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Brake Rotor Specification Checking
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Rotor Specification Checking

Nick Czerula

Time:

1.5 hours

Tab:

$0

Talent:

**

Tools:

Micrometer, jack and jack stands

Applicable Models:

BMW Z3 (1996-02)

Parts Required:

Brake rotors

Hot Tip:

Measure in 10 locations and mark each location after measuring.

Performance Gain:

Brake performance restored

Complementary Modification:

Replace brake pads.

BMW Z3 vehicles are equipped with disc brakes at each wheel. The front discs (or rotors) are larger and usually vented for better cooling. The rear rotors are integrated with the parking brake drums. To withstand the mechanical and thermal stresses of braking, brake rotors are required to be replaced if they are worn thinner than a certain minimum thickness. This minimum thickness is stamped on the edge of the rotor in the area of the hat or the hub flange. 

This tech article will go over measuring your brake rotors to see if they require replacing. When checking brake rotor thickness, measure rotor in about 10 different spots, mark each spot to keep track of where you have measured. If the rotor does not meet the minimum thickness then replace it. Remember to always replace brake rotors in pairs. If your brake rotor passes thickness but you have a pulsation while using brakes, replace the brake rotors. Also inspect the rotors for overheating, cracks and rust on the braking surface.


  Front Rear
Brake rotor minimum thickness
Vented rotor
 
20.4mm (0.803 in) 17.4mm (0.685 in)
Brake rotor minimum thickness
Non-vented rotor
10.4mm (0.409 in) 8.4mm (0.331 in)

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 you're 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. Never work on your vehicle if you feel the task is beyond your ability. 

Our vehicle may vary slightly from yours as models do change and evolve, as they grow older. If something seems different, let us know and share your info to help other users. Do you have 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

Clean rust away from rotor to uncover specs. There may also be a part number. Lift axle of vehicle you are measuring brake rotors on. See our tech article on jacking your vehicle.

Using a micrometer, measure brake rotor in at least 10 different places.
Figure 2

Using a micrometer, measure brake rotor in at least 10 different places. I like to mark that place of measurement using a marker. Sometimes finding a rotor with thickness variations can help you find the source of a brake pulsation. Front Rear Brake rotor minimum thickness Vented rotor 20.4mm (0.803 in) 17.4mm (0.685 in) Brake rotor minimum thickness Non-vented rotor 10.4mm (0.409 in) 8.4mm (0.331 in)

It is also a good idea to measure your brake pads.
Figure 3

It is also a good idea to measure your brake pads. Replace when they are at or under 3 mm. The measurement gauge I am using in this photo is color coded to help identify how close to replacement my brake pads are.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 02:06:47 AM