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05' 2500HD Rear Disc Brake Job (Lot's of pictures)

Discussion in 'How-to Guides' started by TRPLXL2, Jul 10, 2009.

  1. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Here is the vehicle we started off with, the rear brakes locked up on us the other day and almost caused us to wreck the truck. We were told by the Chevy dealer it would not be covered under warranty, and they wanted $900 to fix it but of course the truck had only 10,278 miles on it so we told them to stick it you know where. We had it towed back to the house, and this is where we left off.
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    I put the truck in Park of course, and then I put several wood blocks in front of and behind the front tires just as a pre-caution. Then I took a 3 ton floor jack and positioned it directly under the rear end, I jacked the truck up until I was able to slide the large stand jacks under the ends of the axles. My dad actually made those stand jacks when he was younger, they are actually basement support beams!
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    One the truck was properly braced, I went to work taking off the chrome center caps. All you need is a 22mm socket on a 1/2" drive with a small extension to get these plastic lug nut caps off. The whole cap will come off in several minutes, set these aside until the brake jobs done. Then I took an air impact gun with a steady 90 psi, and I used a deep well 22mm socket to get the regular lug nuts off. I took them off in a star pattern, and I put them in a coffee can for later re-installation.
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    This is what I saw when I took the rim off, for 10,000 miles they look like hell! Although this truck is driven through the Ohio winters, so this is how bad things get up here in Ohio!
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  2. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Part 2

    This is an up close look of some of the damage on the passenger side rotor, there were actual chunks missing out of it that were causing a horrible pulsation that could be felt through the whole truck.
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    This was the first problem we ran into with this brake job, I was lucky enough to have a T55 Torx bit socket to get the caliper bolts out. BUT as you can see there was no clearance between the caliper and the leaf springs, so we had to go to plan "B"
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    The bottom caliper bolt was out in the open, so we used the T55 Torx socket to just break it loose. We had to soak all of the caliper bolts in PB Blaster first, because they were basically frozen in place. We got extremely lucky that we didn't strip any of them, but as you can kind of see they were beyond rusted!
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    We had to use a large breaker bar, along with an 18mm socket to get the top caliper bolt loose finally. What we ended up doing was taking the bottom caliper bolt completely out, and then we were able to pivot the whole caliper upwards so that we were able to get this setup in there to break it loose. After we got the top bolt loosened up, we pivoted the caliper back into place and ran the bottom bolt back in just for the moment.
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  3. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

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    That is NASTY. Looking forward to the rest of the pics.
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  4. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Part 3

    Next we took a 10mm deep well socket, hooked to a 1/4" drive and we cracked the bleeder open. Make sure you put a coffee can underneath to try and catch the drippings, thankfully they make the bleeders a little better and thicker so that you can get them open without breaking them off like in the older cars.
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    Next you take a large "C" clamp, and position it over one of the caliper pistons. Check with your hand behind the caliper, to make sure your not going to pinch anything when you tighten the "C" clamp down. Tighten the piston down little by little, and you should get some more brake fluid coming out of the bleeder hopefully it is all going into your coffee can. (Yeah Right, what a mess!) After you do that piston I always do the other piston for good measure, repeat this process and there should be a little bit more brake fluid come out. This step is now complete, you can now tighten the bleeder back up.
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    This is one of the calipers bolts that we removed, as you can see they were happy go lucky with the lock tite. They were almost impossible to get out, but without the PB Blaster we would have been screwed!
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    This was after we cracked the bleeder, and we took the bottom caliper bolt out and pivoted the caliper u just a little bit. This was all we needed to get back behind there to get the top one out, my dad ended up taking the Torx socket and putting it into the bolt. He then took a pair of locking vice grips and hooked onto the socket, it took all he had but he managed to get it broke loose because of the clearance issues. We are thinking there is probably a special socket to get in there, so If we find one I will post it for you guys.
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  5. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Part 4

