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Difficult of rotor install

Old 03-25-2005, 06:49 PM
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Difficulty of rotor install

I've changed rotors other cars but I was wondering if you guys could give me an idea of any tricks to changing a 3.1 RS's rotors and pads. Any info would be appreciated.

Last edited by Aggp18; 03-25-2005 at 09:10 PM.
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Old 03-28-2005, 08:49 PM
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I've changed rotors other cars but I was wondering if you guys could give me an idea of any tricks to changing a 3.1 RS's rotors and pads. Any info would be appreciated.
I am assuming you are talking fronts here....... I just got mine done the other night, so here you go.
1. Loosen the front lug nuts (19mm or 3/4").
2. Get the front of the car on jack stands (never work on the car with just a jack under it.
3. Take of the front wheels and set them aside.
4. Start on one side and work this all the way thru from this point on to avoid part mixups.
5. Using a 3/8" or 9mm allen wrench, or male allen socket, remove the 2 bolts holding on the caliper and set them aside.
6. Slide the caliper out of its bracket and either use some type of wire to hold it up, or set something under the car to set it on. Do NOT let it hang from the rubber lines.
7. Remove the small bubble looking dust cap on the outside of the rotor. Use a small screwdriver and a hammer (light taps) to get it started off, then use the screwdriver to pry it off. If you mess it up, it's okay as they sell them at most parts stores for about $5.
8. When the dust cover is off, you will see a funny looking nut that has some pieces cut out of it. It is called a castle nut. When you see it it will be obvious why they call it that.
9. There should be a cotter pin thru the spindle pin, holding the castle nut in place. Remove the cotter pin.
10. The castle nut should not be on very tight and you should be able to take it off by hand. If not, a cressant wrench works well, as there shouldn't be much torque on the castle nut. Remove the castle nut.
11. There is an odd looking washer behind the castle nut. Use a small screw driver or pick tool to remove it and if it comes out, take out the outer bearing as well. If the outer bearing doesn't come out now, it will here in a sec.
12. With both hands, grab the rotor and pull lightly. The rotor will come of of the spinle pin and the outer bearing will come off with it if it didn't come out already.
13. Now your rotor is off....time to replace it.....
Keep reading......
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:01 PM
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14. Parts store time. It is always a good idea to have the parts with you when you go to the parts store to verify that you get the right thing. I will list what you will need, so take the old stuff it you want.
15. You are going to need to get your new rotors for your car.
16. Also, get the new inner wheel seals for the inner bearing, as you will probably tear up the old ones (and you shouldn't re-use wheel seals anyways).
17. Also, get a pair of new inner wheel bearings. It will be a Set-6 bearing. Basically, wherever you go will have thier own part number, but it will end with a "6". The ones I just got were A-6 just for example.
18. You will also need to get new outer wheel bearings....Set-34 bearings. Again, same principle, mine were A-34.
19. Get a tub of wheel bearing grease that is approved for disc brakes....it will say on the tub if it is.
20. Get NEW cotter keys....they should be 1/8" x 1 1/2". Again, take your old ones with just in case.
21. Dont' forget the dust covers if you tore one up.
22. Get at least 2 cans of brake cleaner.
23. Last but not least, get new brake pads. Always replace the pads if you are going to replace the rotors....always.
24. Go home.
25. Start off by prepping your spindle. With a CLEAN rag, get all of the old grease and grime off of the spindle pin. Use your brake cleaner to help you out here. Let it dry.
26. Open your bearings, seals, and rotors and verify that your bearings, and seals are going to fit in your new rotors. The new bearings will come with a new race, which is a ring that the bearing rides on. Most new rotors will already have this installed. If this is the case, you are ready to move on. If not you will have to press them in. The easiest way to tell is that the angle of the bearing and the face of the race are the same. If the bearing sits in the new rotor snugly, then they are there. It is obvious when you see it.
