Tech Article Title Author Date
Brake pad removal and installation for Brembo jyoteen 2002

Other kits such as the Porsche Big Reds, Mov'it, Stoptech, and 2Bennett may also benefit from this guide.

This FAQ is provided as a guide and you may proceed at your own risk. The usual disclaimers apply.

My 2001 S4 Avant has the Brembo 355mm (14" Rotor) and the Brembo caliper installed in the front. After about 450 track miles and 1500 street miles, it was time to replace the brake pads as I was hearing metal to metal contact noise when the brakes were applied.

I have never undertaken pad replacement on the Audi, but the Brembo based kits are supposed to be easy for pad swap and installation. The following is for newbies or people who may be on the fence about undertaking such a project. There may be slight differences with your brake kit, so do research before proceeding.

Time Required: Approx 2 - 2 1/2 hours (with medium progress)
Difficulty level (scale 1-10): 4

Tools you need to remove wheels:

Wheel chocks (2)
Floor Jack
Breaker Bar
17mm 6pt deep socket
Torque wrench
Wheel lock key

Tools you need to remove old pads and install new ones:

Needle nose pliers
C - Clamp or Sears Brake Piston retractor

Other things you may need:

Brake Fluid (Dot 4 for Audi)
Rags or Shop Towels
Rubber or wooden mallet
Hole punch or awe

Step 1: Jacking up the car and removing the wheel

Making sure your car is on a flat surface, place wheel chocks behind and front of either one tire, or two different tires to stop movement of the car. Make sure car's emergency brake is pulled.

Loosen lug nuts, only to a point where they are freed.
Jack up the car at the car's designated jack point. You can locate the appropriate jack point as outlined in the automobile's manual. Don't raise the car too high. When the tire is off the ground and has about 2" of clearance, that should be plenty. Take the wheel off and set aside.

Step 2: The brake caliper

Look at the caliper and examine the pieces. You will need to remember how it is put together when you reassemble. Quick photos or a sketch could be helpful. In the picture below, you can see the two pins that bridge the caliper on the two ends, and a metal piece. The end of the metal piece (spring) will span the opening. This spring provides tension that holds the pin(s) in place, and the metal pin holds the spring and pad in place.

On the Brembo 355mm kit with the F50 caliper, there are two tiny cotter pins located between the pad backing plate, and the wall of the caliper. Locate these cotter pins.

Using needle nose pliers, carefully remove the cotter pins and set aside in a safe place.

Step 3: Removing parts in the brake caliper to gain access to pads

Using the rubber/wooden mallet, tap at the head of one pin. It should slide towards the interior of the car. It should not require any force, but you may use a hole punch or awe if required to un-jam the pin. Slide out the pin.

Notice the tiny hole that the cotter pin that you removed in Step 2 goes into. Set pin aside in a safe place. The metal spring should be free to be removed. Remove the other pin and set aside.

Note: On some Brembo/Porsche calipers, there is a larger pin that spans the middle of the opening, along with the two outer pins.

Step 4: Protecting paint from brake fluid

Open Hood and locate the brake fluid reservoir. On A4's and S4's it is located next to the battery cover, between the inside and outside firewall. Unscrew cap. The cap has a circular symbol on it, and the cap should be yellow. Using several rags or shop towels, surround the cap to prevent any brake fluid spill to drip below. See picture below.

Step 5: Spreading the brake caliper pistons

Before we take the pads out, we need to have the pistons retract into the caliper body. The purpose behind this is so the used pads can be removed easily, and the new pads, which are thicker, will be able to be inserted into the caliper.

We will use the standard brake piston clamp, that can be obtained from Sears, or any auto part store. When we spread the pistons, and they retract into the caliper body, brake fluid winds up into the reservoir. The fluid in the reservoir will rise, so make sure if the reservoir is too full, take some fluid out.

Using the used pads as leverage areas, and to protect clamps and other material from the piston rubber boots, wind the brake pad clamp so the pads spread apart. You will need to work back and forth, between each side of the rotor to retract the pistons. This step is the most time consuming because the pistons must be almost completely retracted into the caliper. See the picture below on how to use the clamp. There may be other ways to do this as well.

Step 6: Pad Installation

Remove old pads. Separate the shim from the old pad's backing plate.

Take out the new pads from the box. You will reuse (in this case) the metal shims.

Insert the new pads on each side. The Brembo kit comes with a thin metal plate that sits between the back of the pad and the pistons. Align the holes that the pins will go through eventually of the thin metal plate and the pad. I also fed the two metal pins that we took out just to hold the pad in place while I retracted the pistons on the opposite side.

Double check the fluid level and make sure that no brake fluid has spilled.

Don't force any thing. The pads should slide in fairly easily.

Step 7: Reassembly

Remember that tiny hole on the metal pin? Make sure that it is lined up so that the cotter pin can go through it (it should be facing the opening). Feed the metal pin through the back of the caliper (side closest to the interior of the car), through the thin metal plate, through the pad backing plate hole, all the way to the other side, repeating the feed through process for the pad on the opposite side.

Then put the end of the metal spring under the pin and make sure it's seated properly.

Take the other pin and repeat the process. This pin goes over the metal spring as well, just like the pin you did before, so you may have to push down on the spring's end while you feed the pin through all the holes.

Step 8: Reinstallation of the wheel

Make sure the wheel sits on the hub properly and hand tighten the lug bolts. With the lug bolt wrench or your breaker bar with the 17mm socket, tighten some more and lower the car so that the tire just makes contact with the road.

Don't lower the car all the way and tighten them in a criss-cross fashion, all the bolts some more. Then lower the car completely and properly torque the bolts with a torque wrench to the proper torque settings.

Make sure the brake reservoir has plenty of fluid and pump the brake pedal some to get the pressure back. It will take quite a few pumps to build pressure and move the pistons back into position.

Test drive carefully on a deserted road at a slow speed.

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