    We FINALLY got the caliper off, and ran a piece of wire through the frame and secured the caliper up and out of the way for now. Just a little FYI as far as pricing, a brand new loaded caliper for this truck will run you $289! I didn't need new calipers, so thank god I didn't have to lose $600.
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    Here is my dad's homemade idea for getting out the Torx head bolt, he had to remove the hex head bolt in order to even get at this bolt. Once the caliper was removed from the rotor, he used a chain pipe wrench and strapped it to the leaf springs. If you don't secure it to something the bolt will just spin, so this homemade trick did the job for us.
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    Here is the caliper finally off of the truck, unfortunately the pads still had a ton of tread on them BUT since we had it apart I figured may as well put new one's on.
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    I should clarify something about the calipers, because I think I mis spoke in an earlier post. The caliper has 2-T55 Torx bolts, and it also has 2- 3/4" hex head bolts. We got to all of the bolts EXCEPT for the top Torx head, that's why we removed the hex heads and the lower Torx bolt first. That is also why we had to chain it to the frame, that is where we finally removed the top Torx bolt. Sorry but this is kind of hard to explain, so If I mess up please correct me and I will fix it.
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  6. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Part 5 DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!!!!!!!!

    Next we started on removing the rotor, the first thing I did was remove the wheel retainer clips. There are only two on each side, now most people throw these out but we always put them back on. So I put them in a coffee can with all of the other parts we took off, and now for the fun part.
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    I can't remember a brake job we have ever done, where we haven't had a problem with taking the rotors or drums off of the back of the vehicle. Of course this rotor was locked onto the hub, so it's time to break out the serious stuff. We took the chain pipe wrench and wrapped it around the inner part of the rotor, and tightened it down until it wouldn't go no more.
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    The next thing we did was put the jaw puller over the chain. This is extremely dangerous but it works, make sure you wear a face shield or glasses. I had the chain pop off one time on my S-10, and it actually broke my glasses. Once the 3 jaws are secured behind the chain, use a 3/4" socket and start tightening the center shaft. This will effectively pull the rotor or drum off in a few minutes, we worked with this setup for over 3 hours and could not get this thing to budge an inch!
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    The next thing we did was inspect for things that might be holding it in place, I.E. clips, pins, or something of that nature. I eventually got out the Helm's manuals and started looking, and I found in the trouble shooting section where it said sometimes the emergency brake adjuster can move and this will cause the rotors to lock. We put the caliper back on temporarily, because we would need to put the truck in neutral and park and if you leave the caliper unhooked when you hit the brakes the caliper assembly will come apart and you risk several other surprises. I got in the truck and put it in neutral, when we tried to turn the wheel it was binding in several spots! The drivers side turned freely, but the passenger side was locked up completely. So the manual called for the automatic emergency brake adjuster to be removed, and manually put tension in the emergency brake cable and then disconnect it by the back wheel. So we did a variation of that, my dad didn't want to take apart the whole inside of the truck to do that.
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  7. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Emergency Brake PITA!

    This was definately a two man job, and I was nervous about doing this but believe it or not it actually worked and it is still functional to use the emergency brake. First you will need two set of locking vice grips, now there are two steel crimps along the emergency brake cable in which to clamp onto. NEVER clamp onto the actual emergency brake line, there is a clear plastic coating on it that protects it from the elements. My dad pulled the emergency brake cable as hard as he could, and we got about 8" that way. I secured the locking vice grip right before the cable retaining loop which is welded to the frame, my dad then let go and it held the slack in the cable. Then the fun part, trying to get the actual adjuster apart in order to totally loosen the rear emergency brake. It too about half an hour to finally get it out, and as you can see it is totally disconnected here. I would say there is no way in hell that you could do this with one person, It took a 230 lb guy and me in order to do this so keep that in mind.
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    After that fiasco we went back to the rotor, we pulled and pulled on it for another half an hour and still nothing. By now we were both furious, back to the manuals we went. Obviously this is not normal so we went way out of the box, in the manual it said there was an adjustment screw that could be loosened in order to get the rotor off if it was stuck. This is a picture of it AFTER we got the rotor off, you cannot see this with the rotor on!
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    On the driver's side this tiny little hole was on the bottom of the brake assembly, BUT on the passenger side it was on the top of the assembly and it was blocked by the leaf springs AGAIN! This picture is of the hole after I removed a tiny little rubber boot, you have to take a very small flat blade screw driver and stick it in that hole. On the passenger side you have to move the tiny wheel DOWN in order to loosen the brake adjuster, ours was so tight it was keeping the rotor from spinning at all talk about a design flaw. On the driver's side you have to move the wheel upwards in order to get it to loosen, this is a new one on us maybe we're just stupid or something????
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    Finally the damn rotor pulled right off, so that was why the brakes locked up on me. The emergency brake adjuster had some how worked it's way in, and basically destroyed $125 in rotors and another $50 in pads. I have never had a vehicle do this ever, so I am kind of pissed that the dealer wouldn't warranty this.
    [​IMG]
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  8. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    The easy stuff!

