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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 04-16-2008, 11:38 AM   #21
BrianLeveille
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All,

I'm one of those folks who likes to learn to DIY more and more things myself, but have always been hesitant to do brakes as it is a safety feature. Well, after reading up, especially this great DIY, I'm building confidence to do a brake/rotor replacement myself.

I have a question about compressing the piston: how does the piston, pad, and pedal all "know" how to adjust themselves after the brake job is done?? IOW, how does the pad position itself against the rotor with respect to the changing pedal pressure, especially considering that, in my mind, compressing the piston to get the caliper back on messes with that??

Thanks.

-BL
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:44 PM   #22
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Brian,

Good question...I would like to know the answer to this too.

What I think is that the piston will adjust the pads to the correct position to the rotors when you pump on the brakes a few times after you are finished. The brake fluid will aid in this job and to keep it there at that distance. There might be a spring that plays a role in this too?

Anyone...please correct me if I'm wrong...hehe
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Old 04-16-2008, 07:55 PM   #23
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I don't think this is good for rotors that have already been heat treated... you are supposed to do this before it gets treate.d
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Old 04-16-2008, 09:30 PM   #24
BrianLeveille
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Did a bit of googling and found this:

http://www.safelinebrakes.co.za/brak...-function.html





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Originally Posted by M-Spec Tuner View Post
Brian,

Good question...I would like to know the answer to this too.

What I think is that the piston will adjust the pads to the correct position to the rotors when you pump on the brakes a few times after you are finished. The brake fluid will aid in this job and to keep it there at that distance. There might be a spring that plays a role in this too?

Anyone...please correct me if I'm wrong...hehe
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:27 PM   #25
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Nice info Brian...thanks.
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:31 PM   #26
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nice DIY - its good to see how someone else is going to do my brakes and rotors
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Old 04-17-2008, 10:40 PM   #27
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Old 04-27-2008, 10:55 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by BrianLeveille View Post
All,

I'm one of those folks who likes to learn to DIY more and more things myself, but have always been hesitant to do brakes as it is a safety feature. Well, after reading up, especially this great DIY, I'm building confidence to do a brake/rotor replacement myself.

I have a question about compressing the piston: how does the piston, pad, and pedal all "know" how to adjust themselves after the brake job is done?? IOW, how does the pad position itself against the rotor with respect to the changing pedal pressure, especially considering that, in my mind, compressing the piston to get the caliper back on messes with that??

Thanks.

-BL

This is what happens:


+When you compress the piston you reset the pads completely

+The brake fluid in the master cylinder raises

+You reassemble the brakes (the pads are not touching the rotors)

+So before you drive the car you have to pump the brakes to set them to the rotor

+Now the pads are touching the rotors so when you hit the pedal you get immediate pressure (the fluid in the master cylinder goes back to normal level)
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:33 PM   #29
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i just did my brakes this evening, and changed front rotors. i will be putting on my rear rotors and pads tomorrow. its the first time i have ever worked on a bmw and it wasn't too bad. im curious to know how much a dealer would charge you to do this lol... only question i had was what was the wires for in the front drivers? now i know it was a sensor. they were not attached to anything when i took off the caliper. looked like someone spliced them together or something. but i have no light on in the dash or anything...how do they work and what are they for? just a warning light to let you know you need to change your pads? instead of the old squealing sound of the metal tab??? thanks...and good write up.
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Old 05-13-2008, 10:57 PM   #30
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Quote:
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i just did my brakes this evening, and changed front rotors. i will be putting on my rear rotors and pads tomorrow. its the first time i have ever worked on a bmw and it wasn't too bad. im curious to know how much a dealer would charge you to do this lol... only question i had was what was the wires for in the front drivers? now i know it was a sensor. they were not attached to anything when i took off the caliper. looked like someone spliced them together or something. but i have no light on in the dash or anything...how do they work and what are they for? just a warning light to let you know you need to change your pads? instead of the old squealing sound of the metal tab??? thanks...and good write up.

Dealer charges $500-$1500 depending on where you go, definately worth DIY.

That is exactly how the sensors work.
The wires being spliced together means that the previous owner was too cheap to buy replacement sensors when changing the pads. The tip of the sensor gets scraped through and it activates your dash light, when you splice them, the light goes out, but the sensor is no longer functional.
If you want it working, get new sensors and just plug them in, if you plan on keeping an eye on the brakes yourself, it won't hurt keeping the extra $20 in your pocket, but just remember that it's like that. Don't wait for the light.
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Old 05-14-2008, 03:09 AM   #31
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I just changed my F/R pads and F rotors today. I couldn't get the damn rears off no matter how much I banged on them. I'm gonna try finishing it on a lift with a bigger hammer
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Old 05-14-2008, 04:21 AM   #32
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I just changed my F/R pads and F rotors today. I couldn't get the damn rears off no matter how much I banged on them. I'm gonna try finishing it on a lift with a bigger hammer
I did this last night, make sure your cars handbrake isn't on and give the front of the rotor hub a few knocks and then after a few hard taps back on the edge of the rotor towards you it will come off.
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Old 05-15-2008, 10:12 AM   #33
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When you have the the brakes apart could you paint the calipers?

I hate seeing "open face" aftermarket rims on a car with stock brakes underneath.

And a full set of brembo's can run as much as a 95 Jeep Wrangler!

Would you suggest high heat paint? Gloss? Matt?
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Old 05-16-2008, 05:23 AM   #34
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The previous owner of my car changed the rotors, and never put new sensors, and he said this was the reason why the brake code was being thrown, also said I would need to change the driver side and passenger rear?

Can you or anyone confirm this?
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Old 05-16-2008, 09:20 AM   #35
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Confirmed. There's one sensor on the front left and one sensor on the rear right rotors.
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Old 11-03-2008, 09:30 PM   #36
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wait.. so i have a question about the brake fluid res...

do you loosen it before or while or after ur working on the brakes?... and when u do loosen it and push the calipers in... does it leak from the reservior?

i'll be changing pads this week...

thanks
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Old 11-04-2008, 11:58 PM   #37
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While everything was off you should have taken time to paint the rotor hats with high temp paint... Zimmermans have a tenancy to rust...
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Old 11-08-2008, 03:38 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevmo View Post
wait.. so i have a question about the brake fluid res...

do you loosen it before or while or after ur working on the brakes?... and when u do loosen it and push the calipers in... does it leak from the reservior?

i'll be changing pads this week...

thanks
The idea is that when you push the cylinder back in (the round rusty part):


the fluid flows backwards through the system. You only need to take the cap off when you're putting the caliper back on and only if it's too hard to push the cylinder back in (I didn't open mine at all and I've done this multiple times).
The warning of fluid splashing out is only if you squeeze the cylinder back in very quickly, so just do it at a normal slow speed.
It's really self-explanatory once you're doing it.
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:06 AM   #39
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Great DIY... My advice is that before you start; make sure you have the tools needed. If not, you'll be going back-forward to AutoZone or Pep trying to get the right size tools. Also, Just follow these steps. There is no shortcut. The rotors sometimes need to be really hammered to take them out. I was quoted 1100 for the whole job, but I rather freeze my @ss outside and save that for mods. Also, It doesn't take too much time and knowledge. It's a matter of being patient. Rear set is about $150-200 [pads-rotos], but the whole set you can get it for $250-320 [pads-rotos] with our sponsors. So you'll be saving a lot......
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Old 11-17-2008, 09:46 AM   #40
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Wow, great write-up! this caould save ppl a lot of money. Nice OB by the way,
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