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  #1  
Old 03-29-2011, 01:58 PM
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DIY Brake Job Plunge???

Would appreciate some rational feedback on whether to plunge into a DIY rear brake job?

Skill Background - Chef, not mechanic, but I DIY all fluids, all filters, spark plugs, bulbs, hoses, minor electric, etc. Have read hayaku's writeup + others on X5 brake job.

Tools - all req'd hand tools (no pneumatics), but would need to purchase hydraulic lift + jack stands.

Reputable indy quoted $460 out-the-door. Online parts search shows $240 - $280 for OEM pads, rotors & wear sensor. I also own two other cars (below) which I could also do brakes for.

My concern is that I would get stuck halfway for whatever set of circumstances, and find myself paying for tow to mechanic to complete. No able mechanics for friends to call upon for rescue. I also cannot envision any other purpose for investing in lift + stands such as suspension, exhaust, transmission work etc - I'd just as soon pay an indy who knows how to perform those level of repairs.

Yet I'm curious whether I could tackle the brakes

Tell me I'm crazy and should just call the indy....
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  #2  
Old 03-29-2011, 02:18 PM
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definitely worth it to do yourself. Don't know where you're getting your RPS kit from, but I got all 4 corners from rotorpros for $380 shipped, shelled out another $20 for brake fluid, and took my time doing the replacement right - all said and done, 4 hours on a saturday late morning to early afternoon, and I have the stopping power back.

My brake fluid looked like coffee coming out, was almost definitely original (66k miles/5 years)

Total total invested:

Rotors, Pads, Sensors - $380 from Rotorpros
DOT4 Typ200 Fluid - 2*1L $23.48 from Amazon
2 Jack Stands - $40 (paid for themselves many times over)
Ratcheting Torque Wrench with 17mm bit - $37 (paid for itself many times over) (82ft-lb snug on the lugs!)
Ratcheting wrench with 10/11/13/15?mm bit - should already be in your toolkit! Forget which bit was used on the caliper to knuckle bolts, thinking 15...
6mm Allen Key - should already be in your toolkit - $1?
Rustbuster - $6 for an enormous can I've used on probably at least a dozen jobs and not even halfway to empty yet
Rubber mallet - should already be in your toolkit, maybe $10 from the hardware store
If you're lazy like me, caliper piston pusher tool - $8 at Vatozone
2ft of 1/4" clear tubing - $1?
Drain Pan/catch can, funnel (fluid handling) $10 at Vatozone


$500 investment all said and done, and you'll have more tools at your disposal...
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:43 PM
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You're making me nervous by saying, "Tell me I am crazy and should just call the indy".

Now everyones sliding scale is different. So if you ask me on a 1-10 scale; how hard to do a brake job? I'd tell you a 1 maybe 2 if I gat a bolt that is being fussy and needs 3 cans of PB blaster just to take the bastard off. Others are different. There is a post floating around on here asking about how difficult another job was and have the brake job a 5 for himself. To each his own.

Anyways, a brake job is an easy DIY so long as you have the right tools and some knowledge. If I were you, I would carefully read the DIY at least a few times, this way you understand how things are taken off and put back together. Once you think you have the feel of it, that is when you can start to work. Now it sounds like you have NO experience wrenching which is fine. So long as you do it the right way everything will go smooth.

Now I would start this job early on the weekend if I were you. This way you can disassemble and if you find you need a part, Auto store will be open to get you the part you need. Now work on one wheel at a time, start to finish. I know friends that tried to DIY brakes and their cars before, only to take both side apart and then forget how it goes back together. Always leave one side assembled, this way if you get stuck you can look at the other side to compare.

Now hopefully you have some tools, i.e screwdriver, 8" c clamp, allen wrenches, sockets, torque wrench, etc. If you don't have tools and need to buy everything in one shot, think twice. If you are going to spend double on a simple job and then never use them or seldom use them, it may not be worth it.

but I am going to assume you have some tools. In any case, just be patient, work methodically, and safety is number one. you could skip a hydraulic lift. It is not a desperately needed item. You could just use the jack in the trunk and they will get you through the job. But you do need jack stands, those are a must.

So carefully think about it, make a list of everything you need and then get crackin'. You will see, once you are through with the job, it was no problem and a cake walk!

As for brake pads, get anything because everything else is better than OEM, dust wise at least. A lot of folks like the kit that is sold by ECS tuning.

Hope this helps. And plus you could always come back here if you get stuck.
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:53 PM
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do you need a special tool for the rear callipers to "screw" the piston back in??
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Old 03-29-2011, 02:56 PM
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There is one. There is always a special tool for everything. But for the calipers, I just take a 8" c clamp and push it back it. Before I am ready to take the caliper and pads out, I hook the c clamp on and just back it on through.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TwinTurboGTR View Post
There is one. There is always a special tool for everything. But for the calipers, I just take a 8" c clamp and push it back it. Before I am ready to take the caliper and pads out, I hook the c clamp on and just back it on through.

^ that is the best "special tool" for that job. No doubt. And you can even get them at wally world. Auto parts store if all else fails.
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Old 03-29-2011, 05:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sunny_wales View Post
do you need a special tool for the rear callipers to "screw" the piston back in??
No, as others noted above a C clamp works fine. The special tool you are referring to is for the style of brake caliper that applies the handbrake on the main pads; in those cases the piston needs to be 'screwed' back in to the caliper due to the new thicker pads. Since BMW uses a separate drum brake for the handbrake, the rear calipers are the same design as the fronts.
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Old 03-29-2011, 09:50 PM
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Just make sure u have all the tools, especially a clamp for piston compression. Brake parts cleaner, rags, etc. 16mm wrench
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Old 03-30-2011, 06:50 AM
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Brakes are generally pretty easy to do, a good intro to DIY spannering IMO.

Building up a comprehensive tool kit takes time and money but is worthwhile. Over the years I've often bought tools that I don't immediately need but know they'll be useful. When the day comes and the shops are closed and you need that extra piece to get the car back on the ground it's worth its weight in gold
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Old 03-30-2011, 09:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sundayjumper View Post
Brakes are generally pretty easy to do, a good intro to DIY spannering IMO.

Building up a comprehensive tool kit takes time and money but is worthwhile. Over the years I've often bought tools that I don't immediately need but know they'll be useful. When the day comes and the shops are closed and you need that extra piece to get the car back on the ground it's worth its weight in gold

LOL, I just sold all my Snap-On tools about a year ago. I was a motorcycle mechanic for all but 12 years, and switched careers. The new job geve me freedoms that I never had before..... and I'll admit I got a little snoby. I sold almost every tool I had... including the box!

I just thought I would just pay to get things fixed now.....

Well I wish I could get all my tools back! What ever tools you buy, NEVER LET THEM GO!!!!

Here is what I used to have....







man.... now i'm bumm'in. It was a complete set.. from the smallest screw driver to the biggest socket.... and it was 100% Metric too. Really wish I didnt do that...
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