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911 Brake Pad Replacement

Pelican Technical Article:

911 Brake Pad Replacement

Bob Tindel


2-3 hours






floor jack, two jack stands, two wheel chocks, lug wrench, safety glasses, pin punch, hammer, turkey baster, needle nose pliers, channel lock pliers, piece of hardwood, Lubro-Moly hi-tack lube spray, torque wrench

Applicable Models:

Porsche 911 (1965-89)
Porsche 912 (1965-69)
Porsche 914 (1970-76)
Porsche 930 Turbo (1976-89)

Parts Required:

Brake pads for all four brakes, brake fluid

Performance Gain:

Brakes that stop short, straight and true

Complementary Modification:

Have the rotors turned
Figure 1
Figure 2
Figure 3
Figure 4
Figure 5
Figure 6
Figure 7
Figure 8
Figure 9
Figure 10
Figure 11
Figure 12
Figure 13
The car used to demonstrate this procedure is Bob Tindel's 1983 911SC, but the procedure is similar for other Porsches.

Before starting, if your brake master cylinder is very full, draw off some of the fluid. When you push back the caliper pistons, if the master cylinder is completely full, it can overflow. BRAKE FLUID DESTROYS PAINT.

1.    Jack up one side of the car. Put a jack stand under the rear torsion bar end cover. (Figure 1)

2.    Remove the wheel.

3.    There are two pins holding the pads in each caliper. The front pins have self-retainers, and can simply be tapped out from the outside, using a pin punch or a nail. The retaining pins in the rear calipers have little “hairpins” (Figure 2) in the inboard end of each pin, which must be removed before the pin can be tapped out. (Figure 3) After you remove one of the retaining pins, you can take out the brake cross-spring. Note how it fits before removal, so you can get it back in right. (Figure 4)

4.    Remove the old pads. (Figure 5) If they are stubborn, you may have to push back the piston first. (Figure 6) Disconnect the brake pad sensor wire, if so equipped.

5.    Push the both pistons all the way back into the caliper. To do this, you can use a piece of hard wood, or a pair of channel-lock pliers. Just be careful not to damage or ding anything. (Figure 7)

6.    Inspect the rotors. If they have severe ridges, or if they are worn below the minimum thickness, they will need to be resurfaced or replaced. The same is true if they are warped or have excessive runout (a symptom of warpage or runout is steering wheel shimmy when you apply the brakes). (Figure 8)

7.    Inspect the calipers. If they are leaking fluid, or if the rubber dust boot is damaged, they will need to be rebuilt or replaced. Rust on the exposed part of the piston, next to the brake pad, is normal. (Figure 9)

8.    Inspect the brake hoses for cracking or leakage. (Figure 10)

9.    This is also a good time to inspect the shock absorbers. Any evidence of fluid leakage indicates need for replacement. (Figure 8)

10.    If the inspection of the rotors, calipers, and brake hoses is satisfactory, proceed with the installation of the new pads.

11.    Do not use the anti-squeal compound pad from your Friendly Local Auto Parts Store on the back of the brake pads. This stuff turns to glue, and when you need to replace the brake pads again, it will destroy the caliper dust boot when you pull the pads out (don't ask how I know this). Many new brake pads come with an anti-squeal coating already applied. It looks like a thicker coat of paint on the back of the pads. If you want to use something more I recommend a LIGHT coat of Lubro-Moly Hi-Tack Lube Spray. Be careful not to get this stuff on the braking surface of the pads, or on the rotors. (Figure 11)

12.    Insert the new pads the same way the old ones came out. Reconnect the sensor wires, if so equipped. (Figure 12)

13.    Insert one of the retaining pins, taking care that the hole for the “hairpin” in the retaining pins of the rear calipers is accessible. Tap each pin until it is fully seated. You should be able to see the end of the pin in its hole on the outside of the caliper.

14.    Insert the “hairpin” into the brake pad retaining pin.

15.    Insert the brake cross spring (Figure 13), and then the second retaining pin. Make sure that both ends of the brake cross spring engage the retaining pins. The cross spring helps retract the pads, so they don't drag on the rotors when you let off the brakes.

16.    Repeat steps 2-15 for the other three calipers.

17.    Reinstall the wheels. The correct torque for factory alloy wheels and alloy lug nuts is 95 ft/lbs.

18.    Top off the master cylinder. Use only fresh fluid from a sealed container. We recommend a top-quality fluid such as Ate.

19.    Pump the brake pedal a few times to return it to normal position.

20.    Recheck the master cylinder brake fluid level.

CAUTION: New brake pads require a break-in period. Until they are broken in, braking efficiency is reduced. Apply the brakes gently during break-in to increase the life of pads and rotors.

It is not necessary to bleed the brakes after this procedure. However, it is a good idea to completely flush and bleed the brake system at least every two years.

