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Front Brake Rotor Replacement
 
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Pelican Technical Article:

Front Brake Rotor Replacement

Jared Fenton

Time:

2 hours2 hrs

Tab:

$30 to $60

Talent:

***

Tools:

Dead-blow hammer, wire brush, penetrant spray, 15mm wrench

Applicable Models:

Volvo C30 T5 (2008-13)
Volvo C30 T5 R-Design (2008-13)

Parts Required:

New brake rotors

Hot Tip:

Put a light coat of anti-seize compound on the hub face.

Performance Gain:

Better braking

Complementary Modification:

Replace brake pads

Brake rotors (or discs as they are often called) are perhaps the most important part of the braking system. The brake pads rub against the rotor to slow the car down. At the same time, the rotor also dissipates heat from the friction generated. If the rotor becomes too thin, or develops grooves in the surface, then their ability to stop the car decreases dramatically.

When replacing your brake pads, you should always measure the thickness of your brake rotors. If they fall below the specified value, then they should be replaced with new ones. Check for grooves in the rotor, and make sure that you take several measurements of the rotor in several different places. This will guarantee that you get an accurate reading. If the brake rotor has a groove in it, then it should most certainly be resurfaced by a machine shop, or simply replaced with a new one. Rotors with grooves not only brake less efficiently, but they also heat up to higher temperatures, and reduce your overall braking ability. Additionally, the rotors can warp from the excess heat generated.

Use a micrometer to measure the thickness of the brake rotor. From the factory, the rear brake rotors on your C30 will be 25.4mm. The wear limit is 23mm. If the thickness is adequate, you can have the rotors turned on a lathe to remove glazing and grooves from the old pads. In practice, I usually just replace the rotors. It's a bit more money, but you get peace of mind.

If you do find that you need to replace your rotors, replacing them is a pretty simple job. The procedure for the front or the rear rotors is very similar, but for the sake of this project, we'll look at replacing the front rotors.

The first step is to jack up the car and remove the road wheel. If you haven't already, remove the caliper and brake pads. Refer to our article on Front Brake Pad Replacement for more details.

Now unbolt the caliper frame from the wheel hub. You'll need a 15mm wrench to remove these bolts. After you remove the bolts, you should be able to move the caliper frame up and off the wheel hub. At this point, you should be able to slide the rotor off the hub.

If there is any resistance, the rotor may require some heavy smacks with a dead-blow hammer to get it off. This was the case on our project car, being from the Pacific Northwest. The increased moisture causes the metals to corrode and lock the rotor to the hub. In extreme cases, you may need to spray the holes in the rotor with a good penetrant spray, such as Aerokroil and let it sit for a few hours. This can sometimes free up the rotor.

It's a good idea to clean the face of the wheel hub once the rotor is removed with some brake cleaner and a soft brush. Once clean, I like to put a light coat of anti-seize compound on there. It helps to prevent corrosion and also keeps the rotor from sticking to the hub.

After the new rotor is installed, reinstall the caliper frame and the mounting bolts. Your new rotors should last a long time, and you should see an improvement in your braking after the wear-in period for your new brake pads.

Left and right sides - Measure the rotor thickness in several areas of the rotor using either a set of calipers or a micrometer.
Figure 1

Left and right sides - Measure the rotor thickness in several areas of the rotor using either a set of calipers or a micrometer. This will tell you if you can re-use the rotor or not.

Left and right sides: Removing the rotor requires removing the caliper-mounting frame (green arrows) from the rear of the wheel hub.
Figure 2

Left and right sides: Removing the rotor requires removing the caliper-mounting frame (green arrows) from the rear of the wheel hub.

Left and right sides: Loosen and remove the two 15mm bolts (green arrows) holding the frame to the wheel hub.
Figure 3

Left and right sides: Loosen and remove the two 15mm bolts (green arrows) holding the frame to the wheel hub. You may need to use a breaker bar to get them loose.

Left and right sides: The rotor should now just slide off the hub.
Figure 4

Left and right sides: The rotor should now just slide off the hub. If it is stuck, try using some penetrant spray around the stud holes and let it sit for a few hours. You may also need to use a dead-blow hammer behind the rotor at about 10 o'clock (green arrow) to loosen it up.

Left and right sides: Shown here is the wheel hub with the rotor removed.
Figure 5

Left and right sides: Shown here is the wheel hub with the rotor removed. Take the time to clean the surface with a wire brush if badly corroded. I like to smear a light coat of anti-seize compound on the surface of the hub. This will prevent the rotor from being stuck in the future.

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