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Old 10-19-08, 09:08 PM   #1
efrobert
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Anyone do their own auto repairs?

I've been trying to do more of my own repairs. I'm wondering how hard is it to replace brake pads?
Over the last few years I've put in a new alternator, installed a new radiator, tune ups, oil changes. But I've never worked on the brakes.
I just don't trust mechanics, I always think I'm getting ripped off.
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Old 10-19-08, 09:16 PM   #2
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Discs? If you've done that other stuff u should be okay.

Having said that, be forewarned -
I've never worked on ABS brakes; I do not think they are more difficult, but just putting it out there.
changing the pads is not so hard - getting the calipers back on the disc with the new pads can be a bit tough (gotta spread them open again). The toughest part here may be bleeding the lines - easier with two people, obviously. Watch the brake fluid, it'll kill your paint job.

Drums are really easy but take some elbow grease.

I really don't miss doing all that stuff (no car now)
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Old 10-19-08, 09:16 PM   #3
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if you've done that other stuff, brake pads shouldn't be too hard for you. some calipers have little tricks for retracting the piston back in - which you have to do since the new pads are going to be much thicker than the ones you are taking out - but if you have the haynes manual or chilton's manual or some other cheap repair manual for your car, it'll explain it easily enough. i'd say go for it!
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Old 10-19-08, 09:17 PM   #4
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Brake pads are a 20 minute job on my car (per wheel)...
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Old 10-19-08, 09:49 PM   #5
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I've been trying to do more of my own repairs. I'm wondering how hard is it to replace brake pads?
Over the last few years I've put in a new alternator, installed a new radiator, tune ups, oil changes. But I've never worked on the brakes.
I just don't trust mechanics, I always think I'm getting ripped off.
The last time I decided to "save myself money" and do the brakes on the wife's car....well, here's the story.

I've done plenty of brake jobs, knew what I was doing, had the parts and had the tools. The first issue was that the last time the shop had swapped the snow tires, they tightened the bujeezuz out of the lugs. I just didn't have the leverage to remove one lug. Off to the parts store to buy a longer wrench.

Once the stripped lug was off, the job was relatively easy: remove wheel, remove pads, retract caliper, replace pads, replace wheel, bleed brakes. Not much harder than fixing a flat. When I tried to put that semi-stripped lug on....that's when it became fully stripped. With my longer leverage lug wrench, I easily sheared it off before it was even snug.

Knowing I'd have to face the music and see my mechanic laugh at me when I asked him to replace the stud, I put the rest of the lugs on, then grabbed the hubcap....

The hubcap wasn't cooperating. It was the spring type that snaps inside a steel wheel, and try as I might, it just wouldn't even start. I got down in the dirt, sat on my butt and tried to push (OK, kick) it on with my feet. Apparently one of the kicks was misplaced and I sheared the valve off.

Thoroughly humiliated, I put on the spare, drove it to the mechanic and yes...he laughed at me. He also fixed the damage, and adding that to my cost for parts...it equaled the cost of a brake job. I've taken my cars in ever since.
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Old 10-19-08, 09:54 PM   #6
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The last time I decided to "save myself money" and do the brakes on the wife's car....well, here's the story.

I've done plenty of brake jobs, knew what I was doing, had the parts and had the tools. The first issue was that the last time the shop had swapped the snow tires, they tightened the bujeezuz out of the lugs. I just didn't have the leverage to remove one lug. Off to the parts store to buy a longer wrench.

Once the stripped lug was off, the job was relatively easy: remove wheel, remove pads, retract caliper, replace pads, replace wheel, bleed brakes. Not much harder than fixing a flat. When I tried to put that semi-stripped lug on....that's when it became fully stripped. With my longer leverage lug wrench, I easily sheared it off before it was even snug.

Knowing I'd have to face the music and see my mechanic laugh at me when I asked him to replace the stud, I put the rest of the lugs on, then grabbed the hubcap....

The hubcap wasn't cooperating. It was the spring type that snaps inside a steel wheel, and try as I might, it just wouldn't even start. I got down in the dirt, sat on my butt and tried to push (OK, kick) it on with my feet. Apparently one of the kicks was misplaced and I sheared the valve off.

Thoroughly humiliated, I put on the spare, drove it to the mechanic and yes...he laughed at me. He also fixed the damage, and adding that to my cost for parts...it equaled the cost of a brake job. I've taken my cars in ever since.
ahahahhahahhaha i know someone who got 6 stiches trying to put a hubcap back on barehanded. thats what rubber mallets are for.


takes me about 15 minutes with both the wheels off
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Old 10-19-08, 10:01 PM   #7
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I just helped a friend install an engine today. Yesterday I helped put in an alarm system. Does that count?
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Old 10-19-08, 10:13 PM   #8
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Yesterday I helped put in an alarm system.
You should be ashamed.
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Old 10-19-08, 10:16 PM   #9
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Last time I did my front brakes, I had a heck of a time getting the rotors off. The brakes lasted 95,000 miles - which is great, but....they where frozen in place...ugh! Prior rotors (from my previous rides) I've removed all had a threaded hole for a tiny bolt. The bolt was used to push the rotor off the hub. However, these OEM rotors had no additional threaded hole, so I had to use a crowbar to remove them from the front hubs. It took me two days of elbow grease, and finally coming upon a thread on the internet that talked about the crow bar technique....afterwhich it was about 2 minutes worth of grunting with the crow bar...and poof! Off they went.

