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BMW E39 Brake Rotor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

BMW E39 Brake Rotor Replacement

Kerry Jonsson

Time:

2.5 hours

Tab:

$250

Talent:

***

Tools:

7mm Allen bit, 5mm Allen head, 18mm socket or wrench, flathead screwdriver

Applicable Models:

BMW E39 5-Series (1997-03)

Parts Required:

Front or rear brake pads, brake pad wear sensors, brake rotors

Hot Tip:

Wear gloves, brake dust and brake cleaner can harm you

Performance Gain:

Proper brake function

Complementary Modification:

Flush brake fluid. Replace brake rotors

The brake rotor has a very tough job. It must absorb the heat and friction while under braking and not warp. Inexpensive brake rotors made up of cheap metals can warp under spirited driving. This can cause a brake pedal pulsation under braking. A good quality set of rotors will hold their shape. The harder, longer lasting brake pads semi-metallic or full-metallic will wear out your rotors faster. Also, when changing pads the grooves developed in the rotor will cause the new pads to vibrate under light braking and squeal. You can avoid this by cutting the rotors or replacing them giving both pads and rotors flat surfaces to bed in with. If there is a large lip preventing you from getting the calipers off then your rotors may be worn beyond their service limit. If you have a micrometer you can measure the brake pad thickness. If it is too thin then you should replace the rotors. The minimum thicknesses are as follows: Front brake rotor minimum thickness: All models except M5 18.4 mm (0.73 in), Rear brake rotor minimum thickness: All models except M5 18.4 mm (0.73 in)

Always replace both rotors on the axle at the same time. This should provide even braking from both wheels preventing the car from pulling to one side or another under braking.

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

Remove wheels on axle you are replacing brake rotors on.

In order to change the rotors you are going to have to remove the brake caliper. Follow the procedure in the tech article for either the front or rear brake pad removal to remove the calipers and then continue with this procedure.

Front Brake Rotors:
Remove the two 18mm fasteners (green arrows) that secure the brake caliper bracket to the spindle.
Figure 1

Remove the two 18mm fasteners (green arrows) that secure the brake caliper bracket to the spindle. These bolts are going to be tight so be prepared.

.
Figure 2

.Remove the caliper bracket from the spindle.

Locate the 5mm Allen head screw (green arrow) used to secure the rotor to the axle flange.
Figure 3

Locate the 5mm Allen head screw (green arrow) used to secure the rotor to the axle flange.

Remove the 5mm Allen head fastener.
Figure 4

Remove the 5mm Allen head fastener. This will probably be very tight. Use penetrating oil and hammer on the 5mm Allen bit while it is installed to break some of the corrosion loose. You can also use a hand impact tool to hammer the bolt loose. Wear eye protection to avoid getting metal chips in your eyes. You may need to hold the rotor still to get the fastener off. Try putting two lug bolts in the axle with the wheel off and put a long screw driver between them. This should give you enough leverage to hold the rotor still.

You may need to tap the rotor with a mallet to get it off.
Figure 5

You may need to tap the rotor with a mallet to get it off. Tap on the inside pushing it out and rotate the rotor 180 degrees gradually working off each side.

Clean the rust and corrosion around the mounting hub flange and lubricate with copper paste or anti-seize compound to make future service work easier.
Figure 6

Clean the rust and corrosion around the mounting hub flange and lubricate with copper paste or anti-seize compound to make future service work easier. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Fit the rotor, install the mounting fastener and install the brake caliper bracket. Follow the rest of the brake pad replacement procedure to finish the job by installing the rotor. Rotors have high iron content and are prone to rust. New rotors are often coated with a corrosion inhibitor. Remove this layer with brake clean otherwise the brakes will smell as they get hot from braking.

Rear Brake Rotors:
Remove the two fasteners (green arrows) that secure the rear brake caliper bracket from the rear spindle.
Figure 7

Remove the two fasteners (green arrows) that secure the rear brake caliper bracket from the rear spindle.

Remove the brake caliper bracket from the rear assembly.
Figure 8

Remove the brake caliper bracket from the rear assembly.

Remove the 5mm Allen head fastener that secures the brake rotor to the rear axle flange.
Figure 9

Remove the 5mm Allen head fastener that secures the brake rotor to the rear axle flange. You may need to hold the rotor still to get the fastener off. Try putting two lug bolts in the axle with the wheel off and put a long screwdriver between them. This should give you enough leverage to hold the rotor still.

Make sure the parking brake is off.
Figure 10

Make sure the parking brake is off. Line up one lug bolt hole in the rotor at the 6 oÂÂ'clock position. Use a flathead screwdriver to reach inside and lever the parking brake adjustment gear. Put the screwdriver straight in at the top of the hole and lever upward. Do this a few times to move the parking brake shoes inward. This will make the rotor easier to take off.

Here is what you are trying to achieve with the rotor removed.
Figure 11

Here is what you are trying to achieve with the rotor removed. You are trying to catch a groove in the parking brake adjustment pawl and rotate it downward to allow the parking brake shoes to be pulled in by the return springs.

You may still need to tap off the rotor with a mallet to break the corrosion that holds it on.
Figure 12

You may still need to tap off the rotor with a mallet to break the corrosion that holds it on. Tap on the inside pushing it out and rotate the rotor 180 degrees gradually working off each side. Installation is the reverse of the removal steps. Fit the rotor, mount with the fastener and fit the brake caliper bracket. You will need to adjust the parking brake. Refer to the tech article on parking brake adjusting.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Posirocket Comments: As always very concise, accurate and clear.

Thank you for the information.
May 22, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 

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Page last updated: Fri 12/2/2016 02:05:21 AM