful, 'cause if you f it up, you will die.

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Old 02-07-2013, 01:11 AM   #11
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Compress the caliper using the old pad and a c clamp.... works fine.
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Old 02-07-2013, 01:12 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Afrosheen View Post
Thanks for the input guys. This has helped me a lot. But in regards to the rotors, how necessary is it to get new ones? They were replaced through the dealer when the car still had warranty in the middle of 2011. I'm thinking of buying the pads first then when installing them I'll inspect the rotors. But looking at them through the wheel, they still look pretty good.
Id never pad slap rotors on a car i cared about.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:33 AM   #13
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Advice - I didn't see it brought up yet, regardless of what pads you go with BED the brakes after you get the job done. It's a process that deposits brake pad material into the metal in the rotor from repeated braking while the rotors get ultra hot. It makes for very smooth consistent braking down the road.

Search, there are some very good articles that explain the process in detail. It's worth the time to look it up believe me.
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Old 02-07-2013, 02:53 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by ac_2007 View Post
^ Any type of lever is fine so long as you're not being dumb with placement.
That is fine, if you know exactly how to do it. For someone asking for advice on how to do a brake job, then the right tool is better.
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