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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Brake Pad Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$50

Talent:

***

Tools:

Pick, 7mm hex driver, brake piston retraction tool, floor jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, safety glasses, lug wrench, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Jetta MkIV 2.0L (1998-05)

Parts Required:

Front brake pads

Hot Tip:

Make sure the lower alignment tab is correctly seated

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Replace front brake rotors

Replacing your brake pads is one of the easier jobs to perform on your Mk4 Jetta. In general, you should inspect your brake pads about every 10,000 miles and replace them if the brake lining of the pad has worn down enough to risk damaging the rotors.

If you ignore the problem after inspection and keep driving, the brake lining of the pad will wear away completely and the metal backing plate will start to grind into the metal face of the rotor. Using the brakes during this condition will not only give you inadequate braking, but will also begin to cut 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 VW specifications. The smart thing to do is to replace your pads right away.

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. In this article, we will focus on the front brakes.

This procedure requires jacking up the front of the car and removing the rear wheels. Please see our article on Jacking up your Mk4 Jetta for more information.

When you are finished, press on the brake pedal repeatedly to make sure that the pads and the pistons seat properly. Also check the master cylinder brake fluid reservoir and top off the fluid 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.

Left and Right Sides - Pry the two plastic plugs (green arrows) out of the guide tubes.
Figure 1

Left and Right Sides - Pry the two plastic plugs (green arrows) out of the guide tubes. You'll need to access the caliper retaining pins below.

Left and Right Sides - Use a 7mm hex driver to loosen both caliper retaining pins inside the guide tubes.
Figure 2

Left and Right Sides - Use a 7mm hex driver to loosen both caliper retaining pins inside the guide tubes.

Left and Right Sides: Now carefully lift the caliper up and off the mounting frame.
Figure 3

Left and Right Sides: Now carefully lift the caliper up and off the mounting frame.

Left and Right Sides - One of the brake pads is attached to the caliper with an expanding spring.
Figure 4

Left and Right Sides - One of the brake pads is attached to the caliper with an expanding spring. Pull the brake pad out of the caliper. It may take a bit more force than you think.

Left and Right Sides: Now pull the other brake pad out of the caliper piston.
Figure 5

Left and Right Sides: Now pull the other brake pad out of the caliper piston.

Left and Right Sides: As the brake pad wears, the piston will extend further out of its bore.
Figure 6

Left and Right Sides: As the brake pad wears, the piston will extend further out of its bore. Installing new pads requires pushing the piston back inside the bore. This can be done with a brake piston tool as shown here, or you can use a large C-clamp. Keep pushing the piston until it bottoms out. At this point, you are ready to install the new pads, put the caliper in place and tighten the retaining pins.

Note the tab (green arrow) molded into the caliper.
Figure 7

Note the tab (green arrow) molded into the caliper. It is important that this tab sits behind the caliper retaining frame (purple arrow). It can be a little tricky to get everything aligned just right.

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Page last updated: Sat 12/3/2016 03:10:19 AM