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Old 05-20-2010, 06:54 AM   #1
texasborn
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Default Changing the front brakes, have a question.

I will be replacing the front rotors and pads on a 2004 LS. Questions are, are there and special tools needed to do the job? Does the rotor come off once you remove the caliper? Or is there a nut that hold the assembly together?

Thanks for your help
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Old 05-20-2010, 05:51 PM   #2
chevyguy8893
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

Remove one bolt holding the caliper in and flip the caliper up. The caliper can be removed by sliding it off with the other bolt still in. Pull the pads off the mounting bracket. Remove the 2 bolts holding the mounting bracket on. The rotor comes off after the bracket is removed. If the rotors are stuck hit them with a hammer till they come loose. You can hit them wherever since you are putting new rotors on. Once the rotor is off clean up the hub some with some sand paper, or if you have a small 90 degree angle grinder you can use that to clean the hub. Remember to clean and lubricate the caliper slides, clean off rust where the pad brackets go on the mounting bracket. Then, start to reassemble. When you go to compress the caliper take the cap off the brake fluid reservoir and then compress the pistons with a C-clamp and one of the old pads.

Basically the tools needed are a C-clamp, metric socket/wrench set (whichever you prefer), sand paper or grinder, lubricant (can be bought at autozone or other), and have some brake fluid handy just in case. As long as you haven't had any brake fluid leaks you shouldn't need the brake fluid. Overall it is really easy to do brakes on these cars.
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Old 05-21-2010, 06:19 AM   #3
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

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Originally Posted by chevyguy8893 View Post
Remove one bolt holding the caliper in and flip the caliper up. The caliper can be removed by sliding it off with the other bolt still in. Pull the pads off the mounting bracket. Remove the 2 bolts holding the mounting bracket on. The rotor comes off after the bracket is removed. If the rotors are stuck hit them with a hammer till they come loose. You can hit them wherever since you are putting new rotors on. Once the rotor is off clean up the hub some with some sand paper, or if you have a small 90 degree angle grinder you can use that to clean the hub. Remember to clean and lubricate the caliper slides, clean off rust where the pad brackets go on the mounting bracket. Then, start to reassemble. When you go to compress the caliper take the cap off the brake fluid reservoir and then compress the pistons with a C-clamp and one of the old pads.

Basically the tools needed are a C-clamp, metric socket/wrench set (whichever you prefer), sand paper or grinder, lubricant (can be bought at autozone or other), and have some brake fluid handy just in case. As long as you haven't had any brake fluid leaks you shouldn't need the brake fluid. Overall it is really easy to do brakes on these cars.
Great write up!!!! Thank you.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

It is a big NO - NO to push the brake fluid back up stream. If any sludge or anything but "clean" fluid gets in the ABS motor (which is just down stream from the Master cylinder) you could be in debt for more than $1,000.00.
You should open the bleeder screw and let it out there, NEVER push it up. After pads are replaced, bleed them as per the book.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:14 PM   #5
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

This makes no sense to me. No matter what the piston in the caliper has to be compressed back into the piston to fit the new pads. As long as there was no leaks in the system or brake fluid added the fluid level would just go up closer to the max fill line. As for sludge in the brake system, I understand brake fluid goes bad over time and gets dirty but there shouldn't be sludge in the system. If there is sludge I think there would be more issues. With pad replacement the brake should not need to be bled since the brake system is not opened up and there would be no way for air to get in the system.
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Old 08-21-2010, 10:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chevyguy8893 View Post
This makes no sense to me. No matter what the piston in the caliper has to be compressed back into the piston to fit the new pads. As long as there was no leaks in the system or brake fluid added the fluid level would just go up closer to the max fill line. As for sludge in the brake system, I understand brake fluid goes bad over time and gets dirty but there shouldn't be sludge in the system. If there is sludge I think there would be more issues. With pad replacement the brake should not need to be bled since the brake system is not opened up and there would be no way for air to get in the system.
The sludge gets in all brake systems from the heat it is put under.
If you push it into the ABS motor, you will find out what will happen.
If in doubt, get a factory shop manual and look it up, or find someone that has an account with iATN and ask them to look it up.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

Quote:
Originally Posted by btexpress View Post
It is a big NO - NO to push the brake fluid back up stream. If any sludge or anything but "clean" fluid gets in the ABS motor (which is just down stream from the Master cylinder) you could be in debt for more than $1,000.00.
You should open the bleeder screw and let it out there, NEVER push it up. After pads are replaced, bleed them as per the book.
This makes no sense,
You have to push up the caliber to insert the new pads... I always do this THEN bleed the system AFTER all the brake system is put back together.... I've done this since i've had my Malibu with no problems at all. As lon as you bleed the system after then you'll elimiate any possibility of sludge related problems.
How else would you fit the new pads BTW?
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Last edited by 03MowiLS; 08-22-2010 at 10:06 AM.
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Old 08-22-2010, 10:35 AM   #8
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

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Originally Posted by 03MowiLS View Post
This makes no sense,
You have to push up the caliber to insert the new pads... I always do this THEN bleed the system AFTER all the brake system is put back together.... I've done this since i've had my Malibu with no problems at all. As lon as you bleed the system after then you'll elimiate any possibility of sludge related problems.
How else would you fit the new pads BTW?
I think what btexpress is saying is open the bleed before you compress so if there is a little sludge in the piston it will come out the bleeder. IMHO not sure if it is necessary but it certainly won't hurt to open the bleeder while compressing the piston. I saw a pneumatically pressurized attachment that you fill with brake fluid, pump it up and then attach it to the brake fluid reservoir. This allows one person to bleed out old fluid and sludge starting with the furthest caliper. Seemed like a cool idea for flushing the whole system periodically.
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Old 03-09-2011, 08:46 AM   #9
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

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Originally Posted by Sandhopper View Post
I think what btexpress is saying is open the bleed before you compress so if there is a little sludge in the piston it will come out the bleeder. IMHO not sure if it is necessary but it certainly won't hurt to open the bleeder while compressing the piston. I saw a pneumatically pressurized attachment that you fill with brake fluid, pump it up and then attach it to the brake fluid reservoir. This allows one person to bleed out old fluid and sludge starting with the furthest caliper. Seemed like a cool idea for flushing the whole system periodically.
linky linky?
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Old 03-10-2011, 05:45 AM   #10
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Default Re: Changing the front brakes, have a question.

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Originally Posted by tk6214 View Post
linky linky?
Air pressure operated one-man brake bleeder

I'd also suggest paying the extra and using colored brake fluid if you're flushing - if you use, say, blue fluid, when the blue starts coming out the right shade, you're flushed to that point. And also, start at the furthest one (passenger rear). Here's an example, although I don't say you should buy from here: DOT 4 Blue Brake Fluid at about $21 per gallon

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