    We didn't change the parking brake, because they have only been used maybe 3 times ever. You can see that little gear wheel clearly in this picture, but I'm telling you that thing kept all of the tension on that rotor and we never would have gotten it off if we wouldn't have figured it out.
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    Once everything was off, my dad took an air gun and used compressed air to blow off all of the brake dust from the assembly to make it cleaner. Always wear a mask when doing this, because brake dust is highly cancerous! While he was doing that I took some emery cloth and cleaned up the brake pad slides, they were all gunked up making the pads not slide freely on them. This is what they looked like after I was done, nice and shiny.
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    I always take emery cloth and go around the hub, and other mounting surfaces of the rotor just to make it nice and clean and smooth. Here it is all cleaned up, the compressed air helps a lot with cleaning them too.
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    Here are the brand new rotors, $53.99 each for the rear one's. I cleaned them with brake part cleaner first to get rid of any excess oils, and then I cleaned them off with paper towels and let them dry. Some people scuff the surface of the rotors with sand paper, but we have never done that and always been fine.
    [​IMG]
    #8
  9. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Almost Done!

    I went with the Duralast Gold this time, because I didn't have the money for the EBC pads. The pad with one clip goes on the top of the caliper, I marked the old one's with a paint marker when I removed them so that I wouldn't mess them up. These pads were $41.99 with no hardware, we didn't need the rattle clips or any of that because ours were still in good shape.
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    The pads went on with no problem, the emery cloth cleaned it up nicely so that they just slid right on. We then applied brake part grease that you can buy at AutoZone for $10, it is high temperature so it doesn't fade off after time. It just makes everything slide together nicely, and it also keeps parts from binding up.
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    We also put a nice coating of that grease on the pistons and boots, it keeps them from drying out and leaking brake fluid.
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    We then slid the new rotor back on in it's newly cleaned home, and then we put the two retainer clips back on the same position they were before. 10:00 and 5:00, don't know if it matters??
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    #9
  10. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    More Stuff!

    Then we placed the caliper back up on the rotor, and we lined up the bolt holes. We tightened the 3/4" bolts first because they were easier to get to, and then we tightened the bottom Torx bolt. Again my dad took the Torx socket and placed it in the bolt, and hooked the locking vice grips on it and carefully tightened it down.
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    Here is a close up of the caliper bolts, as you can see the Torx heads are still in good shape on the passenger side but this was not the case on the driver's side.
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    Here's a picture of dad putting the bolt back in the caliper, this was necessary in this application because of the closeness of the leaf springs. I would like to think all full size trucks aren't like this, because it was a real pain in the arse!
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    This side view shows you just how close it was, this is after everything was all bolted back up.
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    #10
  11. bob13

    bob13 New Member

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    AMY>>>WOW, this is the most detailed write-up I've seen yet. Sorry you had to do all that work but thanks for taking the time to post it. I know you're not done posting yet but had to say, GRAT JOB!
    #11
  12. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Finished!

    Here's the finished product, all new rotors and pads hopefully we get more than the 10,000 miles out of the last pair. Again this was a freak thing on my truck, I hope none of you ever have this happen to you because it was scary.
    [​IMG]

    Now when we got over to the passenger side, everything went with no problem. The emergency brake adjuster was fine on this side, and the rotor slid right off without even having to use the puller or chain. When we got to taking the caliper off, the Torx head on this side was horrible, it was rotted almost all of the way through. It was a miracle we got both of them out, so I had to go to the auto parts store to buy some new one's. I found out that GM finally figured out about there bad design, so they went to a hex head design instead. So no matter where you go even the dealer, you will get a standard hex head design replacement bolt. Here they are side by side, the old one is on the left side.
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    Here is a top view of the old and new bolts, notice the excessive rust on the Torx head. The new bolts were $7.99 for a set of 2, so after we did this my dad realized that we were mis-matched. So we went back to the store and bought another set, and then we went and replaced the other side which we had to take apart and replace the bolts. But it was worth it to lose those ugly Torx heads, so If your doing a brake job in the future and you want to lose those Torx heads go and buy the new style and you'll be happier.
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    Just as a side note about the jaw puller and chain, you can also use a slide hammer and a brake seperator tool which they sell through MAC tools. We have one some where but we couldn't find it, the special tool hooks into the rotor grooves and you just slide the hammer back and it pulls it right off. It works 10 times better than a puller, so keep an eye out for one if you see one. Hope you enjoyed my little experience, I know I did! If I think of anything else I will add it down the road, right now it's 1 in the morning and I'm tired! Goodnight! :sleep:
    #12
  13. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    A few finishing details

