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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
How-To: Replace Front Brake Pads & Rotors


Overview:
At some point in your Cruze ownership, your brake pads and rotors will need to be replaced. In my case, the rotors needed to be replaced before the pads due to uneven wear (note: rotors don't warp). This was the first job I did on the first car I ever owned, so it would only be appropriate to provide a tutorial for others to do this as well, especially given that everyone is guaranteed to require this service.

Many people are intimidated by the concept of servicing their own brakes, since they are critical safety components. Let me assure you that the process is straightforward and simple, and with a little bit of elbow grease, the job can be done in 2-3 hours if you take your time. Follow the steps and verify your work, and you won't have any safety issues to worry about. Changing brakes is not "rocket science." For this particular tutorial, I opted to take detailed photos of each step to make you comfortable enough with the process to service your own vehicle.


Tools Required:
- Wrench with 10mm, 18mm, and 19mm sockets
- Torque wrench
- Breaker bar - do not attempt this job without one
- T30 screwdriver/bit
- Flathead screwdriver
- Standard claw hammer
- Center punch
- ~2 feet of bailing wire, rope, electrical wire, or anything of that nature.
- Channel-lock or brake piston compress tool
- Jack and jack stand


Part Required:
Brake rotors and pads. I decided to go with Centric brake parts. You can review my reasoning in the following thread: https://www.cruzetalk.com/forum/12-wheels-tires-brakes-suspension/126562-centric-oe-brake-kit-upgrade.html

If following with my choice of brake components, you will need the following part numbers:
2 x Centric 120.62130 (rotors) - Available on Amazon.com
1 x Centric 106.15220 (pads) - Available on Amazon.com
Total should be about $150 (give or take) for everything.


Procedure:
The first thing you need to do before you change brakes is pull the the hand brake. Lift one side of the car enough to get the wheel clear off the ground. Place the jackstand underneath the car, then lower the car onto the jackstand. Do not keep the car supported on only the jack. A jack is intended only to lift the car, not to hold it up. You only need to have one side of the car lifted at a time.

Using the 19mm deep socket or the lugnut removal tool, take the wheel off.


Lift the brake line/bushing out of the bracket behind the brake caliper.


There are two 10mm caliper guide pin bolts at the rear of the caliper. Remove them both.



If you're having trouble removing the top bolt due to clearance, you can run an extension through the brake hose bracket.


Slide the caliper off by simply lifting it outward from the hub.


Suspend the brake caliper from the spring coil or the strut using the bailing wire (or equivalent). This is so that you don't place unneeded stress on the brake line and keeps it out of the way while you work on the rest of the brake system.


Remove the brake pads from the brake caliper. These will slide right out.


Turn the car to the on position, but do not start the engine, and turn the steering wheel to the direction that corresponds to the side of the car you are working on, then remove the key.

Behind the brake rotor, there are two 18mm bolts holding the brake caliper bracket in place. Remove these using the breaker bar. You'll need to put some muscle into this as they are on fairly tight.



With both bolts removed, the brake caliper bracket will fall right off. Observe the two metal shims mounted to the insides. Remove these using the flathead screwdriver.


Next, we need to remove the T30 torx bolt from the brake rotor. This may be a bit tricky since they tend to get stuck in northern weather. I found that the best way to loosten it is to give it a few really good whacks with a hammer and center punch.




Use the T30 bit/screwdriver to remove the T30 torx bolt. I had to use both hands on the screwdriver to get this to break free.


If you live in the northern part of the US or Canada, chances are your rotor will be stuck to the hub. Give the back of the rotor a few good whacks with the hammer, rotating the rotor 1/4 turn occasionally. If you hit it hard enough, it will eventually pop out. Once you get the old rotor loosened, it will slide right off the studs.

Place the new rotor onto the hub, being careful to align the T30 bolt hole. Tighten the T30 bolt hand snug (it doesn't have to be very tight). Remember, you may need to get it off again someday. Alternately, you can just leave the T30 bolt off entirely as it's only really used for assembly purposes.


Reinstall the caliper bracket. Torque the bolts to 74lb-ft, plus another 60-75 degrees of turn (about 1/5 to 1/6 of a turn).


You should have 4 metal shims with your brake pads. Install these on the brake caliper bracket by pressing them into the ends.


Install the brake pads onto the brake caliper bracket. You will notice that the pads are slightly different. Install the pad with the low depth indicator on the inside of the brake rotor. This is the brake pad I'm holding on the right.



