Tech Article Title Author Date
Front Brake Pad Replacement (B6 S4/B7 All) AlanL 2004

Please note right up front - if you have never done brake work before, STOP and go find a friend who has a clue to guide you through the task. Brakes systems aren't terribly difficult to learn to work with, but if you screw up the consequences can cause bodily harm to yourself and/or others on the road.

The first task is to remove your wheel to access the brakes.

The first task I did was to remove the retaining spring that holds the caliper arm in position. To remove the spring, use a screwdriver to get between the clip on the brake pad and the bottom of the retaining spring. Push up on the screwdriver blade and then pull towards you to get the locking tab of the spring to disengage from the clip:

This will leave the spring in place, but with the locking tab out of the slot in the clip:

Use a flat blade screwdriver to pry out the end of the spring arm. Use 2 hands with one positioned to keep the spring from flying across the room once it's released. I am using my other hand to take the picture in this shot.

Next, spread the calipers to get some play around the pads. Hint - open the cap on your brake fluid master cylinder so the fluid can go back up the lines. If you move the pads a lot, fluid can spill over the top of the master cylinder reservoir.

Use 2 screwdrivers - one on each side of the caliper. Kinda hard to show that and still shoot the picture.

The next task is to remove the 2 bolts on the backside of the caliper that hold the caliper in place so you can access the brakes inside. There are 2 plastic dust caps the cover 7mm Allen bolts shown here with the red circles. If your car is not on a lift, you can use a mirror to locate these bolts:

Once you pull the bolts out, you will find that you can lift the caliper off of the rotor and you have full access to the pads for replacement. You may find it helpful to have something like a paint can handy to hold up the caliper while you change the pads as shown in this picture:

You will probably need a brake caliper spreader to push the brake piston far enough in allow the new pads to clear the rotor. This tool is readily available at many auto parts stores.

The OEM pads in their full glory of grime:

A good shot of the pad wear sensor wires getting close to breaking the circuit and triggering the dashboard warning lights:

The final task in removing the old pads is to disconnect the wear sensor connector. First remove the connector shell on the far side of the mounting bracket and then use a small screwdriver to dislodge the short arm extending down on the mounting bracket. Twist the pad connector and it will come out of the mount bracket.

Once the new pads are in, slide the caliper back over the rotor and replace the bolts. slide one end of the retention spring under the arm of the caliper and then position the tab of the retention spring behind the lip of the brake pad clip.

Next, depress the other spring arm and push it into place.

Finally, use your thumb to push the retention spring tab back enough to engage the slot of the clip:

Your final view of the caliper should look like this:

That's it! Replace the cap on the master cylinder and have someone pump the brake pedal until it starts to get firm again (it will sink all the way to the floor for a couple of strokes). Refill the master cylinder with enough fluid to reach the fill line and replace the cap.

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