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E46 M3 (2001-2006) Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006.


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Old Tue, Mar-23-2010, 09:34:32 PM   #1
BadCompany
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Talking Caliper Rebuild, Front Rotors and Hawk HPS Pads

Car: '04 E46 M3 'Vert.

Symptoms: Shimmy, worse under braking, pulled left under braking

Cause: Frozen front RIGHT caliper, causing the brake to overheat, warp the caliper and ruin the pad surface.

Luckily the pads needed replacing.

Purchased:
tirerack: Front Cryostop rotors ($80 each), Hawk HPS front pads ($86)
BavAuto: Caliper rebuild kit $25, 2 Caliper guide pins $18 each (unecessary), ATE superblue brake fluid, brake cleaner, Moly brake grease $9, turkey baster, brake fluid catch bottle, 6" c-clamp, DOT 5.1 brake fluid (NOT 5.0 which is silicone based). DOT 5.1 is higher temp than DOT 4.

Referenced Madrussian site, and a caliper rebuild DIY.

Root cause for caliper freezing: Due to the worn condition of the pads, the dust boot was stretched too far, and one half came free from its retention groove. This allowed brake dust and rust to contaminate the piston surface, preventing it from releasing after the brake pedal was released.

Pointers:
1. Steel wool did a great job at cleaning up the piston surface and the guide pins. Used magnet to make sure I got all the steel fibers off.
2. Use the brake master cylinder to eject the piston (still connected to the car).
3. Get a cap for your brake line so all the fluid does not drain out, saves you time bleeding and prevents potential bubbles in the system (which didn't affect me too much luckily, as I drained the entire front right line).

Significant challenges:
1. Getting the piston out. Much use of vise grips (with a wood shim to prevent marring the piston surface), hammer, and colorful metaphors. Time 30 minutes!
2. Getting the new dust boot on the piston AND on the caliper at the same time. Basically you have to put it on the end of the piston and hold the piston while you put it in the caliper groove. Time 30 minutes!
3. Getting the rebuilt piston back into the caliper. Again much use of said vise grips, shims, dowel and hammer. The key is to not get it crooked, if you do you'll need to straighten it carefully, grease with brake fluid prior. Hammer helps (carefully, and never hammer on metal, always a wood block). Another half hour.
4. Getting the car on jack stands. Jack does not fit under the centerjack point. Cut for pieces of 2X6, made make shift ramps, then the jack didn't jack high enough for the stands, *sniff. lowered car again and used a piece of 1X4 as a spacer under the jack point. Finally got it up on the stands. Never work onder just a jack, they can leak slowly, or fail suddenly.

Savings for DIY:
$2,000 dealer quote (caliper is about $650 alone). My cost? $450, and I got better pads and fluid than OEM. Time? 5 hours of work. Would probably be much faster next time, as I flushed my brake fluid too.

Hawk HPS Pad observations:
I had them on a previous M3, and they generate about 25% as much dust! They also grab as well as OEM and cost less. However, initially they don't grab well enough to even activate ABS. After break in (per instructions on the box), you'll need a few miles to get the pad seated properly to get a full contact area, and then they are the business.

Cheers!

Last edited by BadCompany; Tue, Mar-23-2010 at 09:51:32 PM.
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Old Tue, Mar-23-2010, 09:46:48 PM   #2
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Excellent write up! No pictures?
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Old Tue, Mar-23-2010, 09:50:24 PM   #3
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I know, I was going to take pics, but was really in a time crunch. There was a snow storm coming in, and it was 59 F when I continued in the afternoon. I finished that evening and the temp had dropped to 39 F, and the rain was already falling. Car was in the driveway.
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Old Wed, Mar-24-2010, 12:50:11 AM   #4
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wow this sounds exactly like my problem that i'm facing right now. i feel that all my pistons are not retracting when i'm off the brake pedal. i pushed the car hard at infineon last month and have been experiencing this problem since then.

how did you determine that they needed to be rebuilt? when i jack up a side and rotate the wheel, it won't even rotate 2 times before stopping because the pad is still rubbing onto the rotor. is this what you experienced as well?
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Old Wed, Mar-24-2010, 04:10:06 AM   #5
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Drive the car for a while and feel the wheel. If one caliper is sticking, one wheel will feel hotter than the other/s

I think replacing the caliper pin bushings and new pins or removing rust/buildup might be all you need. I made the mistake of lubing the bushings and replaced the bushings after a thread I read from Zeckhaussen
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Old Wed, Mar-24-2010, 03:02:01 PM   #6
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Pull off the wheels and see how freely they spin.

