Guide - Fitting Rear Brake Pads & Handbrake Adjust - Servicing - MX5Nutz Forum

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Guide - Fitting Rear Brake Pads & Handbrake Adjust


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#1 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:27 AM

OK guys, here's the first guide, hope you like it. There are going to be loads of people on here who have way more Mazda-specific knowledge than me, I ask you people to contribute as much as you are willing to with any hints/tips you can add to the guides, that's what makes them really useful.

If you see anything that's wrong then either post up here or drop me a PM and we'll discuss/amend if required.

These are going to be done on an ad hoc basis when I've got jobs to do on the car but if there's anything people specifically want then let me know and I'll see what I can do.


NOTE: The handbrake adjustment shouldn't normally need doing every time you do your rear brakes, if you just bought the car or find that you need to pull it up lots of clicks to hold then you should do this part, if not you can skip straight to normal pad replacement

Step 1 - Start off inside the vehicle, you need to remove the gaiter around the hand brake. Grip it firmly around the collar and twist from side to side whilst pulling it toward the front of the car and it should slide off

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Step 2 - On the passenger side you should now have access to a Philips screw. Remove this completely

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#2 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:27 AM

Step 3 - Now unclip the plastic cowl surrounding the handbrake and remove the two pieces

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Step 4 - Chock the front wheels. If you don't know, the handbrake only locks the back wheels so when working on the rear braking system you should take measures to ensure the car can't roll away - work on a flat surface and chock the wheels (front and back if necessary)

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#3 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:27 AM

Step 5 - Now release the handbrake

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Step 6 - You will see a 10mm protrusion with a slot running across it, this is the adjuster for the handbrake cable. You can use a large flatblade screwdriver or (my preference) a 10mm socket to slacken off the adjuster.

Turn it anti-clockwise to remove all slack from the cable (I found 3 turns is plenty)

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#4 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:27 AM

Step 7 - Now move to the back of the car and pop off your wheel bolt covers with a flatblade screwdriver (do both sides)

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Step 8 - 'Crack off' each of the 4 wheel bolts. Basically, you use the car's weight to prevent the wheel from turning so you can apply the initial torque to release the bolts (you may want to do this before step 5 if your wheel nuts are really tight so the handbrake resists the car's desire to move), before you jack the car up. Again, do both sides.

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Step 9 - Get the car jacked up nice and high and put an axle stand under either side too. Always be extra careful when you've got a whole axle (or side for that matter) jacked up because the car's stability is reduced. I always leave the jacks in place sharing part of the load with the axle stands

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#5 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:27 AM

Step 10 - Now remove the two rear wheels completely.

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Step 11 - Here's what you're faced with now. The bits we're interested in are the caliper and the pads which are shown on the left hand side of the disc. Run your finger along the disc to check for warpage and pitting on the surface (a natural lip will occur on the edge of the disc as it wears, if this is pronounced then you want to replace the disc). If in doubt, now's a good time to change the disc because as soon as we remove the caliper it simply slides off

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#6 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:27 AM

Step 12 - Look round the back of the caliper where I'm pointing in the first picture. You will find two bolts, one is holding the handbrake cable bracket in place and the other (shown in the second picture at the top) is the one we're interested in. This 14mm bolt is covering an allen key adjuster which is used to move the piston in the caliper which makes the pads grip the disc.

Remove the 14mm nut completely, it shouldn't be too tight and once cracked off it should come out with your fingers. It's only small as shown in the third picture

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#7 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

Note: Before you start to back off the adjuster you should pop the cap off your brake fluid reservoir and put some rag/tissue around it. When the pistons in your caliper extend out (as your pads wear down they do this) your fluid level drops. If someone then tops up the fluid level then the act of pushing the pistons back in will make it overflow.

Step 13 - If you've got a mk1 MX5/Eunos like me, it will be a 4mm allen key to turn the adjuster. From what I've read, the mk2+ might use a 6mm key. Either way, keep a bunch handy as shown!

Make sure you get the right size allen key, there should be little slack when inserted. I've shown a picture of the caliper from the inside (facing from underneath the car towards the outside of the wheel) where you can make out the allen key bolt.

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Step 14 - Back of the adjuster by about 2-3 turns so the pads are free to be removed. Note that you turn anti clockwise to slacken and clockwise to tighten this (as with normal screws etc)

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#8 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

Step 15 - Now pull off the plastic cover on the bottom caliper bolt as shown. It's got a funny little piece of plastic sticking out which is easy to grab but don't break it!

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Step 16 - Now you've got access to the 10mm bolt which holds the caliper in place. Remove this completely. The second picture shows the bolt - note that it only has threads at the end which means it will need to be pulled out after you've released the threads - don't just keep turning and expect it to come out or it'll take you a very long time!

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#9 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

Step 17 - There are two 14mm nuts on the handbrake cable holding it to the bracket, I chose to slacken these off so I could detach the handbrake from the caliper. Strictly speaking you don't have to do this but I didn't want to stress it when manipulating the caliper and it makes it much easier to move the caliper around when it is detached. Anyway, if you choose to follow this route then slacken them off a couple of turns then wiggle it free of the bracket

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Step 18 - Once the cable is free of the bracket you need to work the end t piece out of the pivot joint as shown. It is pretty easy to do, just twist the cable a bit and it'll pop off

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Step 19 - Now you can pivot the caliper up completely and reveal the brake pads. If you didn't detach the handbrake as shown in steps 17 and 18 then be careful with this and be aware it will give some resistance

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#10 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

Step 20 - If you've detached the handbrake cable you can easily slide the caliper of the top sliding pin (just wriggle it up and down whilst gently pushing the caliper body towards the car) and have a look at the piston (round bit in the middle) and seal around it. There should be no splits in the rubber seal and no sign of significant corrosion.

