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Old 01-09-2006, 10:05 AM
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BMW X5 Complete Brake Job DIY

Contributed by: hayaku

BMW E53 X5 Brake Rotor and Pad DIY
Instructions by hayaku. Pictures by Kewl X5

Scope:

This DIY tech article will address the change procedure for front and rear brake pads and rotors in steps. This article will not address how to bed in pads to rotors nor bleed or flush of the brake hydraulic system.

Subject Used was KewlX5's 2001 BMW E53 X5 3.0 with 118,000 miles. Yes his brake calipers need to be painted, please remind him to do so.

What we did specifically on Kewl X5's car was change all of his pads to Axxis Ultimates and just his front rotors with OEM rotors purchased from the dealer. His rear rotors were measured at 12.5mm thick (replacement thickness for the rear rotors is 10.5mm per the imprint on the rotor hat). This is the reason you will not see pictures of the rear rotors being installed, but the instructions will cover the procedure for that. Also not all steps have pictures as I was moving too fast for Kewl X5 and his camera =)

Front
Brake
Diagrams
Rear
Brake
Diagrams


Effort Required:

Skill Difficulty: 3 out of 10. Mainly very dirty work.

Time Required: 2-4 hours depending on experience.

Disclaimer:

This is what works for me. I've been doing it this way on all of my past BMW's with great success. On my track vehicles, I've done this procedure as much as twice a month for the entire year without any issues whatsoever. If you are not sure nor comfortable doing any of these steps, please DO NOT attempt to perform this procedure. Rather take your vehicle to a qualified mechanic, brake shop or your dealer for the work to be done. Do not take your vehicle to a friend that does not understand this document either (2 confused minds will not make it better). You cannot hold X5World nor me responsible for any damages YOU may have caused on YOUR vehicle (we weren't there and didn't do any of it, thats the story and I'm sticking to it). But seriously, it ain't all that hard to do.

Parts Required:

Total Needed:
E53 X5 Front Rotors

2 Rotors
E53 X5 Rear Rotors

2 Rotors
E53 X5 Front Pads (Set of 2)

4 pads
E53 X5 Rear Rotors (Set of 2)

4 pads
E53 X5 Brake Wear Sensors (if you wore your old ones out)

1 for front, 1 for rear

If you want the part numbers per ETK, click on the thumbnails below



Lifting Tools Required:
Jack with Jackstands or a lift

How you actually get the vehicle lifted is your choice. You can lift just one corner at a time, just the fronts or the rears at once, or all 4 corners if you want. Just make sure you are working in a safe and supported manner. Whatever you do, PLEASE DO NOT WORK UNDER THE CAR WITH JUST A HYDRAULIC JACK. A jack holds up the weight of a vehicle by holding pressure against a rubber seal only. That seal is no guarantee that the vehicle will remain up. A jack has no safety mechanisms to save your life should that seal break.

If there is enough demand, X5 World can create a DIY on jacking the E53 X5 up. I have a 2 post lift in my garage so the pictures will show the X5 on my lift.


Torque Specs:





Tools Required for Pad Changes:
19mm socket

16mm socket

7mm hex socket

Various rachet extensions

3/8" and 1/2" rachets

3/8" and 1/2" torque wrenches

Breaker Bar

6" C Clamp

Rubber Mallet

Needle nose pliers

Flat blade screw driver

Additional Tools Required for Rotor Changes:
6mm hex socket

Chemicals Required:
Brake Spray cleaner

Anti-sieze

Brake fluid

Optional Tools/Supplies:
Anti-squeal Paste

Flashlight

Goggles or eye protection

Drip pan

Brake caliper spreader

WD-40 or some other penetrating oil to loosen bolts

Gloves - mechanic's work gloves or rubber gloves

Compressed Air and Air Tools

Bungee cords

Cold beer for when the job is done

Now that you have got the vehicle lifted, we'll start with the front left wheel (driver's side USA spec).

Step 1:Loosen the Master Cylinder Brake Resoivor Cap
*** I find his step is optional and do not do this myself ***
Proper procedure does call for loosing this cap when you compress the calipers back as fluid is pushed back inot the master cylinder. I've done this hundreds of times without loosening the cap with no ill-effects. You can do either. When in doubt, play it safe.