27. If all fits properly, then it is time to move on....
Keep reading......
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:13 PM
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28. Start out by packing the bearings with grease. This is fairly easy to do and I will try to explain it if you haven't done it before.
29. Get a large glob of grease and place it in the palm of your left hand. Hold the bearing with your index finger thru the hole in the middle. Press the bearing into the edge of the grease and pull it towards you. The grease should seep thru the bearing and come out of the openings in it. Slightly turn the bearing in your hand and repeat until the grease is coming out of every hole in the bearing. Then, turng the bearing over and do it all over again. The object is to get any air out of the bearing and have it all replaced with grease. You will hear the little air bubbles pop as you are doing it....
30. This is a messy step, so keep some rags handy, to clean up with. Also, have a piece of paper or carboard ready to set the bearings down on when they are packed.
31. Pack all 4 beaings in the same way.
32. Now it is time to prep the rotor itself. After washing the grease off of your hand, get your rotors out. Try not to touch the braking surface as even though I am sure you cleaned your hands well, you don't want grease on your brakes.
33. Start by getting some grease on your finger and lubing the entire inside of the hub area. This is the large hole in the middle of the rotor. Don't worry about using too much. A little too much is better than not enough when it comes to bearings.
34. Get everything well lubed up with grease and install your inner wheel bearing.
35. When the bearing is installed, spin it to get any air bubbles ou that may have formed by setting them in place.
36. Now take your inner seal and set it in place. Using a large socket and a hammer, lightly tap the seal in place. This can also be done with a hammer only, but be careful not to mess up the seal. Hammer it all the way down until it is flush with the outer surface of the hub.
37. Fill int he gap between the bearing and the seal with grease. Don't go crazy to where it is gonna glob everywhere when you install the rotor, but enough to keep the bearings lubed.
Keep reading......
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Old 03-28-2005, 09:24 PM
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38. Again, clean your hands, because now you are going to go install your new rotor.
39. Take the rotor, the outer bearing, the castle nut, the cotter pin, the dust cap, and your grease over to the car.
40. Slide the rotor over the spindle pin and press it back as far as it will go. Remember, you have already greased the spindle pin, so it should slide on easily.
41. Take your outer bearing and slide it over the spindle pin. Again, you should have already greased the bearing race from earlier. You will have to move the rotor around a little until you can get the bearing to go on straight. If it isn't going on straight, it won't go on at all. Keep moving the rotor around and keep pressure on the bearing and you will get it.
42. Lube up the bearing side of the bearing washer that you took off earlier and slide it into place. You will notice that it has a funny shape with a little tab in the center of the opening. This tab corresponds to the grove in the end of the spindle pin. Slide the washer into place.
43. Thread the castle nut into place and spin it until it is finger tight. Try to get it as tight as you can with your fingers. Back it off 1/4 turn and use your cotter pin to locate the hole drilled thru the spindle pin and slide the cotter pin thru it.
44. Splay the ends of the cotter pin in opposite directions.
45. Install the dust cover. The rotor is now installed.
46. Using a large "C" clamp, press the piston back into the caliper and install the brake pads.
47. Set the caliper back in place and install the bolts and spacers that came off of the car in the first place.
48. Use a lot of that brake cleaner that you bought to make sure there is not grease or dirt on your new brakes and rotors.
49. Install your wheel on the first side and repeat on the other.
50. ENJOY!!!!!!!!!
That is how to install a rotor in 50 steps.....
I hope it helps....

