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Brake rotor/disc and pad replacement DIY with Pics, BMW 535i RWD F10 2011

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Jack up the car, take the wheel off. Put another jack stand under where the lower control arm attaches to the frame.





Remove the anti-rattle clip holding the pads in place.



Using a flat screwdriver, take plastic covers off the caliper pin holes.

Use 7mm Allen bit to loosen and remove the caliper guide bolts. They should not be extremely tight and hard to loosen up.



Use your ratchet to wiggle the bolts out of their rubber holes, this may require a bit of wiggling so keep the allen on and try pulling it under an angle.



***** NEW for F10. The caliper will NOT COME OFF as it would in all other cars I have done. This got me thinking a bit and the solution is simple: at this point you must use a c-clamp to push the brake piston back in JUST A BIT to allow the caliper to come off. I was lucky to have the right c-clamp, but prepare for this - you may need to grab a special tool!

You only have to push it in a bit, just enough to get the clearance required to remove the caliper.



Lift up the caliper and the outer brake pad will stay on the bracket. The inner pad sits in the caliper piston. Use a wire to suspend the caliper (heavy!) above the rotor.



Remove the inner pad from the piston and use a piece of wood (or an old pad... I used wood since I kept the old pads just in case) to push the piston back in.





Use the 6mm Allen bit to remove the rotor holding bolt. Make sure you put the allen bit all the way in not to strip the head. If you strip the head, you will need to drill it out (extra time, part and stress!). You may need to stop the rotor movement by jamming it with a wrench or a screwdriver against the floor. Visible in this pic below the disk.



Use 18mm socket to loosen up two screws holding the bracket. WARNING: if your car is fairly new and things have not seized up yet, this will work with a breaker bar or a good hammer, BUT I've destroyed perfectly good sockets on this before (cracked the open). My past cars ran 10 years or so on the original rotors and after such long time loosening up those bolts was impossible without a blow torch and heating up the bolts to red-hot. After that, it went like butter...





Use a rubber mallet to bang on the rotor (hit it from the outside!). Careful... it may come off and fall down before you know it (unless it is badly seized up to the hub).





Wipe the guide rails on the bracket with a brush or sand paper and apply brake grease. Make sure you wipe the excess to never allow that grease onto the rotor!





Put anti-seize on the hub and make sure to leave a thin and even layer. Wipe excess off with a plastic glove and a finger.



Clean new rotors with a brake parts cleaner. I've never done this before but I did this time: the new rotors are ofter greased (to prevent rust maybe) coming from the manufacturer.





Put the rotor back on (do not touch the surface if your hands are greasy!!!). Hold the rotor from underneath or on the sides!



Put anti-seize on the holding bolt and install back in.



Reinstall the bracket with 18mm socket and bolts. Make sure they are on really tight. Look up the torque if you want and use a torque wrench.





Put the outer pad into the bracket.



And the inner pad into the piston.



Untie the caliper and re-install onto the bracket.



Clean the guide bolts with brake parts cleaner and apply brake grease before reinstalling.





Use the 7mm allen to insert them back and tighten to specified torque. Don't forget the two plastic covers to protect the guide bolts from dirt.



***** NEW for F10. The reinstallation of the anti-rattle clip turned out to be a massive challenge. I've done rotors and pads many times on my old E46 and the clip was easy... This time around, it took me 15 minutes of helpless tries to no effect. I ended up calling my wife and son for support, after which it went in really easy.

Here is what I did: push the top and bottom parts of the clip into their positions (they will fight!) and have two people hold them in place. Then use a screwdriver and a hammer to pry the centre clip outwards (away from the hub's centre) and bang/push it into its hole.

I found no other way so far and this worked fine (1 minute per side). This used to be a 1-man job, but I presume BMW ha a special tool for that now....



Put anti-seize onto the rotor (the non-braking surface!) BUT NOT AS MUCH AS I DID. I had to wipe it off later. Only apply it around the bolt holes.



Follow proper break-in procedure. I've found a few out there but I think the most important thing is to NEVER come to a complete stop as you break them in (because you will burn the pad material right into your brand new rotors thus effectively "warping them" (that is what is referred to as "warping" which it really isn't). Most guides say to to do a few hard accelerations and decelerations: first from 40-45 mph and then from 60 mph. Look it up.

****************** UPDATE (wrong!!) ******************

I forgot to put brake quiet on the back of the pads and I get horrible squeel at low speeds. I didn't really forget but what turned me off is that some instructional videos said to apply the substance 24hrs before doing the brakes and I did not have 24 hrs.

Anyhow: USE BRAKE QUIET if you want quiet front brakes! (I have never done it on other cars and never had a problem until the F10. Lesson learned.).

*************************************************

>>>>>> TURNS OUT BRAKE QUIET WAS NOT IT!. I never believed that stuff anyway. Supposedly I have used cheap pads that just squeal like sh^&*. I was told I needed expensive OEM pads for quiet braking. My pads continued on squealing badly (at very low speeds during braking to complete stop) for the next year or so and they've finally shut up as of recent.

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Great DIY wirte-up! Thanks for sharing.
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