Open the hood and loosen the Master Cylinder Brake Resevoir Cap. Do not remove it, just loosen it all the way.

The Master Cylinder Brake Resovier cap is located on the driver side at the back of the engine on the firewall. Its a semi-transparent canister showing the level of brake fluid in it.







Step 2:Remove the wheels
Use the 19mm 1/2" socket on the breaker bar to remove the lug bolts

If your wheels are spinning when you try to loosen the lug bolts, then have someone get in the car and step on the brakes while you break loose the bolts.

Or use the Impact Gun like I did.

Be careful removing the last bolt, the wheel may slip off the hub and its a very heavy wheel. Just hold some pressure on the center of the hub as you remove the last bolt. Then lift the wheel off and away from the hub.






Pad Removal
Step 3:Remove the anti-rattle clip
Compress the anti-rattle clip to remove it from the caliper.

You can squeeze it by hand and remove one end off, or you can use a flat blade screw driver to pry it off.

Be careful as its under pressure and may *spring* when its released from the caliper.






Step 4:Compress the Caliper
Use the 6" C Clamp to squeeze the caliper's pistons back in the retracted position.

Place the stationary end on the back of the caliper and the moving clamp end on the pad. . Then Compress till you can't anymore.

You will see a gap grow inbetween the pad and the caliper. This will make it much easier to remove the caliper later.





Step 5:Remove the guide bolt dust caps
The caliper is held onto the carrier by 2 guide bolts. The bolts are enclosed around a rubber bushing guide with dust end caps.

Remove the dust end caps with your fingers or you may need to pry them off with the flat blade screw driver.



Step 6:Remove the 2 7mm guide bolts
Use a 7mm hex socket with an adequate extension on a rachet to remove the 2 guide bolts.

I used a 7mm 3/8" socket on a 3" extension with a 3/8" rachet. I also had to use a rubber mallet to hammer the rachet because the Dealer had overtorqued the guide bolts. If neccessary, use some penetrating oil to help loosen the bolt but you shouldn't need to.

Remember to loosen it COUNTER-CLOCKWISE of the face of the screw. On this particular one, we would hammer down on the rachet. On the passenger side, you would hammer the racket up.


Step 7:Remove the caliper from the carrier bracket
Once the guide bolts are clear of the carrier, the caliper will slip off, leaving the outboard brake pad still on the carrier. The inboard brake pad is clipped into the piston in the caliper.

Set the caliper on top of the dust shield/hub. Be careful not to drop it and damage the brake hose. Use a bungee cord to secure the caliper if you need to.





Step 8:Remove the Brake Wear Sensor attached to the inboard brake pad
Use the needle nose pliers to pull out the brake wear sensor out of the inboard brake pad. Its held in place by a small metal clip, it just pulls out. If you are reusing this sensor, be careful not to damage nor lose the clip.




Step 9:Remove the old brake pads
Remove the outboard brake pad. It just sits in the carrier.

Remove the inboard brake pad. It has clips that secure it into the piston. Just pull on the wings with your thumbs and it will come out.




Ever wondered how the brake sensor works? Theres a nub on the sensor that senses metal to metal contact. When the pad is still thick, the nub never touches the rotor. When the pad thins out enough, the nub touches the rotor and tells your OBC to flash the "Check Brake Lining" message. When you wear down the nub completely, you need to replace the wear sensor.




Step 10:Compress the brake piston all the way back
Use the brake caliper spreader to push the piston all the way back into the caliper. You can use the C Clamp to this also. This will make room for the much thicker new pads and thicker new rotor to fit together.

Put the caliper back on top of the dust sheild/hub when you are done. You may want to secure it in place with a bungee cord. I just leave it sitting there. Be careful to not let it drop and damage the brake hose.





Rotor Removal
If you are only changing pads, skip to Step 21.
Step 11:Remove the Caliper Carrier Bracket
Use a 16mm socket with a rachet to remove the 2 bolts holding the carrier onto the hub.

I used a 16mm in 1/2" with a 1/2" socket and a short 3" extension. I also had to use the rubber mallet to hammer on the rachet to loosen the bolt. This bolt is under pretty high torque and can require some effort to remove.