Last edited by 911rsq; 08-26-2005 at 03:44 AM.
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Old 03-30-2005, 04:36 AM
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Did I miss anything?????
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Old 03-30-2005, 07:23 AM
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Just an FYI...also buy a box of latex surgical gloves, these keep your hands clean so you don't waste time washing them forever trying to get the grease off. They run about $3 for a 100 pr box. Works like a charm:

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/tarami...2f.jpg&.src=ph
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Old 03-31-2005, 12:56 PM
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Great tip !!!!!!!
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Old 04-10-2005, 12:24 AM
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Very good and detailed instructions, this is exactly what they taught us at school to do in a shop except for replacing the bearings. they say to test the bearings by pulling in and out on the tire to determine the play, too much play (i'd say an inch or more) and your wheel bearings are likely bad. but with something like my personal car that i can do myself and for cheap there's no reason not to. excellent write up, this should be put up as a tech article
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Old 04-10-2005, 04:37 PM
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yeah, thanks again for the detailed instructions. everything went well, although i think i'll have to replace the bearings soon however, really kinda of a vibrational ride. but anyway, thanks again, best directions i've ever received, great job!!!
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Old 04-10-2005, 10:25 PM
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Thanks for the kind words.... I just got done doing mine the night before I saw this thread and had a few probs with mine and didn't want anyone else to have any probs.
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Old 04-21-2005, 11:40 PM
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If your wheel can move in and out an inch, and you're still alive to be able to see how much its moving after driving, you're damn lucky. Your wheel should have NO in-and-out play at all. If its close to even a 1/4", you better replace those bearings.

Further, as mentioned above you need Set34 outer wheel bearings. Autozone will give you "V3" bearings if you just ask for regular non-1LE bearings. V3 are the 1LE bearings. I didn't check this out before I started working on my brakes and the V3 bearings were obviously too large to work with my stock 10.5" rotor. I ended up re-packing the stock bearings and used them for a while, but replaced the inner bearings. I ended up just keeping the V3 bearings and using them for my C4HD setup with the 1LE hub. So make sure to get the "34" bearings and not the "3" bearings.

Once you get the rotor installed...before you put the new pads and caliper back in place, DON'T FORGET to spray each side of the rotor with brake parts cleaner and use a CLEAN rag to clean it while spinning the rotor. Many rotors come with a thin layer of grease on them to prevent rusting while in stock in the parts store.

Another recommendation that I have is to use synthetic wheel bearing grease. Its only like $4.50-5.50 for the whole tub and will last you many many bearing packings. Don't bother with the crap that the parts store guy will try to sell you in a small pack for $1 or so. I know they make bearing-packing tools as well. No idea how much they cost, but I know Snap-On makes one. Turns out my friend's dad actually designed it and sent it to Snap-On to patent

Also, since they'll throw it in your bag and charge you for it without telling you, use the brake caliper stop-squeak grease they give you. Put it on the sliding pins that the caliper rides on. Coat the pins in it all around them. It will make the brakes operate smoother. Also, put it on the metal backing surfaces of the pads before you place them into the calipers.

Last note.. many people recommend the Timken bearings, and many times the people at the parts stores start off to get you the most expensive bearings they have there. I've used the cheap Valucraft bearings without a problem. They'll work perfectly fine as long as you pack them properly. I figured why spend $40 on bearings when I can spend $15. That's $25 more to spend on better brake pads

EDIT: Can ya tell I was bored tonight?
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Old 04-24-2005, 09:05 PM
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Just my thoughts to add:
I thought when tightening the castellated nut, you were supposed to tighten to something like 15ft/lbs, then back off to a hole for the cotter pin?

Also, when checking play in the wheel by pulling it, can that also be your ball joints? I heard that was the test for ball joints.... (Grabbing top of tire and bottom of tire and pushing in on top and pulling out on bottom and vice versa... more then x play means you need new ones..)


brake caliper stop-squeak grease they give you. Put it on the sliding pins that the caliper rides on.
I was going to ask where to put that stop-squeak... I don't remember any pins... Are you talking about the allen key bolts?
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Old 04-24-2005, 11:19 PM
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Yeah those allen headed bolts are the pins that the caliper slides on.

I believe the correct torque for pre-setting the bearings is 12ft/lbs and then back off til you get the cotter pin. I was just going finger tight pretty much. Used a pair of pliers on it til I felt tension in the rotor turning, then backed off a little bit. I haven't had any issues with it that way.