    Once got all of the new parts on and secured, we went up to the front of the truck and reconnected the negative battery cable. And then we added some DOT 3 brake fluid to the master cylinder, it was down about a 1/4". There was no need to bleed the brakes because we did not replace the calipers, and we had a nice firm brake pedal. After a brief inspection we took the truck for a ride, and everything operated how it should.

    As soon as I get the money we are going to also do the front brakes, my dad didn't like the idea of having a job half way done seeing as how this is our main tow vehicle. Right now the front brakes are all of the original parts, which include the metallic pads. We put ceramic on the back, so we want to get everything all matched up. This is the newest vehicle I have now done brakes on now, so I am glad that I took pictures because it is a lot different than the brakes on my S-10.

    And seeing as how the underside of this truck is really rusty, I will be doing the entire undercarriage in POR-15 high gloss. I am actually going to be at a local swap meet next week, and the vendor is going to be there to help me with what I need. I will be doing a thread on that process too, but I want to get that done before winter time.

    Stay tuned until my next write-up, probably another lighting thread OR front brakes on this truck. :neutral:
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2009
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  14. adampaul1964

    adampaul1964 New Member

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    Holy Schnieke!! What a nightmare, I guess I've been lucky with all the brake jobs I've done in the past! Great write up as usual Amy, I'm glad my truck has drums in the rear though.
    #14
  15. 2COR517

    2COR517 New Member

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    Great thread, some truly useful information. Nice job getting it done, I'm glad you were able to get the rotors off.

    I just did the rear brakes on my 97. Big drums on the 14 bolt SF. I probably had 4-5 hours getting the drums off. No drum puller around. Heat, and lots of it, was the ultimate solution for me. As for linings, I get the best feeling brakes with good rotors and el cheapo pads. And one other thing, when I put mine back together I was very liberal with the application of Never Seize. All the mounting bolts, and where the drum sits on the axle flange. I also drilled holes and tapped them so I can jack the drum off next time if I need to.
    #15
  16. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Adam I am actually glad that I don't have drum brakes on this truck,I have them on my S-10 and I hate wrestling with those tiny little springs! I would take disc over drum anyday, but the disc are a lot more expensive I think.

    2COR517- I could not imagine doing a brake job without that puller, we had a real mess last time on my S-10 with getting the rear drum brakes off. They were rusted on completely, so I am glad you got yours to come off with some heat. We have probably 10 different sizes of pullers, and none of them we bought brand new. My dad found ALL of them at local flea markets, the pair you saw in the pictures were only $12 believe it or not. Keep an eye out you can find them pretty cheap used, trust me you will wonder why you haven't bought a set earlier in life.

    I also forgot to mention that I did use a liberal amount of never seaze on the lug nuts before I put them back on, didn't do the hub but that's why we got them pullers. All in all a very fun day indeed, I am 90% sure my next thread will be POR-15.
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  17. 5speedsilverado

    5speedsilverado New Member

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    wow, thats quite a job, im glad i live in the desert, my truck is 3 years old, and sits out side all the time, and has no rust. those wheel retainer clips are pretty much useless, they use them at the factory to keep the brakes from falling off, the tire shop in my area took those off when i got new tires, so i dont even have them, great job on the how to
    #17
  18. s5belford

    s5belford New Member

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    that is a great write up but the sad part is that's nothing! I've lived in MI my whole life and you'd be floored to see what braked with 50,000+ miles look like after a few salty winters! and I CAN'T believe that actaully had brake problems after only 10000 miles.
    #18
  19. TRPLXL2

    TRPLXL2 New Member

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    Yeah the 10,000 mile thing is ridiculous, and the thing with the dealer not covering it because of premature failure really got my dad mad. My mom also had a 2001 S-10 Blazer 4x4 that did the same thing, I think it had 16,000 miles when hers went out and that brake job was super expensive on that truck. Well I know for a fact that GM doesn't make them like they used to, and that is really sad for a vehicle like that.:no:
    #19
  20. bradfordpoole

    bradfordpoole New Member

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    Good job. Clean looking truck by the way.
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