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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.

.
41 - 60 of 76 Posts
I use a turkey baster and suck it out.
I dip small sections of clean white paper towels into the brake reservoir to absorb some fluid at the start of the pad/rotor replacements.
Just curious. Does this also apply for an E60?
BMW tech here,,,,next time on a F10 don't remove the caliper bracket,,,you don't have to,,,,,the rotor will slide out without taking off the caliber bracket,,,,you still have to remove the caliper with the 2 Allen bolt holding it in place,,,,,my blog page bmwtechnician . com
Your step-by-step helped me do my front rotors and pads with relative ease, thanks for posting. I wanted to note I was able to do the final step with getting that anti-rattle clip back on without any help. I actually did it two ways since it wouldn't work the same on the other side. Basically, I put the top and bottom clips in and then used a hammer to tap each side a little and the main tab eventually seated. The other side I had to seat the top clip and middle tab first and then push the bottom one into place. The most frustrating parts were these clips and getting the two hex bolts seated and started into the threads. All in all, about a 5 hour job with having limited experience with brakes and so-so tools.
Good to hear!!!
Thanks! That's what I was looking for.

Also not sure why the original DIY shows removing the stainless caliper guide bolts (with allen wrench). I have never done this except when installing brass caliper bushings (with matching guide pins) to replace the rubber ones.

Remove the wires/ brake line from all of the hold downss, then remove the caliper mounting bolts and the whole assembly comes off the rotor. Hang from a bungee and the upper control arm so no tension is put on the wires/hoses. After removing the pads the sliding bracket comes out and I used a q-tip to put a little lithium grease inside the rubber caliper bushings.

I would say the hardest thing was getting the anti-rattle clip back on by myself but even this was similar to my E90 335i.
Caliper guide bolts - 55 NM / 40.5 ft/lb
Caliper support anchor - 110 NM / 81 ft/lb
Looks like I came across your bad decision of using cheap brake pads :lol:

Nice model btw. I have a 2011 528i rwd with the naturally aspirated 6.
@yogi799, fantastic write-up and lessons learned.

@BMW technician and everyone else, are there any aftermarket rotors and pads that are better than OEM? I do not want to spend $3K plus on a big brake kit.

I saw EBC had "Greenstuff, Redstuff and Yellowstuff" models listed but I don't have any experience with them.

Thanks in advance!
Thanks for the info. By the way, I'm not quite clear about the anti rattle clip removal. Did you just have to pull it out with the pliers or need any trick to remove it?
Just use a screwdriver or two but be very careful. When it finally goes, it will just fly out fast and can hit you. 2nd person helps (i had my son keep a hammer nearby blocking its flight path lol). Seriously...
Thanks for the info. By the way, I'm not quite clear about the anti rattle clip removal. Did you just have to pull it out with the pliers or need any trick to remove it?
Thanks!

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Just use a screwdriver or two but be very careful. When it finally goes, it will just fly out fast and can hit you. 2nd person helps (i had my son keep a hammer nearby blocking its flight path lol). Seriously...
Nice thread on brake change. It's really not that difficult of a job as you have shown above. I remember on my wife's first 2002 325i needed brakes and even though I've done many brake jobs on domestic cars I was weary of doing a BMW. Had them done at an Indy and it was still $600.00.

Next car I did them myself and had no problems about the only difference was having the Allen bolt holding the rotor. Since I have put brakes on my bmw cars 3 times and usually I can get rotors and pads for around $250.00.
Thank you for the great illustration on DIY Front brake and rotor replacement post.
Everything went exactly like you explained. However I did have one issue which I think may be minor:

My brake light is still on even though I did replace the sensor/cable as well. Could anyone shed some LIGHT on why this is happening? Thanks!
Great illustration! My front brake job was seemless for the most part thanks to your post. I do have an issue with the brake light still being on even though I replaced the sensor/cable. Can anyone shed some LIGHT on why my brake light is still on?

Thanks!
You're welcome guys. I hope more F10 DIY's are coming. I hate paying shops big bucks and then finding out: "oh by the way we've found X, Y and Z broken when we took it apart..."

I've done a lot of work on my old E46 and hope F10 won't be much different (well, I hope it won't ever break to begin with!). I've used others' manuals and saved huge sums so I am simply paying back whenever I can. I am glad you like the pics. Yup, 31 shots is a lot LOL. Next time I'll do a video.

I hope somebody does the rear, especially the hand-brake is of concern here.

**** Forgot one thing *****

The drivers' side brakes are equipped with the brake wear sensor. I've completely missed it until it was too late (and harder to disconnect) but the sensor can be most easily removed before you ever take the caliper off the bracket. Just use a flat head screwdriver to pop it off as soon as you take the wheel off. It will be visible going into the caliper from the back side (ie. the side closest to the rear of the car).
Once completed, did you go through the Kombi brake reset procedure?
Excellent write up thanks. Helped me do my F06 6 series Gran Coupe in no time - less than 2 hours total for rotors and pads.

The guide pins on the F06 are 9mm allen heads, not 7mm like the F10 you did. Also, the pad retaining spring was easy to replace in my opinion. Make sure all contact points on the spring have a smear of brake grease then locate the 2 ends in place, hold the centre firm against the calliper and simply lift the centre up and into its seat with a flat blade screw driver. 20 seconds tops.

Thanks again for a great write up
Excellent write up thanks. Helped me do my F06 6 series Gran Coupe in no time - less than 2 hours total for rotors and pads.

The guide pins on the F06 are 9mm allen heads, not 7mm like the F10 you did. Also, the pad retaining spring was easy to replace in my opinion. Make sure all contact points on the spring have a smear of brake grease then locate the 2 ends in place, hold the centre firm against the calliper and simply lift the centre up and into its seat with a flat blade screw driver. 20 seconds tops.

Reset the computer using the trip button no problem. But make sure the parking brake is released or it won't reset even the front brakes.

Thanks again for a great write up
This is a good write up, one thing you might have missed or I might have missed reading though is don't forget to put some brake grease anywhere that the brake pad makes contact with the caliper/caliper bracket. Failure to do so will almost guarantee brake squeal.
I’m stuck in the middle of the job. It seems that it’s not 7mm allen for the caliper guide bolt. It sounds strange but I can’t figure out the size.


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I just did my fronts on an x5 and only undid the two that hold the caliper. Slip the whole thing off.

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I'm stuck in the middle of the job. It seems that it's not 7mm allen for the caliper guide bolt. It sounds strange but I can't figure out the size.

Sent from my iPhone using Bimmerfest
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