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Front Brake Pad Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Brake Pad Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$30 to $550

Talent:

**

Tools:

Pliers, flathead screwdriver, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, lug wrench, torque wrench, safety glasses, turkey baster

Applicable Models:

Porsche 944 Turbo (1986-89)

Parts Required:

Brake pads

Hot Tip:

Don't damage the dust caps

Performance Gain:

Car stops better

Complementary Modification:

Replace rotor or disk

Replacing your brake pads is a very easy job to perform on your Porsche 944 and a great way to get started on "Doing it yourself". In general, you should inspect your brake pads and rotors about every 25,000 miles, and replace them if the material lining of the pad is worn down enough to trigger the pad replacement sensor or there is less than a quarter inch of material on the pad. 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 are 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 OEM specifications. If your pads are grabbing or pulsing when you come to a stop, there is a very good chance your rotors are warped and in need of replacement as well.

First thing you need to do is get the car up on jack stands and the front wheels removed. Please refer to our article on jacking up your car for more information.

Begin by inspecting the two front pads.
Figure 1

Begin by inspecting the two front pads. These pads are fine as you can see from all of the brake pad material still on the pads (red arrows). There is also over a quarter-inch of pad remaining before it gets worn down to the wear sensor (yellow arrow). Once the pad gets down to the wear sensor or around a quarter-inch of material it is time to change them.

Before you begin working on the brakes, check your brake fluid reservoir.
Figure 2

Before you begin working on the brakes, check your brake fluid reservoir. You will need to compress the caliper pistons, which will cause brake fluid to travel back up into the reservoir. You need to make sure there is room for it (red arrow). Carefully clean around the reservoir before you open it, as you do not want any dirt or debris getting into it. Be prepared to use a turkey baster of fluid pump to extract some of the brake fluid if necessary. Make sure whatever you use is clean; you do not want any contaminants getting into the fluid.

Before removing the pads you will need to remove the spring clip (yellow arrow) and the brake wear sensor (red arrow).
Figure 3

Before removing the pads you will need to remove the spring clip (yellow arrow) and the brake wear sensor (red arrow).

You can release the spring clip from the upper mount by grabbing the center section with a set of pliers and squeezing it in and down from the top clip (red arrow).
Figure 4

You can release the spring clip from the upper mount by grabbing the center section with a set of pliers and squeezing it in and down from the top clip (red arrow). Once free of the top, it will pivot down on the bottom.

You will need to remove the brake wear sensor before completely removing the spring clip.
Figure 5

You will need to remove the brake wear sensor before completely removing the spring clip. Pivot the clip down and use a set of small pliers to gently remove the sensor (red arrow). Do not pull the sensor out from the wires or you will just damage it.

The front calipers can be difficult to compress to remove the brake pads.
Figure 6

The front calipers can be difficult to compress to remove the brake pads. Sometimes you can wiggle them until you can get a large flathead screwdriver between the pads and rotor. I had to place a rag between the caliper to protect the paint and then use a set of pliers to squeeze the pads and caliper together (red arrow). Never put a screwdriver between the caliper piston and pad, as you can easily damage the dust boot around the pistons.

With the pistons in the caliper pushed back in you can simply pull the pads out.
Figure 7

With the pistons in the caliper pushed back in you can simply pull the pads out.

Make sure to check the reservoir.
Figure 8

Make sure to check the reservoir. If the pads were really worn and the fluid level was high, you will need to push the pistons a fair ways to make room for the new pads. If that happens, use a turkey baster or fluid pump and carefully remove some fluid from the reservoir (red arrow).

Before installing the new pads make sure to check the condition of the dust boots on the pistons (red arrow) for damage.
Figure 9

Before installing the new pads make sure to check the condition of the dust boots on the pistons (red arrow) for damage. You can see the pistons on the right side have been pushed all the way in to make room for the depth material on the new pads (yellow arrows). With everything inspected and the pistons back you are ready to install the new pads.

Install a little anti-squeal to the back of the new pads and insert them into the caliper.
Figure 10

Install a little anti-squeal to the back of the new pads and insert them into the caliper. Installation is the reverse of removal. Do NOT forget to top up the fluid and put the cap snuggly back on the reservoir. Pump the brakes a few times to move the pistons into position on the pads and always follow the break in instructions that come with your new pads.

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