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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Brake Pads

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$150

Talent:

**

Tools:

Screwdriver, isopropyl alcohol, wooden block

Applicable Models:

 
Porsche 986 Boxster (1997-04)
Porsche 986 Boxster S (2000-04)
Porsche 987 Boxster (2005-12)
Porsche 987 Boxster S (2005-12)
Porsche 987 Cayman (2007-12)
Porsche 987 Cayman S (2006-12)

Parts Required:

Brake pads

Hot Tip:

Check your brake discs when replacing your pads in case they have worn too thin

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Caliper rebuild, brake disc replacement, install stainless steel brake lines
101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster

This article is one in a series that have been released in conjunction with Wayne's new book, 101 Performance Projects for Your Porsche Boxster. The book contains 312 pages of full color projects detailing everything from performance mods to changing your brake pads. With more than 950+ full-color glossy photos accompanying extensive step-by-step procedures, this book is required reading in any Boxster owner's collection. The book is currently available and in stock now. See The Official Book Website for more details.


Replacing your brake pads is one of the easiest jobs to perform on your Boxster. In general, you should inspect your brake pads about every 10,000 miles, and replace them if the material lining of the pad is worn down enough to trigger the pad replacement sensor. In reality, most people don't inspect their pads very often, and usually wait until they see the little brake-warning lamp appear on the dashboard. It's a wise idea to replace the pads, and inspect your discs as soon as you see that warning lamp go on.

If you ignore the warning lamp, you may indeed get to the point of metal on metal contact, where the metal backing of the pads may be contacting the brake discs. Using the brakes during this condition will not only give you inadequate braking, but will also begin to wear grooves in your brake discs. Once the discs are grooved, they are damaged, and there is often no way to repair them. Resurfacing will sometimes work, but often the groove that is cut will be deeper than is allowed by the Porsche specifications. The smart thing to do is to replace your pads right away.

Brake pads should only be replaced in pairs: replace both front pads or both rear pads at a time. The same rule applies to the brake discs that should be checked each time you replace your brake pads.

The procedure for replacing pads on all the wheels is basically the same. There are slight configuration differences between front and rear brakes, but in general the procedure for replacement is similar. The first step is to jack up the car and remove the road wheel (slightly loosen the lug nuts before you lift the car off of the ground). This will expose the brake caliper that presses the pads against the disc. Make sure that the parking brake is off when you start to work on the pads. NOTE: If your car has brake dampers, it's is recommended that you replace them along with the pads.

Begin by using a pair of needle-nose pliers to remove the brake pad sensor (see Figure 1). The pads are held within the caliper by two retaining pins. There are also small retaining clips that hold these two retaining pins in the caliper. Start by removing the small retaining clips, and then tap out the retaining pins using a small screwdriver and a hammer (see Figure 2). When the two retaining pins are removed, the cross spring which holds the pads in place will fall out. Now, the pads can be pried out with a screwdriver (Figure 3). Use the small holes on the pads that normally surround the retaining pin as a leverage point for removing them. They may require some wiggling to remove, as it is sometimes a tight fit. It is important to keep in mind that the caliper piston is also probably pressing against the pads slightly, and will add to the difficulty in removing them.

Once you have the pads removed, inspect the inside of the caliper. You should clean this area with some compressed air and isopropyl alcohol. Make sure that the dust boots and the clamping rings inside the caliper are not ripped or damaged. If they are, then the caliper may need to be rebuilt (see Pelican Technical Article: Rebuilding Brake Calipers).

At this point, you should inspect the brake discs carefully. Using a micrometer, take a measurement of the disc thickness. If the disc is worn beyond its specifications, then it's time to replace it along with the one on the other side. See Project 55 for more information.

The installation of the new brake pads is quite easy. You will need to take a small piece of wood or plastic and push the caliper piston back into the caliper. This is because the new pads are going to be quite a bit thicker than the old ones, and the piston is set in the old pad's position. Pry back the piston using the wood, being careful not to use too much force (see Figure 4). Using a screwdriver here is not recommended as it can accidentally damage the dust boots and seals inside the caliper. Make sure that you push both pistons (inside and outside) back in the caliper.

