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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Brake Pad Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$30 to $100

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm wrench or socket, 15mm wrench, caliper piston compressor

Applicable Models:

VW Golf GTI (1999-00)
VW Golf GTI 1.8T (2002-05)
VW Golf GTI 20th Anniversary (2003)
VW Golf GTI 337 (2002)
VW Golf GTI GLS (2001)
VW Golf GTI GLX (2000-01)
VW Golf GTI VR6 (2002-05)

Parts Required:

Brake pads

Hot Tip:

Check your brake discs when replacing your pads

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

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

Replacing the rear brake pads on the GTI is an easy DIY job. Rear pads tend to wear more slowly than front pads, which mean they may need to be changed less frequently. The rear pad does not have a wear sensor on it so make sure to check them every 10,000 miles. Also, the rear brakes incorporate the parking brake, which is essentially a cable-operated method of squeezing the brake pads against the rotors, as opposed to the primary hydraulic system.

Another difference is in the method used to retract the caliper pistons, which must be done when replacing worn-out pads with full-thickness, new pads. In the front, you can simply push the pistons straight back into the caliper. On the rear, the pistons must be pushed and turned at the same time. There are several options available to you here. You can buy the tool (Pelican Parts sells them) or most local auto parts stores have a free or minimal tool rental program.

Remember, brake pads should only be replaced in pairs. Replace either both front pads, both rear pads or all four at a time. The same rule applies to the brake discs that should be checked each time you replace your brake pads.

Begin by safely raising and supporting your vehicle. Then remove the rear tires. Please see our article on safely raising and supporting your car.

This photo illustrates the rear brake system.
Figure 1

This photo illustrates the rear brake system. You can see the rotor (red arrow) the caliper (green arrow) and the brake pads (yellow arrow, one showing, and one on the other side of the rotor).

You will need to remove the parking brake ball end (red arrow) and cable clip (green arrow).
Figure 2

You will need to remove the parking brake ball end (red arrow) and cable clip (green arrow). This will allow you to remove the cable from the caliper and allow you to remove the caliper from the vehicle.

Release the parking brake handle from inside the car.
Figure 3

Release the parking brake handle from inside the car. Begin by pulling the ball end (red arrow) up and out of its mount.

Use a flathead screwdriver and unclip the cable stay (red arrow) from the bracket.
Figure 4

Use a flathead screwdriver and unclip the cable stay (red arrow) from the bracket.

The clip (red arrow) will pry off with moderate pressure.
Figure 5

The clip (red arrow) will pry off with moderate pressure. Do not loose the clip. I like to put it back on the c able for safe keepings once I have removed the cable.

Push the cable (red arrow) back out from the mount (green arrow) and let the cable hang free.
Figure 6

Push the cable (red arrow) back out from the mount (green arrow) and let the cable hang free.

You will need to remove the two 13mm bolts from the caliper (red arrows).
Figure 7

You will need to remove the two 13mm bolts from the caliper (red arrows).

Use a 15mm wrench to counter hold the guide pins (red arrow) while removing the 13mm bolts (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

Use a 15mm wrench to counter hold the guide pins (red arrow) while removing the 13mm bolts (yellow arrow).

The bolts (red arrow) are micro-encapsulated from Volkswagen and are considered single use only.
Figure 9

The bolts (red arrow) are micro-encapsulated from Volkswagen and are considered single use only.

Pull the caliper (yellow arrow) off from its mount leaving the brake pads (red arrow).
Figure 10

Pull the caliper (yellow arrow) off from its mount leaving the brake pads (red arrow). Depending on the condition of the pads and whether they have anti-squeal backs you may need to use a fair amount of wiggling and force to get them off.

Hang the caliper up out of the way (red arrow) with a bungee cord or piece of rope.
Figure 11

Hang the caliper up out of the way (red arrow) with a bungee cord or piece of rope. Never let the caliper hang by the brake line.

Remove the old pads (red arrows) from their clips (yellow arrows) in the mount.
Figure 12

Remove the old pads (red arrows) from their clips (yellow arrows) in the mount.

Remove and clean the clips (red arrows).
Figure 13

Remove and clean the clips (red arrows). It is a good idea to replace these when changing your pads.

On the rear, the pistons must be pushed and turned at the same time.
Figure 14

On the rear, the pistons must be pushed and turned at the same time. There are several options available to you here, but you will need the use of a special caliper piston tool. You can buy the tool (Pelican Parts sells them) or most local auto parts stores have a free or minimal tool rental program. The tool consists of several "pucks" that have pins (red arrows) that sit in the notches (yellow arrows) in the piston. Place the right puck for your piston on top of it.

Install the rest of the tool and slowly compress the piston while it is turning back into the caliper.
Figure 15

Install the rest of the tool and slowly compress the piston while it is turning back into the caliper.

Before you begin compressing the calipers, check your brake fluid reservoir.
Figure 16

Before you begin compressing the calipers, check your brake fluid reservoir. Compressing the caliper piston will cause brake fluid to travel back up into the reservoir and 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. The caliper is now ready to install new pads. Installation is the reverse of removal. You also may want to spray the back of the brake pads with some anti-squeal paste. This paste basically keeps the pads and the pistons glued together and prevent 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.

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Page last updated: Wed 12/7/2016 02:36:32 AM