Hardlymoving writes about do-it-yourself automobile maintenance on various makes and models.
Fixed Calipers Make an Extra Tool Useful
This article will provide you with step-by-step instructions for replacing the rear brake pads on a Lexus LS 460.
The rear brake calipers on the LS 460 are "fixed" calipers, as opposed to the normal "floating" caliper design. Fixed calipers are considered high-performance and are found in sports cars and high-performance vehicles like the LS 460. In a fixed caliper design, the caliper does not move or "float." Each side of the pad wears when caliper piston pressure is applied to the pad and the pad to the rotor. Each pad has its own caliper piston to apply brake pad pressure onto the brake rotor.
Since caliper pistons reside on each side of the brake rotor for each pad—there can be up to two pistons per pad—you need to use a brake piston compression tool that applies pressure on opposite sides of the brake rotor. Applying pressure on one piston will recess that piston but may force the piston on the other side of the rotor to "pop out." You can also prevent this popping out by removing the brake bleed valve, but that can get messy. Unless the bleed valve is connected to a plastic tube running into a container, brake fluid will bleed all over the caliper and surrounding area. It's better to get and use a brake piston spread tool to do the job right.
What Brake Pads to Buy
On the LS 460, my preferred brand for replacement pads is Akebono. Though Akebono pads are not cheap, they are close to or even better than factory OEM pads. Akebono is one of the largest Japanese OEM manufacturers of brake components and their pad performance and longevity are difficult for their competitors to match. They are made either in the USA or Japan.
This 4-minute video (audio not present) will provide you with visual step-by-step help for completing the replacement of the rear brake pads on a Lexus LS460. The steps are also described lower down in the article.
I. Applying Brake Grease Between the New Shims and Pads
The new rear brake pad kit should come with new pad shims and brake grease. If you do not apply brake grease, the brakes will squeal. If the shims are already attached to the pads, remove them, and then apply brake grease to the back of the pads and re-attach the shims.
II. Removing the Caliper Guide Pins
- Remove the guide pin spring at the rear of the brake caliper. The tip of each spring end is recessed into each of the guide pin holes to prevent the pin from coming out. The spring can be guided out with a screwdriver or needle-nose pliers.
- Remove the anti-squeal spring that clasps the two guide pins. Each end of the anti-squeal spring is fitted to a hole on the brake caliper. Gently pry each end off with a screwdriver.
- Remove the guide pins. The pins can be wiggled out from the rear of the caliper or pushed out from the front by using a punch of a smaller diameter than the guide pin.
III. Removing the Brake Pads
Remove the old brake pads. The pads can be pried out with a screwdriver or pliers. If using a screwdriver, use the edge of the brake caliper as a leverage point for pulling up on the brake pad. Also, you can push out the pads with a screwdriver by accessing the back of the pad through the front of the brake caliper.
IV. Compressing the Caliper Pistons
Using a brake piston spreader tool, insert the spreader where contact is made with the caliper pistons. Expand the ears of the spreader, applying pressure on the pistons until flush with the interior walls of the brake caliper.
V. Transferring the Brake Wear Indicator Clip and the Brake Pad Spring
- Remove the brake wear indicator clip off of the old brake pad. A thin tip screwdriver will help with prying the clip off. Connect the brake wear indicator clip onto the new brake pad.
- Transfer the brake pad spring from the base of the old brake pad to the new brake pad. Do this on both brake pads.
VI. Sliding in the new Brake Pads
Slide in the new brake pads into the brake caliper. Use a wire brush to remove any built-up brake dust or dirt on the pad contact surfaces; this makes the process easier. Align the guide pin holes in the brake pads with the holes in the brake caliper.
VII. Re-Inserting the Caliper Guide Pins
- Starting from the back of the brake caliper, re-insert the two guide pins. The pins should pass through the guide pin holes in both the caliper and new brake pads until the tips of the pins can be seen on the other side of the caliper.
- Connect the guide pin spring. The ends of the spring must pass into the top and bottom guide pin hole to secure the spring. The guide pin may have to be rotated so that the spring end can guide pin hole alignment.
- Install the anti-squeal spring that clasps the two guide pins. Connect the spring onto one guide pin, then gently bend the spring until it connects with the other guide pin.
VIII. Pumping the Brakes
Pump the brake pedal a few times to force the caliper pistons to apply pressure on the new brake pads. When pedal slack is gone, the pistons have been fully extended.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 hardlymoving