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Brake Upgrade Workflow


Brake Upgrade Workflow

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    Brake Upgrade Workflow

    Hey guys,

    I've bled my brakes before, but since I'm at 190k, my master cylinder is going, my pads are toast and my rotors are pretty old and need turning I thought I'd do a nearly full brake job and upgrade a bit while I'm at it.

    Could you check the following components and workflow steps and see if I missed anything.

    Cardone Rebuilt OEM Master Cylinder
    Centric Premium Blank Rotors all around
    CarboTech Bobcat/1521 pads all around
    Goodridge Stainless Steel Brake Lines all around
    ATE Super Blue Brake Fluid


    1. Bench bleed the master cylinder
    2. Install the master cylinder
    3. Install the new brake lines
    4. For each wheel (RR, LR, RF, LF)
    a) pull the wheel
    b) remove and secure calipers
    c) remove and install new rotor
    d) remove old pads, install new pads
    e) re-install caliper
    f) bleed brake line, keeping the master cylinder full and use a wood block under pedal to make sure it doesn't bottom out and trash the master cylinder
    g) re-install wheel

    5. Bed-in procedure for Bobcat 1521 pads is:

    a. Brake from 60mph down to 30mph about 4-6 times.
    b. Then let your brakes cool for about 2-3 minutes while driving.
    c. Repeat step a.
    d. Allow the brake pads and discs to cool down to ambient temperature (about 30 minutes or more).

    Any special tools or tricks would be much appreciated.

    Last edited by eris; 24 Sep 2009, 01:48:47. Reason: corrected 1521 bedding procedure

    Could get speed bleeders or that thing that pressurizes the BMC reservoir.
    Lotta honda road racers say OEM-ish rear pads are fine and that anything stronger will give a rear-biased brake setup.
    Could get the ABS 1" master cylinder.
    With that many miles, its likely that one of your calipers has gone bad. Maybe pick up a reman caliper, and return it later if you dont need it.
    Grease caliper slide pins while there.


      Personally I would buy my master cylinder from the dealer, refuse to use any non OEM parts. I don't have any experience w/ those specific rotors or pads so I won't comment on them. Everything else looks good.

      The order of operations is only important for a couple things, you only need to do the bleeding corner by corner. Everything else I do simultaneously or maybe front then rear or vice versa.

      1) Car on jackstands, remove wheels
      2) Drain brake fluid as best you can
      3) Remove brake lines, calipers, and rotors (will be easiest in that order)
      4) Clean calipers, brackets, bolts...anything else you removed (optional)
      5) Clean and re-lube caliper slide pins (optional)
      6) Paint calipers and top hats of new rotors (optional)
      7) Install rotors, caliper brackets, calipers, and brake lines (easiest in that order)
      8) Bench bleed master cylinder and install (can pretty much be done at any point up until now)
      9) Bleed brakes
      10) Wipe all brake line fittings down to clean them. Pump the brakes. check for leaks visually and/or using a paper towel.
      11) Test drive for safety
      12) Bed brakes according to pad manufacturer's specs. The procedure you posted is very conservative compared to what I'm used to... but if that's what Carbotech says, then that's what I'd do.

      Only special tool I can think of is a 10mm flare wrench (also a 12mm if working on an ABS equipped car) and a c-clamp to push the caliper pistons back into the caliper to make room for the new pads. You may also want an impact screwdriver in order to remove the rotors.

      Good luck, sounds like you're gonna have an excellent feeling braking system, enjoy!


        Thanks for recommendations

        Colin and everyone else. Thanks for your suggestions.

        I thought I'd leave some pics to the parts that some might not be familiar with...

        Cardone Rebuilt OEM Master Cylinder: This *is* OEM. Cardone does a good job with the reman stuff I've gotten from them.

        Centric Premium Blank Rotors all around: Centric and Powerslot are owned by the same company I think. They've gotten pretty decent reviews. Damn good prices over at Rockauto for them. Here's the front rotor: part # 12040021

        CarboTech Bobcat/1521 pads all around: The 1521s are a low-dust, low-noise street/performance ceramic pad. They are usually highly rated up with the best of the Hawk and EBC pads for street / autocross. They are a little harder to find then the Hawks or EBCs. Apparently they are nice to have if you also need a pad compatible with a race pad for track days. In that case you would use something like 1521s to get to the track and XP8s once you're there.