You are correct in a way to test for ball joint failure. Pulling the entire wheel back and forth is for bearings. Though I suppose both should be checked if there is much play detected.
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Old 04-24-2005, 11:33 PM
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oh good, nice to have that cleared up, in this sticky.

oh right, turn the rotor by hand and it should spin easily, then tighten the castle nut as you do so, if it stops spinning easily, the nut is too tight. (Just to spell it out...)
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Old 11-20-2006, 06:43 PM
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Great Thread Guys. Very Helpful.
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Old 12-16-2006, 12:49 AM
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Wheel Bearing Adjustment (from '88 Camaro Shop Manual)

- Tighten the spindle nut to 12ft lbs while turning the wheel assembly forward by hand to fully seat the bearings.
- Back off the nut until "just loose".
- Hand tighten the spindle nut. Loosen the nut until either hole in the spindle lines up with the slot in the nut. Do not turn nut back more than 1/2 of a flat.
- Install new cotter pin. Bend the ends of the pin.
- Measure the end-play. There will be .001 to .005 inches of end-play when properly adjusted.
- Install the dust cap on hub.

The correct way to check end-play is with a dial indicator while pulling directly in and out on the rotor (or wheel if you have it on). NOT by rocking the rotor.

Last edited by di11avou; 03-02-2007 at 08:32 PM.
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Old 01-31-2007, 03:49 AM
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Excellent procedure.

Now how about the same except for the REAR rotors of a J65 car?
Thanks.
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Old 02-01-2007, 12:35 AM
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Wow....i nearly forgot about this one...hahaha
My car is a J65 car also. The rears are pretty darn easy on them. I'm shooting from memory from back when I posted in this thread the first time (03-28-05), but to start, remove rear wheel after car is secured up on jack stand under the axle. There are 2 9mm(?) allen head bolts on the back side of the caliper that need removed and the caliper can be slid up out of the bracket. The pads will come with it. The rotor is just sitting on the lugs (some may have those fancy clips on the lugs to keep the rotor in place while the caliper is off....if so, remove those, then the rotor itself. Install new rotor, set new pads in place in the caliper and set it back in place. You will probably have to compress the cylinders on the caliper if you have any pressure still in the brake system to get them to slide over your new rotors. Snug the bolts back down, shoot it all down with a good coating of brake cleaner, put the rear tire spacers back in if you've got em, wheels, then break em in right.......probably forgot a lot about it in the last 2 years, but this will get you close.....

anyone else done it more recently than me that remembers it better????

Last edited by 911rsq; 02-01-2007 at 12:38 AM.
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Old 02-20-2008, 01:02 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

the rear calipers require a tool ($8-10 at a parts store) that goes right on a 3/8" driver to allow you to rotate the piston in, while applying pressure. This is part of the ebrake system, working in effect just like the adjustment screw on drum brakes. If you use a clamp to push them in, it will destroy the unit. i discovered that on my old 85 camaro.. i was misinformed by a mechanic friend and just cranked it down... the seal blew out the back and i got a nice puddle of brake fluid for my efforts.
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Old 12-23-2008, 07:25 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Originally Posted by thunder85 View Post
the rear calipers require a tool ($8-10 at a parts store) that goes right on a 3/8" driver to allow you to rotate the piston in, while applying pressure. This is part of the ebrake system, working in effect just like the adjustment screw on drum brakes. If you use a clamp to push them in, it will destroy the unit. i discovered that on my old 85 camaro.. i was misinformed by a mechanic friend and just cranked it down... the seal blew out the back and i got a nice puddle of brake fluid for my efforts.
Please tell me this is not true!! I just rebuilt my caliper and replaced the rotor on my '86 IROC about an hour ago and turned the piston clockwise a bit to get it close and then used a c-clamp to push it the rest of the way in. Have I destroyed my rebuild before I ever used it?

Jason
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Old 02-07-2009, 05:15 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Thanks 911rsq. A great post from almost 4 years ago still has legs. I'm doing my first rotor change on my "new to me" '88 IROC CMC car and your 50 steps were a terrific help. Made it almost like I know what I'm doing.
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Old 07-18-2009, 02:31 PM
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Re: Difficulty of rotor install

Off topic.

