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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Brake Caliper Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$200 to $400

Talent:

***

Tools:

Pick, 7mm hex driver, 13mm socket, pressure bleeder, brake

Applicable Models:

VW Jetta GL (1999-05)
VW Jetta GLS (1999-05)
VW Jetta Wolfsburg (1999)

Parts Required:

Front brake caliper

Hot Tip:

Make sure the lower alignment tab is correctly seated

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Replace front brake rotors

Over time, moisture can build up in the braking system. This can eventually lead to corrosion inside the brake caliper. This corrosion can eat away at the inside of the caliper, causing it to leak brake fluid or not work at all. A sticking caliper will typically feel like the car is pulling to one side when you brake hard. If this is the case with your car, the caliper must be replaced. Replacing the calipers isn't hard, but does require a few special tools and can be a bit messy.

The procedure for replacing the brake caliper 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 replacing the front brake calipers.

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

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. Also loosen and remove the 13mm banjo bolt (purple arrow) securing the brake line to the caliper. Don't forget to install the copper sealing washers on either side of the fitting. Be sure to have a drain pan below to catch the brake fluid that spills out.

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. At this point, you are ready to install the pads in the new caliper and mount it in place. Installing the new caliper is the reverse of removal.

Note the tab (green arrow) molded into the caliper.
Figure 6

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.

You'll need to bleed the braking system of air once the new calipers are installed.
Figure 7

You'll need to bleed the braking system of air once the new calipers are installed. I like to use the Motive Products line of pressure bleeders to make this a quick, one-man job. See our article on bleeding brakes for more information.

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Page last updated: Thu 6/29/2017 03:14:32 AM