        Heres a link to their page describing the pad compounds they manufacture:

        The Goodridge SS lines and Super Blue brake fluid are pretty famous so I won't bother with those.


          I'd still get OEM instead of that Cardone. I realize it's an OEM one they rebuilt... it's the rebuilding part I don't like. I don't really trust any aftermarket stuff like that since I've had too many problems. Seen bad master cylinders, bad alternators, bad calipers... and tons of other stuff. Much of which started as OEM bits just rebuilt by another company.

          Plus with a new OEM one you get a fresh reservoir, that alone make it worth it in my book. The plastic is white instead of the yellow/brown color of the old aged ones.

          Those rotors look great though, that's the first affordable blank I've seen with a coated top hat portion. I've become accustomed to just painting that so it doesn't rust. Definitely something I need to remember!


            Originally posted by eris View Post
            4. For each wheel (RR, LR, RF, LF)
            If I'm not mistaken... isn't the correct bleed sequence RR, LF, LR, RF? Correct me if I'm wrong brake gurus..


              yep i think you are right sir ^^^^^^^


                Originally posted by darussianone View Post
                yep i think you are right sir ^^^^^^^
                Well I better hope I'm right cuz that's how I bled my brakes when I flushed the system recently. It's been running and feeling fine for 3 weeks now


                  Helms does call for a criss-cross bleeding pattern. However doing both rears then both fronts really won't hurt anything. I've done it that way many times and the result was always brake lines free from all air.

                  Also, the whole "wood block under the pedal" thing. That's generally a good idea but the primary reason for that is so that the "throw" on the MC doesn't exceed normal use. The MC gets used to a short throw during everyday braking (how often do you brake hard enough to get the brakes to the floor?). Going past that limit can cause leaks on old seals. But going to the limit on a brand new MC is different. It doesn't have a "throw" which it is used to yet, no "memory". Or at least that is the reasoning which has been explained to me.


                    Master Cylinder blocking during bleeding

                    Also, the whole "wood block under the pedal" thing. That's generally a good idea but the primary reason for that is so that the "throw" on the MC doesn't exceed normal use.
                    ... Going past that limit can cause leaks on old seals. But going to the limit on a brand new MC is different. It doesn't have a "throw" which it is used to yet, no "memory". Or at least that is the reasoning which has been explained to me.
                    Thanks for that explanation, Colin. It's the first sensible one I've seen.


                      Originally posted by Colin View Post
                      Only special tool I can think of is a 10mm flare wrench (also a 12mm if working on an ABS equipped car) and a c-clamp to push the caliper pistons back into the caliper to make room for the new pads. You may also want an impact screwdriver in order to remove the rotors.

                      Good luck, sounds like you're gonna have an excellent feeling braking system, enjoy!
                      Thanks. I picked up a reasonably priced flare wrench set from Sears. C-clamps are everywhere. I thought the impact wrench would be easy to find, but you have to decide if you want a pneumatic one ($200 at least for the tank, $120 for a 650 ft/lb wrench and big space consumer), or $300 for a DeWalt 18v portable battery powered version (330 ft/lbs torque, but probably chews batteries quick) or a corded version ($170 for a DeWalt 350 ft/lb).

                      I did the corded version.


                        You don't need an impact wrench, you can use normal tools, but obviously an impact wrench is handy. We have a cheap pneumatic one and I rarely use it cause it sucks. I really need to invest in a high quality pneumatic one and maybe an impact ratchet as well.

                        In my above post I was referring to an "impact screwdriver" It's a screwdriver which you hit with a hammer. It then provides much more force than a normal screwdriver used by hand. Often this tool is the only way besides an bolt extractor to remove the screws which hold the rotor in place.

                        Here's a pic of what an impact screwdriver looks like, and should be under $30-$40:


                          Yep. Saw that one too, but I figured that a real impact wrench would have it's uses over the long haul. $170 not too bad for that functionality.


                            Sorry, Colin. I missed part of the point there. Impact, when you're working on screws :-)


                              Complete Brake Fluid Drain?


                              I was double-checking the workflow on the brake job and was giving signficant thought to the phrase "drain brake fluid as best you can".

                              I assuming you mean a full-blown drain. Everything from the master cylinder, all the way out the brake lines.

