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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Brake Rotor Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

3 hours3 hrs

Tab:

$30 to $100

Talent:

**

Tools:

13mm wrench or socket, 15mm wrench, caliper piston compressor, 8mm Allen

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 rotors

Hot Tip:

Check your brake pads when replacing your rotors

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Caliper rebuild, brake pad replacement

Replacing the rear brake rotors on the GTI is an easy DIY job. Rear rotors tend to wear more slowly than fronts, which mean they may need to be changed less frequently but should be checked every time you check the fronts.

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

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 parking brake.
Figure 3

Release parking brake. 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 16mm wrench to counter hold the guide pins (red arrow) while removing the bolts (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

Use a 16mm wrench to counter hold the guide pins (red arrow) while removing the 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.

There are two 8mm Allen bolts (red arrows) holding the caliper mount to the hub.
Figure 14

There are two 8mm Allen bolts (red arrows) holding the caliper mount to the hub.

You will probably need a proper 8mm Allen bit and socket to remove the bolts (red arrows).
Figure 15

You will probably need a proper 8mm Allen bit and socket to remove the bolts (red arrows). The bolts are micro-encapsulated from Volkswagen and are considered single use only.

With the bolts removed, remove the mounting bracket and clean any rust and debris from it.
Figure 16

With the bolts removed, remove the mounting bracket and clean any rust and debris from it.

Remove the Philips head screw holding the rotor in position (red arrow).
Figure 17

Remove the Philips head screw holding the rotor in position (red arrow).

Remove the rotor from the hub (red arrow).
Figure 18

Remove the rotor from the hub (red arrow). You may need to give the "hat" of the rotor a couple of whacks with a mallet to free it up.

Clean the mounting area of the flange with a wire brush (red arrow) to give you a good clean and flat mounting surface.
Figure 19

Clean the mounting area of the flange with a wire brush (red arrow) to give you a good clean and flat mounting surface.

If your rotors where warn you will need to push the caliper piston back into the caliper to make room for the thicker rotor, especially if you are also installing new pads.
Figure 20

If your rotors where warn you will need to push the caliper piston back into the caliper to make room for the thicker rotor, especially if you are also installing new pads. On the rear caliper, 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 21

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 22

Before you begin compressing the calipers, check your brake fluid reservoir. Compressing the caliper piston which 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. Take care not to push the brake pedal all the way to the floor, as you can actually damage the master cylinder by driving the piston into usually unused portion of the master cylinder and damaging the seals. Also make sure that you top off the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir if necessary. Brake pads and rotors 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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