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Re: Maintenance Question regarding Brakes... (archive)

[ Follow Ups ] [ E36 M3 Message Board ] [ Msg. Board FAQ ]

Posted by Jim Bassett on February 10, 2000 at 12:24:41:

In Reply to: Maintenance Question regarding Brakes... posted by JT///m3 on February 10, 2000 at 11:58:46:

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

Remove the wheel. You can look through the caliper and see the pad, and how much is remaining. (With my M Contour wheels, I don't even need to remove the wheel :-)).

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

Depends on which sensor set the light - there's one in the front (left) and one in the rear (right). My guess would be it's the fronts. But you should check the rears anyway (see above procedure).

: 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.

Try There's a page there on changing brake pads with some good pictures.

: 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).

Well, my Bentley manual is at home (what, you think I take it to work? :-)). I can look the info up & post it later this afternoon.

: 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.

See above :-) Yes, it's possible with either "open" wheels (like the M Contour) or from the inside of the wheel area if the car is up on a lift (like for an oil change :-)).

: 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?

Sorry, can't help too much here, I haven't had to change belts on any of my E36s (that I recall). I would think 50K-60K would be a time to start thinking about it though.

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

No problem, we all were once :-)

Jim Bassett
1998 M3/4 - pad change (track pads), brake fluid flush & oil change this afternoon

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