Good luck!
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Old 10-19-08, 10:17 PM   #10
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Fairly simple repairs like brakes aren't bad if you've got the tools, and the time.
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Old 10-19-08, 10:21 PM   #11
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I just helped a friend install an engine today.
Hey...me too.

Only it was helping my nephew swap a nice 351 into his Ford 4X4 in place of the old tired 6. That's a 3 day job.

How much blood did you shed?
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Old 10-19-08, 10:34 PM   #12
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On my car, the brake-pads take 10-seconds to replace once the wheel's off. Actually easier than an alternator replacement. Here's my project from last summer:




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Old 10-19-08, 10:50 PM   #13
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Brake pad replacement is conceptually easy, but is real cave man mechanics - dirty and nasty. And there are some gotchas if you don't know what you're doing.

For example, most rear disc brakes now require you to turn the piston as you retract them which may or may not be something you can do with ordinary tools - I had to buy the $20 Harbor Freight tool that last time I did mine. And you do want to pay attention to springs, clips, and apply anti-squeal paste judiciously if you want quiet brakes. Finally, there is always the chance you'll run into rusty, frozen, or difficult to remove parts - it's a nasty spot down there in your wheel wells.

If you have a good manual or tutorial, have the tools, are reasonably handy, and don't mind dirty work, it's a good repair to save money on. But it is definitely more difficult work than changing oil or flushing a radiator. For a first-timer, it really helps to have someone experience to show you the ropes and always have a backup plan if you do something stupid.

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Old 10-19-08, 10:56 PM   #14
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efrobert, what model car are you looking at?
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Old 10-19-08, 11:03 PM   #15
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Danno... I heard doing the clutch on the 944's are a MAJOR PAIN!! Is that true? Or was my buddy just a putz? hehe!

Disc brakes should be fairly straight forward. I bet if you do a search you'll be able to find step by step instructions on how to replace them. When i owned a Honda I used to do all the maintenance and upgrade stuff myself. They were so easy to work on, especially since I had the Helms repair manual. That was my bible!

Good luck!
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Old 10-19-08, 11:06 PM   #16
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Brakes are easy. Dealing with discs is almost totally brain dead. There are a few tricks to certain drum brakes, but it's nothing you can't handle.
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Old 10-20-08, 12:04 AM   #17
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It's one or two bolts more complicated than changing a tire.

Do one wheel at a time, so if you screw up you can look at the other side compare.

Jack it up, take off the wheel.

Two bolts will hold the caliper on. Remove one and see if the caliper rolls back out of the way to slide the rotor off. If not, undo the other bolt and set the caliper (with brake line still attached) out of the way.

Slide the rotor off, slide the new one on.

Pop the pads out of the caliper.

Take the cap off the brake fluid reservoir and compress the caliper: ck google for compressing the caliper piston on your model. Most require a c-clamp to push it back in, my Mazda had an allen bolt on the back of the caliper that pulled it back in.

Put the new pads in, put the caliper back on over the new rotor, put the wheel back on.

Put the cap back on the brake fluid reservoir.

IMPORTANT:
Pump the brakes back up to firm before you move that car. Then test drive when the pedal feels firm. No bleeding required.

Good luck!
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Old 10-20-08, 01:06 AM   #18
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Happily I can say I haven't done my own car repairs in 15 years because I'm a car-free man, but every now and then I get talked into doing someone's for them.

Brakes are easy, if your car is from an area that doesn't salt their roads. If you brought you car from back east, all bets are off.
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Old 10-20-08, 01:08 AM   #19
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Danno... I heard doing the clutch on the 944's are a MAJOR PAIN!! Is that true? Or was my buddy just a putz? hehe!
Well... you gotta know what you're doing and have the right tools. A tranny jack really helps to drop it from the rear end. Then work your way forwards, remove the torque-tube and you've got access to the clutch. It's just really dirty work under the car, so I like to steam-clean everything before starting. Haven't done a 944 clutch yet, but on my 951, it requires taking off all the turbo plumbing and took me about 18 hours last time. So on a 944, I'd guess it'd be 10-12 hours. If you install a Centerforce clutch, you'll never have to replace it again. I put mine on 3-engines and 125k-miles ago and it's only 1/2 worn.
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Old 10-20-08, 01:12 AM   #20
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The hubcap wasn't cooperating. It was the spring type that snaps inside a steel wheel, and try as I might, it just wouldn't even start. I got down in the dirt, sat on my butt and tried to push (OK, kick) it on with my feet. Apparently one of the kicks was misplaced and I sheared the valve off.


Maybe it's the beer+ Lortab, but made me laugh so hard I hurt my back again(thanks buddy).
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Old 10-20-08, 03:42 AM   #21
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i repair other people's cars. if mine is broken, i just live with it. the cobbler's shoes, and all that.
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Old 10-20-08, 04:30 AM   #22
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On my car, the brake-pads take 10-seconds to replace once the wheel's off. Actually easier than an alternator replacement. Here's my project from last summer:




i wouldve thrown that engine in the garbage and went with a S13 motor
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Old 10-20-08, 05:34 AM   #23
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Turbooooo. Disk brakes without ABS take like 5 minutes to change pads and rotors.
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Old 10-20-08, 06:26 AM   #24
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Quote:
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Put the new pads in, put the caliper back on over the new rotor, put the wheel back on.
Be sure to apply brake pad grease to both sides of the shims. Otherwise, you could find yourself with noisy brakes.
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Old 10-20-08, 08:01 AM   #25
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meh, I just do basic things- oil changes, spark plugs, and such.

as my last oil change was a nightmare, I might be retiring from the self-mechanic business.
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