                              Which makes sense to me actually, considering that I'm replacing the master cylinder, installing stainless steel brake lines, changing fluid over to Super Blue, and replacing the hubs, pads etc.

                              I saw some articles that recommend you use a syringe to remove as much fluid from the master cylinder as possible before proceeding. I assume that's to minimize the mess.

                              I also saw a lot of articles saying that you should never completely drain the the brake system, but all of them were talking about getting air in the system, or damage to the master cylinder from sludge etc. No problem there since I'm replacing it and who cares about air since I'm going to completely replace and bleed it anyway. Just double checking really.



                                You won't be able to get very drop out, and that's fine. You can loosen a bleed bolt and pump the brakes to get most of the fluid out of the master cylinder. But you'll still have fluid in the lines. You can disconnect the lines and let them sit and each drain into a container. Or you can just start unbolting the lines for removal and attempt to catch as much fluid as possible with rags or plastic containers then quickly try to re-install the new lines and get it bolted back up... Just depends on what you want to do and how much time you have.

                                When refilling the system I start off by putting new fluid in the MC, start bleeding the brakes as usual, you'll obviously have tons of bubbles. You're gonna need to do each corner more than once. Just go around the car a few times and more and more bubbles will go away.

                                The first round of bleeding will have part new fluid and part old fluid. After you get that out of the system I throw it away and only add fresh fluid to the MC. After you've done some more bleeding and you now have all fresh fluid in the system I will re-use fluid after it's bled out. Sometimes this is necessary if you've having a hard time getting all the air out of the lines and need to repeatedly refill the MC.

                                Hopefully that makes some sense.


                                  Newb Brake Job, Day 1

                                  So I finally got all of the parts and decided to have at it. The following are some notes from Day 1. I thought I'd post these notes while it's still fresh in my mind so it might help some other newbs.

                                  As a recap, I'm replacing everything but the calipers (though some people have recommended that I just get new ones ... and I might yet).

                                  Here's the list:

                                  New Rotors: Front and rear Centric rotors (blanks, slightly upgraded)
                                  New Pads: CarboTech 1521 Street Pads
                                  New Hoses: Goodridge Stainless Steel (front and back)
                                  New Fluid: ATE Super Blue

                                  I'll comment on the workflow, point by point...

                                  1) Car on jackstands, remove wheels

                                  This is pretty basic really though I found myself annoyed because I couldn't find my jack and jackstands after my most recent move. I picked up some cheap Chinese floor jack + 2 jackstand deal at Advanced for $40. I wouldn't say it was a total waste of money, but if you want to jack up the car from the front or rear jack point to place the jack stands I wouldn't do it again.

                                  The damn floor jack couldn't jack up the Teg high enough from either the front or rear jack points to place its own jack stands. After that I read an article on floor jacks on the net. Turns out almost all floor jacks are now made cheaply in China and aren't meant to last more than 10 up/down cycles before their seals leak.

                                  The only jack still made in the US runs about $600. You can get some good Japanese jacks for a little over half that from Norco. Norco also sells a version of their jack made in China, but strictly according to their design and seals. If you look around you can find it for about $215.

                                  Anyway, since I didn't want to wait another week for a good jack I used the floor jack to jack the car on its corners right near the jack points. I don't like doing that because I often see that technique crumples the steel next to the jack point. Anyway, I was careful and everything was okay.

                                  2) Drain brake fluid as best you can

                                  There are a lot of different ways you can do this, but the following worked suprisingly well for me...

                                  (drain master cylinder)
                                  -- get one of those water bottles made for cyclists that has a pop open valve at the top
                                  -- buy some clear vinyl tubing (3/8" at Home Depot I think) to drain the fluid with
                                  -- drill a hole in the top of the bottle and feed the tubing all the way to the bottom
                                  -- take off the master cylinder cap
                                  -- open the bottle valve, squeeze it all the way, close the valve and put the end of the tubing into the master cylinder reservoir.
                                  -- release the bottle and it will suck a large amount of fluid from the master cylinder

                                  (drain lines)
                                  -- after removing the wheels, setup shop towels down under each wheel while draining. Place a drain pan under each wheel while working there.
                                  -- remove the bleed cap and crack open the bleed valve just a little. these can be stuck tight so I always use a socket wrench. don't open them all the way or you'll be spilling fluid on the floor
                                  -- attach the bleed tube and bottle and open the bottle valve
                                  -- squeeze the bottle, close the bottle valve and set it down
                                  -- using the box wrench open up the bleed valve until you get maximum fluid drain
                                  -- repeat for all wheels. you'll get most of it out.

