In Reply to: 5--shade tree brake replacement posted by DH on December 15, 2000 at 18:22:02:
It's a good idea to bleed the front calipers first until you've got fresh fluid in there. Then replace the pads.
Moisture tends to collect in the calipers, since it gets in around the caliper piston seals. Then, when you retract the pistons to install new pads, you force that moisture, and perhaps some rust, back into the master cylinder and possibly the ABS unit.
Should I loosen, or take the top off the MC so the excess can spillout? Or is the travel so slight that it wasn't necessary to add fluid during the wear.
That depends on how worn the pads are and how full the reservoir is. If the pads are worn down to the backing plates and the reservoir is full, then you'll be retracting the caliper pistons a good bit. You'll displace enough brake fluid to cause it to overflow and it will spray out the vent hole in the reservoir cap. Since brake fluid eats paint, you probably don't want to let that happen.
If you follow my advice about bleeding, you can fill the reservoir up to just 1/2 way before you change the pads. Then afterward you can top it up, if necessary.
Also--95,000 miles. Are these the original brakes?
That depends totally on the previous owner's driving habits. Long highway commute, then it's quite possible those are original pads. Short trips and weekend autocrosses and you may be looking at the 4th set of pads. It's impossible to tell.
Any suggestions on pad brands? would love to cut down on brake dust, but not at the price of performance. (not high performance car)
I have no experience with E34 pads. But I can recommend the stock Porsche 993 TT pads. However, the adapter to hold them is quite expensive. :-)