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Replacing Your BMW Brake Rotors
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Your BMW Brake Rotors

Nick Czerula

Time:

2.5 hours

Tab:

$300

Talent:

***

Tools:

6mm Allen bit, set of sockets 18, 16 mm, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW 325i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 328i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)
BMW 328i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 330i/xi Sedan (2006)
BMW 335d/i/xi Sedan (2007-11)
BMW 335i xDrive Sedan (2009-11)

Parts Required:

Front or rear brake pads, brake pad wear sensors

Hot Tip:

Clean brake caliper

Performance Gain:

Proper brake function

Complementary Modification:

Flush brake fluid. Replace brake rotors

You should check your brake rotors every major service that you perform on your BMW. Inspect your brake rotors for cracks, scoring or replace if you have a pulsation when braking. Brake rotors can look OK and still be worn out. If there is a ridge around the edge of the brake rotor, this is a good sign that they are worn out. Measure brake rotor thickness to determine if they need replacing using a micrometer. When measuring, measure in a few different spots and use lowest number. Factory BMW rotors have minimum thickness stamped on brake rotor hub flange.

Front brake rotor minimum thickness: Normally aspirated models 22.4 mm (0.88 in)

Front brake rotor minimum thickness: Turbocharged models from 28.4 mm (1.11 in)

Rear brake rotor minimum thickness: Normally aspirated models 22.4 mm (0.88 in)

Rear brake rotor minimum thickness: Turbocharged models from 24.4 mm (0.96 in)

It's a good idea to inspect and replace your brake pads when replacing brake rotors. See our tech article on brake pad replacing. Always replace brake rotors in pairs by the axle.

Lift and support axle of vehicle you are replacing brake pads on. See our tech article on jacking up your vehicle.

Remove wheels on axle you are replacing brake rotors on.

Using a flathead screwdriver, remove brake caliper anti-rattle spring (green arrow) by prying out while securing with hand.
Figure 1

Using a flathead screwdriver, remove brake caliper anti-rattle spring (green arrow) by prying out while securing with hand. The spring can pop off and go flying, be sure to hold it steady.

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press brake caliper piston in.
Figure 2

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press brake caliper piston in. This allows brake caliper to be pulled off brake rotor easily.

Working behind brake caliper.
Figure 3

Working behind brake caliper. Remove two 18mm (rear rotor is 16mm) brake caliper bracket mounting bolts. (green arrows) Remove brake caliper bracket from wheel carrier and hang using a piece of metal coat hanger. Do not allow caliper to hang from brake hose.

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove brake rotor mounting fastener.
Figure 4

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove brake rotor mounting fastener. Then remove brake rotor from hub.

Clean wheel hub using a wire brush.
Figure 5

Clean wheel hub using a wire brush. Remove all corrosion and rust from hub before installing new rotor. Install new brake rotor and tighten mounting fasteners. Then reinstall brake caliper and tighten bracket mounting bolts. Once calipers are installed and fasteners are tight, press brake pedal to pump brakes up. Once brake pedal is hard to push, install wheels and check brake operation.

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Comments and Suggestions:
xeurom Comments: It seems that when I look for front brake rotors for 2008 328i sedan E90, there seems to be two sizes available 312X24 and 320x24.

Which one is correct?
May 9, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: it depends on your model, your VIN will help determine that. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jay Comments: Do you need to spray / wipe the surface of OEM rotors with break cleaner prior to installing? If have heard they may be anti corrosion oil that needs to be removed? Non OEM rotors might have a zinc coating that should not be removers? Question is specific to OEM rotors I purchased. Thanks
December 19, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would have to know the brand and model of rotor along with photo. A good rule of thumb, oily residue on rotors in corrosion coating, has to be removed. Painted looking coating stays. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
lubi Comments: Anybody knows for sure what is the thickness of new brake rotors front and rear for a 2011 BMW 328iX drive, 2 door coupe?

I believe that I have lots of life left on mine as I have .942 inch for the front and .810 inch for the rear rotors.

Thanks.
November 20, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: See this tech article: http://www.pelicanparts.com/BMW/techarticles/BMW-3-Series-E90/BRAKES-Brake_Rotor_Specification_Checking/BRAKES-Brake_Rotor_Specification_Checking.htm - Nick at Pelican Parts  
David Comments: I would suggest putting a thin layer of copper grease between the disc and the hub and again between the disc and the wheel it can save a lot of effort later down the line.

I would also suggest not using copper grease as many people do on the backs of the pads instead for this I would recommend something along the lines of bosch superfit grease or mintex ceratec these greases last a lot longer and are much better suited to the job, they are also suitable for use on the disc hub.
April 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I prefer to only use grease or lubricants where BMW suggests, so I generally do not do that. However I know it is common practice in some shops. Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mark Comments: good point thanks
November 2, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No problem. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Mark Comments: Hi

Just wanted to ask your opinion on checking rotor run out tolerance. I know it should be around 0.001", but it is not mentioned in this article, so do you see it as critical to ensure no brake peddle pulsing. thanks
October 30, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I find thickness variations or brake pad deposits on rotors cause more pulsating than runout. Usually runout is felt when the pedal pulsates with light application. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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