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  1. #1
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    Replace brake pads

    I am a noob planning to replace brake pads on my wife's 2003 Passat. I have been trying to gather parts and supplies needed based on this article:
    Brake pad and rotor replacement
    I got the brake pads today. However, I just noticed that all the images are gone from the "how-to" article linked above. I searched the forums, but could not find another article with pictures for replacing the brake pads. I will be replacing the brake pads on *any* car for the first time and the pictures will surely help.

    I tried sending the author of that post a message, but the forum won't let me, because I have not yet posted 5 posts. Also, the article is not accepting any new replies.

    Any help is appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!

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    Note that it is best to replace rotors and pads at the same time, or at least have the old rotors turned if possible. Putting new pads on old rotors that have not been turned will typically wear the pads out faster and can cause the pads not to bed properly.

    As far as the DIY goes, the fronts are fairly straight forward. The rears do require a special tool to compress / turn the piston at the same time. We do have the tool available, but it can often times be rented at a local auto parts store as well. You should be able to follow any brake DIY for a Mk4, Mk5, B4 Passat, B5 A4, etc... they are all extremely similar and the process is near identical.

  4. #3
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    the fronts are pretty straight forward to do.

    See this pdf for how to remove the front calipers

    http://www.tyrolsport.com/product_in...20Bushings.pdf

    The caliper carrier is straight forward. Look behind for the 2 big bolts to remove.

    The rears are also straight forward. The 2 main tools you need are: something to retract the rear piston & a thin wrench to support the rear guide pin while you remove the guide pin bolt.

    http://www.metalnerd.com/cat08.htm

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    Quote Originally Posted by jon@ecstuning.com View Post
    Note that it is best to replace rotors and pads at the same time, or at least have the old rotors turned if possible. Putting new pads on old rotors that have not been turned will typically wear the pads out faster and can cause the pads not to bed properly.
    Thanks a lot for the info! How do I get the old rotors "turned"? Do you think it will be acceptable if I just replace the pads this time, and do both rotors and pads the next time?

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    Super Stealth Retired Moderator JayTheSnork's Avatar
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    rear rotors on B5 and B5.5 Passats (can't speak for B6s) are typically not replaceable. reason is the braking system has a rear bias to prevent the front end from nose-diving on hard braking; therefore, the rears wear out quicker than the fronts.

    I ran front rotors for almost 200 K miles before needing to replace them, and during the time I have had the car, I've replaced the rear rotors once and they need to be replaced again shortly.

    getting rotors turned means removing them and taking the rotors to a shop where they can remove any ridges and/or glazing. the shop has a special machine that removes the top layer of material on the rotor faces.

    if you have never performed a brake job before, I recommend that you do it with another knowledgeable member here. since no one knows where you are located, open your User CP and put in the pertinent info, like your location! people here are more than willing to help out...

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    Quote Originally Posted by JayTheSnork View Post
    rear rotors on B5 and B5.5 Passats (can't speak for B6s) are typically not replaceable.
    Thanks!

    I am sorry, I don't get your statement here. The rear rotors cannot be replaced? The article mentioned above did replace the rear rotors

    I have added my location to my User CP.

    My wife's Passat is at 60K miles right now.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by JayTheSnork View Post
    rear rotors on B5 and B5.5 Passats (can't speak for B6s) are typically not replaceable. reason is the braking system has a rear bias to prevent the front end from nose-diving on hard braking; therefore, the rears wear out quicker than the fronts.

    I ran front rotors for almost 200 K miles before needing to replace them, and during the time I have had the car, I've replaced the rear rotors once and they need to be replaced again shortly.

    getting rotors turned means removing them and taking the rotors to a shop where they can remove any ridges and/or glazing. the shop has a special machine that removes the top layer of material on the rotor faces.

    if you have never performed a brake job before, I recommend that you do it with another knowledgeable member here. since no one knows where you are located, open your User CP and put in the pertinent info, like your location! people here are more than willing to help out...
    I think you made a typo. They typically should not be turned.

    The actual reason is the thickness of the rotors new versus worn.

    the front rotors only allow for 3 mm of TOTAL wear (about 1.5mm each side)
    the rear rotors (solid discs) only allow for 2mm of total wear (about 1mm each side).

    That's not much room for wear.


    Also, the brake bias is still the majority to the front, not the rear. There is a higher percentage of braking power to the rear compared to other cars.

    New rotors are cheap. ECStuning has deals on them. German Auto Parts got great prices. many dealerships advertise on the 'tex offering parts discounts also.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gabhroo View Post
    I am sorry, I don't get your statement here. The rear rotors cannot be replaced? The article mentioned above did replace the rear rotors
    I'm sure he meant the rear rotors can't be reused. Putting new pads on old rotors is not something to be done casually, though some members do it. You really should not put on new pads without turning the rotors; but the Passat rotors have almost no extra thickness to machine.

    Proper procedure is to replace the rotors every time.