You can use some penetrating oil to help loosen it a bit if someone else had over tightened the bolts.




Step 12:Remove the Rotor retaining screw
Use a 6mm hex socket with a rachet to remove the 1 retaining screw that holds the rotor against the hub. The rotor may want to spin when you try to loosen the screw, just hold it firmly with one hand to keep it still.

If the whole rotor spins too much, you can use an impact gun to remove the screw like I did. Just be care not to strip it.




Step 13:Remove the old rotor
Simply remove the rotor. If it is stuck against the hub, hammer it with the rubber mallet. Its very heavy so be careful.

Sometimes I end up putting the rotor retaining screw back on and whacking the rotor till it got loose.


Brake Wear Sensor Removal
If you do not need to change the Brake Wear Sensor, Skip to Step 19
Step 14:Unclip the brake wear sensor cable from the bracket
The brake wear cable attaches to brackets to keep itself nice and tidy and out of the way of other moving parts.

Flip open the bleed screw rubber cap to remove the hoop the brake wear sensor uses to attach itself there.

Unclip the rubber grommet in the bracket behind the hub.

Open the plastic box that houses the plug for the brake sensor. There is a rubber grommet on the bottom of the box too.

Unplug the sensor and remove the old sensor




Step 15:Unplug the brake wear sensor and remove it.

Assembling it all back together
Step 16:Plug in the new brake wear sensor
Plug in the new sensor

Plug in the rubber grommet at the bottom of the plug plastic box

Step 17:Clip in the brake wear sensor to the bracket
Plug in the rubber grommet into the bracket behind the dust shield

Plug in the rubber hoop around the bleeder nipple on the caliper

Step 18:Clean the new rotor
New rotors have a protective anti-rust film over them. You need to remove this.

Some manufacturers suggest to clean them with soap and warm water. I use industrial strenght brake cleaner. The CRC Brake Kleen in the red bottle. The green environmentally safe crap is weak. Get the stuff thats really bad to do the job right! You really should spray the rotor over a drip pan to collect the cleaning agent. I sprayed it over my lawn (theres an ant colony under that area I sprayed at)





Step 19:Install the new rotor and retaining screw
Put the cleaned new rotor back on the hub.

Clean the rotor retaining bolt with brake cleaner spray then apply a small amount of anti-seize on the thread of the rotor retaining screw.

Use a 6mm hex socket and a torque wrench to screw in the rotor retaining screw.

Torque the rotor retaining screw to 12 lb-ft or 16Nm.





Step 20:Install the caliper carrier bracket
Clean the carrier bracket bolts with brake cleaner spray then apply a thin layer of anti-seize on the threads of the 2 16mm bolts.

Put the carrier bracket back in place and hand thread the 2 16mm bolts in.

Use a rachet to speed this up till they are snug and tight.

Use a torque wrench to tighten these bolts to 77 lb-ft or 110 Nm.

Step 21:Install the new brake pads
Some pads require you to file down the edges to reduce squealing (chamfering). The pads we use do not require this. If your pads recommend you to, file down the edges to about 30 degree angles or per their instructions.

Apply anti-squeal or anti-seize on the backing plates of the pads. Apply a liberal amount to any surface area that will touch the carrier or caliper hardware. Especially the wing tips. We use anti-seize with very quiet results (so do dealers)

Some pads are directional. Please be sure to use the correct set.

Install the outboard pad onto the carrier bracket. It just sits there

Install the inboard pad by clipping it into the piston and pressing down.






Step 22:Install the brake wear sensor to the inboard pad.
If you are reusing your old sensor, place the clip around the sensor pad and insert it into the pad.

If you are using a new one, the metal clip is around on the sensor pad, just insert it into the pad

Make sure the nub is facing the rotor. You can just use your hands to plug them in.

Step 23:Install the caliper onto the caliper carrier bracket
Do not use anti-sieze on the threads of the guide pins.

With the inboard pad in the caliper slip the caliper over the rotor and hand thread the guide pins in. You will need to use the 7mm socket with short extension to hand thread the guide pins in.

Use the torque wrench to tighten the guide pins to 22 lb-ft or 30 Nm.

Step 24:Install the guide bolt dust caps
Plug the dust covers back on the rubber guide bushings. They simply snap in.