JamesC

Last edited by JamesC; 06-22-2010 at 06:49 AM.
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Old 08-07-2009, 11:07 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

excellent write up, thank you.

just to add - a regular claw hammer is perfect for picking out the wheel seals.

its also a perfect time to change the struts... 90% of the work is already done if you do the brakes.
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Old 11-29-2009, 09:16 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

This is one of the more helpful threads I've read on this site. Great info everyone. Thanks.
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Old 12-05-2009, 05:47 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

there must not be a whole lot of everyday technicians posting on this matter. no offense meant, all a++ info just not the standard easier way most of us have been taught.

the best trick of them all you guys missed......

pull your outer wheel bearings, castle nuts, dust caps, and all that bs off..... then rethread your castle nut over the end of your spindle, not super tight just hand tight works fine. then lightly drag your rotor towards the edge of the spindle in a fairly quick manner. this knocks out the inner wheel seal, without a hammer and without a seal puller or any other bs..... much easier and faster.

also i tighten my wheel bearings a little differently. the way you mentioned is dead spot on correct (12 ft lbs then back off method) but, the first time i ever did this i was laughed at by my instructors in school as well as the last shop i worked at lol.....

hence its not rocket science to tighten a bearing to the correct measure.... spin the rotor rapidly with your hand, use a set of channel locks on the nut, move your channel locks in a tightening ray and a loosening ray for a few disk brake rotor revolutions (makes sure you are tight against your race without greese settling in between). then just tighten it until you can notice light resistance, (enough to make a noticable difference in drag). in other words the rotor doesn't have half as many free rotations when you spin it as fast as you can as before... then back it off to the nearest cotter key hole vuahla.
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Old 06-22-2010, 06:22 AM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

indeed a very good thread!

Originally Posted by thunder85 View Post
the rear calipers require a tool ($8-10 at a parts store) that goes right on a 3/8" driver to allow you to rotate the piston in, while applying pressure. This is part of the ebrake system, working in effect just like the adjustment screw on drum brakes. If you use a clamp to push them in, it will destroy the unit. i discovered that on my old 85 camaro.. i was misinformed by a mechanic friend and just cranked it down... the seal blew out the back and i got a nice puddle of brake fluid for my efforts.
anyone on the necessity of that tool?
edit: looks like i found an answer to that question here.

btw, i tried to take off the rear rotors of my 87 9bolt rearend while it was out of the car - i couldn't get them off by the life of me! got the caliper off well but the rotors wouldn't budge, even after lots of penetrating oil, some time with the torch and some strong blows with a hammer. anyone on this?

Last edited by ownor; 06-22-2010 at 09:11 AM.
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Old 07-07-2010, 01:44 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Thanks for the write up as this is gonna help me huge doing it as it will be my first time doing so
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Old 09-09-2010, 02:26 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

This is a great thread. It should be a sticky. My car recently started making alot of noise in the front while driving in the city. The wheel bearings are going out since everything else is stable. This will help me some in my replacing of the bearings.
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Old 12-17-2010, 09:11 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Originally Posted by ownor View Post
btw, i tried to take off the rear rotors of my 87 9bolt rearend while it was out of the car - i couldn't get them off by the life of me! got the caliper off well but the rotors wouldn't budge, even after lots of penetrating oil, some time with the torch and some strong blows with a hammer. anyone on this?
Its just rusted on there
I found if you sand/clean the end of the axle that sticks out from the rotor it'll make it a bit easier... also when you keep the center cold and only heat between the lug nuts (the the hope of only expanding the rotor) you can get it to move with enough beating and heat... I only had MAPP gas so I had to heat it for a half hour straight before it would move... 25 years of rust!!
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Old 01-21-2011, 01:44 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Originally Posted by ownor View Post
anyone on the necessity of that tool?
Bump!