                                  3) Remove brake hoses, calipers, and rotors (will be easiest in that order)

                                  (brake hose removal)
                                  Here is what I did with only a couple issues..
                                  -- if your wheel well is really dirty, clean it up a bit to make it easier.
                                  -- if you have any corrosion on the bolts/parts put some break free or PB catalyzer on the hose/line interface, hose clip, retainer bolts and banjo bolt (where it connects to the caliper).
                                  -- while you're at it, put some more on the caliper bolts and caliper mount bolts
                                  -- give it a while to sink in
                                  -- start at the top of the brake hose at the interface where it mates with the steel brake line
                                  -- use a 10mm flare wrench to open the joint
                                  -- unscrew it by hand
                                  -- there's a steel clip at that interface that needs to be removed and it can be a pain. depending on the level of crud, corrosion and the phase of the moon a needle nose pliers can sometimes be used to remove it. when you grab it, slide it back and forth to break it free of the old crap. that seems to help.
                                  -- if you get a sticky retainer clip, try using one of the combination needle nose/vice grip things which will help with yanking it out. apparently there are special needle nose pliers which are made especially for pulling clips like that out towards you. if you have one, you're in luck.
                                  -- the rest of the hose is easy to disconnect, just loosen the bolts with a socket wrench. you might want to write down the exact location of the mounting clips.
                                  -- the last bolt, the banjo bolt is connected directly to the caliper. crack it open with a socket and back it out by hand. be careful. you'll notice as it comes out it starts leaking brake fluid even though you just drained the fluid. this is one of the areas where the remaining brake fluid collects so make sure you have your drip pan underneath while doing it. when the banjo bolt comes free you'll probably get several ounces of brake fluid pouring out.

                                  (caliper removal)

                                  -- You'll have two sets of caliper bolts to remove. Both sets are on the wheel well side of the caliper. One set is on the caliper itself and the second is on the caliper mount. The two bolts on the caliper itself are on the forward part of the caliper, one high and one low. They aren't usually too hard to remove since you've already applied PB Catalyst.
                                  The second set are on the caliper mount -- the part the caliper rests on and where the pads join the rotor. They are just rearward of the caliper bolts and can really be a pain to remove. If you have a small pneumatic impact wrench they might come off fine, otherwise I find that "hillbilly impact" worked well for me. Just put an open ended wrench on the damn bolt and smack it counterclockwise (from the bolts viewpoint). Even though hitting the far end of the wrench would theoretically apply the largest torque impulse to the bolt, I find that there's too much "slop" out there to really get good torque transfer. I hold the wrench at the end and smack it right around the center. My bolts came loose after about 2 - 3 good smacks with a ball peen hammer.

                                  Much more fun to come, including...

                                  4) Clean calipers, brackets, bolts...anything else you removed (optional)
                                  5) Clean and re-lube caliper slide pins (optional)
                                  6) Paint calipers and top hats of new rotors (optional)
                                  7) Install rotors, caliper brackets, calipers, and brake lines (easiest in that order)
                                  8) Bench bleed master cylinder and install (can pretty much be done at any point up until now)
                                  9) Bleed brakes
                                  10) Wipe all brake line fittings down to clean them. Pump the brakes. check for leaks visually and/or using a paper towel.
                                  11) Test drive for safety
                                  12) Bed brakes according to pad manufacturer's specs.

                                  Have a good weekend...



                                    Newb Brake Job, Day 1

                                    (sorry accidental double post -- where's delete?)
                                    Last edited by eris; 07 Nov 2009, 21:45:35. Reason: accidental double post


                                      AWESOME POST! thank you so much

                                      Gonna do my brakes this weekend. Replacing Rotors, Pads, and Fluids.

                                      running Brembo Blanks and Premium O.E. Nissin Pads (f & r) with ATE DOT4.

                                      Was wondering OP, what are you using to lube the calipers/pins?


                                        Rotors, Pads and Calipers Done, and now...

                                        Okay, the continuing saga of the newbie brake job.

