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Pelican Technical Article:

Brake Duct Replacement

Nick Czerula

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$100

Talent:

***

Tools:

Set of sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses

Applicable Models:

BMW 525i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 528i xDrive Sedan (2009-10)
BMW 528i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 530i/xi Sedan (2004-07)
BMW 530xi Wagon (2006-07)
BMW 535i xDrive Sedan/Wagon (2009-10)
BMW 535i/xi Sedan (2008-10)
BMW 535xi Wagon (2008)
BMW 545i Sedan (2004-05)
BMW 550i Sedan (2006-10)
BMW M5 Sedan (2006-10)

Parts Required:

Brake duct, splash shield, plastic rivet

Hot Tip:

Have a universal 8mm socket on hand to save time

Performance Gain:

Proper brake cooling

Complementary Modification:

Replace lower front wheel well liner trim or splash shield if damaged

The disc brakes on your BMW E60 are extremely efficient for slowing down and stopping the vehicle under most routine conditions. The friction of brake pads against the brake rotors (discs) heats up the brakes: The kinetic motion of the moving vehicle is converted to thermal energy. Slowing down from a high speed drive, controlling the speed of descent through a long downhill, repeated high speed stops, or an emergency braking situation all contribute to a great deal of brake heating. Hot brake rotors can warp, causing uneven braking. Brake pads that are heated beyond a certain point are less effective. And finally, enough heat in the brakes may boil the brake fluid; this causes major loss of braking power.

The brake rotors are designed to dissipate much of this heat as they spin through the air; an additional and important source of brake rotor cooling air are the brake cooling ducts, located in the right and left corners of the front bumper. Each duct sends cooling air to the brake rotor, improving brake performance. If a duct is damaged, brake performance can suffer, especially under repetitive braking situations. Impact with a parking block, curb, or large speed bump can damage a brake duct and the lower splash shield. This repair can be done by removing the front wheel and working in the wheel well.

Remember 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. 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.

Start by loosening the wheel bolts on the side of vehicle that you are replacing the brake duct. Do not remove the bolts. Just break the bolts free. Raise the vehicle off the ground and support it safely using a jack stand. Remove the wheel bolts and remove the wheel. See our article on jacking up your vehicle for more info.

Remove the engine splash shield. See our tech article on engine splash shield removing.

I will be replacing the duct on the right side of the vehicle.
Figure 1

I will be replacing the duct on the right side of the vehicle. The left side is the same. Working at the lower corner of the front bumper, remove the two splash shield 8mm fasteners and two brake duct 8mm fasteners (green arrows). Then, remove the plastic rivet (yellow arrow). To remove the plastic rivet, use a small pick to push the center pin into the rivet. Then lever the rivet out using a trim panel tool.

Remove the corner splash shield from the bumper by pulling it down toward the rear of the vehicle.
Figure 2

Remove the corner splash shield from the bumper by pulling it down toward the rear of the vehicle.

Once I removed the splash shields, the damage to the brake duct was more obvious.
Figure 3

Once I removed the splash shields, the damage to the brake duct was more obvious. The outer portion (green arrow) of the rear duct fell apart. The rear part of the duct was in two pieces.

First, the rear portion of the duct has to be removed.
Figure 4

First, the rear portion of the duct has to be removed. There are two 8mm fasteners that hold it in place. One is easily accessed (green arrow). The other fastener (yellow arrow) is tucked up behind the secondary air pump (red arrow). You can either remove the secondary air pump to access the hidden fastener, or use a long extension with a 1/4-inch drive 8mm universal socket. Using the universal socket saves a good amount of time. That is my preferred method.

Using a 1/4-inch ratchet with an 8mm universal, remove the forward most fastener.
Figure 5

Using a 1/4-inch ratchet with an 8mm universal, remove the forward most fastener. Then remove the rear fastener (green arrow).

Pull the duct down and detach it from the front portion of the duct.
Figure 6

Pull the duct down and detach it from the front portion of the duct.

Pull the front portion of the duct down away from the bumper to detach it.
Figure 7

Pull the front portion of the duct down away from the bumper to detach it. Pull it down on an angle, detaching the top first, then the bottom. There are plastic retaining tabs (green arrows) on the top and bottom that should release as you pull. If they do not, release them using a small flathead screwdriver.

When installing the front brake duct, snap the duct into place, engaging the locking tabs (green arrows).
Figure 8

When installing the front brake duct, snap the duct into place, engaging the locking tabs (green arrows).

Then slide the rear portion (in the direction of the green arrow) of the brake duct over the front duct.
Figure 9

Then slide the rear portion (in the direction of the green arrow) of the brake duct over the front duct. Hold it in place and install the rear fastener by hand, to hold it in place. Do not tighten the rear fastener until you have the hard to reach front fastener tight. This makes it easier to align the fastener holes to the mounting rivets. Install the lower splash shield and fasteners for the brake duct. Install the engine splash shields and the front wheel.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:39:16 AM