Brake it down

Gettin' brakey with it.

The front brake pads (which were absolutely "new" when I got this car, but shitty "Euro"-ya-she'll-be-right-mate quality, and fitted to pass roadworthy) were replaced with OEM, along with new brake discs. This was because even after I'd added anti-squeal paste to the back of these new shitty so-called-OEM-equivalent pads the left one still squealed like a pig. So they're gone. New, but in the bin. $420 from my BMW dealer, therefore original equipment items.

I always replace rotors when I replace brake pads, and add anti-squeal paste to the back of the pads where they are contacted by the caliper. The two new surfaces then mate brilliantly, and you don't get any squeal problems whatsoever. Plus the brakes work really well, as you'd expect, after they've been "bedded", which is a process to fully coat the discs with friction material from the pads, and to get the discs settled with heat.

An alternative is machining the existing discs level before replacing the pads, as long as their thickness will be above a specified minimum after machining, but I don't like that. More metal dissipates heat far better, and brakes can generate a lot of heat, so it's new discs for me every time. I like stopping in a hurry when I need to.

To pass roadworthy, the previous owner and his mechanic did not machine the existing discs. Nor were they required to do so, so fair enough.

To raise the car, I had to reinstall only one of the four jacking point lift-support pads that should have been there, with the missing one having been knocked off somewhere in its travels. The other three were in very good nick. So $15 for one, but I bought three for $40 because they have proven to be consumable items over the years. It surprises me that you don't see heaps of these plastic wedges in gutters all over the city, given the frequency with which they are knocked or fall off E46 BMWs.

It took an almighty effort to remove the wheel studs on one of the wheels. If any mechanics are reading, please don't over-torque bolts. This particular mechanic won't be reading, but I know who you are, and you are never coming near one of my cars again.

While doing the brakes, I painted the calipers in BMW blue with high temperature paint and equally high temp. clear coat, and cleaned up the anti-rattle springs with a wire brush and brake cleaner. Ahhkay. The calipers were never blue from the factory, I know, but they're just better, even if still mechanically the same and it's only cosmetic. Krazy Kris, my M4 has big blue calipers from the factory, so Arraow is now sort-of matchy-matchy, even if he's somewhat more sedate and doesn't need to shout, "Look at me! I can stop way better than you!", which unlike Kris shouting it, would be a lie. The future can judge me on whether that was a sensible thing to do, but they turned out great I think, and will wash off brake dust so much better in future.

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