Next, you need to slowly compress the piston in the brake caliper. The correct way to do it is to get a brake caliper piston compressor tool, but I didn't have one on hand so I used a channel-lock. Just tighten it slowly and it will go back in. This will allow you to slide the caliper back over the brake pads.



Reinstall the brake caliper as you removed it, and torque the 10mm bolts to 21lb-ft.


Press the brake hose bushing back into its bracket. Double-check that the caliper bolts are tight. Reinstall the wheel. Torque lugnuts in a star pattern to 100lb-ft.

Repeat for the other side.

Once both sides are done and the car is back on the ground, turn the car on, and pump the brakes until you feel resistance again.
 

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If you open the bleed valve and then compress the piston it is much easier. I bleed the system too when I replace pads.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
If you open the bleed valve and then compress the piston it is much easier. I bleed the system too when I replace pads.
It was really quite easy to compress the piston.

I bleed the brakes every 30k miles.
 

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Great write up! Thanks!
I have many times over the years wound up having to drill out the screw that holds the rotor in place. Its a real bite, if you ever have to do it you'll agree! I read somewhere that that screw does not have to go back in, its only there for assembly purposes at the factory. Does anyone know if that is true?
 

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I had a Saturn Relay and now have a Honda Odyssey. Both vehicles have gone many miles with no rotor screws. The lug nuts should hold everything firmly in place. :)

Only have 22k on my '14 so I haven't crossed this bridge with the Cruze yet.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Great write up! Thanks!
I have many times over the years wound up having to drill out the screw that holds the rotor in place. Its a real bite, if you ever have to do it you'll agree! I read somewhere that that screw does not have to go back in, its only there for assembly purposes at the factory. Does anyone know if that is true?
I like to think that the bolt centers the rotor perfectly on the hub. It honestly isn't that big of a deal if you whack it with a center punch like I did. Both came off. I put them back because it wasn't a big deal to do so.
 

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Amazing guide! Just did this over the weekend and only took about 2 hours. All the pictures were super helpful :)

Changing the pads and rotors also seems to have fixed my P057C error code, interesting!

Thanks!!
 

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Nice write-up. Doesn't look too different from how I do the brakes on the Cobalt, so that should make this even easier.
 

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Torx, great for production, bit is tapered so the fastener sticks on. Takes a bit a skill to hold it perfectly perpendicular so you can start it with an impact wrench, I will stick to finger starting.

But like that impact wrench for tightening, also good to have one for loosening, you have to have a lot of axial force you can get with an impact wrench as a opposed to using any kind of a hand wrench. Also use a hammer, but to tap in the Torx bit. Believe it or not, my impact wrench was made in the USA, has an air valve on it to completely cut off the air. With lots of pressure on the impact, open that valve slowing that increases the torque of the wrench, that chattering will work it loose.

But not always lucky with road salt eating away on those tiny tangs, no matter how much pressure, will still round the sucker off. In this case, you need Made in the USA drill bits to get that sucker out. Torx may be great for production, but the story ends there, and for this reason, I hate Torx. Spend hours trying to drill some out.

With practically with any other tool, given the English or Metric size, Torx uses an arbitrary number system, what idiots came out with this? Another bunch of bits, both male and female I had to buy, got all the was from #1 to #60 in males, not so many females, ha, some sex discrimination here.

When you could hone out a caliper with a new square ring that you could buy, clean piston, brake fluid for a lubricant, positively no problems in pressing the piston in with your fingers. Why should that piston in your vehicle be any different? So just loosen the bleeder and try my fingers. If I can't do this, remove the boot, that always goes on afterwards, loosen the bleeder slightly, and should be able to press that piston in with your fingers. But will always fine debris corrosion at the exposed end of the piston. That also has to be cleaned off so you can press it in with your fingers.

Sure a large C-Clamp works, but if it takes that to compress the piston, you also need that to compress that piston after you use the brakes. Is a slight vacuum when releasing the pedal, and if that piston doesn't retract, will get pad drag wearing out your pads and the rotor as well.

Those clips on the pad brackets was a very bad mistake made by Toyota back in the 80's, road salt is trapped under the clips causing expansion to lock the pads, again, like the piston, won't retract. Best lubricant to use is Permatex anti-seize both on the inside and the outside of those clips. As well on the contact points on the rear drums, lower anchor is the worse, if the shoes cannot move up and down easily, they never will self adjust. The adjuster with the threads also has to be free, again anti-seize works the best.

GM was using a heavy U shaped spring to make sure the shoes retracted, but gather too many complaints from mechanics, that was too hard, so went back to super weak coil springs, and you wonder why you have problems.

