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Thread: DIY brakes, any tips?

  1. #1
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    Default DIY brakes, any tips?

    Hey guys my brakes are shit so i've decided to replace them (98 cavalier) this weekend. i've done some research and read up a couple of DIY guides.

    I've also got a buddy who's pretty mechanically inclined to help me out. But I was wondering if anyone had any valuable tips they've learned from experience?

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    Yes, buy a giant C-Clamp to compress the calipers.

    I also suggest wiping the rotors with some brake quiet. Other then that, it's really straight forward.


    Last edited by Your Mom on 02-30-2010 at 12:30 AM

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    werd ^^^ and try not to break stuff.

    and check your brake fluid.

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    ur also going to need a tool to turn back the rear brakes or else ur SOL..
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    Originally posted by Annoyingrob
    Yes, buy a giant C-Clamp to compress the calipers.
    only needed for rear rotors and his car has drums

    Originally posted by adam c
    ur also going to need a tool to turn back the rear brakes or else ur SOL..
    see above

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    Originally posted by ercchry


    only needed for rear rotors and his car has drums



    see above

    Then how do you push the front pistion(s) in then??


    And also...Anti-Seize all the bolts and shit...use all shims provided...make sure ALL surfaces stay clean and grease free. Buy a can or two or Brake Cleen...

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    You use the C-clamp for the front calipers and a large screwdriver for the rears. Since the Cavalier has no rear discs you will just need a C-clamp, 3-4" should do.

    Instead of using brake clean you can just use soap and water to clean the rotor but dont clean the braking surface of the pad. Buy yourself some silicone grease to relube the caliper pins and the back of the brake pad. Before you start spray all 4 bolts with WD-40 or something to make removing them easier.

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    ah sorry. i didnt know cavaliers didnt have rear disks
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    Originally posted by EK 2.0



    Then how do you push the front pistion(s) in then??

    with your hands

    i have never had a problem with pushing in the fronts on any car, only the rears, and with the rears it is either a screw in type or a push in type, so then you need the c-clip, or snap on makes a tool that works much better

    also for the rear drums remember when you put the new pads in that the shorter one is in the front and the bigger one is in the back
    Last edited by ercchry; 05-11-2007 at 01:03 PM.

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    Originally posted by ercchry


    with your hands
    Either you have superhuman strength or your car was one of a million, but i've barely ever seen a car where you can push the fronts with your fingers alone.
    Original Post NAZI Moderated


    Originally posted by r3cc0s
    Felon or Mistermeiner

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    Originally posted by Weapon_R


    Either you have superhuman strength or your car was one of a million, but i've barely ever seen a car where you can push the fronts with your fingers alone.

    ^+1 never seen a car on which you could just finger press the piston back in.
    those huge plumbing pliers work really good.

    as for the rear people saying you need the cross tool to turn back the piston, all you need is needlenose pliers, never used the tool ever.

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    Originally posted by Weapon_R


    Either you have superhuman strength or your car was one of a million, but i've barely ever seen a car where you can push the fronts with your fingers alone.
    then how would you compress something with 4 pistons or 6?

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    put the old pad back in and use a c clamp or those huge pliers to press it back in, more surface area to compress and they are both level with e/o.

    or a piece of wood that fits, instead of the old pad.

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    Originally posted by n1zm0
    put the old pad back in and use a c clamp or those huge pliers to press it back in, more surface area to compress and they are both level with e/o.

    or a piece of wood that fits, instead of the old pad.
    well my point was more along the lines of how would c-clamps fit inside of a 4 piston caliper

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    i dont see this fitting

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    c-clamps do come in various lengths/widths.. but i would just go get these

    and everyones happy

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    Originally posted by Annoyingrob
    Yes, buy a giant C-Clamp to compress the calipers.
    True that. Unless you wanna beat them down like a red-headed step child.
    It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice.

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    Originally posted by ercchry


    well my point was more along the lines of how would c-clamps fit inside of a 4 piston caliper


    They don't...what I have done in the past with Brembo's is open the bleed valve and push the piston's back in using the old pad and c-clamp method. The fluid leaves through the bleed hole, you close up button it all back together a quick bleed of the brakes and not only do you have new pads...you get some fresh fluid in there as well. Which I know we can all agree on is always a good thing.

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    Originally posted by EK 2.0
    They don't...what I have done in the past with Brembo's is open the bleed valve and push the piston's back in using the old pad and c-clamp method. The fluid leaves through the bleed hole, you close up button it all back together a quick bleed of the brakes and not only do you have new pads...you get some fresh fluid in there as well. Which I know we can all agree on is always a good thing.
    It seems our friend here (ercchry) thinks that his one time doing brakes on a car means all cars are the exact same as that one. As well he wants to know how to do brembos for when he puts them on his mad-tyte driftor rx-7. All vehicles brakes are a bit different, my old mazda I had to screw the piston back in with needle nose pliers, or the appropriate open end wrench. My dad's truck, the front rotors are also the hubs, so it requires removing of the bearings, and then clamping the piston, because no matter the vehcile... with new pads you need more clearance. Which means either screwing, or for the GM vehicles like this cavalier, you have to force the piston back in with a c-clamp...

    On a side note if your brakes are that bad do not just replace the pads, check the rotors for wear, warping, or cracks. If they are grooved from the old pads, either take them in to be resurfaced (given they are still a fair amount away from the min. thickness) or buy new rotors. Running new pads on old rotors will just be waste of time.

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    Make sure caliper pins are clean and move freely, try lubing them with syl-glyde(sp?)

    Umm if there are any rubber peices check none of them are cracking etc.

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