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Pelican Technical Article:

Rear Brake Pad Replacement

Steve Vernon

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$40 to $160

Talent:

**

Tools:

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

Applicable Models:

VW GTI (2006-09)

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 means 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 wornout 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 cost 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. Wear safety glasses.

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).

The caliper (green arrow) has the parking brake line (red arrow) and brake line (yellow arrow) attached to it.
Figure 2

The caliper (green arrow) has the parking brake line (red arrow) and brake line (yellow arrow) attached to it. You do NOT need to remove either of these lines to change the brake pads.

The caliper parking brake assembly is attached to the caliper mount by two 13mm bolts attached to two 15mm guide bolts (yellow arrows).
Figure 3

The caliper parking brake assembly is attached to the caliper mount by two 13mm bolts attached to two 15mm guide bolts (yellow arrows).

To remove the caliper, use a 15mm wrench to counter hold the guide bolts (yellow arrow) while removing the 13mm bolts (red arrow).
Figure 4

To remove the caliper, use a 15mm wrench to counter hold the guide bolts (yellow arrow) while removing the 13mm bolts (red arrow). The 13mm bolts are micro-encapsulated from Volkswagen and are considered single use only.

Pull the caliper (red arrow) off from its mount leaving the brake pads (yellow arrow).
Figure 5

Pull the caliper (red arrow) off from its mount leaving the brake pads (yellow 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 6

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, one shown, one behind the rotor) from their clips (yellow arrows) in the mount.
Figure 7

Remove the old pads (red arrows, one shown, one behind the rotor) from their clips (yellow arrows) in the mount.

Remove and clean the clips (yellow arrow).
Figure 8

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

Pull the guide pins and rubber boots from the mount (yellow arrow).
Figure 9

Pull the guide pins and rubber boots from the mount (yellow arrow). Inspect the pin for any dirt, debris or rust. Clean the bolt and apply new grease as needed. Inspect the boot for rips and other damage. Repair as needed and reinstall the guide bolts into the mount.

On the rear, the pistons must be pushed and turned at the same time.
Figure 10

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 cost tool rental program. The tool consists of several 'pucks' that have pins that sit in the notches in the piston (red arrow). 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.

Before you begin compressing the calipers, check your brake fluid reservoir.
Figure 11

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 or 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 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.


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