Be aware that as you push back the pistons in the calipers, you will cause the level of the brake reservoir to rise. Make sure that you don't have too much fluid in your reservoir. If the level is high, you may have to siphon out a bit from the reservoir to prevent it from overflowing. Also make sure that you have the cap securely fastened to the top of reservoir. Failure to do this may result in brake fluid accidentally getting on your paint.

When the piston is pushed all the way back, you should then be able to insert the pad into the caliper. If you encounter resistance, double check to make sure that the inside of the caliper is clean. You can use a small hammer to tap it in, but don't use too much force. When the pads are in place, insert the retaining pins and spring clip back into place. It's wise to use a new set of pins and clips when replacing your pads. Make sure that you replace the pin retaining clips inside the small holes in the retaining pins.

In general, I recommend removing and replacing the brake pads one side at a time. When the piston is pushed back into the caliper, it will try to push out the piston on the opposite side of the caliper. Leaving the brake pad installed on one side keeps the piston from being pushed out too far.

You also may want to spray the back of the brake pads with some anti-squeal glue. This glue basically keeps the pads and the pistons glued together, and prevents noisy vibration. Some brands of pads may come with anti-squeal pads already attached to the rear surface. Anti-squeal pads can also be purchased separately as sheets that are peeled off and stuck on the rear of the pads.

When finished with both sides, press on the brake pedal repeatedly to make sure that the pads and the pistons seat properly. Also make sure that you top off the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir if necessary. Brake pads typically take between 100 and 200 miles to completely break in. It's typical for braking performance to suffer slightly as the pads begin their wear-in period. Make sure that you avoid any heavy braking during this period.

Grab the brake pad sensor (yellow and green arrow) with a pair of needle-nose pliers.
Figure 1

Grab the brake pad sensor (yellow and green arrow) with a pair of needle-nose pliers. If your brake sensors activated the lamp on your dashboard, they should be replaced with new ones. Disconnect the sensor, and plug in the new one: the plug for the sensor is located in the top of the wheel well (orange arrow). This photo also shows the wheel speed sensor and plug (red arrow and purple arrow), which is used with the anti-lock braking system (ABS)

To remove the old pads, pull out the small pin retainers (blue arrow, inset), and tap out the retaining pins (green arrow) with a screwdriver and a small hammer.
Figure 2

To remove the old pads, pull out the small pin retainers (blue arrow, inset), and tap out the retaining pins (green arrow) with a screwdriver and a small hammer. They should slide out pretty easily, as there is usually no load on them. If there is much difficulty encountered during the removal process, then tap on the pads slightly to remove pressure from the pins. The yellow points to the electrical cable clip for the brake pad sensor.

Pulling out the pads usually involves the use of a screwdriver for leverage.
Figure 3

Pulling out the pads usually involves the use of a screwdriver for leverage. The pads are loose in the caliper, but it's a pretty tight fit, and there is usually lots of dust and debris in the caliper. Wiggle the pads back and forth in order to pry them free. Although these parts usually can be reused, some people prefer to install new retainer kits. The kits include two new retainer springs, four pin clips and four pins that are used to hold the pads into the caliper.

When you are ready to install the pads back into the caliper, use a wooden or plastic handle to push back the caliper pistons.
Figure 4

When you are ready to install the pads back into the caliper, use a wooden or plastic handle to push back the caliper pistons. Don't use a screwdriver, as you might damage some of the piston seals. Keep your eye on the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir: it can overflow when you push back on the pistons.

Don't forget to reinstall the small retaining clips for the pad retaining pins.
Figure 5

Don't forget to reinstall the small retaining clips for the pad retaining pins. The completed assembly should be carefully tested before you do any performance driving. Brake pads can also take several hundred miles to full break themselves in. Exercise care when driving with brand new brake pads.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Trevi Comments: Have booster 2004. Just had brake shoes replaced at local garage. Loud rubbing noise when I reverse. After short while this becomes a loud knocking noise, related to wheels rotation.Any suggestions?
March 17, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The shoes may have come loose from the backing plate. I would have them inspected. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
NathUK Comments: Fantastic guide, saved me a lot of time!
I could not find a lump of wood small enough to fit between the disc and piston, so managed to push these in by refitting the caliper temporarily to push both sides back in with a bit more wiggle room.
Thanks again!
February 20, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Frank Comments: Sean - I just did the same job and encountered the same situation where the dampers were rusted to the piston. Eventually I figured out I could carefully unscrew the old damper plate/shim and leave the weight in the piston. Then, I took my new damper, removed the corresponding weight and then screwed it in.

