Is it time to refresh your rear anchors? Here's how to replace the rear brake discs and pads on a Volkswagen T5 Transporter.

If you’re driving around in a 100k+ mile T5, the chances are your brakes have seen better days.  Disc and pad wear on the rear is fairly easy to spot, yet is all too often overlooked as checking involves jacking the Van up and whipping the wheels off for a visual inspection.  As rear discs do considerably less work than the larger front stoppers, it’s not unusual to find them corroding and pitting before wearing out, but this in itself can be a cause for MoT failure.

” A squirt of releasing fluid won’t go amiss on any stubborn bolts “

Being made from cast iron, the factory discs are particularly susceptible to corrosion, especially if you live anywhere near the sea, or don’t use your Van that often.  General wear, distortion, run out, cracking, squealing and pad wear can all lead to brake system issues that will require new discs and pads to remedy the situation, so we headed down to see our highly praised local VW specialists VolksAutos (tel. 020 8643 4313) in nearby Sutton to see how the process goes.  Main man, David Rowley, then got on the tools to show us the stripdown and rebuild process on this ’07-plate T5.

Two tools you might not have in stock for this job include the M10 multi-spline socket needed for the bolt that holds the disc to the hub and the all-important caliper wind back tool.  Without these you could be in trouble, so make sure you have them in stock before you start.

What to look for

Be aware that uneven heating and cooling can cause a disc to change shape, and this can be detected as a juddering felt through the pedal when the brakes are applied.  To help avoid this, try not to hold your Van back on the brakes during long downhill stretches.  Instead, approach at a slower speed and use a lower gear to reduce excess heat in the discs.  To prevent run out, it’s vital to clean any corrosion from the hub faces with some sandpaper.  Finally, if the disc retaining bolt doesn’t crack off first time, don’t lose your patience, go and put the kettle on and go back to it in a few minutes.  If your Van doesn’t have them, that’s what happened before.

Job Info:

  • TOOLS USED:  3/8-inch and 1/2-inch socket set, M10 multi-spline socket, Locking wheel nut tool, Caliper wind back tool,, Torque wrench, Flat blade driver, 80-grit sandpaper  copper grease, brake fluid
  • SKILL LEVEL: 3/5
  • TIME TAKEN: Two to three hours to do it properly
  • COST DIY: Varies between suppliers, but genuine VW parts from TPS cost around  £150
  • COST PRO: £280

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 1

Put your Van on level ground, scramble around in your ashtray / spare wheel compartment / glovebox for your locking wheel nut tool and crack your wheel nuts before jacking your Van up

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 2

As you’ll be compressing your brake caliper pistons later on, it’s vital that you undo your brake fluid reservoir cap just in case the excess fluid in the lines causes it to overflow

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 3

If you haven’t got a VW-approved, 10-tonne four- post ramp at your disposal, we’d recommend a three tonne trolley jack to lift the back end off the ground.  Don’t forget to use axle stands for extra protection and safety

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 4

First job on the braking system is to undo the pair of 15mm slider bolts that hold the caliper in place.  A squirt of releasing fluid won’t go amiss on any stubborn bolts.  Look around the back of the caliper and you’ll see there are bolts top and bottom – both need to come out

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 5

With the two slider bolts wound out of the carrier, the caliper will wiggle clear of the old pads.  Rest the caliper so it doesn’t hang on the hose and potentially damage it

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 6

If your pads are as gnarly and rusty as ours, you’ll need to jimmy them free of the disc with a big ol’ screwdriver.  One of them will be connected to the wear sensor, so don’t pull too hard if they won’t come free.  Prise off the old anti-rattle shims as well

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 7

Next, loosen the M14 (21mm) caliper carrier bolts that are tucked out of the way behind the shock absorber.  You’ll need a fair bit of leverage (they might even be seized) so  coat them in releasing fluid and bust out your ½-inch ratchet and long bar

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 8

Again, the top and bottom bolts can be quite stubborn due to corrosion, water and dirt ingress, so take a few deep breaths if you don’t crack them first time

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 9

The M10 multi-spline bolt that holds the disc in place can really cause problems with this job, and is commonly missing.  Give your socket a firm tap with a hammer to shock the bolt before proceeding with your ratchet as you don’t want to round this off. The disc should then pull clear of the hub

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 10

We used a small air-powered die grinder with a sanding disc to ensure the hub mounting face was flat to prevent run out.  Skip this step and your disc may not run true as it rotates

 

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 11

Dave did the same with the slider section of the caliper carriers, sanding off any stubborn corrosion

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 12

Uneven wear on one side of the old disc suggests that one caliper might be slightly sticky.  We also used a scraper to remove any stickers from the new discs to prevent them getting in the way

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 13

Offer the new disc up to the hub and screw your M10 multi-spline bolt back into place.  If yours was missing then, er, don’t

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 14

A quick going over with a wire brush will clean the threads up nicely on your M14 (21mm head) caliper carrier bolts as they’ll be full of crap.  Follow this up with a drop of maintenance spray and they’re good to go.  Autodata recommends using new bolts here, but we chose not to

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 15

Offer your caliper carrier back up and hand tighten both the the top and bottom M14 bolts.  Then get back on them with your ratchet before using a torque wrench set to 180Nm.  Then give them another 45 degrees to be on the safe side.  Oh yes readers, they need to be FT (ask a mechanic for translation!)

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 16

If you buy genuine VW parts, you should get new anti-rattle slider shims in the box.  These simply push into place

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 17

Note the sensor wear pad only goes in one side, and remember to add a dab of copper grease to the slider edges of all pads to prevent squeaking.  Be particularly vigilant not to get any grease on the friction surfaces of the new pads

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 18

This is the most important tool and step for this job.  A caliper wind-back tool is essential to force the piston back into the housing.  Wind it back as gently as possible and keep checking the caliper seal to ensure it doesn’t twist, tear or rip as you go

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 19

Now pop your new pads into place…

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 20

…and slide your caliper over the top of the new pads with ease. If they don’t just slip on, the caliper piston might need winding back a bit further, so return to step 18

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 21

Every decent set of pads should also come with new Loctited 15mm slider bolts to secure your caliper against the carriers and hub.  Screw them in by hand before getting a socket on them

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 22

With the slider bolts nipped up tight, your brake system should all be back together

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 23

Give the pedal a few good pumps to ensure the brake fluid is flowing through the system as intended.  A word of warning here: your brakes will feel spongy and slightly less efficient for the first few miles, so take it steady until they have bedded in

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5

How to replace rear discs and pads on a T5: Step 24

Final job is to check your brake fluid level and replace the reservoir cap before setting off up the road for a (careful) test drive.  Happy days

 

 

replace rear discs and pads on a T5