Basterds lie like crazy when they say salt saves lives, not true when your brakes are corroded so bad, you don't have any brakes at all.
 

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Thanks for the guide, and the extra video! I'm going to install Centric rotors and Raybestos Element3 pads when the parts get here to save some bucks on the front, and hopefully be getting better parts than I would at a quick service type place.

As for the rear drums though...is that a job even worth trying as DIY without speciality tools and such?
 

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Thanks for the guide, and the extra video! I'm going to install Centric rotors and Raybestos Element3 pads when the parts get here to save some bucks on the front, and hopefully be getting better parts than I would at a quick service type place.

As for the rear drums though...is that a job even worth trying as DIY without speciality tools and such?
Rear drums are a piece of cake. If you've never done drum brakes before only pull apart one side and finish that side before you do the other. That way if you forget where springs go or whatnot you can look on the other side.
 

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Rear drums are a piece of cake. If you've never done drum brakes before only pull apart one side and finish that side before you do the other. That way if you forget where springs go or whatnot you can look on the other side.
This. Provided you can get the drums off - shouldn't be an issue with the Cruzes being as new as they are.

I'm not sure how the Cruze drums were set up - but the Cobalt drums are literally the easiest thing on the planet as they have one big U-spring, instead of 40,000 small springs.
 

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Regarding the caliper bracket. Are these the TTY bolts I have been hearing about and if so must they be replaced and where would I get them. I have a 2013 Cruze 2LT but am used to only working on older cars. I have read the TTY bolts must be torqued, turned, torqued again etc. Thanks for any info.
 

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Regarding the caliper bracket. Are these the TTY bolts I have been hearing about and if so must they be replaced and where would I get them. I have a 2013 Cruze 2LT but am used to only working on older cars. I have read the TTY bolts must be torqued, turned, torqued again etc. Thanks for any info.
I also read/heard somewhere about replacing the caliper bracket bolts.You can get them at any parts store,but most need to order them.Dealer would probably have them but cost a little more.
 

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I changed mine on Saturday. I have done brakes many times on many cars, but I still found this write up useful. Since I don't do mechanical work daily, I always like to review the process before I do the work so that I don't forget anything. It also helps get me in the right mindset. Thanks XtremeRevolution for another good tutorial.

I went with the Centric rotors. These things look awesome!!! I love the electrocoating finish. The black finish looks so much better with my wheels than the rusted ones did.

Here are what they look like after install.
r3.jpg

I reused the caliper bolts. The GM service manual does not specifically say that these need to be replaced, and the manual is usually very clear when you need to replace a bolt. I considered replacing them anyway, but then just decided to reuse them.

I decided to go with the Akebono ProAct pads because I want less dust, and I read on a lot of other forums that these are supposedly great pads with almost no dust. I will try them for a while, and if they aren't any better than the original pads, or if I don't like them, then I will swap them for something else.

The '14 Cruze service manual says that new pads and rotors should be "burnished" after installation, so I did their procedure. Here is what it says:

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Burnishing the brake pads and brake rotors is necessary in order to ensure that the braking surfaces are properly prepared after service has been performed on the disc brake system.

This procedure should be performed whenever the disc brake rotors have been refinished or replaced, and/or whenever the disc brake pads have been replaced.

1. Select a smooth road with little or no traffic.
2. Accelerate the vehicle to 48 km/h (30 mph).

Note: Use care to avoid overheating the brakes while performing this step.

3. Using moderate to firm pressure, apply the brakes to bring the vehicle to a stop. Do not allow the brakes to lock.
4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until approximately 20 stops have been completed. Allow sufficient cooling periods between stops in order to properly burnish the brake pads and rotors.

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After this process, I also did some moderate braking from 50 to about 5 MPH (about 5 times) and then parked without locking the brakes and let them cool for several hours. The rotors had a nice blue/gray hue to them after that process. The rotors were smoking a lot after I parked. I had washed the rotors with dish soap, but they were obviously still burning off some kind of residue.

After cool down, the brakes work great. No noise. Perfect amount of pedal feel, and they are very responsive even when cold.

Centric has a good white paper on their site about the importance of bedding in brake pads.

http://www.centricparts.com/files/technical guides/pad-and-rotor-bed-in.pdf

It reminds me of the process of seasoning a cast iron or stainless frying pan. You heat it up with some oil in the pan and then let it cool down. This creates a finish in the pan that nothing will stick to. Might be similar with brakes.
 
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