archinbalt - Hawk HP Plus are race pads. Most of those don't have holes for the sensor. I just zip-tied them out of the way in the wheel well to the ABS lines Have fun with them!
October 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
archinbalt Comments: I purchase a set of Hawk HP Plus pads, retaining clips, and new pad sensors for the front of my 2006 Boxster S. The new clips are far too short to fit and the sensors will not fit in the pad the pads don't have a recess to accept the sensors like the originals. Where do I go from here?!
September 8, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. Let's be sure we sent the right parts for your vehicle. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
HL Comments: OK, just replaced all brake pads on a 2003 Boxster 2.7. The vehicle brakes great, but there is a clunk sound when releasing the brake pedal after coming to a stop, the sound comes from the front of the vehicle. There is no sound when I press and release the brake while the vehicle is not moving. What could be the issue?
July 17, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: When you release, could be a loose caliper or pad. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Col986 Comments: If you have a "S" with brake dampers, it's much easier to just remove the caliper. Then the pads can be taken out with the dampers on, making it far easier to remove the dampers from the pad for reuse. I bought new dampers from Pelican, but after 80,00km 50,000 miles my original dampers were as new.
June 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Sean Comments: Sorry for the repeat posts, trying to upload an image, the shim is corroded within the recess and stuck.
May 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Ok, got it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sean Comments: Trying to submit photo of said shim
May 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Got it, thanks. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sean Comments: Thank you for the brilliant articles, and all the great information, I will be definitely be using Pelican as a resource for parts and info in the future, do you market any tools or have any tips for removing the shims without removing the caliper, I am strictly amateur, just getting back into working on a car after many years, I have limited space and resources, it was great fun, but a shame to get stuck, will probably have to take it to a professional, but you guys seem to know everything there is to know about Porsche, thought you might have some ideas, plugs next, thanks again.
May 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You can lever the shim away from the brake pad with the caliper installed. Then remove the shim from the caliper. If it won't come out due to corrosion, you will have to remove the caliper to make room to remove it. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Sean Comments: Thank you for the brilliant articles, and all the great information, I will be definitely be using Pelican as a resource for parts and info in the future, do you market any tools or have any tips for removing the shims without removing the caliper, I am strictly amateur, just getting back into working on a car after many years, I have limited space and resources, it was great fun, but a shame to get stuck, will probably have to take it to a professional, but you guys seem to know everything there is to know about Porsche, thought you might have some ideas, plugs next, thanks again.

May 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The key on this is to evenly pull the shim out of the piston bore, while preventing the piston from pulling back out. I like to use two pocket flathead screwdrivers. Slip them in on either side of the shim metal stud. Then try to lift the shim out by twisting the screwdrivers. You may need to go in and out a few times but be patient and persistent. Make sure not to damage the dust boot with the screwdriver, and definitely stay away from spraying the caliper with WD40 or a penetrating lubricant, that will ruin the rubber. If you pull the piston out, do not worry we have you covered... http://www.pelicanparts.com/techarticles/Boxster_Tech/50-BRAKES-Rebuilding_Brake_Calipers/images_med/Pic3.jpg - Casey at Pelican Parts  
Sean Comments: I have a 2008 boxster rs spyder, do I need to change the shims, I do not see any video or instructional guide showing the shims with pistons being replaced, only the pads, do I need to change these as well,and are 4 required? Thanks
April 23, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The shims are replaced with the pads. There is one shim for each pad.

Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can figure out what part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Warren Comments: Hi ! I am looking for TEXTAR brake pads front and rear ,Boxster 987 2005.
Vin: WPOZZZ98z5U703255. Please quote include ship to Australia. Do I need change a dampner .
February 25, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Dt1 Comments: Wear sensor alert displaying on my 06 Boxster rear brake pads. Ive got 61k never had to change the padsfor the rear but with that many miles 61k best to add new rotors as well to reset the gap/spacing for the new sensors&pads?
February 1, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pads and rotors would be a good idea. Also replace the wear sensor. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Jmandachuva Comments: "BRAKE PAD VIBRATION DAMPERS" No one ever mention them, not all Boxster were created equal. If you have a Boxster S, your caliper, and pads do not match the pictures here, and you'll not be able to just pull the pads out of the caliper with ease, for they will be attached to the vibration dampers. Press the pistons back in the calipers and use a flat head screw driver to pry the pad towards the rotor, then, use a pocket knife or thin scraper to separate the pad from the dampers and make sure you do not brake or loose it, that will set you back about $25.00 per damper x4.
November 19, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You are correct. The pads and dampers are attached with an adhesive backing. They will have to be levered off the remove. Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Chloe Comments: I have just replaced my rear brake pads and disks 986 2.7 facelift. When I turn right I get a rubbing noise which sounds like it's coming from the right rear wheel. If I go straight or turn left all is ok. I only hear the noise when the roof is down. Any ideas?
September 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Check if the backing plate is bent. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
dazednconfused Comments: Hi imaninja,

If they are drilled and/or slotted, then the front brakes are unidirectional meaning left and right hand specific. The rear brakes are bi-directional if drilled, doesn't matter which goes where. You would want to install directional brakes so that the hole pattern or slots go in the direction of the wheel rolling forward.

Hope this helps :

July 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Mike Comments: Just curious, I see on your parts order page that I should buy part number 996 352 959 01 brake pad retainer when replacing front brake pads. Is this required or just a suggestion?
July 8, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I would suggest replacing them, as the pins are usually worn or corroded when removed. However, if yours are in good condition, you can reuse them. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
old boxster Comments: Hello.. do all brake wear sensors work independently.. of each other i meant.. recently i had all four set of pads and sensors replaced, i drove the boxster s 2001 for a thousand miles without the warning light.. i recently changed the two front rotors and the lights are on..!
May 26, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, each sensor sends a signal independent of the others. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Denis Comments: Could you please clarify the installation of vibration damper shims - e.g. 996-352-086-00/02 in case of rear brakes.
It's not clear if they are required for which models/ years, and how to install them.
Thank you!
April 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You didn;t mention what vehicle you have. The shims attach to the brake pads. If your vehicle requires them, you have to resintall them when replacing the brake pads.Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help figure out which part or repair kit you need.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Alton Comments: I'm confused as to which pads I need. I have a 98 boxster s and I thought that it had different brakes than the base model. Looking at the different choices available on Pelican as well as other sites, I'm not sure now. Any help or guidance would be appreciated.
March 17, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right part.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
 
Neil Comments: Just looking to replace the disc and pads on my 07 Boxster S. Ideally wanting Brembo pads but not necessarily discs due to cost. Porsche have just quoted me £1660 for front and rear fitted or £1260 non. Any suggestion on good quality discs as there seem to be many, Kentix, Pajid etc. also, do I need to replace the dampers etc. thanks.
February 7, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You will need the dampers. Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you figure out the best parts for your application. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Lifizgd Comments: If I have not worn the pads thru to the rotor, do i need to cut the rotor to avoid warping?
January 11, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I suggest replacing the rotors. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
raj Comments: hello can you source that metal brake line and the bracket where it meets the rubber brake line i need to order these for my rear left on a 986
May 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799 and they can help you find the right part. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Z. Clark Comments: Great write-up! It was an easy job. Taking the time to clean the brake pad retainer pin before putting it back helped a lot, mine were pretty tough to get out.
May 16, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Handson Comments: Wow nice job with the break job on the Boxter I have the manual but it was vag on how to remove the ware indicator harness. thanks
August 8, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
kevin Comments: Hey there.. I am going to change my oil and brake pads on 08 Boxster hopefully this sunday... But my question that I have is.. I see the other 2 pins and clips shown in your photos... But I really did not see a photo as to wherer they should go during the procedure... Please help..
January 12, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: That is a set for one axle. They are for the left and right side. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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