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Brake Rotor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Rotor Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2.5 hours

Tab:

$300

Talent:

***

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Brake pads, brake pad wear sensors, brake rotors

Hot Tip:

Clean brake caliper

Performance Gain:

Proper brake function

Complementary Modification:

Flush brake fluid. Replace brake rotors

You should check your brake rotors with every major service that you perform on your BMW Z3. 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 using a micrometer to determine if they need replacing. When measuring, measure in a few different spots and use lowest number.

Keep in mind that when your car was serviced before, parts may have been replaced with different size fasteners used in the replacement. The sizes of the nuts and bolts we give may be different from what you have, so be prepared with different size sockets and wrenches. 

Protect your eyes, hands and body from fluids, dust and debris while working on your vehicle. If working with the electrical system, disconnect the battery before beginning. Always catch fluids in appropriate containers and properly dispose of any fluid waste. Recycle parts, packaging and fluids when possible. Do not work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Vehicle models change and evolve as they grow older, so the vehicle shown in our illustrations may vary slightly from yours. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Questions or want to add to the article? Leave a comment below. When leaving a comment, please leave your vehicle information.

Most factory rotors and some aftermarket rotors will have a minimum thickness stamped on the rotor.
Figure 1

Most factory rotors and some aftermarket rotors will have a minimum thickness stamped on the rotor. This will be in area of hat or hub flange. Clean rust away from rotor to uncover specs. There may also be a part number. See our tech article on disc brake specifications for all Z3 model brake specifications. 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. With the vehicle on the ground, loosen each whelk stud about 1/2 turn. This will help with removing them once the vehicle is jacked up. 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 2

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.

Pull brake pad wear sensor (green arrow) out of brake pad out of driver side brake pad.
Figure 3

Pull brake pad wear sensor (green arrow) out of brake pad out of driver side brake pad. Be very careful as sensor tends to break when removed. I like to use a pair of needle nose pliers to pull sensor out.

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press brake caliper piston in.
Figure 4

Using a flathead screwdriver, slowly press brake caliper piston in. This allows brake caliper to be pulled off brake rotor easily. I like to pry between the outer brake pad and brake rotor. This way there is less chance of damaging the caliper piston. Forcing the piston back into the caliper will cause the brake fluid in the reservoir to rise. Be prepared to remove some fluid.

Working behind brake caliper.
Figure 5

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 the caliper using a piece of metal coat hanger or rope. Do not allow caliper to hang from brake hose.

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

Next, using a 6mm Allen bit, remove brake rotor mounting fastener. (green arrow) Then remove brake rotor from hub. The rotor might be stuck so be prepared to give it a few taps with a mallet. If you are replacing the rear rotor make sure the parking brake is off before trying to remove the rotor.

Clean wheel hub using a wire brush.
Figure 7

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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Page last updated: Fri 12/9/2016 02:06:37 AM