Step 25:Install the wheel
Put your wheel back on and hand thread the lug bolts back in. You cannot torque the bolts to spec till lower the car and put some weight onto the tires to prevent them from spinning.








Front Brake Pad and Rotor Replacement for the driver side is done.
Repeat these steps (except for the brake wear sensor steps) on the other side. There is only one brake wear sensor at the front and one at the rear (on USA spec vehicles, its the driver front and passenger rear).


Now we move to the rear right side.
Step 26:Remove the wheel
Use the 19mm 1/2" socket on the breaker bar to remove the lug bolts

If your wheels are spinning when you try to loosen the lug bolts, then have someone get in the car and step on the brakes while you break loose the bolts.

Or use the Impact Gun like I did.

Be careful removing the last bolt, the wheel may slip off the hub and its a very heavy wheel. Just hold some pressure on the center of the hub as you remove the last bolt. Then lift the wheel off and away from the hub.





Pad Removal
Step 27:Remove the Anti Rattle Clip
Compress the anti-rattle clip to remove it from the caliper.

You can squeeze it by hand and remove one end off, or you can use a flat blade screw driver to pry it off.

Be careful as its under pressure and may *spring* when its released from the caliper.




Step 28:Compress the caliper
Use the 6" C Clamp to squeeze the caliper's pistons back in the retracted position.

Place the stationary end on the back of the caliper and the moving clamp end on the pad. . Then Compress till you can't anymore.

You will see a gap grow inbetween the pad and the caliper. This will make it much easier to remove the caliper later.




Step 29:Remove the guide bolt dust cap (just the top)
This step may be optional for you. I find it much easier to work with the pads when the caliper and carrier has more room to maneuver the pad around. Some people remove the entire carrier bracket with the caliper still attached.
The caliper is held onto the carrier by 2 guide bolts. The bolts are enclosed around a rubber bushing guide with dust end caps.

Remove the dust end caps with your fingers or you may need to pry them off with the flat blade screw driver.

You will not be able to fit a wrench and socket into the lower guide bolt to remove it because the shock body is in the way.




Step 30:Remove the top 7mm Guide Bolt
Use a 7mm hex socket with an adequate extension on a rachet to remove the top guide bolt only. You will not be able to remove the bottom guide bolt with any 7mm socket (even if you have a custom made shorty like I do). You can remove it with an Allen Key but you will not be able to torque it back to spec this way. So I just remove the the carrier bracket bolt which we can torque back to spec.

I used a 7mm 3/8" socket on a 3" extension with a 3/8" rachet. I also had to use a rubber mallet to hammer the rachet because the Dealer had overtorqued the guide bolts. If neccessary, use some penetrating oil to help loosen the bolt but you shouldn't need to.

Remember to loosen it COUNTER-CLOCKWISE of the face of the screw. On this side we would hammer up on the rachet. On the driver side, we hammer down.




Step 31:Remove the 2 16mm Caliper Carrier Bolts
Use a 16mm socket with a rachet to remove the 2 bolts holding the carrier onto the hub.

I used a 16mm in 1/2" with a 1/2" socket and a short 3" extension. I also had to use the rubber mallet to hammer on the rachet to loosen the bolt. This bolt is under pretty high torque and can require some effort to remove. Remember to hammer with the rubber mallet COUNTER-CLOCKWISE ONLY. This particular side is to hammer them up only enough to break them loose. The driver side, hammer down till they are loose.

You can use some penetrating oil to help loosen it a bit if someone else had over tightened the bolts.

Same exact procedure as the front. Sorry no pictures.




Step 32:Remove the assemble caliper and carrier bracket from the rotor
The entire carrier and attached caliper with pads will slip off the rotor and hub now.

Step 33:Remove the Brake Wear Sensor from the inboard pad
Use the needle nose pliers to pull out the brake wear sensor out of the inboard brake pad. Its held in place by a small metal clip, it just pulls out. If you are reusing this sensor, be careful not to damage nor lose the clip.




Step 34:Remove the pads
Slip the pads out of the carrier and caliper. You will need to pop the inboard pad out of its piston clips.

Put the assembly on top of the dust shield and secure it to prevent it from falling.





