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487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'll add pictures when I'm at home. Some people slather antisieze on everything but it wasn't there when VW made it. Comments?

Put the hand brake on and leave the car in park or in gear. Break the
lug bolts so that you'll be able to remove them when the car is jacked
up. Don't loosen them, leave them hand tight but not torqued.

Jack up the front of the car and put it on axle stands. There are blocks
you can use to protect the car from a trolley jack.

Remove the front wheels.

Disconnect the brake wear sensors by rotating the connector and lifting
it out of its bracket then pulling the housings apart. I didn't get a
good look at how the catch worked, pressing down on the back end while I
pulled worked for me. Don't pull by the wires. Also remove the ABS
sensor wire grommet from its bracket, you don't want the caliper dangling
from the ABS wires.

Wriggle the brake sensor connector out past the rigid brake line, my
pads were 5% worn and might be useful another time so I didn't want to
cut off the old connector just to save 30 seconds of fiddling.

Put something under the car to rest the caliper on when you remove it, I
used a bucket, there are probably expensive hi-tech alternatives too.

Pop the plastic covers off the rubber boots on the pins on the back of
the caliper. Use a 7mm allen wrench to undo the pins. You don't need to
remove them from the caliper, backing them out of the carrier will do.
Remove the caliper.

Pop the hood and take the top off the brake fluid reservoir and surround
it with an absorbent cloth... just in case. Another alternative is to
connect a bleeding device to the caliper when you are about to compress
the piston and open the nipple. In either case the aim is to make sure
that brake fluid doesn't pour out over the car.


Take the outside pad off and use a G-clamp to compress the brake piston.


Take both pads off and use a caliper resetting tool, with the appropriate
adapter, to reset the piston.

Place the caliper on the 'stand' so that the flexible brake line is not
under stress.

Use an 18mm (I think) socket to remove the two bolts which hold the
caliper carrier on from the rear. You might want to replace these bolts,
they cost about $2.50 each unless you buy them at a rip-off VW dealer in
south San Jose in which case they'll be $3.60. Audi dealers have the
same parts for A4s.

The disc can now be removed. There are no screws holding any of the
disks on a 2003 Passat, don't know about older ones. In California where
they don't salt the roads the stock disk will probably just fall off. If
you have a rusty after market part, or live in a more interesting
climate, it may need a gentle (GENTLE!) tap with a rubber mallet.

Use a wire brush to clean any loose rust off the hub... if you are in
the rust belt and your hub doesn't look like new.

Thoroughly degrease the new rotor and put it on the hub. Use a couple of
wheel bolts to keep it aligned for now.

Bolt the caliper carrier in place, this will hold the disc roughly in
place for now. I used blue locktite on the new bolts. I think the torque
spec is 92 ftlbs.

Take a look at the old pads and note where the caliper made contact,
apply anti squeal compound to those areas. Don't use too much, it'll
just squeeze out and make a hell of a mess.

Load the new pads into the caliper and work the sensor connector through
the way the old one was. If you didn't hack the old one off then the
experience you gained should be useful in putting the new one on.

Put the caliper and pads onto the carrier, make sure the lads have
engaged the carrier correctly and tighten the pins (29 ftlbs?). Don't
forget to put the dust covers back into the rubber boots!

Make sure the disc is properly on the hub then go pump the brakes, don't
push very hard yet, just until there is resistance.

Go back to the disc and check that it is well aligned, there shouldn't
be much if any slack now. After making sure everything is seated
correctly go stand on the brakes properly. That should hold the disk
well enough while you put the wheel back on.

Plug in the brake wear sensor then clip the ABS/brake sensor grommet into
its bracket. Next, with the tab horizontal, push the brake wear sensor
connector into its bracket, then rotate it 90 degrees to lock.

Move the bucket! It's harder to get out when the wheel is on.

Take the bolts out of the disc and put the wheel back on. I had room to
make sure the disc was thoroughly seated before tightening the lug
bolts. Hand tighten the bolts in a star pattern then torque them to 89
ftlbs, again in a star pattern.

Go do the other wheel.

Pictures and rears later!

487 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, a little anti sieze on the mating surfaces of the brake carrier (not the bolt threads) and the front and back of the 'top hat' part of the disc? In CA it's just not necessary and from experience on an east coast 4Motion transplanted here it really isn't essential... or is it?

Pictures tonight, I already spent too much time typing it in work hours. I have half a dozen pictures to use and I think I'll take the wheel off to get a couple more of the mounting bolts and the pin detail.

It strikes me now that the most fiddly thing was removing the sensor connector and getting it out from the rigid brake line, so I could do with a couple of pictures of that. Anything else?
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