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Step by step - do your own brakes (a DIY guide)

I did my brakes this afternoon and had my camera handy so I took some pictures to make a brake job guide. I hope people find this useful.

DISCLAIMER - this guide is meant to be an example only. Do your brakes at your own risk. Brakes are an integral safety component and should not be worked on as a DIY project if you are not confident with the results. In such a case, its better to take it to your mechanic or ask someone who has prior experience. Brake fluid is a corrosive chemical so proper clothing and eye protection should be worn. If you do your own car work, take it slow double check everything.
 

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First gather all your parts together. In this picture you can see I have put together:

Can of brake parts cleaner
Bottle of red anti-squeal goo
Vinyl tubing for bleeding fluid
Front and rear brake pads (Porterfield)
1 liter cans of ATE Super Blue brake fluid
Extra bottle of "cheap" Dot3 brake fluid (not used)
Small packet of brake caliper lube.
Small funnel for pouring brake fluid
Motive Power Bleeder
Rear brake caliper tool (turns out I did not need it)
Plastic pan for catching any fluid/cleaner/pad grit

You will also need a basic metric socket set. Make sure you have some shop rags, paper towels, newspaper, etc... handy to catch the mess you'll be making. :p
 

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Next jack up your Murano and put it on jackstands. Refer to the "basic automotive safety" thread for helpful hints. You will need to loosen (but not remove) the lugnuts while the vehicle is still on the ground.

Front shot, jacked up.
 

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Here's a shot of the rear brake before any work.
 

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The next step is to give the brakes a good spray with Brake Cleaner. This removes brake dust and other contaminants from the brake surfaces. Even with ceramic brakes, you don't want to breathe any in! I only purchased one can of brake cleaner, and it was barely enough, so you may want to buy 2. They are only about $1 each. Place a plastic pan beneath to catch the dripping brake cleaner runoff.
 

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Ok we are ready to replace the rear pads! Use a socket wrench to unbolt the top brake sliding pin. Its not torqued in there very tight, so you won't need a long socket wrench.

Unlike other cars, you do not need to disengage the rear parking brake, since the parking brake uses a "drum in disc" mechanism separate from the main rear brake pads. But I released my parking brake anyways so I could check for brake clearance after installation (make sure the wheel can turn).
 

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With the top sliding pin removed, you can rotate the caliper downwards (pivoting on the lower sliding pin). This exposes the rear brake pads which are easily removed by just pulling them out from the brake pad holder. The inner pad doesn't have anywhere to grab so I dislodged it with a big screwdriver.

Caution: whenever the caliper is unbolted, DO NOT step on the brake pedal. This will cause the piston to shoot out of the caliper, possibly causing injury (and definitely damage to the caliper).
 

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Before installing the new rear pads, apply a liberal coating off anti-squeal goo on the pad backing. Make sure to not get any on the actual brake friction surface. Wait 5-10 minutes for the goo to "set." The stock shims can be reused, but my Porterfields came with shims themselves, so I used the new shims instead. Make sure to apply goo both 1) in between the shim and the pad) and 2) on the outside of the shim where the caliper pushes against. This eliminates any chance of brake noise.

You will need to compress the rear piston back in before installing the pads. I did not take a picture of this, but the procedure is identical to the front brakes, so scroll down for a picture of that.

Install the pads first before applying the final coating of goo to the outside of the shims. Trust me, you'll want to avoid touching the goo as much as possible, once it sets it gets VERY sticky.
 

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Before screwing back in the top sliding pin, clean and relube with some caliper grease. I found these easy to use packets at the local autoshop for about 50 cents each. One pack is enough for all four corners (since you only need to grease a pin).

Now reinstall the top sliding pin, torque down, and you are done with one rear brake!

Repeat with the other side. :D
 

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Onto the front brakes. To unbolt the front brake caliper, this time unscrew the BOTTOM sliding bolt (the rears had you removing the top bolt). There is a second bolt slightly inside of the main bottom sliding bolt, so you can use a backup wrench to hold it while unbolting the lower sliding bolt.
 

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With the bottom bolt removed, take your socket and place it on the top bolt and turn to rotate the caliper assembly up, exposing the front brake pads.
 

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Applying the red goo to the front brake pads. Like the rears, apply liberally and let them set for 5-10 minutes before installing. The front Porterfields did not come with a shim, so I reused the stock shims (after cleaning them with brake cleaner).
 

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While the goo is "gelling up" on the pads, I compressed the front brake pistons using a piston compression tool (a C-clamp also works) and one of the old brake pads. You want to apply pressure to the center of the pad to compress the piston all the way in.

This works the same way on the rear calipers.

Be careful while compressing the pistons in since this will force brake fluid back into the reservoir under the hood. Do not let the reservoir overflow, as brake fluid is very corrosive on paint! You may wish to actually remove some brake fluid from the reservoir before doing this (using a turkey baster or large plastic syringe).
 

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Install the new front brake pads, relube the sliding pin, apply goo the back of the shims, and put the whole assembly back together. Repeat on the other side. Tada! Done with the front brakes.
 

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At this point, I also bled the front brakes using my Motive Power Bleeder and ATE Super Blue Brake fluid. My hands were a sticky mess from the red goo at this point, so I did not take any pictures of the process.

However, instructions for this process can be found at:

Motive Power Bleeder Instructions

When all was said and done, I completely flushed the entire brake hydraulic system, until I saw the blue brake fluid flow out from all four bleed valves (thats why the fluid is blue, easier to tell when you've got the new fluid completely through).

Caution: be very careful when working with brake fluid. Do not spill any on painted surface, it will corrode the paint. If you do spill it on paint, flush with water immediately. Wear appropriate clothing and eye protection. And by all means, work very slowly. Better safe than sorry.

Reinstall your wheels and hand tighten. Then lower the vehicle to the ground and torque all lugnuts to 80lb/ft. Now you are completely done.

Now my brake fluid reservoir is filled with blue fluid! Blue brake fluid for my blue MO. It is not mandatory to bleed/flush the brake fluid when you change the pads, but it is recommended since brake fluid absorbs moisture and over time can give you a mushy brake pedal.

Ok thats all folks. Good luck if you want to tackle this job yourself.
 

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In my case, the Porterfield R4S pads need to be bedded in using a special procedure. With normal pads, you just need to drive gently for the first 100 miles. With Porterfield R4S pads, they need to be heated up (with a series of consecutive panic stops from 60mph) to allow a layer of carbon to deposit onto the rotors. This mates the pads and rotor, giving an optimal surface for the carbon kevlar Porterfield pads.

More details are here:

Porterfield Bedding in Procedure

Initial impressions after bedding in pads:

- Great brake pad bite, I can stop shorter with less pressure on the brake pedal - in fact I had to adjust my braking habit since I was always stopping 10 feet short of the crosswalk with the new setup! :D

- Combination of carbon kevlar pad and ATE Super Blue brake fluid resulted in a firmer brake pedal
 

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Thanks Eric

What a great post:29:
 

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Excellent..

Well Done Eric! If I had the time, and did not live in a Condo, I would tackle this for sure with your clear concise instructions! Sticky this! :claphead:
 

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Yes very nice job.

Never done brakes but this shed some light on the subject for me.

Thanks!
 
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