Brake Advice

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 money.
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?
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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 brake shoes.
That my list of basics. I'm sure others here can add to it. Charles
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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"

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I had the same experience. All other calipers used a torx wrench, but my 99 Pontiac Bonneville. It used a 3/8 Hex (Allen) wrench. I bought a set of Torx sockets just for brakes?
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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. Charles
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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.
Ted
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Ted Mittelstaedt wrote:

That's poor advice. Most of the calliper slider bolts on GM vehicles are fairly specialized. Any old bin bolt just won't do. Probably a whole lot easier to just get the proper tool.
Ian
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Ian wrote:

When your only tool is a hammer, isn't it odd how all of your problems look like nails?
---Bob Gross---
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GREAT Advice --- Thanks!
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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.
--
John
"anything you say can & will be misquoted & used against you"
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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. Charles
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