In the past I've changed my front brake pads and rotors. Problem is
that most times I get the job right. I need to improve so that I
always get the job right.
I realize that garage owners invest in tools and facilities and
mechanics invest in training and education, but $350 is a lot of
Can someone suggest resources (books,videos) so that I can learn more
about brakes. Also, can someone list common brake tools. For
instance, I'd like to buy a brake micrometer. But which are the better
brands of micrometers?
Actually you are going about this the proper way. That puts you far
ahead of the average guy.
For books, some of the better non make specific books are from Wagner.
The same Wagner that sells brakes parts.
Their service books are used by professionals. Not only will they tell you
the proper way to remove and install brakes. They even tell you how to
properly bleed the system.
Tools will very by car. For example GM 1988 to 1997 W-Cars require a
tool to wind in the rear brake calipers pistons. Other tools like a good
set of brake spring pliers can be used on most American & Japanese cars.
For brake tools I buy both Mac & Snap-on (Blue Point is there
lower cost line). Cheep tools will leave you cussing, so avoid them from
the start. Here is the basic list:
Caliper Piston Compression:
A large C-Clamp, 6 to 12 inches tall, with a screw shaft size of a 1/2
inch or better.
14 to 36 inch pair of pliers.
A piston compression tool. Which is a plate with a small screw shaft
that has a knob on one side, and a disk on the other.
Ratcheting Piston winding tools. Used on GM F-cars, W-cars, and
Chryslers. For Rear Disk Brakes.
Lines & Fittings:
Flair Nut Wrench set. A Good Mac or Snap-On set is required here. Once
fittings are lose you can use a regular wrench. Flair Nut wrenches, also
known as line wrenches come in 2 styles. Both ends flair nut, where one
will be a different size. The other style will have a same size end that
is a conventional open end. They also come in 6 & 12 Point. You will
want 6 point.
For fittings such as bleeder screws you can use a 6 point wrench, or
a 6 point socket. I recommend buying the proper brake bleeder wrenches
that Mac & Snap-On make.
Brake Springs and Retainers:
Brake Spring Pliers. The pliers have tool tips built in to the handles.
As well as are used for spring removal and installation.
Brake shoe retainer clip tool. This tool goes over the retainers,
allowing you to turn them.
You will also need a brake spoon to back off adjusters to install or remove
That my list of basics. I'm sure others here can add to it.
And don't forget the dreaded torx to remove the caliper bracket ,
which really surprised me when I wanted to take the rotors off for
planing. Had to put everything back to go get the tool. Hindsight says
I should have consulted a manual first I guess. GRRRRR
On Wed, 21 Jul 2004 23:04:58 GMT, "Charles Bendig"
GM's use a Specialized Torx. It looks like a regular T-50, but what
you REALLY need is the Snap-on FTX-500, which is a different tool then
the FTX-50. It is made just for GM Torx Head Caliper slide bolts. Other
GM's use a 3/8 Allen head, while other use regular bolts.
The best Allen & Torx Head sockets are Snap-On. When you are doing
brake service you need the best.
Or you could simply remove and throw away the weirdo GM crap and replace
it with grade 8 normal Torx bolts from any professional hardware store. (or
hex head if there is clearance) GM used to use normal bolts, my 84 Chevy
uses standard T-50.
For the DIY guy Sears sells the basic brake tools and flare wrenches that
Charles listed. Easier to get rather than flagging down the tool truck
though I do order specialty tools online from Snap On or MAC.
As for Mic's try Harbor Freight, Northern Tool , etc as a set of cheapo mics
will be just fine for checking rotors. The cheapos will do Ok as your not
gonna be using them daily like a pro.
"anything you say can & will be misquoted & used against you"
You can buy used Snap-On and Mac tools at pawn shops and off of eBay.
To find a dealer either, stop by a few shops. Ask the mechanics if they
have the number of their snap-on or Mac man.
Even as a privet user, they will sell to you, and warrantee your tools.
Once you have their phone number you can call them as needed and arrange
to meet them some where. Heck my Snap-On dealer has had me go to his
home before. Both his son's are Snap-On dealers, so he has 3 tool trucks
in his driveway in the evenings.
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