Gearheads: help me change my brake pads

I’ve changed brake pads before, on my 1999 Ford Ranger, no problem. However, I went to change the pads on my 2009 Honda Civic yesterday, and ran into a snag.

I tooka picture and marked it up, but here’s a description anyway.

I got the wheel off, and went to take the retaining bolts off the calipers so I could change the pads. The top bolt came out fine. The bottom bolt was very hard to start turning - and I realized after a while that I had been turning it several times but it wasn’t coming out. I hit it with some PB blaster to loosen things up and tried again. This time I paid more attention, and realized that the washer (is it still called a washer when it’s not circular?) was rotating with the bolt. So obviously the bolt and the washer are stuck together, and the bolt can’t come out. I hit the washer with some more PB blaster, but no luck. I tried holding the washer with an adjustable wrench while using the ratchet on the bolt, but I couldn’t get a good grip that way. Then I got frustrated and just put it all back together.

I realized later that I have a C-clamp I could try on the washer to keep it from moving, but it’s pretty big and would probably get in the way, so I’m hoping someone else has a better option (well, better than paying someone too much money to do it for me :smiley: ) Anybody have any ideas?

Try compressing the brake piston with a big C-Clamp while the caliper is still mounted (there should be a flat spot specifically for the clamp), then just pivoting the caliper down while that bottom pin is still connected. That’s how it’s done on some cars, makes life a bit easier, but usually it’s on purpose, not because you can’t get one of the pins out.

It possible you’ve loosened it all the way and now it’s just spinning and that you just need to grab the head with a pliers and pull it straight out.

Also, make sure you’re using some kind of wrench and not a pliers, if you chew up that head too much more you’re not going to be able to grab it with anything.

It’s not a bolt; it’s a pin. It is supposed to slide freely and easily and just get pulled out, however the damned things gum up and become stuck.

Keep rotating and rotating and rotating until it frees up enough to pull out.

When you replace it use some grease designed for just this purpose. I’ve had a thread or two on here over the years on exactly this topic. Let me see if I can find one.

ETA: Look here.

Will try.

tried that, but good idea.

No worries, I’m using a ratchet. Only need to destroy the head on one bolt before you figure that one out.

There are threads on the other one, so it’s definitely a bolt, unless we’re using different definitions of bolt. How else would it stay in?

I must’ve spun the damn thing 20 times. I think the problem is that it’s stuck to the thing outlined in green on my picture, and that’s rotating at the same rate as the bolt.

Way ahead of you; already have some from the last time I did this. :wink:

That’s not a bolt though; it’s a slide pin, otherwise why have a retractable boot if the thing is just permanently screwed in? It’s a pin that slides when the caliper is in motion. It may be bonded to the washer. Jam a flat screwdriver or a chisel between the washer and the casting and pry.

I was curious, so I found the following video:

The guy calls them both bolts and pins, so I claim I should be forgiven for the confusion :smiley: but I will admit you probably have the technical name for them correct and admit ignorance.

I’ll report back when I get to them tomorrow.

if the washer has welded to the bolt than vice grip the washer and then turn the bolt.

The caliper bolt screws into a guide pin, which can slide and rotate in its bore. The guide pin has two flats so it can be held with an end wrench. Get the right kind and size of wrench to hold the pin from rotating and unscrew the bolt. It was just luck that the top one came out without having to do this.

Does it matter what kind of grease is used? I’ve thought of using sil glyde. Just noticed they make a brake version but I liked the original stuff on cables and regular grease doesn’t seem to last through a set of brakes.

The static pad, and the disc itself, won’t let the pin travel far enough out of the bracket (to the right of the blue circle… thats a SEPERATE bracket !) to have the caliper (The large silver metal bit) flop off.
The pin (behind the blue) is attached to the caliper by the bolt.

The pin is NOT threaded into the bracket, it is merely SITTING THERE.

Did you follow instructions ?

You shall open the bleed nipple. THis is to prevent debris being pushed back to the ABS. It costs $1000’s to buy a new ABS… keep your present one clean…

Now with the bleed nipple open, you can push the piston right back.

Now you can remove the pads.

You do not even need to do ANYTHING to this lower pin ! :slight_smile:

But if you want to remove it.then undo the hose attaching to the caliper, flip the caliper right out, and yank.

Silicone grease is good in that it can withstand the heat associated with brakes. Synthetic brake grease is better in that it can withstand the heat and also has additives (which silicone grease won’t accept) that enhance its performance.

It may be possible to replace pads without removing the caliper bolt from the lower pin, but I would consider that a last resort and consider it only if the bolt were truly seized into the pin. Disconnecting the brake hose is also to be avoided, as it further complicates the job, can be quited messy, and is almost certainly not necessary.

The standard procedure is to remove the bolt, which normally is quite easy so long as the pin is held from turning.

Bolding mine, but this is not a last resort, but a preferred method for a pad slap - for me anyway. There is no need to remove the caliper unless you intend to also remove the rotor for lathe turning or replacement. For a simple pad replacement, just pivot the caliper away from the hub (using the obvious installed bolt as the pivot) enough to remove the pads.

From here, squeeze the piston back into the caliper all the way. Then reinstall pads, pivot caliper back onto disk, and reinstall top bolt.

Is is possible you guys are talking past one another? The way I’ve usually done “pad slap” changes is to remove the lower caliper bolt and then rotate the caliper upwards with the upper caliper bolt still in place.

I guess it may be possible to remove the lower bolt instead and rotate the caliper downwards - is that what you’re talking about, Kazo? I’ve never tried that, but on some vehicles the length of the brake hose seems like it might start to be an issue.

Yes, removal of the lower bolt is usually preferable, but I imagine the bottom would should work.

I admit I’m a bit rusty and spoiled. While I currently own a vehicle with sliding calipers, I have not done the brakes on it yet. My vehicle for the last several years was an older Mercedes. No bolts to remove to swap pads; only a couple of pins and a clip.

Ugh, I missed the window to edit my last response.

The correct way to fix this issue is as follows. Your guide pin should look similar to this, with what you refer to as the “washer” being the big round end. The “washer” part of the guide pin usually has flats on it. If yours does, use an appropriately sized wrench on it to keep it from rotating. Then, use your ratchet to remove the screw. If not, a pair of locking pliers may be called for. Only grip the washer part. This shouldn’t bugger anything up to the point of non-reusability, but in case it does, the guide pin is readily available from places like AutoZone.

Well I just did my brakes today. One piece sliding bolt in the back, 2 piece in the front. And of course I broke off one of the bleeder valves so add one caliper.

On the plus side my 20 year old washing machine only needed belts. It took more time to disconnect everything and wrestle it over than it did to replace them.

So I’m 2 for 2 with items repaired today. Yay.

Well, this is an extremely late update, but I finally did change my pads after far too long.

I actually took brad d’s advice on the other tire, and removed only the lower pin, rotated the caliper up, and switched the pads out that way. Much easier than taking both out.

Thanks again for your help.

Far too long? Not at all – far from it. That pad appears to be about 60% worn. I’d expect it to last another 5-20K miles depending on the variables (driving style, grade of pads, etc.).

Brake pads usually function well until the lining totally wears through at the thinnest point. They’ll work when 99% worn. It generally makes sense to replace them by the time they’re 90% worn. Built in wear indicators (on pads that have them) typically start making noise in the 85-90% worn range.

It’s not a great picture, but there was well more than 60% of the pad worn. And the brakes squealed when I used them, so there was the noise indicator also.