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E36 (1991 - 1999)
The E36 chassis 3-Series BMW was a huge hit among driving enthusiasts from the first moment the car hit the pavement. The E36 won numerous awards over the years it was produced and is still a favorite of many BMW enthusiasts to this day! -- View the E36 Wiki

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  #26  
Old 01-15-2013, 06:48 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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"For frozen caliper, if I take out rear brake caliper and clean it and put some brake grease on it, will it be enough?
I haven't flush brake fluid ever. When I changed brake pads, I see brake fluid is clear and sufficient. Is there any sign for me to flush brake fluid? Can the flush be done DIY?"

"Frozen" caliper means the piston is stuck in its bore, so the caliper must be rebuilt/replaced. "Binding" would describe the caliper not floating/centering on the mounting bolts, which be addressed by cleaning/lubrication as described above by others. Flushing all the brake fluid is recommended every two years, and can simply be done with a helper pushing the pedal while you open the bleed screws, or you can use a pressurized one-man bleeder system. Don't forget to bleed the clutch system if you have a manual transmission; It uses the same brake fluid from the same reservoir.
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  #27  
Old 01-15-2013, 09:48 AM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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In case of I found frozen caliper, I heard it can recur even I push the piston back. I read "If the holes in the caliper where the pins pass through are worn oversize, then a new caliper and pins are required. Except in cases of early failure of one caliper, calipers are often replaced in pairs, the logic being that if one caliper has failed, the other one is not far behind. It all depends on the nature of the failure."
So if I decide to replace the caliper,
1. do I need to replace the caliper bracket where the guiding bolt screw into?
2. do I need to replace caliper on both sides of axle?
3. do I need to replace the guiding bolt as well?
4. do I need to put brake grease on the guiding bolt as well?
5. if I need to flush the brake fluid and looked at bleeding brake I worry that my only bmw jack is not up to the job. What's recommended here if I only have one jack?
6. where is the bleed screws? The one connect to the caliper piston?

Thanks.

Last edited by yxd0018; 01-15-2013 at 10:59 AM.
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  #28  
Old 01-15-2013, 11:13 AM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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Also read the following online and it seems to measure the pad correctly I HAVE to take out ALL tires. Is there a tool can do the job without taking out tire?

"you're going to be using a measuring tool... best if it measures 32nds of inches, but you can use a regular ruler, to check both brake pads. brake pads need to be replaced around a quarter of an inch thick. When they get down to an eighth of an inch thick, you definitely need to replace them because you're in danger of damaging the components of your brake system."
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  #29  
Old 01-15-2013, 12:38 PM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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answers below:
Quote:
Originally Posted by yxd0018 View Post
In case of I found frozen caliper, I heard it can recur even I push the piston back. I read "If the holes in the caliper where the pins pass through are worn oversize, then a new caliper and pins are required. Except in cases of early failure of one caliper, calipers are often replaced in pairs, the logic being that if one caliper has failed, the other one is not far behind. It all depends on the nature of the failure."
So if I decide to replace the caliper,
1. do I need to replace the caliper bracket where the guiding bolt screw into? No
2. do I need to replace caliper on both sides of axle? That is recommended
3. do I need to replace the guiding bolt as well? Not unless it has a deep notch in the body
4. do I need to put brake grease on the guiding bolt as well? Answered in previous posts, but also check the rubber guide bolt bushings for excessive wear. The bushings can be pressed in place.
5. if I need to flush the brake fluid and looked at bleeding brake I worry that my only bmw jack is not up to the job. What's recommended here if I only have one jack? You can bleed one corner at a time if you don't have jack stands or another safe way to support the car with all four wheels off. BTW, you will need a small (approx. 9mm) box wrench for the bleeders.
6. where is the bleed screws? The one connect to the caliper piston? As shown in the pelican article, on one corner of each caliper, facing upwards with a rubber cap.
You won't need to measure anything if you are just installing some new pads/rotors and doing some brake bleeding.

Thanks.
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  #30  
Old 01-15-2013, 12:44 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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When I say mesuring, I mean ongoing brake pad maintenance check. I would have been in better place if I had checked the inner pad.
It's a pain to remove all 4 wheels to check inner pad.
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  #31  
Old 01-15-2013, 04:05 PM
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If you install brake pads where the pad is riveted to the backing plate then this applies. If you let the pads wear down to the rivets they cut deep groves in your rotors. When you install the new pads you'll be able to see whether they're bonded or riveted and if they are bonded you don't need to replace them when there's still 1/4" of pad left.
I personally haven't seen a set of riveted pads for years, but there may still be some suppliers of them.