                                        To answer the previous questions about lubricant: I first used some Permatex brake lubricant that I got at Advanced. After the first wheel I switched to Sil-Glide. They are both high-temp silicone lubricant meant for brake caliper slide pistons and as a buffer lubricant on the pad shims to stop noise. I haven't had a chance to performance benchmark them against each other though I find I favor the Sil-Glyde a little bit. Mostly because: (a) It's not quite so viscous and applies better than the Permatex and (b) the Permatex is a dark, translucent blue color which under marginal lighting looks a lot like old, dirty grease. The Sil-Glyde is similar in appearance to petroleum jelly so it's obvious what's dirt and what's not.

                                        More info later after I've bench bled the master cylinder and installed it.


                                          Next Step: Installing Rotors, Calipers, Pads and Brake Lines

                                          More newbie brake job info. I'm writing this down before I forget...
                                          (this is not meant to replace the need to read the proper maintenance manual. These are just my experiences.)

                                          When last heard from we were removing the caliper and caliper bracket bolts.

                                          1. After you've loosened the upper and lower caliper bolt, go ahead and remove the lower one. Now you can flip the caliper up and away and remove the old brake pads. There might be a lot of pad dust and other contaminants around here so seriously consider wearing at least a minimal mask and nitrile gloves. Depending on who did done your previous brake job there might be a series of metal shims encapsulating the pads. Remove and save these unless you have new ones.

                                          2. Remove the upper caliper bolt and then the caliper.

                                          3. Remove the caliper bracket bolts. The ones on the front wheels can be bastards. They are normally torqued to some ungodly level -- around 75 - 80 ft/lbs if I remember correctly. Put the closed end of an open end wrench on it and smack it counter-clockwise (relative to the bolt) with a hammer until they break free. It really helps if you pre-treat the caliper and caliper bracket bolts with PB Catalyst before hand.

                                          4. After removing the caliper bracket bolts, remove the bracket.

                                          5. If you're still with me, you now have to remove the old rotor. Use an impact driver (impact screwdriver) to remove the screws holding the rotor on. These screws will either be almost loose or incredibly stuck. Again, PB Catalyst is your friend.

                                          6. Remove the rotor.

                                          7. Now the fun begins. If you're a newb like me, you really, really wanted to know what was involved in cleaning your calipers. But if you're like me you have more money than time so you quickly realize that spending your afternoon in the backyard, freezing in 30 F weather, spraying the calipers down with and inhaling brake cleaner while scrubbing them is clearly not where you wanted to be when you were 48 (or 16). You're lucky though. Having read this you realize that this is not a good investment of your time and you bought the new/rebuilt calipers when you ordered the rest of the stuff. Those new calipers also look much nicer than semi-scrubbed old ones. If you bought the new ones, move on to the next step and consider that an afternoon saved. If not (for whatever reason), keep following...

                                          So, we've decided that cleaning / maintaining your calipers is kinda fun the first time. You'll want to at least clean off the surfaces with brake cleaner, scrub the pad retainers, and other misc moving parts. If you're truly anal, you can go over it with various abrasives to clean off more crud and light corrosion. When you're done with that, feel free to paint them but I didn't.

                                          The next thing to do is to clean and relube the slide pistons. Remove the pistons carefully, making sure not to break or crack the piston boot. Set the piston and boot aside and look into the piston cylinder with a handy light. It's probably cruddy in there so clean it out as best you can. I posted a link to a Honda site which covers a truly first rate rebuild in painstaking detail. I did most of it. Remove the boot from the piston and clean the piston with brake cleaner and elbow grease. After that apply a fairly thin coat of brake lubricant (I like Sil-Glyde) onto the piston. It's also a good idea to apply a generous coat of lubricant to the boot since it aids in reassembly -- this is especially important if you live in an area with harsh weather and or road salt. Now that you have the boot all lubed up you can press it down into the area on the caliper cylinder that it mates with. On the front calipers the boot fits over the mating area. On the rears in fits into a socket-like mating area, which only fully mates when you press the piston into it. In either case, press and twist the piston into the boot hole until its completely mounted and the boot is secure over piston and mating area. Test the boot integrity by pulling the piston out, but not too hard. You'll see if it needs re-seating. If so, repeat the seating process.

                                          If the boot is cracked or refuses to seat properly, you'll need a new one. Those generally only come in a caliper rebuild kit for $30. If you break the boot, you'll buy a kit so take care.

