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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:02 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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DIY: How to remove stuck rotor screw in any car

The following is a generic DIY, true for Mazda, Honda, BMW or whatever car you have.
The rotor screw, in 99.9999% of Japanese and European cars, is the 6mm type.

DIY: How to drill stuck rotor screw

The following is a generic procedure for any rotors with stuck rotor screw. I use Mazda6 rotor (almost identical setup as Honda) for illustration purpose. BMW rotor screw sometimes get stuck after so many years in there.

This is why whenever you work on any brake job in any car, have those spare rotor screws ready.

NOTE:

1- Honda screw is M6 thread type. The head widest part is 12 mm. FYI: BMW uses Allen head.

2- Thread is 6mm, Head is 12mm, so use a 9mm or 11/32" drill bit. The rotor screw is made from soft metal, so when drilling it out, the moment you hit the rotor (which is made from much harder metal), you will hear a different sound/feel etc. ---> then stop drilling.

By now, you should have a "ring" at the tip of your drill bit.

3. Once the rotor is off (if rotor is stuck, use extractor bolts as mentioned on the 1st page of this thread to remove the rotor). Then remove the remaining part of the rotor screw with your fingers or vice-grip.

Pretty simple, isn't it? Go tell your mom you just did something good today!


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  #2  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:19 AM
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My neighbor just bought an impact screwdriver, which worked like an absolute champ while doing a brake job on another neighbor's MDX. I sure wish we'd had one before we (I) spent the better part of an hour drilling out the screws on my wife's Honda when we replaced the rotors on it - NOT fun.

I don't think it's necessary to replace rotor screws. From what I've been told by several mechanics, they are only there because they're needed while the car is on the assembly line.
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For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
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  #3  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:31 AM
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BentValve BentValve is offline
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Impact screwdriver ftw and no, you don't have to screw the rotor back on afterwards.

Excellent DIY nonetheless!
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  #4  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:34 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Actually, I wrote this for those stubborn screws that refuse to come out even with Impact Driver.
And Yes I have an Impact Driver.
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  #5  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Actually, I wrote this for those stubborn screws that refuse to come out even with Impact Driver.
And Yes I have an Impact Driver.
I've been quite fortunate not to come across one the impact couldn't handle. to you.
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  #6  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:37 AM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BentValve View Post
I've been quite fortunate not to come across one the impact couldn't handle. to you.
Then you should visit Honda forum, tons of those stuck screws in Honda Mazda cars, damn Japanese engineers using Phillips head instead of Allen (like BMW)! LMAO.
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  #7  
Old 11-17-2010, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Then you should visit Honda forum, tons of those stuck screws in Honda Mazda cars, damn Japanese engineers using Phillips head instead of Allen (like BMW)! LMAO.
Actually, I bought an impact driver because I used to own a civic, 5 of them to be exact. I've just been lucky I guess. Now if we are talking about LCA bolts, no luck there.
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Old 11-17-2010, 11:28 AM
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We use our other neighbor - the one who played O-line - to actually swing the hammer.
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For me, the e39 is the ... best balance of luxury ... performance ... good looks and class. Sort of the Catherine Deneuve of cars, if you get my drift.
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  #9  
Old 11-17-2010, 01:50 PM
franka franka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
Then you should visit Honda forum, tons of those stuck screws in Honda Mazda cars, damn Japanese engineers using Phillips head instead of Allen (like BMW)! LMAO.
You are on Ford, Honda and BMW forums. Did I miss any others?

How do you find time for all these forums? Do you not work a 40+ hr week?
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  #10  
Old 11-17-2010, 02:00 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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franka,

You miss Volvo forum hehe.
(I have a 1998 Volvo and 2007 Honda Odyssey as well as the E39)
I work 60h/week.
I write the DIYs at night, after the kids are in bed...
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  #11  
Old 11-17-2010, 02:24 PM
franka franka is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
franka,

You miss Volvo forum hehe.
(I have a 1998 Volvo and 2007 Honda Odyssey as well as the E39)
I work 60h/week.
I write the DIYs at night, after the kids are in bed...
What is the model name of the sweet looking Volvo that I see on occasion? Looks a bit like a smaller E39. Very sleek.
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  #12  
Old 11-17-2010, 02:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
franka,

You miss Volvo forum hehe.
(I have a 1998 Volvo and 2007 Honda Odyssey as well as the E39)
I work 60h/week.
I write the DIYs at night, after the kids are in bed...
NOW I KNOW HOW HE DOES IT!!!

cn90 in an alien
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  #13  
Old 07-01-2011, 01:03 AM
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For the crosslink record, here's a tale today of a drilled-out rotor set screw that failed miserably:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Rotor locator screw
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  #14  
Old 01-15-2013, 07:48 PM
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And another person with a stuck allen head screw today:
Quote:
Originally Posted by djchasman View Post
Hey all. I am trying to change out the rear bearing and the hex bolt holding on the rotor is not budging. Any ideas on getting it off without damaging. Thanks all.
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See also: E39 Bestlinks & How to easily find what you need
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  #15  
Old 10-31-2013, 04:36 AM
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Yet another today:
- > E39 (1997 - 2003) > Brake Rotor Set Screw Problem
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  #16  
Old 03-16-2016, 08:16 PM
creeky creeky is offline
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I removed the caliper and then tackled the front passenger side 6mm rotor set screw
.
My set screw is stuck right now but not stripped as I have good bite but the rotor spins on me while I'm trying to ratchet it out.