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    Seems like I should replace the rotors as well

    So, for the rotors (or other parts), when germanautoparts.com lists something as "Original equipment", does it mean it is the same as the ones I would get from the dealer? I do not want to spend too much on the rotors, but want at least as much quality as the originals.

    I already bought the pads from the dealer and ordered the piston turning tool from them today morning.

    Thanks!

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    There are scenarios where the rotors can be turned, but the rotor tolerances on most newer cars does not leave enough material for them to be turned. I personally just replace the rotors every time I change out the pads.

    We do have a selection of rotors available that can be found here on the website:

    http://www.ecstuning.com/Volkswagen-...aign=postreply

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    Super (Charged) Moderator, Grinding Gears...gone fishing! ScottPassat2.8's Avatar
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    germanauto is fine, all my pads and rotors are from them.
    pm me your e-mail. someone(PNWdriver) ty.. gave me a writeup with pics.
    Quick Link MASTER at your service.Forum Moderator.

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    Ordered the rotors! Now, its just the jack pads and the lubes. Everything else is on order. Thanks everybody.
    Interestingly, when I went to the VW dealer, he said the jack pads are Audi parts and I need to go to the Audi dealer to order them. I got the numbers off of a sticky post in one of these forums.

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    Got the rotors. I have another question though. While I am waiting to get rest of the stuff, I was wondering if I should actually wait to change the brakes.
    I am doing all this because the dealer told my wife that the brakes should be changed at the next oil change (at 65K. right now, it is at 61k). However, how do I know the dealer is not just trying to make some extra cash?
    Seems like there is a sensor on the brake pads, and if the pads wear out, there should be a warning flashed on "display panel".
    Or, should I take off the wheels and measure the pads? If yes, is there a tool to do that, or should I just use a regular ruler?

    Thanks again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gabhroo View Post
    Got the rotors. I have another question though. While I am waiting to get rest of the stuff, I was wondering if I should actually wait to change the brakes.
    Good question. Traditionally, you changed pads promptly to prevent destroying the rotors. That's not an issue here. My experience is that VW dealers, even good ones, recommend brake replacement way too early. I'll be generous and assume this is because they're afraid you'll forget and create a safety issue, rather than being simple revenue enhancement.

    If you're not having any braking problems, I'd certainly consider measuring the pads yourself. Make sure you know what the minimum spec is. What I use is a small, thin, plastic ruler, cut so the end is the "0" point, instead of the couple of mm extra there usually is. Measure all 8 pads; they don't always wear evenly. In my case, the inner front pads were wearing faster than the outers.

    The brake warning light only tells you so much, as it only monitors two wheels. I've done the brakes once on each on my cars, and I did it early, due to warped rotors. Aside from that, logically I should have run them into the ground. Assuming the thickness is checked frequently enough, anyone have a reason why not?

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    I usually replace them when the pad is as thin or slightly thinner than the backing plate. Thinner than that and the pad can fade or even fall apart under heavy braking.

    The front pads have sensors that will tell you when the inside pads are too thin. The rear pads do not have a sensor. If you wait until the rear pads are down to metal, it can be very hard to thread the piston back in to replace the pads.

  17. #16
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    Thanks. Looks like it is best to take out the wheels and check the thickness of the pads. Bentley manual says the the minimum thickness is 7mm (including the back-plate).

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    Yes, you need to remove the rear tires to see the inner pad. It usually wears faster than the outside.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scotts13 View Post
    The brake warning light only tells you so much, as it only monitors two wheels. I've done the brakes once on each on my cars, and I did it early, due to warped rotors. Aside from that, logically I should have run them into the ground. Assuming the thickness is checked frequently enough, anyone have a reason why not?
    The warning light only monitors one wheel. The front driver side only (the sensor is connected to the inside pad)

    Quote Originally Posted by PZ View Post
    Yes, you need to remove the rear tires to see the inner pad. It usually wears faster than the outside.
    The calipers have a "peep hole" that you can visually inspect the thickness of the pads without removing the caliper

  20. #19
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    I was pretty sure when I've seen my brakes changed at Strauss and both front wheels had a sensor but i could be mistaken.

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    Quote Originally Posted by nj12nets View Post
    I was pretty sure when I've seen my brakes changed at Strauss and both front wheels had a sensor but i could be mistaken.
    No, both front pads have sensor wires and they both connect to leads. I wonder if Helmet was saying one of 'em doesn't actually do anything?

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    Here, this is practically identical.
    http://www.audiworld.com/tech/wheel25.shtml

    There are also 2 bolts holding the caliper carrier on. that will need to be removed before you can get the rotor off. Chances are, the rotor is fused by rust to the hub. A few good wacks with a hammer should get it off

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    Only things I have to add are, be sure to regrease the caliper guide pins (the bolts holding the caliper on) and that, at least on my 02 there are 2 front brake wear sensors on the inboard pads, dont know if both of them trigger the light but I know the right one does

  24. #23
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    Lots of good tips here. You guys are awesome.

