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Front Brake Rotor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Brake Rotor Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$70 to $200

Talent:

**

Tools:

17mm thin walled wrench, 16mm, 13mm socket, flathead screwdriver, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, torque wrench, lug wrench, strong bungee cords for hanging brake calipers

Applicable Models:

R56 MINI Cooper Hatchback (2007-13)
R56 MINI Cooper JCW Hatchback (2009-13)
R56 MINI Cooper S Hatchback (2007-13)

Parts Required:

Brake rotors, new mounting hardware, anti-squeal paste

Hot Tip:

Always replace the brake pads when installing new rotors

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Caliper rebuild, brake pad replacement, install stainless steel brake lines

The brakes on your Mini work by converting the forward energy of the vehicle into heat by pushing two pads against the wheel rotor on each wheel. While this is a very effective way of braking a vehicle, converting the movement involves creating a tremendous amount of friction and heat. This friction and heat combination leads to eventually the brake pads (and rotors) wearing down and needing replacement. ALWAYS replace your pads and rotors in pairs (front or rear or all four)! Never change just one pad. If one pad is worn down more than the other, then you have a problem with the braking system somewhere in the lines or caliper. Please see all of our brake related articles for additional assistance in trouble-shooting and repair.

Replacing your brake rotors is an easy job to perform on your MINI. In general, you should inspect your brake pads and rotors 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 or the rotors have worn below their minimum wear tolerances or have developed grooves or warping. In reality, most people don't inspect their brake system 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 cut will be deeper than is allowed by MINI specifications. The smart thing to do is to replace your rotors right away.

This article demonstrates how to change your rotors without having to bleed your brakes afterwards. However, I am a strong believer in changing your brake fluid and bleeding the brakes at least once a year and highly recommend you do it every time you change your pads and rotors. That being said, if you have just changed the fluid or do not feel a need to, this article will show you how to change your rotors without having to bleed the brakes. I am also a big believer in changing the pads every time you replace the rotors; this will give the new rotors a fresh new flat pad to work with.

The first step is to jack up the car and remove the front wheels. Please refer to our article on safely jacking up and supporting your MINI for more information.

With the wheel off you can see the brake caliper, the rotor and the two brake pads.
Figure 1

With the wheel off you can see the brake caliper, the rotor and the two brake pads. Before you begin removing the brakes, have someone step on the brake pedal and use a T50 Torx to loosen up the rotor-retaining pin on both rotors (yellow arrow).

There is one brake pad wear sensor on the front left wheel (yellow arrow).
Figure 2

There is one brake pad wear sensor on the front left wheel (yellow arrow). If the pads are well worn, there is a very good chance you are going to break it trying to remove it. Do yourself a favor and order a new one when ordering your brake parts. Unclip the wear sensor line from the bleed valve (red arrow) and attempt to gently pry the sensor out from the pad. You can wait until you have the caliper off and then try and remove the sensor. But, you will need to first disconnect the sensor and free up the wiring. The caliper will need to be hung up out of the way. You cannot do this with the sensor attached.

There are two 13mm retaining bolts (red arrows) and two 17mm guide bolts that the retaining bolts bolt into (yellow arrows).
Figure 3

There are two 13mm retaining bolts (red arrows) and two 17mm guide bolts that the retaining bolts bolt into (yellow arrows).

Hold the guide bolts with a thin-walled 17mm wrench (yellow arrow) and use a 13mm socket to remove the two retaining bolts (red arrow, one shown).
Figure 4

Hold the guide bolts with a thin-walled 17mm wrench (yellow arrow) and use a 13mm socket to remove the two retaining bolts (red arrow, one shown).

The retaining bolts are micro encapsulated (red arrow) from the factory and are considered single use only hardware from Mini.
Figure 5

The retaining bolts are micro encapsulated (red arrow) from the factory and are considered single use only hardware from Mini. Mini recommends you always replace this hardware.

You can now slide the caliper off the pads and away from the mounting bracket (red arrow).
Figure 6

You can now slide the caliper off the pads and away from the mounting bracket (red arrow).

Safely hang the caliper up out of the way (red arrow).
Figure 7

Safely hang the caliper up out of the way (red arrow). NEVER let the caliper hang by the brake line; it can cause weakness or damage that can lead to brake failure.

You should be able to pull the pads out from the mounting bracket with your hands (red arrows).
Figure 8

You should be able to pull the pads out from the mounting bracket with your hands (red arrows). If the pads are stuck by excessive brake dust or too thin to get a grip on, use a flathead screwdriver and gently pry them away from the rotor.