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Step 21 - Tuck the caliper safely out the way so you can work on the pads. Be careful not to stress the rubber brake hose too much (some people tie with string etc but I find you can place it quite securely as shown)

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Step 22 - Inspect the top sliding pin where you remove the caliper. Again, there should be no signs of corrosion, if necessary either sand down with fine emery paper or replace the pin but ensure the caliper is able to move freely on the pin or you'll have more headaches later down the line. A small amount of caliper white grease or hight temperature lithium grease should be applied here on reassembly.

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#11 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

Step 23 - With the caliper removed you now have a good view of the pads, take note of how they are fitted - you should see a metal 'shim' on the outside of each pad, a W-shaped spring slip at the top between each pad and finally a metal retainer at the top and bottom. All of these are supplied with your new rear pads if you get Mazda ones.

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Step 24 - The new pads - fit the black shims (shown on the far left and far right to your pads). They are keyed so they only go on one way.

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#12 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:28 AM

Step 25 - Slide the old pads away from the car laterally and with the W-shaped clip doesn't spring off anywhere nasty.

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#13 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

Step 26 - Remove the top and bottom metal spring clips

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Step 27 - Now refit the new pads in place. Put the metal clips on (top and bottom) then the inner pad first, followed by the W-shape clip and the outer pad as shown

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#14 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

Step 28 - Back to the caliper, wind that piston right out so it sits flush in the caliper body as shown. I've heard people have trouble fitting the caliper back on if fitting new pads and discs but I've not seen this first hand. If you do, you can ditch the outer shims until they bed in a little then refit them but only if absolutely necessary

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Step 29 - You should be able to slide the caliper back on the top sliding pin now (don't forget the caliper/lithium grease on here and also put a little copper grease on the back of the pads), then ease it down into place. Be careful not to catch the rubber boot at the bottom as shown in the picture

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Step 30 - Reattach the handbrake cable to the pivot then tighten the two 14mm nuts

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#15 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

Step 31 - Pop the bottom caliper bolt back in (10mm) and tighten it back up

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Step 32 - Refit the dust boot, this is simply a push fit and clicks into place

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Step 33 - Now onto the subjective bit, adjusting the calipers.

1. Spin the disc by hand a few times to get a feel for the 'drag' of the transmission which is the amount of effort required to turn the driveshaft.

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2. Put your allen key back into action and tighten it up in 1/2 turn intervals until you feel the pads grip. If you think you have it but aren't sure then turn another half turn and the disc should be locked by the pads.

3. Once you have reached the point where the pads bite, back off 1/3 turn and you should find the wheel spins freely with just the transmission drag once again. It's worth jumping in the car and pumping the brakes a few times to ensure everything is seated in position (the caliper will act on the disc when you do this) then double check everything is right

For some cars 1/3 turn might be too much, this is a bit of trial and error but it will suit most normal vehicles
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#16 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

Step 34 - Refit the 14mm allen key adjuster cover

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Step 35 - Put your wheel back on and tighten up the wheel nuts (not to full torque, just reasonably loose fit). you might want to put a little copper grease on the face of the hub to prevent binding here

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Step 36 - Do the same for the other side and then drop the car to the ground and torque the wheel nuts up fully. Note you don't have to do wheel nuts up stupidly tight, they aren't going to fall off if you don't stamp on the wheel brace to torque them!

Step 37 - The final thing to do is adjust the handbrake, this is simply a case of twiddling your 10mm socket from step 6 clockwise until you get the desired number of clicks from the handbrake mechanism. I hit 4 clicks on a hill first time but I believe 6-7 is expected. Once you've set this (do it on a hill, not a flat which can be misleading), pop your plastic cover on and slide the leather gaiter back in place

Take out for a test drive and perform several controlled stops before driving normally. Go easy for a couple of 100 miles so the pads can bed in
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#17 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:29 AM

Right, what else can I add - obviously do both sides at the same time, you never change one set of brake pads or discs. Take your time and always do an 'idiot check' before you put the wheel back on. Basically go over everything you've touched and check you've put things back together correctly, tightened everything up and not disturbed anything you shouldn't have (one day it'll save your behind!)

A small 3/8" drive ratchet is handy for the bottom caliper bolt as shown in the following picture:

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The adjuster for the caliper piston is just a splined allen key fitting, mine actually fell out on one side. Don't panic, simply clean it up and pop it back in

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When trying to setup the adjuster, watch the gap between the pads and the disc to see when they start to act on each other

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Hope that helps some of you
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#18 Gary H

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 08:59 AM

Superb stuff again :)
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#19 JSeaman

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:02 AM

Thanks Gary - I was expecting this to be tricky after reading lots of horror stories but it's really no more difficult than any other car
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#20 Alex Boost!!!

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Posted 25 June 2008 - 09:08 AM

Again excellent

Again mods please pin for future reference for peeps :) :thumb-up:
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