Brake Rotor and Pad Replacement on the 3000GT/Stealth

by Jeremy Gleason

These instructions are copied from the 3000GT/Stealth International Message Center post and re-pubished here with the permission of Jeremy Gleason. - Jeff Lucius

Posted by JeremyG on 10-15-2000 11:39 AM

(remember, this is for idiots, so some of the stuff may be obvious. There's a lot of instructions here but it's not difficult, I just tried to touch on any troubles you may have. LOL)

I'd also like any comments/additions/corrections so that we can make sure this is complete. If someone wants to use this on their website, feel free, just credit me for writing it!

COMPLETE BRAKE JOB (turning the rotors, replacing pads-- less "bleeding" the brakes, I'll add that section in a few weeks because I didn't have time to do that yet).

These are instructions based on a 1st gen Stealth RT/TT. Brakes are different on N/A cars.

Total cost: Depends on brake pad cost, I got nice Wagners, non-metallic with asbestos, for $36 front and $39 back). Add $24 to have the rotors turned, $3 for no-squeal brake treatment, and $3 for brake component cleaner spray and I spent around $100 and got much better hardware than the local Midas would use. There's also a chance you'll have to buy new rotors, at around $90-110 each.

Total time: First time, be prepared to spend 8 hours. Once you've done it, or if you are a decent mechanic already, or if you have air tools to remove/replace the wheels, etc. probably 2-4 hours.

Two things I want to mention before you start this: (1) I'm a mechanical idiot, this may not be the easiest or even the correct way to do this, but it worked for me, and with minimal expense on new tools, etc. (2) Regarding your rotors. They could be warped or grooved too bad to have them turned ("turning" is when they spin them on a lathe and machine them down to flat. Makes them as good as new, except a little bit thinner. They have to be a certain thickness after turning, or the shop won't do it for you). So if you want to TRY to turn the rotors, then be prepared that they could be too far gone, and that you'll have to ORDER new rotors (most parts stores I found do NOT have them in stock, but they can get them in 1-3 days. In other words, you may be without a car for a couple days if the rotors are not turnable.

Tools/materials needed (in order of use):
Lug nut removing tool (the one that came with your car, or other)
Jack and jack stand (recommended to buy or borrow a small hydrolic jack, the stock jack stinks)
WD-40 or other spray-on lubricant
Socket set (metric)
18" pipe (to use as an extension for your socket wrench. Hardware stores have cast iron pipe pre-cut in 12" and 18" for around $3)
piece of scrap wood (I used a 1 by 4, about 6 inches long)
brake/caliper cleaning spray
wire brush (one that looks like a giant toothbrush, maybe 1/2" wide and 2" long plus the handle)
no-squeal brake treatment (look at your Pep Boys or other parts store, they come in little packs like Ketchup at McDonalds, usually they are found right on the front counter)
6 or 8 inch c-clamp

(a) Buy front and back brake pads. You'll find that your local parts shops probably have the fronts in stock but need a day to get the backs. No matter how worn your pads are, REPLACE THEM. You'll be removing the old ones anyway, and if you put them back on your newly turned rotors, it will groove them faster and you are also prone to squealing brakes.
(b) Decide whether you want to risk not having a car for a few days. That's because of the rotor issue mentioned above. I personally think it's worth it for $8 or $10 to try to get them turned, and if it doesn't work THEN to buy the $100 rotors.
(c) Find a shop that turns rotors, get an appointment with them or find out if you can just drop off, and how long it takes. It should take around 1-2 hours if they get to them right away.

1. Put the car on level surface, remember you'll be crawling around and laying down, so preferrably concrete.

2. Loosen all the lug nuts a little bit. This makes it easier so the wheel isn't turning once the car is jacked up.

3. Jack up the entire car and put it on jack stands or blocks. You jack the car just behind the front wheels and just in front of the back wheels. Look for a metal ridge that hangs down, it doesn't look strong enough but it is.

4. Go around the car, find the bolts that hold the calipers on. There's 2 behind each caliper. Spray WD-40 on each one. Doing it now lets it soak while you are removing the wheels.

5. Remove the lug nuts and take off the wheels. Be careful not to lose the nuts!

6. Your first job is to remove the calipers. To do this, you just remove the 2 metric sized bolts. These things are hard to get off. The best thing to do is for the front wheels, turn the wheels to the left for the driver's side and the right when you do the passenger side. This gives you a better angle at the bolts. Then just use your muscles. And the extension pipe. They are standard bolts which loosen when you turn counter-clockwise. You will probably have to be agressive to get them off, just be very carful not to slip and break a brake line or the bleeder nipple.

7. Once the bolts are removed, most likely the calipers will slide off. But if your brakes are warped or worn a lot, then there will be a ridge along the outside of the rotor. This ridge will make it difficult to remove the rotors. If this is the case, you have a couple choices... you could try to push the pads back into the caliper with constant pressure (remove the brake fluid fill cap under the hood first!) or just use your hammer (use the piece of wood to protect the caliper, so you are hitting the wood instead of the caliper). If that doesn't work, you can remove the pads (instructions later).

