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Old 09-07-2010, 12:55 PM   #1
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C5 - Front Brake Pad Replacement

If you never realized how easy it is to do a brake job on a C5, now you'll know. I usually am stuck working on my car at the weirdest times so I usually end up working on it alone. However, I always thought that doing a brake job required two people. I've seen the different versions of individual brake bleeders but all my research showed that there was nothing like using the two man system, especially since that's the way my father and I did it for years.

I hated brake jobs as a kid.

Anyway, I had a stroke of common sense walk through my mind and I asked myself, "Why would I need to bleed the brake lines if I don't disconnect them?" I realized that there was no way I could get air in the lines if I never disconnected them. With that in mind, I decided to give it a try. After all, they started squeaking a couple of days ago and if there is something that gets my blood boiling, it's having my expensive looking sports car sounding like a ghetto hooptie.

So off to the garage I went. First of all, the tool list you need is very short. A 15mm socket, ratchet, and a 18mm box wrench.

Step 1. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels and raise and support the front end of your vehicle (good grief, I sound like the manual). Here's the way I do it.

The 2x12's under the tires raise the car just enough for me to get my low profile jack and 2x4 under the vehicle. Once the 2x4 is in the right place (I do a bunch of double-checks), I raise the vehicle up and support it with jack stands.

Step 2. Remove the tires. You should be looking at a prime opportunity to do some detailing! Might I suggest some Adam's Undercarriage Spray and All Purpose Cleaner.

Step 3. Remove the cap to the brake fluid reservoir.

Step 4. Loosen the 2 caliper bolts. You will need to hold the nut steady with the 18mm box wrench while turning the 15mm bolt. Here some very helpful info. Remember the "righty tighty, lefty loosey" rule? Well since the head of the 15mm bolt is facing AWAY from you, the rule is backward. Thus you will turn to the right in order to loosen the bolt. If your brakes have never been done, it will probably be a PITA to break loose. Just don't brace yourself up in the wheel well. You can crack the paint on the fiberglass panel!

One bolt is located at the top of the caliper...

The other is located at the bottom of the caliper.

Step 5. Once the caliper bolts have been removed, take a hammer and lightly tap the caliper away from the rotor. It will just pull away from the brake pads.

Step 6. Once the caliper has been removed, do not allow it to hang by the brake line. Either support it with something or sit it on top of the upper control arm.

Step 7. The brake just pull out of their resting spot. Be sure and not loose or destroy the silver brake clips!

Step 8. At this point, you would normally remove the brake shoe brackets, and pull the rotors off the car so that you can go get them turned. Since I had no pulsating whatsoever in my brakes, I skipped that part. I can always go do it later if necessary but those rotors were new from my last brake job. Anyway, this is supposed to be a quickie job!

If you decide to have your rotors turned, there are 2 more bolts that need to be removed in order to take off the brake bracket and pull the rotors. If you have never removed them, it took me 2 days to get mine off the first time. Just a warning!

Hopefully, you bought some good pads. I only use Wagner brake products. They are a tad bit higher than most brake shoes but talk about quiet and dust free, these are the ones you want.

As you can see by the comparison, it was definitely time for a change...

Slap in the new pads. I didn't put anything on the surface of the pads and when I went out for a test drive, they were as quiet as a mouse! Money well spent!

Step 9. Now it is time to depress the caliper pistons so that you can get the caliper back on. I used one of these gadgets...

I took one of the old brake pads and used it to help depress the caliper pistons like so:

IMPORTANT: Do NOT depress the pistons too fast or you will shoot brake fluid out of the reservoir! As you are slowly depressing the pistons, keep your eyes on the reservoir. My fluid level only raised slightly but I did manage to make the fluid jump once when I went too fast. Don't make that mistake.

You won't have to depress the pistons all the way. Just get them most of the way and do a test fit. They will probably slide on with room to spare. Here are mine fully depressed:

Step 10. Put it all back together, put the cap back on the reservoir but leave the car in the air with the wheels off. Start the motor and pump up the brakes. They should feel spongy at first but get solid after a few pumps. If everything is right then you can put the wheels back on and lower the car. Go for a test drive and make sure that it works.

That's it! You saved a bunch of money and only took you less than an hour to do both sides.

The Junkman
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