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Replacing Porsche 911 Carrera Brake Pads
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Pelican Technical Article:

Replacing Porsche 911 Carrera Brake Pads


2 hours2 hrs






Screwdriver, isopropyl alcohol, wooden block

Applicable Models:

Porsche 996 Carrera models (1999-05)
Porsche 996 Turbo, GT2, GT3 (2001-05)
Porsche 997 Carrera models (2005-12)
Porsche 997 Turbo, GT2, GT3 (2007-13)

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

Replacing your brake pads is one of the easiest jobs to perform on your 911. 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.

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 that 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 Your Brake Calipers on your Porsche 911 Carrera).

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 wheelwell (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. If there is an anti squeal shim installed on the pads they can stick to the caliper piston. If your pads are well worn there should be enough room to lever the shim off the pad while it is still in the caliper. If there is not enough room to you will have to remove the caliper. Please see our article on replacing your brake disks on how to perform this task. 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 fully break themselves in. Exercise care when driving with brand new brake pads.

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Comments and Suggestions:
Alf Comments: Is there a difference between the brake pads for a 2005 Carrera 911 997 with Sport than without Sport?
October 25, 2016
Fred Comments: I'm looking to install daytime running light on my 2001 911 is there any on your parts inventory?
March 15, 2016
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Pelican parts should be able to put a kit together. 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
Glyn Comments: I was looking for the new thickness of the brake pads and rotors front and back for a 2009 997.2 Carerra S
March 15, 2015
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I don't have that info handy.

I would grab a repair manual.
Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. - Nick at Pelican Parts
Spyder550 Comments: Use a 1/4 inch diameter, long punch to remove the pin holding pad spring. Use the same punch when installing the pin. These pins only go one way - from inside out. Insert the punch from outside in to compress the spring while it is loose and can be compressed by hand pressure. Once compressed the holding pin will easily slide over the spring. This saves a lot of frustration.
September 6, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
99sixer Comments: Are the anti squeal shims meant to be reused? Or should they be removed from the caliper after removing the pads and discarded?
July 27, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The have an adhesive on them, so usually not reuseable. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
jacks911 Comments: These photos do not match the brakes in my 2000 C 4 996 Carrera. Did Porsche have unique Brembo calipers on the C4?
July 12, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: This article applies to:

Porsche 996 Carrera (1998-2005)
Porsche 997 Carrera (2005-2008)

Your vehicle should be similar. The calipers on your vehicle may be painted or in better condition.- Nick at Pelican Parts
MAS Comments: This was my first time doing this on my 2000 Porsche Boxster S and following the instructions made it relatively easy. Two suggestions for novices like me that are not covered in the instructions:

First, as Jiffen says, the instructions don't comment on the vibration damper which is 'glued' to the back of the pads. I had the pads loose enough to wiggle around, but I couldn't get them to come out for quite a while. Then I saw the metal plate of the damper separating slightly from the back of the pad and gently separated it with a flat paint spatula. And the pad just slipped out!

Second, the reason I could finally see the vibration damper pad and plate also makes the removal and the compression of the calipers much, much easier. When I was struggling to get the pads out, I felt that I needed to see things better and it would be great if the calipers were more compressed. So I took heavy channel-lock pliers and gently sandwiched the pad tab and the caliper body where the securing pin was and carefully pushed. The calipers compressed easily and uniformly because the old brake pad was a solid, flat surface providing equal pressure across them. Then I easily saw the problem of the vibration damper and solved this.

Compressing the calipers this ways was extremely easy and seems a lot less likely to damage the caliper boots than using wood or plastic later to compress them individually as shown in the book. Yes, if you are worried about the integrity of the caliper boots, you cannot fully see them when compressed, but if so, you could press the brakes lightly to push them out. But boy, was it easier!
June 29, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info and feedback. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Jiffen Comments: There is no discussion of the factory installed Vibration Dampers. It is recommended that they be replaced with pad replacements, although that seems excessive. They have adhesive that can mave pad removal difficult. They can be separated from the pad backing plate with a spatula before attempting to remove the pad.
June 15, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the input on this one. We appreciate the help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
levdeb Comments: Great write up!! Very quick job. My only suggestion is to turn the front wheels to get to the calipers a bit easier. Turn the wheel the the right if doing the drivers side, and vice versa. And the "trick" to get the shims out was perfect! Thanks Nick!
April 24, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the feedback. Glad we could help.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
996R Comments: Best way to push pistons back is to wiggle in between pads and rotor. Pads will be replaced anyhow, also no possible damaging seals, and if rotor needs replacing: a steel bar / screwdriver isn't a problem.
February 22, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Thanks for the additional info. We appreciate it.
- Nick at Pelican Parts
Gibbysan Comments: How do I know what kind of breaks I have? And what products to buy? Sport vs. regular, etc.
February 20, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can help you find the right brake parts. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Terry Comments: All of the diagrams show a single retaining pin for each pad pair, however, the discussion refers to two retaining pins for each caliper. Is there an inner pin and an outer pin that meet in the middle of the spring clip?
October 19, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No, it is one solid pin. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
pesuazo Comments: If there is a "trick" should be stated in the "DIY"...;-
May 29, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Good one. Keep in mind, not everyone uses the same steps to perform every repair. Insight and imporvements can always be made, this is what's great about having a community like ours. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Hurdigurdiman Comments: On photo 3 there is no mention that the caliper would have to be removed to remove the pads. I had to remove the caliper so I could take the pad out. No matter how I tried pushing back the pads, There was not enough room to remove them because of the anti squeal shim on the rear of the old pads. If no anti squeal shim was ever replaced with the pad, then the caliper can stay where it is. I think that should be at least mentioned to DIY men. The caliper can be held up out of the way with a metal coat hanger or string.
May 9, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The trick is to lever the shim off the pad while it is in the caliper. You can separate the adhesive, remove the pad,then remove the shim. - Nick at Pelican Parts  

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