                                          Now make sure that the piston is properly lubricated. If you're lucky and got the piston and piston cylinder really clean and well lubricated it should slide like a, well, a well lubricated piston. If you got it mostly clean then it will travel back and forth pretty well, but slower. If you didn't then it will barely move at all and you'll need to repeat or buy a new caliper. See how much fun you can have?

                                          8. Now that that's all done, we want to put it all back together.

                                          I personally bought new rotors, so if you didn't do that, go and get them turned, resurfaced, whatever.

                                          If you do have new rotors, this is where you take them outside and clean off the industrial corrosion preventive sealant that they put on them. Set the rotor down on some cardboard and spray a clean shop towel with brake cleaner. Use the towel impregnated with cleaner to remove the sealant. This is much easier than spewing brake cleaner all over the rotor and more efficient. It's especially important if your rotors already have their hats pre-painted. Brake cleaner is an excellent paint remover. Anyway, clean those rotors off until they shine. If the manufacturer pre-painted the hats and put sealant on them, then go ahead and use the towel to rub it off, but one pass only or it will start taking paint off.

                                          9. Now put the rotor on the axle. Insert the rotor screws and tighten them to spec. Be careful not to overtighten them as they're there mostly to keep the rotor flush to the axle. It's really the wheel and lugnuts that keeps the rotor on.

                                          10. Install the caliper bracket and tighten the bracket bolts to spec. The front ones are torqued to somewhere around 75-80 ft/lbs and the rears to about 28 ft/lbs but refer to the manual for proper torque specs.

                                          11. Take your shiny new pads and install the shims on them. Make sure you apply a thin coat of brake lube (Sil-Glyde or Permatex) between the shim and the pad or you will get brake squeal.

                                          12. Install the pads in the retainer clips. Make sure you've got the inner and outer pads right.

                                          13. Now you need to install the caliper itself. Install the top half of the caliper and it's respective bolt. Don't tighten it yet. The next step can be a little tricky because the caliper piston needs to be pushed back into its housing so that there is room for the new pads. This is accomplished using compression and turning. To compress the piston back in you can use a custom piston tool or you can use a c-clamp. I used a c-clamp. I think I used a 6" c-clamp, but your mileage may vary. Open up the c-clamp so the shoe of the clamp fits on the inside of the piston and the base of the clamp fits on the far side. Turn the clamp until the piston starts receding back into its cylinder. Test the caliper fit over the new pads from time-to-time until it fits with a little clearance over the pads. Try not to push it in further than necessary. If you can't get the piston to move by compressing you'll probably need to turn it with a large flathead screwdriver placed into its cross-channels.

                                          When you get proper clearance, you need to close the caliper. This can also be a little tricky. You need to make sure that the piston head, which has a square cross channeled into its face, is turned so that the arms of the cross are facing the 12, 3, 6 and 9 o'clock positions (relative to the final caliper installation position). This is because there's a notch on the inner pad that needs to glide across the horizontal cross channel when you close it. I believe the piston head turns counter-clockwise. You can use a large screwdriver blade or similar tool to turn it. Once it is set correctly the caliper should close over the pads.

                                          Since the pad retainers have a fair amount of spring force, you'll need to hold the caliper closed while you put either the upper or lower caliper bolt into place. Finish installing the bolts and torque to spec.

                                          14. At this point, if you purchased stainless steel brake lines, you need to install them. Follow the instructions that came with your package. I used Goodridge and the directions were pretty clear. Only a couple notes: (a) I would hang onto your original banjo bolts as I believe they are much more durable than the those that come with the kits. (b) After installation of the front hoses, make sure you adjust them so they don't bind or overextend inwards or outwards. Double check the hose routing and turn your wheel from extreme left to extreme right to verify your work. (c) On the rear lines, try to make sure that the brake hose bracket closest to the banjo bolt is pivoted away a bit or it could interfere with the proper installation of the caliper shield. If you don't know what I mean, go ahead and do it and you'll see.

                                          15. Repeat this process for all the wheels.

                                          16. At this point you should have new rotors, pads and stainless steel brake lines installed. If you could afford them and you were smart you bought new or rebuilt calipers. Now for the new master cylinder.