Note - The OEM BMW jack is risky enough using it just for a tire change. I would not recommend using it to support the car while you are working on it. If you are truly dedicating yourself to learning how to work on your car(s) and plan to continue it in the future, you can get a jack, jack stands, and other tools at Harbor Freight Tools pretty reasonably priced.
I wouldn't normally recommend this and this will probably bring some flaming down on me, but if you don't intend to do anything beyond this brake job, I would consider at this point looking in your newspaper for brake specials (PepBoys, Just Brakes, etc) and take it there. Replacing the brake pads as part of normal maintenance is not too bad for a first time mechanic. Changing out the rotors adds more complexity and challenges such as a rusted frozen allen screw that holds the rotor in place to the hub. Replacing the calipers, which requires significant bleeding of the system adds still more complexity and challenges and need for tools. Definitely not a job you want to be trying if all you have is the OEM jack. By the time you equip yourself to do this you may have spent more on the tools than the cost to have the job done. Again this is if you don't have any intent (or aptitude) to become a home mechanic. Not trying to be insulting, just being realistic.
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  #32  
Old 01-16-2013, 08:32 AM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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+1 on DC Wright's note regarding whether or not to attempt brake work.
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  #33  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:14 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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Thanks for DC's note and all the help from this forum. I will buy necessary tools as I need and borrow the rest as I live in tight apartment. I have been using OEM jack for many years to replace tire, etc. I align jack carefully and add tire choke for some safety. After I buy a house, I will add more serious tools. I love to learn new skills and this will go a long way.
When I tried to replace rotor today, I found the following issues:
1. the 6mm allen screw holding the rotor is stuck. I cannot even loosen it by 18v drill with some WD40.
2. when I manually rotate the front rotor without tire, I found the rotor is not moving freely. Even I feel there is space between brake pad and rotor when naked eyes cannot see, I feel there is more friction on certain point of the rotor. Forgive my lack of auto knowledge here. Does that have anything to do with the wheel alignment?

Thanks again.

Edit: saw video either knock it out or heat it to red hot the drill it out

or
or drill it out.

Last edited by yxd0018; 01-16-2013 at 04:17 PM.
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  #34  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:22 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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3. I can see part of guiding blot between caliper bracket. Is it normal?
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  #35  
Old 01-16-2013, 03:30 PM
kmorgan_260 kmorgan_260 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E36 Phantom View Post
Weight transfer.

When you hit the brakes, more weight is loaded onto the front tires, which in turn gives them more grip.

If your brakes were exactly 50/50 front/rear, your back brakes would want to lock up every time you stopped quickly or braked in a turn.

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I had an old pickup that did that due to the proportioning valve going bad. It was embrassing to roll up to a stop sign with the rear tire squealing.
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  #36  
Old 01-16-2013, 08:06 PM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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Spent 2 hr to take out the rotor screw and no success. Also found the grooved rotor already made my new brake pad grooved and the other rotor also has some slightly uneven surface.
Now if I replace the rotor and without replacing the new pad, will they smooth each other or damaged pad will damage new rotor?
If pad will damage new rotor, given I don't have any shaking braking yet, I might sit on it for a year then replace them altogether. Appreciate the help to answer first-time home mechanics's question.
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  #37  
Old 01-17-2013, 04:27 AM
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In answer to your question about the slightly used/grooved pads with your new rotor, the pad will put some grooving in the rotor but eventually they will conform to each other.

With respect to the allen screw, you don't need to heat it before drilling off the head of the screw. The allen screw is a convenience feature to help hold the rotor in place while you mount the wheel, but once the wheel is mounted up and bolted in place it does nothing. Also WD-40 is one of the weakest lubricants you can buy and is useless on frozen screw/nuts. You need a penetrating oil like PB Blaster, CRC, or Kroil (best but hard to find in stores).

You can always see a bit of the guide bolt depending on where you are looking. Without a photo of exactly what you are looking at we really have no way of knowing if what you're concerned about is an issue or not.

The next issue you will likely encounter once you get past the allen screw will be the rotors stuck to the hub from rust/corrosion. Since you are replacing the rotors just use a hammer and hit the rotor on the inner surface. Turn it a little bit and hit again. A mini-sledge is ideal. If all you have is a 16oz claw hammer it will work but will take a lot of hitting and turning.
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  #38  
Old 01-17-2013, 09:20 AM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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ok, so you are saying I can reuse my slightly-damaged new pad again with new rotor. That's good.
Can I use my regular 18v drill the allen screw out? It might not be stable when the car is only on OEM jack. I'm gonna to replace tires this weekend, so I might ask the mechanic to take out the screw for a small fee.
Edit: I will be more confident if ordered jack stands comes earlier.
Since I have never flushed the brake fluid and it seems clean to me from the reservior, I read something like this online:
"Buy an eze bleed. I emptied the reservoir by connecting an Eezi bleed to a back brake and kept pumping until the fluid was almost all gone, then added new fluid and pumped till I got blue fluid. Repeated on the other rear, then on inside outside of each front, took about 3/4 of a litre all together. Eezi bleed is a one way valve on a clear pipe. 4 for one man brake bleeding. "
Also
"brake flush..... that's hilarious. any time you have new brake pads put on your car, they should bleed your brake line to remove any air, then top off the fluid. this is all you will EVER need."
Maybe a good time for brake flush. Shop charge a lot money for it. which type of brake fluid is recommended here ? Can I do it by myself with eze bleed?

