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BMW E39 Brake Caliper Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Brake Caliper Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$100 to $900

Talent:

***

Tools:

Flat head screwdriver, 7mm Allen bit, 13mm flare nut wrench

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i Sedan/Wagon (2001-03)
BMW 528i Sedan/Wagon (1997-00)
BMW 530i Sedan (2001-03)
BMW 540i Sedan/Wagon (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Brake caliper, brake fluid

Hot Tip:

Bleed entire brake system

Performance Gain:

Great brake feel

Complementary Modification:

Replace brake pads and hoses at same time.

When you step on your brake pedal you are compressing a piston in your brake master cylinder. This cylinder is full of brake fluid. The brake fluid that is now under pressure is applied to your caliper. It's the calipers job to squeeze down on the brake pads forcing them against the rotor to slow down your car. Over time seals get worn in the caliper and can leak. Sometimes the bleeder screw gets seized inside the caliper and you can no longer properly bleed the brakes. A piston can also stick. This means the brake is still applied even though you have released the brake pedal. This can over heat the rotor and in extreme cases cause the rotor/wheel not to move at all. If you continue to drive like this your will smell brake dust and will eventually ruin your brake pads and rotors. This can be a serious safety concern. Replacing the caliper can address these concerns.

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

Remove wheels on axle you are replacing brake caliper on.

It is not recommended that you crimp the brake lines to prevent fluid from coming out. You should cap the end of the line with a tight seal. It is strongly recommended that you replace your brake lines when you replace your calipers. If you crimp the brake line there is a chance you can damage the inside of the line without knowing it and it can lead to other problems.

Replacing Front Calipers-We are going to remove the left side front caliper.
Figure 1

Replacing Front Calipers-We are going to remove the left side front caliper. The steps are the same for the right side with the exception of the left side having the brake pad wear sensor.

Replacing Front Calipers-With a flat head screwdriver lever off the anti-rattle spring (green arrow).
Figure 2

Replacing Front Calipers-With a flat head screwdriver lever off the anti-rattle spring (green arrow). The spring is under some tension so make sure it does not go flying as you lever it off.

Replacing Front Calipers-At the access hole of the caliper insert a flat head screwdriver in the outside of the hole and lever the caliper outwards in the direction of the blue arrow.
Figure 3

Replacing Front Calipers-At the access hole of the caliper insert a flat head screwdriver in the outside of the hole and lever the caliper outwards in the direction of the blue arrow. This pushes the caliper piston back in and will make the caliper easier to remove in later steps.

Replacing Front Calipers-We are now looking at the inside of the caliper mounting area.
Figure 4

Replacing Front Calipers-We are now looking at the inside of the caliper mounting area. Remove the two plastic caps (green arrows) that cover the caliper mounting pins. Here we are showing the upper cap already removed.

Replacing Front Calipers-Using a 7mm Allen key bit remove the two caliper mounting pins (green arrows).
Figure 5

Replacing Front Calipers-Using a 7mm Allen key bit remove the two caliper mounting pins (green arrows).

Replacing Front Calipers-If the wheel you are working on has the brake pad wear sensors unclip the two locking tabs (green arrows) on the electrical connector housing.
Figure 6

Replacing Front Calipers-If the wheel you are working on has the brake pad wear sensors unclip the two locking tabs (green arrows) on the electrical connector housing. This is mounted behind the strut on the body of the car.

Replacing Front Calipers-Pull out the black electrical connector for the brake pad wear sensor connector (green arrow).
Figure 7

Replacing Front Calipers-Pull out the black electrical connector for the brake pad wear sensor connector (green arrow).

Replacing Front Calipers-Squeeze the locking tab at the bottom of the electrical connector to unlock it and separate the connector.
Figure 8

Replacing Front Calipers-Squeeze the locking tab at the bottom of the electrical connector to unlock it and separate the connector.

Replacing Front Calipers-Follow the harness for the brake pad wear sensor on the sensor side and you will see where it is clipped into a bracket on the strut.
Figure 9

Replacing Front Calipers-Follow the harness for the brake pad wear sensor on the sensor side and you will see where it is clipped into a bracket on the strut. Remove the wire from the bracket. This is a tight fit and you will have to use some force to get it off.

Replacing Front Calipers-With a 14mm flare nut wrench loosen the brake line fitting to the caliper.
Figure 10

Replacing Front Calipers-With a 14mm flare nut wrench loosen the brake line fitting to the caliper.

Replacing Front Calipers-Remove the caliper from the mounting bracket.
Figure 11

Replacing Front Calipers-Remove the caliper from the mounting bracket.

Replacing Front Calipers-Now that the caliper is loose spin the caliper until the threads of the brake line are all the way out.
Figure 12

Replacing Front Calipers-Now that the caliper is loose spin the caliper until the threads of the brake line are all the way out. Screw new caliper into brake hose then install caliper in mounting bracket. Tighten caliper mounting fasteners, install plugs, brake pads and anti-rattle clip. Clip brake pad wear sensor wiring harness back onto brake hose, if equipped. Bleed brakes, see our tech article on bleeding brakes.

Rear Caliper Removal-With a flat head screwdriver lever off the anti-rattle spring.
Figure 13

Rear Caliper Removal-With a flat head screwdriver lever off the anti-rattle spring. The spring is under some tension so be careful it does not go flying as you take it off.

Rear Caliper Removal -Working at the inside of the caliper, remove the two plastic covers (green arrows) for the caliper mounting pins.
Figure 14

Rear Caliper Removal -Working at the inside of the caliper, remove the two plastic covers (green arrows) for the caliper mounting pins.

Rear Caliper Removal-With a 7mm Allen head bit removed the two caliper mounting pins (green arrows) from the caliper.
Figure 15

Rear Caliper Removal-With a 7mm Allen head bit removed the two caliper mounting pins (green arrows) from the caliper.

Rear Caliper Removal -Use flat head screwdriver in the access hole of the caliper to lever in the direction of the blue arrow to push the piston back into the caliper a small amount.
Figure 16

Rear Caliper Removal -Use flat head screwdriver in the access hole of the caliper to lever in the direction of the blue arrow to push the piston back into the caliper a small amount. This makes removing the caliper easier in later steps.

Rear Caliper Removal -Use a 14mm flare nut wrench to remove the brake line.
Figure 17

Rear Caliper Removal -Use a 14mm flare nut wrench to remove the brake line. You can spin the caliper around to thread it off of the line. You will do the opposite of this during installation. Screw new caliper into brake hose then install caliper in mounting bracket. Tighten caliper mounting fasteners, install plugs, brake pads and anti-rattle clip. Clip brake pad wear sensor wiring harness back onto brake hose, if equipped. Bleed brakes, see our tech article on bleeding brakes. Note: you must bleed the brakes after opening the brake lines. Do NOT attempt to drive the car until you have completely bleed the brake system!

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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:04:38 AM