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Go Back   Bimmerfest - BMW Forums > BMW Model Discussions > 3 Series / 4 Series > E36 (1991 - 1999)

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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  #1  
Old 09-28-2008, 06:14 PM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Need to replace rotors WITH brake pads together?

I was in for an alignment jobbie at Firestone and i also needed new brake pads... however the guy there told me that my car and some or most BMW's u gotta change the rotors with the pads, that u dont just change pads only... it cost me $360 for both front wheels, and that was with a "$50 discount"..... so to me $180 per wheel for brake pads and rotors dont sound too bad.. but I'm no expert. They said the pads were just about totally done.

Last edited by Dathaeus; 09-29-2008 at 11:05 AM.
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  #2  
Old 09-28-2008, 09:18 PM
LDV330i LDV330i is offline
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BMW does not recommend turning the rotors, they need to be changed out along with the pads. The pads have a sensor that lights up on your dash to let you know they need to be replaced.

Please note that the average charge at BMW dealers for a brake job is $500 per axle.
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  #3  
Old 09-28-2008, 09:30 PM
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FadetoCrimson1 FadetoCrimson1 is offline
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Ya you need to buy new rotors...

the funny thing is i just did the job today.. i just finished 5 minutes ago with my dad..

took fuking FOREVER. The bolts in back of the rotors that attatch onto the brake pad unit where SO damn tight it took us a half an hour each and it was a huge pain in the @ss.

I would wait for some of the more experienced guys to give you advice on this.
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  #4  
Old 09-28-2008, 10:08 PM
e30e e30e is offline
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The tech was correct, the rotor's metal is really soft so getting them turned is not something bmw recommends. Brakes are easy in my opinion, you just have to use more muscle than brain doing them, which is the only job on this car that allows that. Have a good cheater bar and your set. You can get oem rotors and pads for cheap, brembo blanks are really good upgrades for the price.
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  #5  
Old 09-29-2008, 12:32 AM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Since i havent hadmy rotors replaced since i bought the car with 37k on it, I guess for $180 per wheel, I got a decent deal.... jus want to make sure before bringing my car back there bec one of the guys there works on bmw's and he has one as well he works on, so its nice to know a bmw guy who seems pretty upfront with u at a local firestone which is less than 5 miles from me...
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  #6  
Old 09-29-2008, 07:33 AM
Silvercat Silvercat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dathaeus View Post
Since i havent hadmy rotors replaced since i bought the car with 37k on it, I guess for $180 per wheel, I got a decent deal.... jus want to make sure before bringing my car back there bec one of the guys there works on bmw's and he has one as well he works on, so its nice to know a bmw guy who seems pretty upfront with u at a local firestone which is less than 5 miles from me...
The "correct" procedure would be to measure the thickness of the rotors - Bentley gives the limits as far as I can recall. Having said that, front rotors may well need replacing at around 30,000 - rear ones usually last a lot longer - mine are still ok at 60,000. Does depend on how you drive of course.
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Old 09-29-2008, 08:32 AM
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Jim Spence Jim Spence is offline
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I just bought new drilled rotors, Hawk HP brake pads, teflon coated stainless steel brake lines and brake sensors from TMS for around $550, and my mechanic charged me right at $150 to change them all out.

So $360 for one axle seems excessive to me, especially since you're probably only getting "standard" rotors and pads and not getting the new brake lines.
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  #8  
Old 09-29-2008, 11:08 AM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Silvercat View Post
The "correct" procedure would be to measure the thickness of the rotors - Bentley gives the limits as far as I can recall. Having said that, front rotors may well need replacing at around 30,000 - rear ones usually last a lot longer - mine are still ok at 60,000. Does depend on how you drive of course.
He actually showed me how the the outer edge of the rotors were worn a bit and said they were no good.... and yea since its been at least 70k miles since they were last replaced and i drive hard about half the time (except recently since i knew my brakes were thin! been coasting a lot, lol, and saving gas) its prob right it needed to be replaced.
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  #9  
Old 09-29-2008, 11:09 AM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Spence View Post
I just bought new drilled rotors, Hawk HP brake pads, teflon coated stainless steel brake lines and brake sensors from TMS for around $550, and my mechanic charged me right at $150 to change them all out.

So $360 for one axle seems excessive to me, especially since you're probably only getting "standard" rotors and pads and not getting the new brake lines.
No no, $180 per, $360 total for both fronts, and thats total, parta and labor. Thats not a bad deal even for standard parts right?
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  #10  
Old 09-29-2008, 12:35 PM
C Sean Watts C Sean Watts is offline
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+ one more.

