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Brake Job - RS6 Style

I'm not responsible for anything you do if you decide to read this page and then attempt to change your brake pads or rotors.
If you decide to change any of the braking components of your car, YOU are the responsible party. So, if something happens due to you thinking that this is an instruction manual, too bad. You're a grown person, you're responsible for yourself and if this is something you're not capable of doing, DON'T DO IT!

Some people can use tools.
Some can't.
If you don't know the difference between a flat blade and a Phillips tip screw driver,
If you don't know what an Allen wrench or a socket head cap screw is,
If you don't know how to use a torque wrench,
Go find a buddy that can, give him a few beers (after the job's over) and hang over his shoulder while he does the work. Watch what he does.
Have him do the first one then have him watch over you as you do the second. It really is an easy thing to do.

After going through this proceedure on a dirty, brake dusty car, I realize that I should have washed it first, paying special attention to the front wheels and brakes, but alas, I didn't wash mine, so bare with me on the dirty stuff.

This is a basic guide to changing the braking components of an '03 Audi RS6

The Front End

Tools Required:
17mm socket to remove and install wheels
10mm Allen driver. (3/8" drive works best) for caliper removal/installation
Torque wrench that will do at least 100 lb-ft.
Pliers for removal of brake pad backing plates and manipulation of brake indicator wire harness
1/8" punch for retaining pin removal
Hammer for general thumb nail abuse
Flat blade screw driver or small flat pry bar for caliper piston seating
Floor jack

Start out by putting the car in park, setting the emergency brake and then jack up what ever corner of the car you plan to start with. I use a floor jack, but the jack that comes with the car will work just fine too. You need to jack the car up just enough that the wheel comes off the ground so you can remove the wheel. There's no need to go much further up than that.
Remove the wheel.

Turn the key in the ignition one click so that the steering wheel is free to rotate. Turn the steering wheel to the left, if you're staring on the right wheel, turn it the other way if you're staring on the right side. The idea is to get the caliper facing outward so you have better access to the bolts and more room to work with.

Take the 1/8" punch and knock out the retaining pins. Once you get the pin out of the outer half of the caliper the anti-rattle spring will force the pin to cock outward. Just put your finger on the pin, push it towards the rotor and continue to pull the pin until it's fully removed. Remove the anti-rattle pads and set them aside.

Now here's the trick: Do NOT remove all of the pads yet!
Because the pads have worn away, the pistons in the calipers are farther out than they need to be for new pads. The caliper pistons need to be bottomed back out into the caliper body. If you remove all of the pads and then go to seat the pistons back in their homes, you'll just end up pushing any piston that's not held back out of the caliper and you'll end up with a A) mess, and 2) air in your brake system (very, very bad!)

There are a couple of ways to seat the pistons back into their homes:
The first one is quite easy but only do this if you plan on replacing the rotor too, as there is a high chance that you can damage or scratch the rotor.
Take a small flat pry bar or a flat screw driver and work it in between the rotor and the pad. Once you get the pry bar in a little way, rock the bar so that it pushes the pad away from the disc. Depending on how much pad and rotor wear there is, this gap can be fairly large.

The second is to use a wedge of hard wood and tap this in between the pad and the rotor. The wood won't damage the rotor. A stiff plastic wedge can be used also. You can also still use the screw driver or pry bar, but make sure that if you do, work the sharp edge inbetween the rotor and pad with the edge biased towards the pad. You'll be able to use the rounded profile of the pry bar against the edge of the rotor and the sharp end will dig into the old, tired pad. It's easy to do if you just take your time and pay attention to what you're doing.

Now that you have seated the piston in the caliper, pull the old pad out and install a new pad.
Pay attention to the backing plate. The OEM Pagid pads' backing plates tend to stay in the caliper bodies, so if they don't come out with the old pads, pull them out with a pair of pliers.

Once you get the first one done, repeat this proceedure for the other three. Pay attention to the upper inside pad, as this is the one with the sensor lead in it. The lead goes to the bottom. I prefered to do this pad last as dealing with the sensor lead can be a tad of a pain.

The next thing to do is remove the lead from the car. The lead has a small arm with a tit projecting from it. The arm locates the tit over a hole in the keeper where the lead resides. Pry the arm away from it's mount and turn the lead 90 degrees. This will allow the lead to then slide out of the keeper it's located in. It may be tight, so be patient and work slowly. I ended up needing pliers to rotate and pull the lead out.

