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Suspension & Braking
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!

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Old 08-30-2013, 11:21 AM   #1
Koffinb
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I just changed rear pads and rotors..should I have flushed fluid?

Brake pedal feels a little squishy now..like it takes a little more pedal travel. i'm thinking maybe air in the lines? It stops great once pushed down all the way I just remember the pedal feeling a little more responsive than what it is now.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:23 AM   #2
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Always at bare minimum bleed. But yes you should have replaced the fluid. (I hate the word flushed. Implies the use of some sort of machine or flushing of a toilet)
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:27 AM   #3
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Have you bedded the pads in?
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:28 AM   #4
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Have you bedded the pads in?
yes I have
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:29 AM   #5
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If you have not flushed the brake fluid in a while, you should go ahead and do it now. They say you should flush brake fluid every two years. In theory, you pushed the calipers open to make room for the new pads, and this will not introduce air that needs to be bled out, but your description is that you need to bleed the brakes.

Personally, if you can pay $70 for a flush, it's worth it. I'm sure any mechanic will be able to do this job in far less time than it takes you, and it will be worth it to stand in the waiting room and watch some guy drain fluid until it comes out clean.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:30 AM   #6
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AFAIK, stock pads do not require bedding in. But i guess it doesn't hurt. When I had my prior E46 brand new getting its brakes put on at the dealer under free maintenance, they put the new pads and rotors on and i simply drove off.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by jdstrickland View Post
If you have not flushed the brake fluid in a while, you should go ahead and do it now. They say you should flush brake fluid every two years. In theory, you pushed the calipers open to make room for the new pads, and this will not introduce air that needs to be bled out, but your description is that you need to bleed the brakes.

Personally, if you can pay $70 for a flush, it's worth it. I'm sure any mechanic will be able to do this job in far less time than it takes you, and it will be worth it to stand in the waiting room and watch some guy drain fluid until it comes out clean.
i'd rather use that money towards a motive power bleeder.

oh wait. i did

Amazon.com - Motive European Brake Bleeder
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:39 AM   #8
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AFAIK, stock pads do not require bedding in. But i guess it doesn't hurt. When I had my prior E46 brand new getting its brakes put on at the dealer under free maintenance, they put the new pads and rotors on and i simply drove off.
They don't. They just say to drive normally or something.

OP should be careful who does the fluid change because you don't want to drain it, then add fluid. If you introduce air into the ABS module it is supposedly bad and you'll have to take it to the dealer.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:45 AM   #9
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I wasn't going to bed mine in, but they had a squeal on light application. Five hard decelerations from 80 mph to 30 mph, and no more squeal. The process transfers pad material to the rotor and helps prevent glazed pads.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:47 AM   #10
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I wasn't going to bed mine in, but they had a squeal on light application. Five hard decelerations from 80 mph to 30 mph, and no more squeal. The process transfers pad material to the rotor and helps prevent glazed pads.
I had the same situation. I also bedded mine to get rid of the squeal. It came back three times, then about 5000 miles later never appeared again.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:54 AM   #11
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I have been changing breaks for many years for my cars. You do not have to bleed or bed. You should turn the rotors though (I guess it is bedding). Autozone, Pepboys, O'riley all do that for about $15 a rotor. Turning rotors will improve breaking a tiny bit and also make sure that the breaks do not squeal. You have to bleed only if you disconnected the break line for some reason. Flushing fluid is necessary if visually looks bad (dark or dirty), if it looks like new fluid visually, it is most likely fine. Most manufacturers recommend to flush every 2-years, but that assumes severe climate and extreme conditions. But I guess it is cheap and easy enough to do so if it makes you feel better, do it. I live in southern California which is as far from severe climate as it gets. My 1997 Z3 had the same break fluid since about 2004 (when it was replaced for no apparent reason) and it still has the right color and I had never had to top it off... but again we have neither temp fluctuations here nor excessive humidity conditions. I did replace rotors on it though as these do wear.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:55 AM   #12
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No reason why you can't change out the brake fluid after the new brakes are installed. And do it every two years.
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Old 08-30-2013, 11:58 AM   #13
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I have been changing breaks for many years for my cars. You do not have to bleed or bed. You should turn the rotors though (I guess it is bedding). Autozone, Pepboys, O'riley all do that for about $15 a rotor. Turning rotors will improve breaking a tiny bit and also make sure that the breaks do not squeal. You have to bleed only if you disconnected the break line for some reason. Flushing fluid is necessary if visually looks bad (dark or dirty), if it looks like new fluid visually, it is most likely fine. Most manufacturers recommend to flush every 2-years, but that assumes severe climate and extreme conditions. But I guess it is cheap and easy enough to do so if it makes you feel better, do it. I live in southern California which is as far from severe climate as it gets. My 1997 Z3 had the same break fluid since about 2004 (when it was replaced for no apparent reason) and it still has the right color and I had never had to top it off... but again we have neither temp fluctuations here nor excessive humidity conditions. I did replace rotors on it though as these do wear.
Brake fluid should be changed every two years (at least) for more reasons than looking "dirty" or "dark."

You should change the brake fluid in your Z3. It needs it-- 5x over (at least)

I have more ammo to this and will release it nicely if you are genuinely interested. But if not, I will point out the fact that you spelled "brakes" wrong at least 4 or 5 times
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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by the way, replacing the break fluid does not introduce air into ABS. ABS will have the fluid that it had as it is a closed and sealed circuit until engaged. When it is not engaged, the break fluid passes freely through it as if there was no ABS.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:05 PM   #15
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Brake fluid should be changed every two years (at least) for more reasons than looking "dirty" or "dark."

You should change the brake fluid in your Z3. It needs it-- 5x over (at least)

I have more ammo to this and will release it nicely if you are genuinely interested. But if not, I will point out the fact that you spelled "brakes" wrong at least 4 or 5 times
... thanks for pointing this out. I was talking about break-dancing I guess. Sorry . Please "release more ammo" on the subject, there is always more to learn.
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #16
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... thanks for pointing this out. I was talking about break-dancing I guess. Sorry . Please "release more ammo" on the subject, there is always more to learn.


You should change your brake fluid because it is hygroscopic. It absorbs moisture. That promotes corrosion and reduces the effectiveness of your brakes
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Old 08-30-2013, 12:07 PM   #17
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... by the way Z3 won't be needing new brake fluid... Unfortunately, someone rearended it not too long ago and caused enough frame damage for the insurance company to declared it as "total loss". Bakes did work like a charm though because I was able to hold the SUV that hit me and not to be launched into the car in front of me. Corrosion point however is something I have not taken into the account. Thank you for pointing that out.

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Old 08-30-2013, 12:09 PM   #18
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I just changed rear pads and rotors..should I have flushed fluid?

BRAKES BRAKES BRAKES.

That is all.


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Old 08-30-2013, 12:11 PM   #19
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I just changed rear pads and rotors..should I have flushed fluid?

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by the way, replacing the break fluid does not introduce air into ABS. ABS will have the fluid that it had as it is a closed and sealed circuit until engaged. When it is not engaged, the break fluid passes freely through it as if there was no ABS.
No but I think allowing the fluid level to drop too low while doing the brakes could let air in around that area. That's what I'm saying. There's no problem just pushing out the old fluid with new.


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Old 08-30-2013, 12:15 PM   #20
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That moisture also is a big contributor to brake caliper failure. Moisture=rust= stuck caliper pistons. I change mine every other year or before & after any track event. A pressure bleeder makes it really easy. As does different color fluids. ATE blue one change, gold the next.
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