My good side: 1/2 a revolution.
Bad side: insta stop/hard to rotate by hand/ obvious catch point in rotation

WATCH YO FINGAS! There is a pinch point on the far side of the rotor. (My middle finger still hurts).

With the calipers off, the disks spun freely to 10 or more revolutions, so my wheel bearings were not binding.

The pads never really seem to come off the disks, even when you remove your foot from the pedal. What matters is that the pressure is released.

Inspect two things:
The dust boot is a rubber boot that seals between the piston and the caliper, if part of it came loose it WILL cause a problem down the road.

Look at your pads, if they are the same thicknesss as the lining, they'll need replacing.

The guide pins clean up easily and should not be greased; they were not a problem in my case. Use something mild to clean them (you do not want to create a rough surface) steel wool is ok.
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Old Wed, Mar-24-2010, 03:32:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadCompany View Post
Pull off the wheels and see how freely they spin.

My good side: 1/2 a revolution.
Bad side: insta stop/hard to rotate by hand/ obvious catch point in rotation

WATCH YO FINGAS! There is a pinch point on the far side of the rotor. (My middle finger still hurts).

With the calipers off, the disks spun freely to 10 or more revolutions, so my wheel bearings were not binding.

The pads never really seem to come off the disks, even when you remove your foot from the pedal. What matters is that the pressure is released.

Inspect two things:
The dust boot is a rubber boot that seals between the piston and the caliper, if part of it came loose it WILL cause a problem down the road.

Look at your pads, if they are the same thicknesss as the lining, they'll need replacing.

The guide pins clean up easily and should not be greased; they were not a problem in my case. Use something mild to clean them (you do not want to create a rough surface) steel wool is ok.
yep... sounds like i'm due for a rebuild then. i got 75k on my car and totally beat up the brakes last time i went out to the track.

how many miles on your car?
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Old Wed, Mar-24-2010, 04:00:49 PM   #8
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73k miles. I honestly don't think the miles were the cause though. They couldn't be the original pads, but the fact that they were really worn pulled the dust boot off the caliper, which started the whole issue.
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Old Wed, Mar-24-2010, 05:01:53 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadCompany View Post
73k miles. I honestly don't think the miles were the cause though. They couldn't be the original pads, but the fact that they were really worn pulled the dust boot off the caliper, which started the whole issue.
gotchya. i have the same problem then.

- jacked up the car, rotated the wheels. they don't rotate more than 2 times.
- took the wheels off and rotated the rotor by hand and same result.
- took the caliper off and the rotor rotated freely with no issues (not a wheel bearing issue)
- looked at the piston & dust boot and there wasn't a tight seal on the dust boot to the caliper. there was a good seal on the dust boot to the piston. no rips in the boot either.

at this point did you rebuild all the calipers? this is what i'm thinking about doing. also, you dont have to replace the rotor correct?
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Old Thu, Mar-25-2010, 04:12:39 PM   #10
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I just rebuilt the bad caliper; the others I left alone (after inspecting them).

It was obvious to me why my front right caliper siezed up (pads were low and the stretched boot came loose allowing the rust and dust to contaminate the piston surface).

I wouldn't rebuild a caliper unless the dust boot came off, or the piston was sticking. I would clean the guide pins (they are not supposed to be greased), and ensure that the caliper is working properly.

Regarding the rotors, that is a judgement call. If they are in great shape you MAY reuse them BUT! Their surface will no longer be flat, and it will take new pads a LONG time to bed properly.

For $80 the cryostop rotors (or other brands) have worked great for me, and ensure that the new pads bed properly.

Remember your brakes will SUCK (even after proper bedding) for the first few hundred miles or so. You should have a hard pedal, but the grip will not be there until the pads are worn to match the rotors.
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Discussing Caliper Rebuild, Front Rotors and Hawk HPS Pads in the E46 M3 (2001-2006) Forum - Engine: S54 - Max Hp: 333 hp at 7,900 rpm / 262 lb/ft at 4,900 rpm
Total Produced: 45,000+ - Years Produced: 2001 to 2006. at BMW M3 Forum.com (E30 M3 | E36 M3 | E46 M3 | E92 M3 | F80/X)