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Old 06-19-2013, 12:36 AM   #1
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A little help on installing new brake pads

I just ordered Akebono ProACT ceramics front and rear instead of Hawks because my 8 is my daily driver and the Akebonos seem to get great reviews for all around performance and not dusting as much.

Anyway, I read the DIY thread and watched a few videos but had the following questions:

1) Can the new pads be installed by loosening the top 14mm bolt on the caliper and removing the 14mm bolt on the bottom (essentially unhinging the caliper but not removing it)?

2) When sliding the new pads into place, what's the most fool proof way to ensure the caliper pin (that applies pressure to the pads) is recessed into it's new proper position given the thicker, new pads?

3) Should I remove the Akebono squeal shims and reuse the OEM shims since I have not had any issues with brake squeel whatsoever?

4) Is a c-clamp absolutely necessary to get this done?

Thanks and sorry if some of these questions seem idiotic, but I've not yet done brakes (even pad replacements, which seems fairly easy knock on wood).
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:51 AM   #2
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1. Yes, as long as your pistons are fully compressed.
2. Just make sure the clips secures the pads snuggly, considering that our brakes are floating by design, the pads will make a cyclical clicking noise if the clips are loose. Expand the clips so the new pads has no travel/movement when you slide the caliper back in place.
3. I still use the OEM shims, if the new shims are adhered to the new pads and seems to have the same thickness, use the new one.
4. If you do not know what you are doing and/or the first time, use the proper tool used to press the piston down; however, be very careful with the C-clamp specially for the rear calipers.

Addendum: a few things you need to look for, the rubber boots that keeps dirt and grime out where the floating pins/rods in the front brake calipers. If it is torn and brittle, replace it. Otherwise, make sure it is secured properly(sometimes it slides out of place) and keep the four pins/rods(two on each front caliper) greased up to prevent your calipers from seizing.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:11 AM   #3
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1. Yes, as long as your pistons are fully compressed.
2. Just make sure the clips secures the pads snuggly, considering that our brakes are floating by design, the pads will make a cyclical clicking noise if the clips are loose. Expand the clips so the new pads has no travel/movement when you slide the caliper back in place.
3. I still use the OEM shims, if the new shims are adhered to the new pads and seems to have the same thickness, use the new one.
4. If you do not know what you are doing and/or the first time, use the proper tool used to press the piston down; however, be very careful with the C-clamp specially for the rear calipers.

Addendum: a few things you need to look for, the rubber boots that keeps dirt and grime out where the floating pins/rods in the front brake calipers. If it is torn and brittle, replace it. Otherwise, make sure it is secured properly(sometimes it slides out of place) and keep the four pins/rods(two on each front caliper) greased up to prevent your calipers from seizing.
Thanks GE.

Regarding #4, it's my understanding that the tricky part is not only to press the piston down/into a recessed position, but to keep it there after installing the new pads and closing/re-bolting the caliper, correct?

What's the proper tool to do this? I thought manual pressure exerted on that piston would suffice, and then once the new pad is slid into place, the piston would essentially expand and be flush with the horizontal surface of the new pad?
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:16 AM   #4
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Once the caliper piston is compressed it will stay in...until you push on the brake pedal

The rears need to be rotated and pressed in...using the correct tool makes it a lot easier...the fronts just press in

If you open the bleed screw you can recess the pistons easier...but the system will need to be bled properly after. ( something you should do anyway...likely bleed out all the old fluid to replace it would be even better)
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:55 AM   #5
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If you open the bleed screw you can recess the pistons easier...but the system will need to be bled properly after. ( something you should do anyway...likely bleed out all the old fluid to replace it would be even better)
I was not able to completely flush the system in my car, but I had a complete clutch system worked on 5,000 miles prior. I did remove about 30 ml with a syringe to prevent overflow, which was more than enough that the fluid equaled to the normal level in the bottle once all pads were replaced.
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:58 AM   #6
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To replace it...just keep pumping it through until its new fluid
. Make sure you keepthe master cylinder full though
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Old 06-19-2013, 07:06 AM   #7
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Ahhhh. That whole rear caliper piston...

...it has to be not only recessed but turned and recessed (unlike the front calipers).

That's something I definitely didn't pick up on before, and am really glad I know this now. What's the "correct" tool to do this without damaging anything?

I will probably bleed the brakes (with help) while I'm replacing the pads, but from a strictly technical matter, if the brake fluid is good to go, is this absolutely necessary?

Another thing I've since thought of is whether it's good to use a mild brush and any mild cleaner or rust prohibitor (something really mild like WD-40) to clean around the caliper piston (I believe there's a gasket that's somewhat delicate?).
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:54 AM   #9
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You can lubricate the piston seal with a small amount of brake fluid. Be careful on the rears not to tear the seals. If you have tracked the car a lot you likely will find them cooked and brittle. At that point you will either have to buy rebuilt ones...or rebuild them yourself. Thev rebuipd kit from Mazda is inexpensive...but the procedure isn't easy if you havent done it before

Also..make sure you lubricate the slide pins with the correct lube...cant use regular grease
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:04 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by paimon.soror View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by dannobre View Post
You can lubricate the piston seal with a small amount of brake fluid. Be careful on the rears not to tear the seals. If you have tracked the car a lot you likely will find them cooked and brittle. At that point you will either have to buy rebuilt ones...or rebuild them yourself. Thev rebuipd kit from Mazda is inexpensive...but the procedure isn't easy if you havent done it before

Also..make sure you lubricate the slide pins with the correct lube...cant use regular grease

Thanks paimon.

