7 Minute Miles

MINI Rear Brake Pads (Again)

Posted Thursday, April 16th, 2009 11:49 pm GMT -6 in Cars

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, the rear brake pads on my 2005 MINI Cooper needed replacement after only a year. Before replacing the caliper, I decided to order a new set of rear pads (EBC Red Stuff) and see if I could get the caliper to snap back to life.

As you can see from the picture above, the inside right rear pad had almost completely disintegrated. That’s what was causing the metal-on-metal sounds I heard last week that made me decide not to drive it anymore until the new pads arrived. Based on safety advice from Mr. Chuck Goolsbee, I borrowed some real car stands from a neighbor this time and proceeded with the repair.

That caliper was a total pain in the ass to retract (and I’m not the only one with this issue, as this thread shows). I tried opening the bleeding nipple a bit, but that didn’t help and I ended up breaking the special tool I had ordered last time.

In the end, I finally got it compressed by removing the rubber cover and placing a little brake fluid on the exposed piston. I then used a needle nosed pliers to finally get the thing spinning. Lastly, a c-clamp combined with the pliers got it back in place after a long, painful ballet of clamping, spinning and un-clamping. My hands still hurt from that ordeal.

This set of brake pads came with some black adhesive from 3M that is supposed to help prevent brake squeal. I had use some red gunk last time, so this was much nicer (if it works). I had ordered a new brake sensor cable and got that hooked up (although the damn light is still on, just like last time). The other rear wheel took literally like 10 minutes from start to finish.

Chuck helped me through this job via iChat, photo uploads and web searches (thanks again!). He said I really needed to bleed the brakes, but I didn’t have any of the stuff I needed at home for that. I hadn’t done that the previous time I did pads, but I also didn’t open the bleeder valve then either.

I pumped the brakes back to life and carefully took the car for a spin around the block. As I pulled back in the garage, I could hear that it sounded like the right rear caliper was still not releasing. Because of this I decided to take it in to the local mechanic down the block.

Car Care Advanced Auto on Cliff Road bled the brake lines for me and did an inspection on all four wheels for $79. They said both rear calipers weren’t really releasing, even when they opened the bleeders. They also said the rotors were in pretty bad shape, with the raised outer rim (that I already knew about) and several other imperfections. They wanted about $850 to replace both rear calipers and rotors. I decided to wait on that until I could research all my options.

At this point, I seriously thought about just trading it in for a new car, but Colleen and I decided that we should continue on for now. I’ve got a call in to the mechanic at the dealer that did my last big repair to get his opinion (and quote). I’d consider doing the caliper replacement myself, but I’m not sure I want to try the rotors.

More to come, I’m sure…

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Originally published by DK on April 16, 2009 at 11:49 pm

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