Edit: Regarding not freely rotating front rotor, it defintely smoother without caliper. But in either case, I heard "shh...shh... shh" instead of constant "shhhhhhhhh". With caliper on, how can I make sure the friction is normal? After all, the brake pads wont' retreat after applying. It just don't apply the pressure any more.

As always, you guys rock. Thanks.

Last edited by yxd0018; 01-17-2013 at 09:33 AM.
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  #39  
Old 01-17-2013, 09:55 AM
yxd0018 yxd0018 is offline
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A follow up question on the bleeding/flush, should I push piston back? Cnce you open the brake line, what happens to the fluid or air in the caliper?
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  #40  
Old 01-17-2013, 10:34 AM
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Anytime you replace the brake pads you should push the caliper piston back to the fully seated position. A C clamp works really good for this if you have the caliper free from the mounting bracket. Just be careful around the rubber caliper piston seal. You don't want to put a hole or tear in it.

Unless the brake system has been opened there shouldn't be any air in the lines so the bit about brakes being bled when pads are changed is incorrect.

With respect to brake fluid flush, the concern is entrapped water in the fluid in the lines. Brake fluid is hygroscopic which means it tends to absorb water. Periodically you want to run enough brake fluid through the lines and out the brake bleeder fittings at the calipers to flush out water that may have been absorbed and collected in the lines.

You can drill out the allen screw with your 18V drill. Get a couple of concrete blocks and place them under the jack pad points under the car and lower the car so that the weight is resting on the blocks, not the OEM jack. It's not as good as a good jack and jack stands but it's much safer than just the OEM jack by itself.
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  #41  
Old 01-17-2013, 12:10 PM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Regarding brake bleeders: You can do it perfectly with an under $10 catch bottle and tube if you have a helper to pump the pedal. The basic rule is to never have the bleeder valve open when there is no pressure on the brake pedal or air may be sucked back into the caliper. It is convenient, but not required to switch colors on brake fluid to confirm that you are getting new fluid. Of course, ATE super blue fluid is not quite as common as all the other clear fluids.

So-called one-man systems are nice although I don't find them good enough if you are trying to fill up and de-bubble a new caliper; In that case a good foot on the pedal gets the last bubbles out. The "eezibleed" kit you mentioned seems more popular in the UK, and some versions seem to operate using pressure from the spare tire. Most BMW folks (me included) seem happy with the Motive pressure bleeder, also sold under Bavarian Autosport's name. I would stay away from vacuum-types.
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  #42  
Old 01-17-2013, 12:16 PM
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Originally Posted by JKRIT View Post
I would stay away from vacuum-types.
Why? I've used one for years and it works great. Much simpler than trying to coerce my wife into helping.
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  #43  
Old 01-17-2013, 12:22 PM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Because you don't know whether you are getting air bubbles from the caliper or from around the threads of the bleeder, so you don't know if you are ever done. Using vacuum bleeding, some people have reported having to use a small amount of heavy axle grease on the bleeder screws to prevent the air from sucking past the threads.
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  #44  
Old 01-17-2013, 01:00 PM
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hornhospital hornhospital is offline
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Then they weren't doing it right. They have the bleeder open too far.
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  #45  
Old 01-17-2013, 01:15 PM
JKRIT JKRIT is offline
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Originally Posted by hornhospital View Post
Then they weren't doing it right. They have the bleeder open too far.
No doubt; But that is never a problem with a pressure bleeder.

And in this thread, we're trying to coach a guy who has never bled brakes before, so maybe he doesn't have the nuanced expertise to open the bleeder "just enough" when using a vacuum bleeder system.
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  #46  
Old 01-17-2013, 05:38 PM
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i would try to discourage someone without experience doing any sort of brake work that requires bleeding, simply because it's a risk factor if not done properly.

either do the diy with a friend who has experience, join a local auto club, or, take a course at the local vo tech if they offer adult evening classes.

just my opinion, though. i feel the same way about cooling system repairs as well. especially on the m50/52 motors...




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  #47  
Old 01-17-2013, 06:28 PM
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after reading through I didn't feel like quoting everyone. I can vouch for vacuum bleeders those things are heaven sent, no need for someone to sit in the car and pump the pedal. When i was in the dealership i could bleed/flush a whole system in 30 minutes by myself. As for drilling out the set screw, I've had to do that on every single wheel on my car. A cordless deal isn't going to cut the bacon unless you have a really sharp metal bit and a few batteries, the best way is with a corded drill, lube, and the biggest bit you can fit. reusing the pads won't be an issue within a few hundred miles they'll even out as they're softer than the rotor, but, you'll notice some diminished braking power because the contact surface has less area due to the ridges until they even out. and put that sucker on jack stands because brake work can be very physical if the components are rusted and corroded.
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  #48  
Old 01-17-2013, 06:31 PM
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DF, don't know if you noticed this in an earlier post, but all he has is the OEM jack to work with.

yxd0018, one of us should have mentioned this earlier, so sorry bout that, but you need to go to the "Useful Links" sticky on the first page of the forum, and go to the 2nd link ("this one went missing") and download a copy of the Bentley Repair Manual for the E36. It will give you a lot of guidance. Page 340-3 tells you how to bleed the brakes.
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