Dan, I haven't tracked the car. Do I still need to lubricate the slide pins, and if so, what would the best lubricant be?
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:24 PM   #11
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just go to your local autoparts store and pick up one of those little packs of 'brake grease' found at the register
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Old 06-19-2013, 01:34 PM   #12
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Yep...like he said
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:23 PM   #13
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Quote:
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just go to your local autoparts store and pick up one of those little packs of 'brake grease' found at the register
Quote:
Originally Posted by dannobre View Post
Yep...like he said
Both rear and front Akebonos arrived today and they provided that lubricant in the packets in each box, so it looks like I'm good to go once I snag that caliper piston tool.

Thanks again, mates.
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:03 AM   #14
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Lesson learned: i have that tool for the rear poison, and its actually kind hard to use, it's hard to exert enough pressure in without it slipping off. Honestly every time I change my pads I end up using a pair of needle-nose pliers. If you open them up a bit, put each tip in the recess, and twist, it works very well. You'll thank me :-)
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Old 06-20-2013, 11:03 AM   #15
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Rear *piston (typo)
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:08 PM   #16
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Lesson learned: i have that tool for the rear piston, and its actually kind hard to use, it's hard to exert enough pressure in without it slipping off. Honestly every time I change my pads I end up using a pair of needle-nose pliers. If you open them up a bit, put each tip in the recess, and twist, it works very well. You'll thank me :-)

Does the rear caliper piston stay retracted once it is "pushed back" (for lack of a better phrase)?

In other words, once the caliper piston is recessed, by whatever means, I can then slide the pads into place and not have to worry about the caliper piston springing back?
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:17 PM   #17
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Does the rear caliper piston stay retracted once it is "pushed back" (for lack of a better phrase)?

In other words, once the caliper piston is recessed, by whatever means, I can then slide the pads into place and not have to worry about the caliper piston springing back?
Yes it stays recessed. The top tool is a complete POS, don't wate your money. Autozone rents the bottom tool, it is much better use that.
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Old 06-20-2013, 12:23 PM   #18
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Just like the fronts, it will stay until you press the brake. You'll probably have a hard time doing the rears, the key is turn clockwise and press at the same time. The 10" C-clamp(not suggesting you should in place of the tool) worked for me; once I was able to loosen the piston, since it turns clockwise as you tighten the clamp it will compress the piston down at the same time.
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Old 06-20-2013, 04:54 PM   #19
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Thanks for the help everyone.

I'm going to tackle this Saturday, time permitting.
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Old 06-20-2013, 06:34 PM   #20
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Funny...that boxy tool works great for me....much easier than the pliers

Trick is to leave the caliper bolted to the bracket...and use a short extension so you can push and turn without fighting with it

And remember to loosen the bleed screw...it makes it much easier
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Old 06-20-2013, 07:08 PM   #21
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Hi guys,
I've never done 8 brakes, but years ago did a lot of brake jobs. I always loosened the bleeder screw when depressing pistons so as to not force possibly "dirty" fluid back through the ABS system.
It was anecdotal advice from another mechanic, no formal training, and seemed to make sense.
If you are careful to not let the piston back up and suck air, you may not have to bleed it after.
I own the rear caliper tool set, and once you get the hang of turning and depressing, it's not hard.
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Old 06-21-2013, 12:42 PM   #22
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I replaced my stock pads with Akebono and didn't re-use the Mazda shims. Now my brakes squeal only when they're cold. I never had a squealing problem before.

That Astro Pneumatic brake caliper kit is the same one that's at Harbor Freight.

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Old 06-22-2013, 06:52 PM   #23
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I replaced my stock pads with Akebono and didn't re-use the Mazda shims. Now my brakes squeal only when they're cold. I never had a squealing problem before.

That Astro Pneumatic brake caliper kit is the same one that's at Harbor Freight.

I've read the same thing others have experienced in terms having cold brake noise when not re-using the stock Mazda shims, which is why I am going to re-use them.

What I find odd is that so few results come up on here in terms of owners using Akebono pads to replace their stock ones.

Hawk seems to be the most common choice for those who don't choose Mazda OEM pads, but if one reads the 350/370z, BMW, Infinity, etc. forums, Akebonos seem to be among the most highly praised pads in terms of overall, rather than a dedicated track pad, performance and quality.

I'll be sure let everyone know what I think of the Akebonos once I properly bed them and then get some miles on them (or stopped by them).
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:08 PM   #24
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Some tips having done brakes 10+ times/year (DD/track car):

Get speed bleeders. They will allow you to bleed out fluid without having air enter the system and requiring you do a rebleed.

You only need to loosen the top 14mm to swing the calipers out and get to the pads. You have to tension the front brake line a bit to clear, but I find it easier than swinging about the top bolt.

C clamp to press in the fronts. Loosen the bleeder if you have to go really far. Otherwise, it should work fine without too much force.

Get the brake cube thing for the rear and drive in with an impact gun (I use electric) AFTER greasing/lubricating the seals (engine oil/WD40 will work) and turning by hand once or twice. If you track the car, your seals are brittle/cracking and probably toast. I haven't had any problems with the wrecked seals but I do expect to replace the calipers eventually.

Impact gun and floor jack help immensely with getting this done. All four corners and bleeding takes me about an hour including cleanup.

Last edited by cwatson; 07-05-2013 at 10:11 PM.
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:33 PM   #25
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To do a simple seal replacement rebuild isn't too bad...I have done mine 3 times and they are still within specs.

Buying rebuild or new calipers is expensive if only the seals are shot Last time I bought the rear seal kit it was $25 or so
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Old 07-05-2013, 10:33 PM
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