                                          17. In the next posting I'll detail the new master cylinder installation. If for some reason I don't get around to it, you can read about it in the manual, but let me say the following:

                                          The master cylinder install would have been straight-forward for me except for the following: When I took the old master cylinder out I accidentally bent one of the brake lines a little. I mean probably less than a millimeter, but enough to keep the brake line from threading onto the new cylinder. If you want a good definition of frustration and futility try installing a freshly bench bled and dripping master cylinder onto a brake line which just won't seem to mate correctly. Not so much that it's obvious ... you think maybe I've just got it off center slightly -- if I just keep trying, and if it weren't for that damn slippery brake fluid that keeps drip, drip, dripping onto my glove and keeping me from screwing it in.

                                          Make sure you don't bend the brake lines. Take your time. This warning is actually in the manual but I missed it.

                                          Finally, before you prep and bench bleed the new master cylinder, remove the old one and test install the new one dry. This way you will make sure nothing is bent and everything fits properly when you have all the time in the world and brake fluid isn't dripping everywhere.

                                          So next time I'll cover bench bleeding and installing your new master cylinder from a newbie point of view.

                                          (I hope this is useful to someone and doesn't seem completely embarrassing to the experienced mechanics out there).

                                          Last edited by eris; 14 Dec 2009, 13:32:08. Reason: typos and further advice


                                            Well it's been 2 1/2 years and I thought I'd follow up on my old brake replacement workflow.

                                            1. Sorry that I didn't cover the installation of the master cylinder. It's definitely in the manual, so read the instructions and what I've said carefully.

                                            2. A bit about the performance of the system I installed:

                                            a) After initial installation and bedding-in, the system I installed kicked ass. The breaking power was even all-around, not a huge jerky bite when you press the pedal down. Just even, effortless and predictable pedal feel all around. You want twice the breaking power, press twice as hard. You want four times the breaking power, 4 times as hard. If that doesn't stop your car, you're doing it wrong. I didn't notice any fade after spirited breaking. All around awesome.... well almost

                                            b) After a few days I noticed pedal was feeling a little sloppy. I had planned to have a pro mechanic check my work anyway because it was my first time. So I took it to a well respected shop and the senior mechanic just happened to have time to look at it. I got a call later from him telling me he needed to charge me for another hours labor because it needed re-bleeding and he couldn't get it to bleed properly. After an hour inspecting it he found that the the master cylinder hadn't sealed properly against the driver's side firewall. So take care when you seal it against the firewall. After that all was well. For the first year.

                                            c) After about a year of no-autocross, no-street-racing and just spirited driving I started to get some squeal. At first it wouldn't only happen when it was cold, but then it was happening all the time. Then I started to hear metal-on-metal scraping of the pad-end-of-life. So I took it to another shop because I just didn't have time. The brake guy said that the front driver's side rotor and pad were fine, the passenger-side front rotor was a little grooved, but the pad was okay. The rears however were deeply grooved and the pads were almost toast. I looked at them and he was right. The only think I could figure out was the I hadn't done a complete job of rebuilding the calipers and the pads were constantly making contact with the rotors or something like that.

                                            d) So here I am today re-doing the brake job from 2.5 years ago. A little wiser. Take my word for it, unless you have a lot of time and experience rebuilding calipers, let someone else do it. Either get OEMs (crazy expensive and rare) or a highly regarded rebuilder. So I'm about to go back out to the garage and continue. Before I do that I'll tell you the changes I've made to the new parts:

                                            - The front rotors are ATE PremiumOne. Other people have had decent luck with them and they are slightly slotted which should help with buildup. They also look good on the wheels. :-)
                                            - The rear rotors are standard Brembo blanks. Why spend more when you can have really solid rotors for a reasonable price.
                                            - On the outside chance that the rotors were getting grooved from the CarboTech super pads doing a number on somewhat substandard steel crystals from the lack of TLC in China's finest rotor foundry, I had all of the rotors cryo treated. Perhaps a little paranoid, but you're only supposed to do your brake job once every several years and I want it done right.
                                            - I'm replacing the CarboTech 1521's with another set of 1521's. I love the completely linear braking on these things. Low dust too (at least in my experience).
                                            - The brake lines and master cylinder are fine.
                                            - ATE Super Blue brake fluid. I know I don't need this for spirited street driving, but I only do this every day so I figured I'd spoil the beloved Teg.

                                            I'll let you know how it goes. This is nowhere need as PITA as the previous time.

                                            (BTW: I'm glad I wrote about it extensively the last time. This time I just have to review my previous work. Good luck with your projects)