Once you get the clip removed, there is a small "lever" on the connector housing that needs to be squeezed on. This will release the plug that's attached to the lead coming off of the brake pad.

Pay attention to the routing of the wire when you remove these items.

Now that you have the old pad and lead removed, insert the new pad's plug into the lead, (making sure you run the correct wire routing)

Now that you have the pads replaced in the calipers, put the anti-rattle plates back in place on top of the pads and push the keeper pins back in. Remember, the keeper pins go from the inside out. You'll need a hammer to gently tap the pins back into their seated position.

You've now successfully replaced your front brake pads.

Time to replace the rotors. This is a cake walk compared to replacing the pads.

Start out by removing the caliper from it's mount. There are two Allen head cap screws holding the caliper to the front carrier; an upper and lower.
The cap screws can be removed with a 10mm Allen wrench.

Be careful not to drop the caliper or rotor as the caliper comes loose. I generally loosen the bottom bolt first, then the top. It allows me to hold on to everything a little better.

Once the caliper's free, rotate it inward towards the chassis of the car as you hold on to the bottom of the rotor and the rotor should almost fall out of place.

Take your new rotor, slide it into the caliper and put the rotor up against the drive flange. I generally take one of the wheel studs and screw this in, through the rotor, into the drive hub to hold the rotor in place a bit better than just trying to do it by hand. Once that's fairly set, I put the caliper bolts back in and torque them to 82 lb-ft.

The rotor should pretty much self center on the drive hub.

Pay attention to the center hub of the brake rotors, as they are directional and are marked R or L along with having a directional arrow.

Remove the wheel stud from the rotor, put your wheel back on and torque the wheel studs to 92 lb-ft.

That's it. You're done.

New EBC Red brake pads
New OEM Audi RS6 rotors
The old rotors. You can see where the brass brads in the brake pads have marked the rotors.
The old Pagid OEM pads. You can see the brass brads that hold the pad material in place.
This is the pad with the sensor line. I'm amazed that my brake pad light hadn't come on yet.

The Rear End

Tools Required:
17mm socket to remove and install wheels
Torque wrench that will do at least 100 lb-ft.
13mm combination wrench
15mm combination wrench
Hammer for beating about on things
Steel bristle brush for cleaning up
Floor jack

This is quite simple - takes little time compared to the front brakes.

Jack up the rear corner of the car and remove the wheel.

Using the 13mm (socket wrench shown - discovered later it's easier to use a pair of combination wrenches) and 15mm wrenches, remove the two bolts that hold the caliper onto the caliper carrier. The 15mm wrench is used to hold the bolt head of the sliding pin that's between the caliper mounting tabs and the caliper carrier. There are a pair of bellows that cover the sliding pins; be careful not to damage these.

Once you've removed the two bolts, pull the caliper up and away. This will expose the brake pads. Just peel the brake pads out of the metal spring clips.

Take a hammer (I used a 3 lb short handled sledge) and give the old rotor a nice little love tap. This should pop the rotor off.

Now take out your wire brush and clean the surface area that the old rotor touched. I cheated and used a pneumatic grinder with a stainless wire brush in it for my clean up work.

Make sure you pay attention to the rotors. They are left and right marked. There are arrows on the rear rotors, just like on the front, that show the rotational direction of them. Install the rotor and take one of the lug bolts and put it in the rotor to hold it in place while you put the pads into the carrier.

Now install the pads. They slip into the metal spring clips and are held in place nicely by them. Make sure you keep the rotor up against it's seat, if at all possible.

This next part can be a bit tricky if you don't have the tool.
The piston has a screw in pad in it. This screw takes up the slack for the brake pad wear and keeps the emergency brake's tension correct. This pad needs to be screwed back into the piston.

Audi makes a special tool for this job. I got lucky and was able to borrow one from my Audi Tech. He's helped me out a bunch.

The tool goes into the caliper and then presses/rotates the pad back into it's home position. There are a couple of little ears on the tool that drive the pad. The pad can be screwed back into the piston using a set of channel lock pliers or similar - it's just not as easy as using the correct tool.

Once you get the piston pad screwed back in, put the caliper over the newly installed pads and bolt it back in place. Make sure you locktite (blue) the bolts before you put them in.

Put your wheel back on, start the car and PUMP THE BRAKE PEDAL UNTIL IT FEELS NORMAL!!!

Your done!
Now go out and enjoy your car.

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