Rotor Removal
If you are only replacing pads, skip to Step 39.
Step 35:Remove the 6mm rotor retaining screw
Use a 6mm hex socket with a rachet to remove the 1 retaining screw that holds the rotor against the hub. The rotor may want to spin when you try to loosen the screw, just hold it firmly with one hand to keep it still.

If the whole rotor spins too much, you can use an impact gun to remove the screw like I did. Just be care not to strip it.




Step 36:Remove the old rotor
Simply remove the rotor. If it is stuck against the hub, hammer it with the rubber mallet. Its very heavy so be careful.

Sometimes I end up putting the rotor retaining screw back on and whacking the rotor till it got loose.


Assembling it all back together
Step 37:Clean the new rotor
New rotors have a protective anti-rust film over them. You need to remove this.

Some manufacturers suggest to clean them with soap and warm water. I use industrial strenght brake cleaner. The CRC Brake Kleen in the red bottle. The green environmentally safe crap is weak. Get the stuff thats really bad to do the job right! You really should spray the rotor over a drip pan to collect the cleaning agent.

Step 38:Install the rotor and 6mm retaining screw
Put the cleaned new rotor back on the hub.

Apply a small amount of anti-seize on the thread of the rotor retaining screw.

Use a 6mm hex socket and a torque wrench to screw in the rotor retaining screw.

Torque the rotor retaining screw to 12 lb-ft or 16Nm.

Step 39:Install the new inboard brake pad and brake wear sensor
Some pads require you to file down the edges to reduce squealing. The pads we use do not require this. If your pads recommend you to, file down the edges to about 30 degree angles or per their instructions.

Apply anti-squeal or anti-seize on the backing plates of the pads. Apply a liberal amount to any surface area that will touch the carrier or caliper hardware. Especially the wing tips.

Install the outboard pad onto the carrier bracket. It just sits there

Install the inboard pad by clipping it into the piston and pressing down.




Step 40:Install the new outboard brake pad
Apply anti-squeal or anti-seize on the backing plates of the pads. Apply a liberal amount to any surface area that will touch the carrier or caliper hardware. Especially the wing tips.

Install the outboard pad onto the carrier bracket. slip it into the caliper/carrier and hold it up in the carrier slots

The pad will want to fall down and out, just hold it in place while you move it around.

Step 41:Install the assembled caliper with pads and carrier bracket onto the rotor and hub
Slip the entire asembly of carrier, caliper and pads over the rotor..

Clean all the bolts with brake cleaner then apply a thin layer of anti-seize on the threads of the 16mm carrier bolts and hand thread the bolts in till snug. You may want to use a rachet to speed things up once they are hand started in the threads.

Use a torque wrench to tighten the 16mm carrier bolts to 48 lb-ft or 65 Nm.

Then use the 7mm hex socket and hand start the guide bolt back in if you removed it in step 29 and 30. Do not add any anti-seize to the 7mm guide bolts.

Use a torque wrench to tighten the 7mm hex guide bolt to 22 lb-ft or 30 Nm.

Snap the dust cap back on the top of the rubber guide bushing.

Step 42:Install the wheel
Put your wheel back on and hand thread the lug bolts back in. You cannot torque the bolts to spec till lower the car and put some weight onto the tires to prevent them from spinning.


Rear pad and rotor replacement is complete.
Follow the same procedure on the other side with exception to the steps for the brake wear sensor.
Step 43:Check Brake fluid
Visually inspect the brake fluid level of the master cylnder. If it is low, add more brake fluid till you get to the max level. Be careful not to spill any. Brake Fluid is the best paint stripper every made, you really don't want to find out first hand.

Close the cap and hand tighten it.

Step 44:Lower the vehicle.
Lower your vehicle back on to the ground.

Using the 19mm socket and torque wrench, tighten the lug bolts to 101 lb-ft in a star pattern around the wheel.

Step 45:Pump the brake pedal
Get into the car and pump the brake pedal. It will feel soft. Pump it until it is solid and firm again.


All done.
Now you need to bed in the pads to rotors. Please see David Zeckhausen's most excellent instructions on how to bed in your brakes at http://www.zeckhausen.com/


References:
Additional DIY reference at http://www.imagestation.com/album/?id=4291874493

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