CTOR - The Cavalier Turbo Owners Register

Front Disc & Pad Swap, by Carl Davey

The chances are every one will have to change the pads and/or discs at some point during the life of their Cav and in this day and age there is no reason for having to pay someone to do it. It takes around half a day if you're unlucky and minutes if you have the right tools and have had everything off before recently.

Ok, so you'll need some brake discs and pads. I used the Mintex versions of Vauxhalls standard parts.

Something i initially neglected to buy but did actually end up using was the disc retaining screws. At 3 they're a sound buy even if you don't end up using them.

Ok, so get the car on a level surface and slacken the front wheel bolts on the side of the car where you want to start.

Jack the car up and remove the wheel. I use a piece of wood between the jack and subframe to prevent damage. Once the car is at a suitable height for working on you should support it on axle stands.

If your discs and pads are anything like mine were then removing the wheel should reveal a nasty rusty disc and some pads with very little meat left on them.

Carefully pull/lever out the caliper retaining mechanism taking care not to twist or distort it while doing so.

Next, remove the dust caps from the two caliper retaining bolts and using a 7mm allen bit remove the bolts too.

With these remvoed you'll be able to withdraw the caliper from the disc. If your discs have worn a lip onto them you may need to persuade the assembly to slide off. The nice place to put the now loose caliper is suspended from a cable tie wrapped out around the strut but it sits on the lower arm quite nicely in my opinion.

Whip the pads out and gawp at how worn they are. Do not keep them - they aren't mementos.

If you're only changing the pads you don't need to remove the caliper carrier. However, as i was this had to come off to allow the disc to be removed. This time a 10mm allen bit is required for both bolts.

So with the carrier removed it's time to get the disc off. A 5mm allen bit is needed although if the discs have been fitted for sometime you may as well get the drill out straight away. I ended up having to drill both of mine out, the first ending up like this...

Anyway, with the old disc removed it's time to get the hub cleaned up. Be particularly weary of any loose flakes of rust and any swarf the drill may have left behind.

Give the disc a liberal smearing of brake cleaner on both sides to remove the protective oil deposit.

Apply a smear of copper grease to the hub so you don't need to use a hammer the next time the disc comes off.

Slap the disc on and screw in the retaining screw (not shown).

People have many far-fetched ways of pushing the caliper piston back into the caliper. I prefer to simply unscrew the lid of the brake fluid reseroir, sit a pad over the piston and use my hands. Keep trying it against the disc (using the other pad as well) every so often so you don't go any farther than is necessary.

Clean up the areas of the caliper where the rear pad will move along it applying a smear of copper grease where appropriate. Fitting is the reverse of removal.

Don't forget to do the other side!