Call our Parts Department at 1-888-280-7799 and we will fix you up with the best brake pads for your use—street or track (and some fresh brake fluid if you need it).

Comments and Suggestions:
Ron Comments: front wheel shimmy @ between 70&80mph. All wheel balance, alignments, etc. are right on specifications...any suggestions
February 25, 2014
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Have you had the road force measured? Could be a bad tire or wheel. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Robert Comments: Hi, my shop manual mentions that the "caliper piston cutout alignment"must be set using Porsche special tool P 84. It shows a drawing of the tool and it appears to be a flat piece of metal with a 20 deg angle. It gives no instruction on exactly how to use the tool or what the alignment procedure entails or is supposed to accomplish. Any idea what this is?
November 25, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There is a sector cut off the top of the caliper piston. This is meant to mesh with an angled sector in the backing plate of the brake pad. The 20° tool allows you to rotate the piston to match the backing plate. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Jliu Comments: I didn't see you replace the vibration dampers on the caliper. Some recommended it. Do you think it is necessary?
September 10, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Yes, they are held on by an adhesive if I remember correctly, so you have to replace them. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
Heli-Pilot Comments: Where can I buy some of that Lubro-Moly Hi-Tack Lube Spray?
September 5, 2013
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Give our parts specialists a call at 1-888-280-7799. They can get it for you. - Nick at Pelican Parts  
BG Comments: any advice on how to change the rear pads on a 2010 porsche gt3? The caliper does not have pins like the front caliper. It looks like you need to remove the caliper to get the pads out. Any suggestions? Thank you
April 19, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: I'm sorry but I have not had the opportunity to work on a GT3 yet so I do not know. You might try asking in our autocross and racing forums, as a lot of people track there GT3's. It is a beautiful car. /porsche-autocross-track-racing/ - Steve at Pelican Parts  
tom Comments: how do you replace the front break pads on a 2003 porshe 911 carrera thanks in advance tom
February 13, 2012
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: We now have over a hundred projects for the 996 and 997 in our tech section. I have includes a link to the article on replacing your brake pads for you. - Steve at Pelican Parts
AD Comments: How do you pull the rotors on a 1967 911S?
October 24, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Here is a link for an article on how to replace your rear disks.
This article is not applicable to the front disk- Steve at Pelican Parts
Nick Pell Comments: Hey guys I'm changing the rear brake pads on my 78 911SC. I was able to get the old pads out but can't budge the pistons to make room for new pads. Also the outer pad was completely worn off and the inside pad still has 4 or 5 cm's left. Any suggestions?
September 12, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: You have a frozen piston in the caliper or some other major failure in the system. A frozen piston will cause the one pad to wear out quicker than the other and not allow you to push it back into the caliper. You are going to have to remove and rebuild or replace the caliper. You should also go through the complete brake system including a brake fluid flush before you drive the car again - Steve at Pelican Parts Comments: Do we need this adjustment tool for rear brake pads?

Thank you
August 30, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: No you do not need this tool to preform the work. It might make it easier but you can use extensions to reach the bolt if you need to - Steve at Pelican Parts  
Ace_on_17 Comments: Hai.. I just lost one of my cross spring.can i still use the calipers? Is there any harm if i still drive the car without the cross spring? Thanks in advance
May 3, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: The cross spring helps hold the pads in place and reduces vibration and noise. As long as the locating pin(s) is securely in place the brakes will work, but you should get one and install it ASAP as the pads can wander a small amount on the rotors without them - Steve at Pelican Parts  
Aransasfarm Comments: I have a 1999 Porsche 911 Carrera, wife's car,need to replace brake pads, which are best?
February 19, 2011
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Well, if she's like my wife, then any standard pad would suffice. I would probably purchase the cheapest set that we have on our site (they are all high quality, some are just more geared towards race / aggressive driving). - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
JAMCAT Comments: I've replaced the front pads on my '85 911 and they work great. However when warmed up they tend to squeak when NOT applying any pedal pressure. I have tried the spray lube, but it doesn't help. Is it possible they squeal do to the pistons not retracting enough when brakes are not applied? Thanks for the help!

Sincerely, Jim...
June 14, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: Try the anti-squeal pads that glue the back of the pads to the caliper pistons. That should solve your squeek. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  
andrew weaver Comments: Can you tell me what the acceptable wear limit is on the rotors...what the minimum thickness is? I have heard that 2 MM below their original thickness is considered minimum but I have not seen this in writing anywhere.

June 4, 2010
  Followup from the Pelican Staff: There are specific wear limits depending upon which car you have. There are usually wear indicators cast into the brake discs too. I have not heard the 2MM rule - it's probably some rule of thumb that someone came up with. - Wayne at Pelican Parts  

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Page last updated: Sun 2/18/2018 02:19:04 AM