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Maintenance Question regarding Brakes... (archive)

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Posted by JT///m3 on February 10, 2000 at 11:58:46:

Ok. The 328i is in need of at least front brake pads. The light went on about 1000 miles ago. I'm ordering the pads from Cutter today. My questions are these:

1) How can I tell visually (without removing the caliper) how far down the brake pads are worn, and how much is left?

2) When the light comes on, typically do the rear pads need replacing? If not, how much longer should I expect them to wear?

3) Can someone post a pic and show me what is the caliper, what is the pad, and what is the sensor? I just see a bunch of black when I look at it.

4) What are the minimum specs for the pad and rotor thickness on a 97 328i? C'mon you Bentley Manual Owners. I don't have one yet as this is the first maintenance/non-warranty service the car has required (it's got 51k miles).

5) Can I check the pad thickness w/o removing the wheel and caliper? The dealer told me the pad was worn down to where the sensor was touching the rotor (light wasn't on yet). He was probably right, cuz the light came on within a couple weeks. But he couldn't have gotten the wheel off cuz the car was just in for an oil change and I left the wheel locks on. So you must be able to tell with the wheels on, but how? I can't see sh*t in there.

6) One last non-brake question. At the same service visit, he told me that the v-belts will need replacing soon, because by visual inspection they were starting to crack/dry out etc. He said they last about 30k miles, so I did well to get 50k out of them. Then I polled this board and the consensus is about every 3-4 years and 60-70k miles the belts need replacing. Now I just looked in there for the first time today and the belts look perfectly fine. No cracking whatsoever. Am I missing something? I would think that I should see at least a little cracking. Although, the car is only 2.5 years old (lots of highway miles) so maybe they just haven't dried out yet. Thoughts? I'm ordering the belts from Cutter too, cuz they aren't that expensive and I can lump them into the same shipping cost (only $10), but what condition do the belts have to be in before I should replace them?

Thanks, I know it's a lot of q's but I'm a rookie at this.


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