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    Clean all of the gummed up rubber off of the pins before greasing them.

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    I just replaced the pads and rotors on my 03 Passat with 74k. The rear pads were completely worn and starting to groove the rotors, so you will need to do yours before too long. Be sure to check the thread on bleeding the brakes, longest distance to shortest distance. You can also borrow the brake tools from either Car Quest or Advanced Auto for adjusting the caliper cylinder. You will need to turn the cylinder in to put in the new pads.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zzoomm View Post
    I just replaced the pads and rotors on my 03 Passat with 74k. The rear pads were completely worn and starting to groove the rotors, so you will need to do yours before too long. Be sure to check the thread on bleeding the brakes, longest distance to shortest distance. You can also borrow the brake tools from either Car Quest or Advanced Auto for adjusting the caliper cylinder. You will need to turn the cylinder in to put in the new pads.
    From searching around the forum, it seems like I do not necessarily have to bleed the brakes. I can just open the cap of brake fluid reservoir and put some shop towels around it to hold the extra fluid when I press the piston in.
    I already bought the VAG T1012 tool ($65) from the dealer..should have borrowed it instead..oh well

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gabhroo View Post
    From searching around the forum, it seems like I do not necessarily have to bleed the brakes. I can just open the cap of brake fluid reservoir and put some shop towels around it to hold the extra fluid when I press the piston in.
    I already bought the VAG T1012 tool ($65) from the dealer..should have borrowed it instead..oh well
    yes, you can. You can also suck a little bit out with a cheap turkey baster to prevent spill over, then pour some back in it under level once everything is buttoned back up.

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    Brembo rotors and Ate brake pads for Passat 2002

    Nice to read you did your brakes. I have an '02 Passat and a couple of years ago I replaced all rotors with brembo oem. So far, the rotors are really slick like day-1. I opted for Ate brake pads although there are several brands offering high-end braking power. These ones are a little bit dusty and cover the wheels with brake dust after only few miles but have very good stopping power.
    There is really no rule on when to change rotors/brake pads, it depends on your driving style, weather, and so on. What I can tell you based on my experience with this car is that a well done brake job can last thousands of miles and also the replacements quality. And just to make a point here, front pads wear faster than rears, no matter if the brakes are biased towards the rear as someone said before. Do you think if that was the case the front calipers were to be bigger than the rear ones? The weight transfer always goes to the front while braking, so...
    Have a nice drive.

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    Quote Originally Posted by silverpassat_awm View Post
    .... And just to make a point here, front pads wear faster than rears, no matter if the brakes are biased towards the rear as someone said before. Do you think if that was the case the front calipers were to be bigger than the rear ones? The weight transfer always goes to the front while braking, so...
    Have a nice drive.
    re: front vs. rear wear, while I generally agree with your theory here and I've also found this to be true on every car I've owned other than my Passats....I've found this car to be an odd exception. I have an '03 B5.5 that I've had since new with brake rotors and pads always replaced when needed with OEM parts.

    Rear pads/rotors worn and replaced at:
    • 60k mi. (a lot of highway miles in first 50k)
    • 90k mi
    • 120k mi (suspected* - need to look more closely)
    Front pads/rotors worn and replaced at:
    • 90k mi
    • suspected* still okay at 120k mi
    *suspected because it's too cold for me to get out and take a proper look...pretty sure rears are shot

    Seems others have had the same experience. I thought this bizarre though VW said they often see this on B5/5.5s - they also thought it odd.

    So, I'm pretty convinced that for quite a few of us, rears wear faster on these cars. I haven't searched extensively and for explanations. I suspect the faster wear would be either due to smaller rotors/pads w/less built in wear or some other factor such as cooling of rear brakes, behavior of pad/rotor contact when pads are not applied, etc. - as I just can't believe the rear brakes are actually taking more stopping load.

    One potentially contributing factor....I have a manual transmission and I use the hand brake 100% of the time when parked. If the pad gap adjustment is driven by hand brake application (not sure, some cars are I believe, others by application in reverse) this could contribute to some element of hand brake adjustment that results in increased pad wear while not under braking. Another though would be that the generally less-than-ideal-for-the-brakes practice of applying the hand brake with the brakes hot could result in warping or some other impact on the rotor that results in accelerated wear (but isn't noticeable in handling). Just some wild thoughts - maybe I'll search a bit more for other explanations or information. If anyone is aware of good summary thread on this, etc. I'd welcome any info or thoughts.

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    Motel Room Moderator VAGguy's Avatar
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    x2 or whatever on wear. The rears on these cars will always wear faster. My A4 is no exception. Approximately 2:1 rears to fronts. The A4 went 65K on first set of rears and just did the fronts at 100K.v the rears are getting close again. My Passat just needed the first set of rears at 85K and will probably need fronts in about 15-20K when I hit 130K

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