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help with parts for my first brake job

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by camueller, Jun 1, 2012.

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    I have a 2005 325i that I bought brand new. I've taken it to the dealer or a local independent BMW shop for all service since then, and am getting to the point where I want to start doing some of the regular maintenance stuff on my own. Front brakes are coming up real soon, and I want to do those. I've watched several youtube videos, read several DIY how to's, and I think I'm ready for the job. But what parts to use has me stuck.

    My local dealership will give me a 10% discount on parts, which put me at about $285 plus tax for pads, rotors, and a sensor.

    After reading several threads in this and other forums, it seems like a lot of people run genuine parts for the rotors, and something like the axxis ultimates for the pads. That save a little bit of money I suppose, but I'm seeing OEM rotors online for $50 each and free shipping.

    What do those of you who do this kind of thing regularly do? Is there a better place to get genuine rotors? Or do you just cough it up at the dealership?

    two30grain guest

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    honestly, thats isnt bad. A rotor can run anywhere from $30 on up depending on the car. the E46 are usually around $50, so i wouldnt hesitate too much on getting those rotors at the quoted price. as for brake pads, i use pagid pads usually. but opinions on brake pads are like ***holes, everyones got one.

    It sounds like you are doing well leading up to your first brake job! let us know how it goes!
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    Satch SoSoCalifortified

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    Yeah. Be sure to read Michael Bird's Roundel story on doing yer own brakes...he makes it look pretty simple.
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    Well guys, tonight I did my very first brake job. And I'm happy to say I did it successfully! I took my time, and the only problems I ran into were issues with having the right sized tools for the various bolts (I had a 1/2" drive toque wrench, but all my sockets were 3/8" drive).

    I ended up just getting my parts from the local BMW dealer I normally take my car to. They gave me 10% off list of the parts for being a BMWCCA member, and made sure to mention how the discount used to be way better :)

    $309 later I've got OEM pads and rotors on the front, and should be set for a while as far as brakes go. Now on to my next DIY job, which will likely be flushing the brake fluid.
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    steven s

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    Nice feeling doing it yourself. :)
    I recently replaced an ABS sensor. Saved a small fortune.

    Before tackling a new job I look for how to write-ups and especially you-tube videos.
    Sometimes you can see the problems someone else experienced.
    Of course Bentley manuals help but videos can be extremely helpful too.

    It's always good to have all the tools you need on hand.
    I have basic tools but find myself running out to Sears for a socket that I may not have every once in a while.

    Now to you brake fluid.
    Whichever method you use, 2 person or vacuum. Be sure not to let the brake fluid reservoir become empty.

    Some who use the vacuum method don't use the container attached to the vacuum for fluid.
    This keeps it clean although you need to constantly monitor the level of brake fluid.
    I did it that way once. Probably won't again.

    I also slide a tray below the caliper to catch any fluid that leaks. It's a tray that we used to use to keep shoes on.
    Another tip I learned is to tap the caliper while bleeding or replacing fluid to loosen air bubbles.
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    If you bleed the brakes using a friend/wife/etc, there's always the possibility of blowing the internal seals on the brake master cylinder, if the master cylinder's piston shaft has any rust on it, and your brake bleeding partner ends up pushing the brake pedal to the floor (multiple times) if you leave the bleeder open long enough for that to happen. However, it's also a hassle to open and close so quickly - manually bleeding, it takes I'm guessing 3/4 of a second to about a second to bottom-out the brake pedal. Typically, if that's a problem at all, you'd expect it on a much older vehicle - I've never had it happen, but you should be aware of the possibility.

    I have a vacuum bleeder, which works well (the brand I have is a 'Vacula'), but I think a pressure bleeder as sold by www.bavauto.com, or a Motive pressure bleeder is likely preferable. One downside to a pressure bleeder is that it fills the reservoir to the tip of the adapter-cap nipple; You have to remember to de-pressurize the bleeder before disconnecting it lest you inadvertently spray brake fluid everywhere (keep your mouth shut and wear safety glasses/goggles!). When you disconnect the bleeder from the reservoir cap, you have to extract enough fluid out of the reservoir to get the level down, or when you remove the adapter cap, fluid will spill down the reservoir, master cylinder, and drip on down from there making a mess (brake parts cleaner! And make sure it's evaporated before starting the engine, lest you ignite your engine bay!). Something like a narrow tip turkey baster (don't give it back to your wife afterwards, better buy another....) or perhaps a large syringe. I've used a paper towel twisted up to act as a sponge - less than ideal, to say the least. With a vacuum bleeder, you need compressed air; not for a pressure bleeder. Vacuum bleeders tend to suck air past the bleeder nipple, making it a bit harder to be sure all air bubbles are out of the line, and you have to watch not running the reservoir out of fluid. A pressure bleeder, the reservoir isn't the issue, but you don't want it to run low either and pump air into the brake system. Nitrile gloves (Harbor Freight) are a good idea for brake work - brake fluid is caustic and brake parts cleaner is toxic enough you don't want it soaking in through your skin. Both vacuum or pressure bleeders allow brake bleeding to be a one-person job, but as said, a vacuum leader needs a source of compressed air.

    Some sort of funnel is helpful for filling the brake reservoir. At times I've cut plastic water bottles or pop bottles in half and thoroughly cleaned them, if I didn't have just the right thing handy. Needs to be clean obviously, the last thing you want is dirt or contamination of any kind entering your brake system.
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    I was at Harbor Freight for their 4th of July sale and picked up some of their 5mil Nitrate gloves. I was tempted to pick up a brake vacuum bleeder set for $25, but decided I was going to go with what I've seen highly recommended on bimmerfest.com forums and maybe e46fanatics, the Motive you mentioned. Seems like it's the safest way to go, as tempting as it is to save the $60 and get a friend to pump the brakes.

    And I'm a little afraid, having been warned by friends not to mess up. But from reading here, it sounds like as long as I keep the reservoir full everything should be just fine. And add to that to make sure to remember to depressurice the bleeder before disconnecting.

    I've got a trip coming up next week, and will be away from home for a while. So I'll most likely tackle this towards the end of this month.
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    steven s

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    On my E36 there are two different sizes needed for the bleed valves.
    Ideally you want to use a flare wrench.
    I haven't gotten around to buying a set though.

    You will need a catch bottle for the removed fluid.
    I use a soda bottle with a bungee cord attached so I can hook it onto the something.
    I actually have one of those wire ties that have a screw mount built into it to hook the bungee cord to.

    For the turkey baster, I have a wire tire to keep the squeeze bulb secured to the baster.
    After time the bulb loosens up and air gets in there.

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