Originally Posted by thunder85 View Post
the rear calipers require a tool ($8-10 at a parts store) that goes right on a 3/8" driver to allow you to rotate the piston in, while applying pressure. This is part of the ebrake system, working in effect just like the adjustment screw on drum brakes. If you use a clamp to push them in, it will destroy the unit. i discovered that on my old 85 camaro.. i was misinformed by a mechanic friend and just cranked it down... the seal blew out the back and i got a nice puddle of brake fluid for my efforts.
Anyone got any info on this tool? Is it required on all rear disc equipped cars?
I don't want to use a c-clamp before I am absolutely certain about this.
Got rear discs on my '88 Iroc and the piston has little notches on it all the way around.

Originally Posted by ownor View Post
btw, i tried to take off the rear rotors of my 87 9bolt rearend while it was out of the car - i couldn't get them off by the life of me! got the caliper off well but the rotors wouldn't budge, even after lots of penetrating oil, some time with the torch and some strong blows with a hammer. anyone on this?
I have exactly the same problem. Did you manage to get yours off?

Last edited by CarloStu; 01-21-2011 at 01:50 PM.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:37 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Found another thread which explains it! Gonna try and get this tool. So glad I read this otherwise I would have gone ahead and ruined my caliper. Hope everyone else in the same boat finds the info...

https://www.thirdgen.org/forums/brak...er-piston.html

Last edited by CarloStu; 01-27-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 01-26-2011, 04:25 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

that tool was one of the first things I learned about in an automotive repair class (whilst going over breaks) do they not even mention it anymore?
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Old 01-27-2011, 10:47 AM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Originally Posted by RedneckNo4 View Post
that tool was one of the first things I learned about in an automotive repair class (whilst going over breaks) do they not even mention it anymore?
I wouldn't know, as I have never done any sort of auto repair/maintenance class. I've only been driving for four years and learned what I know from word of mouth, books/manuals and forums.

The tool seems to be only required on cars with auto transmissions with "park", I believe? I live in the UK, where the vast majority of cars are manual and only have a simple parking/hand brake so I have never encountered it before.

Last edited by CarloStu; 01-27-2011 at 05:05 PM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:09 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

I think its used on cars that use the rear calipers as the parking brake instead of a set of small drums inside the rear rotors. I don't need it on my fourth gen F body (since there are drums in the rotors), but my 04 GP needs it because it uses the rear calipers as the parking brake.

Originally Posted by CarloStu View Post
The tool seems to be only required on cars with auto transmissions with "park", I believe?
All auto trans cars have a "park" setting.
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Old 01-27-2011, 12:59 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Originally Posted by Camaro305SB View Post
I think its used on cars that use the rear calipers as the parking brake instead of a set of small drums inside the rear rotors. I don't need it on my fourth gen F body (since there are drums in the rotors), but my 04 GP needs it because it uses the rear calipers as the parking brake.



All auto trans cars have a "park" setting.
Thanks for the info, always helps to know these things.
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Old 01-27-2011, 04:39 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

No prob, I wish it was more like Europe here sometimes, at least regarding highway speeds and the fact that the average person knows how to drive a standard transmission car. We pay WAY too much to option an auto trans in a car (1000 in a Chevy Aveo!)
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:04 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Originally Posted by Camaro305SB View Post
No prob, I wish it was more like Europe here sometimes, at least regarding highway speeds and the fact that the average person knows how to drive a standard transmission car. We pay WAY too much to option an auto trans in a car (1000 in a Chevy Aveo!)
WOW! That's crazy?! I thought Autos came pretty much standard in American cars and you actually had to pay more for a manual. I'll admit, I do kinda like the lazy driving style, but I would never pay to have an auto over a manual! It's the one thing I would change in my car if I was prepared to do so.

Last edited by CarloStu; 05-31-2018 at 04:11 PM.
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Old 01-27-2011, 05:43 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

please.

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Old 07-17-2014, 02:50 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

Great Thread, Thanks to All !!!
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Old 07-08-2016, 10:59 PM
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Re: Difficult of rotor install

My biggest question is how much torque should you have on the nut when you install it. If it is too loose won't that be bad. Obviously you dont want it too tight neither. If I could figure this out I would have done this many years ago haha!
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