Now is a good time to remove the guide bolts and check the condition of the rubber protective boot (red arrow) and the condition of the lubricant on the bolt.
Figure 9

Now is a good time to remove the guide bolts and check the condition of the rubber protective boot (red arrow) and the condition of the lubricant on the bolt. The bolt should be clean and lubricated so it slides easily in and out of the mount (yellow arrow).

Use a 16mm socket and remove the two caliper mount bolts (red arrows).
Figure 10

Use a 16mm socket and remove the two caliper mount bolts (red arrows). Again, MINI considers these bolts to be single use only and recommends replacing all brake hardware when servicing the brakes.

Remove the caliper-mounting bracket (red arrow).
Figure 11

Remove the caliper-mounting bracket (red arrow).

Now use the T50 Torx and fully remove the Torx screw.
Figure 12

Now use the T50 Torx and fully remove the Torx screw. Use care as the disc will not be held in place by anything at this point. The disc is heavy and can cause real damage if it falls.

Remove the rotor (red arrow) from the hub (yellow arrow).
Figure 13

Remove the rotor (red arrow) from the hub (yellow arrow). If the rotor is stuck on the hub you can use a rubber mallet and give it a few taps on the bell (red arrow) of the rotor to free it up. Make sure it does not fall on you once it frees itself from the rotor.

Use a wire brush and give the hub flange a good cleaning.
Figure 14

Use a wire brush and give the hub flange a good cleaning. You want to get off any dirt, debris or rust to give the new rotor a good flat surface to mount to.

Install the new rotor and Torx locating bolt.
Figure 15

Install the new rotor and Torx locating bolt. This Torx bolt really only provides enough force to hold the rotor in position while servicing. The real clamping force is provided by the wheel lugs; in fact some rotors do not have a locating screw at all. It is important that you do NOT get any grease on the rotor or new pads. If you get anything on the rotor, be sure to clean it off with brake cleaner before installing the pads or using the brakes.

Before installing the new pads, take a moment and clean the metal clips on the caliper-mounts where the brake pads sit (red arrows).
Figure 16

Before installing the new pads, take a moment and clean the metal clips on the caliper-mounts where the brake pads sit (red arrows). You do not need to remove the caliper mount, just give them a good cleaning with a wire brush and some brake cleaner.

Install the new pads and apply some anti-squeal to the back of the pads where they will make contact with the caliper or piston (yellow arrows).
Figure 17

Install the new pads and apply some anti-squeal to the back of the pads where they will make contact with the caliper or piston (yellow arrows). Use care NOT to get any anti-squeal on the rotor.

You are going to need to squeeze the piston back into the caliper so it will fit over the larger thickness of the new pads.
Figure 18

You are going to need to squeeze the piston back into the caliper so it will fit over the larger thickness of the new pads. Take an old brake pad and a large C-clamp or channel locks and use the pad to protect the caliper piston and slowly push the piston back into the caliper (red arrow).

While you are squeezing the piston back in, you will be forcing brake fluid back through the system and into the fluid reservoir.
Figure 19

While you are squeezing the piston back in, you will be forcing brake fluid back through the system and into the fluid reservoir. If your old pads were really worn and you had topped up the fluid, you may have to remove some fluid to make room. Clean around the cap; remove the cap and then using a clean turkey baster of fluid pump, remove the necessary amount of excessive fluid (red arrow).

Install the caliper over the new pads and onto the caliper mount.
Figure 20

Install the caliper over the new pads and onto the caliper mount. You may have to push the guide bolts in to get the caliper to fit. On the left side pads be sure to reinstall the new wear sensor. Torque the new hardware to spec and be sure to pump the brake pedal a few times to move the pads into position before you begin driving. New brake pads need a proper break in procedure and braking will be effected during this period. Be sure to check the recommendations that come with your pads and follow them closely.

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Comments and Suggestions:
vmerriot Comments: One is longer in length and the shorter one has the ruber sleeve on the end both are the same size diameter
March 4, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I have a few photos that can't confirm the length difference. With the caliper bracket removed and the rubber boots removed from the bracket, can you push both slides until the hex head is flush? It's possible somewhere along the line, someone put the wrong part in there.

I apologize for the delayed response. Been looking into part info and for some of my old photos. - Nick at Pelican Parts
 
vmerriott Comments: Does anyone know if the caliper guide pin that has the two different size diameter goes on the top or the bottom of the front caliper bracket on a 2008 Mini Cooper S
March 3, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: They should be the same size. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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