I don't want to use the hammer type impact driver unless I have to because that may bunge up the set screw.

I would rather just use a ratchet and spin it out but just want to hold the rotor in place.

Any tricks to hold the rotor while I ratchet out that 6mm set screw?
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  #17  
Old 03-16-2016, 08:49 PM
creeky creeky is offline
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I got it off by putting a six-inch vise grip at the noon position of the rotor, which held it in place by wedging it against something (probably the backing plates?).

That was enough to just spin the 6mm allen bolt off using a six inch ratchet.

I should have bought two new set screws because I bunged it up a bit trying to impact hammer it out first.

Too late now.
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  #18  
Old 03-16-2016, 09:09 PM
creeky creeky is offline
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If anyone wants to see what the set screw looks like, here is a picture of it.
It's a funny shape so for those drilling it out, be advised what it looks like.
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  #19  
Old 03-16-2016, 09:52 PM
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Why would you vice grip the rotor? Install two lug bolts and put a pry bar between them to counter force the rotor.
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  #20  
Old 03-17-2016, 01:45 AM
creeky creeky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brandon002 View Post
Why would you vice grip the rotor? Install two lug bolts and put a pry bar between them to counter force the rotor.
Thanks for the bar idea.
It worked great on the driver side!
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  #21  
Old 03-17-2016, 05:32 AM
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Now that's how it's done.
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  #22  
Old 03-17-2016, 06:00 AM
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Don't remove the caliper until you have the rotor retaining screw out. You can just slide a screwdriver through the caliper into the vanes of the rotor to hold it in place. Kinda like not removing the transmission or differential drain plug until you are sure you can remove the fill plug. You don't want an empty transmission pan/differential if you can fill it up with fluid. You don't want to remove the caliper if you can't remove the rotor retaining screw. Although it is easy to put the caliper back on.
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Old 03-17-2016, 08:28 AM
MKJS MKJS is offline
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I think the impact driver and a large, large hammer is the way to go on these bad boys. It drives the screw in as it loosens and so they are quite easy on the mating surface between the screw and the tool head.

I use to race Mx and on most 2 stroke engines, if you try to use just an allen wrench on case fasteners your going to strip them quite often. We always took'em out and put'em in with an impact hammer and seldom had a problem.

Because of the shape of the rotor allen, I'd avoid drilling it like the plague.

I just did my rotors and pads Tuesday, used a screwdriver between the vanes to hold the rotor in place. Gave them a couple very good whacks with the impact and out they came. No fuss, no muss. Also, I'd suggest spraying down the allens with liquid wrench or some kind of penetrating oil at least a half hr before you attempt to take'em out.

Jim

Last edited by MKJS; 03-17-2016 at 08:35 AM.
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  #24  
Old 03-17-2016, 09:26 AM
creeky creeky is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
I think the impact driver and a large, large hammer is the way to go on these bad boys. It drives the screw in as it loosens and so they are quite easy on the mating surface between the screw and the tool head. I use to race Mx and on most 2 stroke engines, if you try to use just an allen wrench on case fasteners your going to strip them quite often. We always took'em out and put'em in with an impact hammer and seldom had a problem.
Hi Jim,
What kind of impact driver are you using?
I don't trust mine.
Mine is a 1/2 inch Sears Craftsman and it looks like the picture here.
[image]http://laurelleaffarm.com/item-photos/Craftsman-hand-impact-driver-tool-set-947641-12-drive-hand-impact-wrench-Laurel-Leaf-Farm-item-no-s10221-1.jpg[/image]

Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
Because of the shape of the rotor allen, I'd avoid drilling it like the plague.
We should warn people that the shape of the oem set screw is nothing like the picture shown in the OP.
[image]http://www.autopartsapi.com/eEuroparts.com/images/parts/lg_79cf9091-7e34-42ff-88f0-5d9c7c7f1610.jpg[/image]
It's all head and body and very little thread.
[image]https://c1552172.ssl.cf0.rackcdn.com/324093_x800.jpg[/image]
Quote:
Originally Posted by MKJS View Post
I just did my rotors and pads Tuesday, used a screwdriver between the vanes to hold the rotor in place. Gave them a couple very good whacks with the impact and out they came. No fuss, no muss. Also, I'd suggest spraying down the allens with liquid wrench or some kind of penetrating oil at least a half hr before you attempt to take'em out.
Jim
I like the screwdriver idea that you and crazy4trains suggested.

Since I had NOT removed the two 7mm allen caliper pins when I did the passenger side, I couldn't have done that. It was a big mistake to "skip" those two pins, thinking that if I was removing the calipers anyway, I would just remove the two 18mm bolts holding the calipers on. That was a big mistake.

I wrote up my experience here.
http://www.bimmerfest.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=901485

When I did the driver side, I used the lever bar suggestion but I also took out the two 7mm allen caliper pins so I could have used the screwdriver idea had I known about it.

It's good that these methods are listed in this thread now because when I ran a search, this thread author showed as the one that had all the answers.
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  #25  
Old 03-17-2016, 09:36 AM
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crazy4trains crazy4trains is offline
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Oh, and put a little anti-sieze compound on the threads of the rotor retaining screw before you reinstall.
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