I have a cousin who is a mechanical engineer. He said the overall trend in passenger cars is to make thinner, lighter rotors. It reduces weight (helps with fuel use re: CAFE quota) AND sells more rotors.
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Old 09-29-2008, 01:18 PM
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Jim Spence Jim Spence is offline
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No, that's a pretty good deal for rotors and pads. Do new sensors come with that?
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  #12  
Old 09-29-2008, 01:50 PM
Dathaeus Dathaeus is offline
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Nice... added" features" to cost us more in ownership.... gee we just cant win can we.

Hmmmm sensors, not sure, would that be stated on the bill if it were? I didnt get any error in my console btw about the brakes so maybe my 328i doesnt come with brake sensors? On the bill it just has:

F Disc brake rotor $185
F Prem Semi Met Pads $117
Remove/Replace Labor $105
"Discount" ($50) [more like if i didnt have a coupon i am getting overcharged $50 ha]
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  #13  
Old 09-01-2011, 01:37 PM
Groovejet Groovejet is offline
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One question, what tool is used to measure brake rotor thickness?
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  #14  
Old 09-01-2011, 01:41 PM
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ZeGerman ZeGerman is online now
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A caliper.

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Old 09-01-2011, 02:33 PM
CJH CJH is offline
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Actually, a micrometer due to the ridge that is present at the outer edge of the rotor:

http://www.amazon.com/Starrett-Autom.../dp/B000VDVT38

Elaborate one, a standard mic will do just fine.

Any rotor can be machined, assuming there is sufficient material left to ensure the finished thickness is above the mininum allowable. It will likely be the one & only time it can be cut. Factor in the cost to machine ($25 each last time I paid for it, many years ago), and the time that the car will be down while waiting for the shop to machine & it makes sense to replace with new rotors.
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:37 PM
Groovejet Groovejet is offline
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Well I need to get me one of these tools soon. I am at about 12000 miles before I need to change my brake pads. Also is it neccesary to change the sensor with the pads? Or are the sensors reusable unless broken?
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Groovejet View Post
Or are the sensors reusable unless broken?
This. You only need to replace the sensors if they are broken (which is what happens when the pads wear so thin that the sensors come into contact with the rotor surface). If your pad warning light never comes on, you can reuse the existing sensors.
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Old 09-01-2011, 02:43 PM
Groovejet Groovejet is offline
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Ok thanks for all the info and quick replies. I apperciate it.
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  #19  
Old 08-25-2012, 04:40 PM
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Rotor replacement

If your 2008 328i rotors are as soft as mine were/are, they'll need to be replaced when you change your pads. My 328i has just 47,000 miles, (and a month beyond the 4 year warranty!) The only indication of worn pads and rotors was when my wife came home from shopping and said there was a horrible noise coming from the brakes. No warning indicator ever appeared. What I found was zero material on one rear pad and the other rear wasn't metal to metal yet but was thinner than a credit card. Without turning, the rotors were already less than minimum thickness and had to be replaced . I inspected the front brakes and found the pads were about 50% consumed. The rotors however, were already worn to 1 mm less than minimum thickness without ever being turned! I'm amazed that any car manufacturer (think Yugo) would build a product like this and expect repeat customers.
I would have complained to BMW, but the BMW dealership where I had the car serviced wouldn't even give me my 45,000 mile service since my warranty (4 year) had expired 7 days beforehand! Good luck if you have one of these money pits.
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Old 08-25-2012, 05:51 PM
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That seems like reasonable price but since Firestone will use semi metallic pads and the work is only as good as the man doing it, now might be a good time to learn how to fish. Its not a difficult job and if you do it yourself you can spend half the money and get superior parts. Just get a breaker for leverage and give yourself a few hours. Also remember these places make money off added services and your brakes might be usable. Check the brakes yourself for pedal travel, vibration and thickness. If you pay everytime a tech tells you to, you will be homeless before you are 35.
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  #21  
Old 08-26-2012, 09:17 AM
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DEATH2000 DEATH2000 is offline
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I just did the brakes on my E36 last week and its not that hard. Takes maybe 20 mins per wheel. I didnt really time myself, but putting everything back together only took 10 mins per wheel. I purchased a new sensor just in case, but it is optional like previously stated.
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Old 08-27-2012, 12:12 PM
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do you need to replace your rotors every time you do your brakes? No.

However if theres a ridge around the outside then I'd advise replacing them. There should be a specification on the hub of the rotor (probably covered in rust) that tells you the minimum thickness required of the rotor.
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Old 08-28-2012, 03:04 AM
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Very simple job to do at home, tackle it yourself and learn
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