8. Once the calipers are removed, you need to support them. Armitage from the 3SI board says that an old wire hanger bent with a hook on each end would work well. I'm sure if you have some other wire it would work as well. You can also balance them on the axle area, but if they mistakenly fall off, it could break the brake lines. I personally let them hang by the brake lines but that's not recommended.

9. Now remove the rotors. On each rotor, near the wheel studs, you'll see two threaded holes. You need to put a bolt in each one, and tighten them down. They will push on the plate behind the rotor and hopefully pop it off. Find bolts that fit by looking under your hood! Almost any of the assembly bolts are the correct size. I used one from each side of the radiator, there's 4 bolts, 2 on each side. The ones on the engine side are a bit longer than the ones on the front. So take one off each side. Put the bolts in the holes of the rotor, and it's important to turn them each 1/4 turn, alternating between bolts. Don't cheat and turn too much each time, that just puts the rotor in a bind and makes it HARDER to get off. If they come off, skip to #11.

10. Chances are they won't come off so you'll have to (ehem) beat them off. For the front wheels, turn the wheels as described in #6. Then just put the piece of wood on the back of the rotor and hit it with a hammer, trying to force the rotor off. You'll probably have to hit it REALLY hard, but try it softer first. I'm not aware of any damage (short of breaking the rotor) you can do by hitting it really hard. We'll assume this works... if it doesn't you may be in trouble... try spraying WD-40 around the back of the rotor where it is likely rusted to the wheel assembly of the car. Maybe leave it overnight or something.

11. Once the rotors are off, you should have them turned (or replace them with new). In my area I found a place that turns rotors for $8 each. Even if it's $15 each it's cheaper than new. So take them to the shop now, then return to replace the pads. Hopefully when you are done with the pads, the rotors will be done! SUGGESTION: I don't know if the rotors are designed left and right, but I suggest you use a twist tie or something to distinguish left and right. For example, just put the twist tie in the stud hole on both RIGHT ones, (or both LEFT ones, either way). Just remember which side is which. You also want to make it clear to the shop which are left and right. Most shops have a little stamper which will actually stamp "L" and "R" on them for you. Ask them to do that, or at least to replace the twist ties so you know which is which!

12. Front Pad Replacement: (NOTE: Do ONE at a TIME, so in case you get confused you can use the other as a reference!) Front pads are easy to remove, there's a little wire springy thing. Remove that. This will allow you to simply pull the pins out of the caliper (the pins I think are aluminum or at least are silver, you can't miss them). When you pull out the pins, the pads will slide right out. Take a note of how that flat metal spring thingy is situated as well.

13. Clean the caliper and pins with the cleaner spray and the wire brush. When cleaning the caliper, the main things to clean are the "pistons" (probably not the right term), the things that push the back of the pads so they clamp together. Be careful not to scrub the rubber around the pistons. Also make sure you clean the pins carefully.

14. Replace the pads (use the other side as a guide to make sure they are in correctly). To do this you need to push the pistons back into the caliper. This requires steady pressure from the c-clamp. But first, loosen the cap on the brake fluid resevoir under the hood. This allows the pressure to release as you push the pistons in. It's really not hard, just used the c-clamp in such a way that it's pushing on the EDGE of the piston. Be careful not to dent the piston, though. You'll notice on the front that when you push the 4th one in, the others will come out a little bit. Just push them in again. Once they are all pushed back, replace the pads. You will also want to use the no-squeal stuff, just follow their instructions, which is basically put it on the back of each pad, and a little around the edge of each piston. Don't forget to include the flat metal springy thing, and when the pins are back in, make sure you replace the wire spring thingy, putting each end into the hole at the end of each pin.

15. Do the same on the other side in front, then move to the back.

16. The back pads are clipped in, it's hard to explain but when you see them it will be obvious. You just slide them out, then push the pistons back in, then slide in the new ones. Just make sure the pads are installed the same way they were originally.

17. Now hopefully the rotors are turned. Go pick them up.

18. IMPORTANT: Tighten the cap on the brake fluid resevoir under the hood. If you don't then when you push your brakes the fluid will spray everywhere. Trust me, I did that. LOL

19. To replace the rotors you simply slide them back on the wheel assembly. Then put the calipers back on the rotors. BE VERY CAREFUL that the brake lines aren't twisted or crimped!

20. Bolt the calipers back on the wheel assembly. Tighten them down really good. Even use the pipe extension again. I don't know the torque requirements but I'll just say it has to be TIGHT. Probably over 100 or even 120 ft/lbs (note: if you don't have a torque wrench, as a comparison, when you tighten lug nuts they are at around 90 ft/lbs).

21. Replace the wheels. Tighten the lug nuts fairly tight, then drop the car to the ground and use a "star" pattern (go around TWICE) to tighten them all the way.

22. Drive the car CAREFULLY, on a back road or parking lot, to test the brakes. Drive on eggshells for the first couple times out, just in case!

Now you probably should bleed the brakes while you have everything loose. This would be somewhere between #11 and #12. I'll try to add this section later on.

Have fun!

[Edited by JeremyG on 10-26-2000 at 01:40 PM]

1991 Stealth RT/TT Pearl White w/black leather
-K&N is only mod so far
-Turbo Timer and very nice Clifford alarm system (don't try to steal it!)
-Painted door panel pads and shift boot (white)

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Page last updated February 20, 2005.