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Front brake pad change, no big deal.......

Discussion in 'Gen II Prius Care, Maintenance and Troubleshooting' started by bayareapilot, Mar 13, 2012.

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  1. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Junior Member

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    I've read conflicting information stating either that changing the front brake pads on a second generation Prius is a big deal that involves the use of a special scanner to reset codes and open valves. The other side would say it was no big deal.

    For those of you wondering,,, it was no big deal. Took my 2004 Prius for its' FIRST brake pad change, just slightly over 249,000 miles. I originally had a dealership do a quote for me (almost 400 bucks for just a change of pads - I said NO thank you) while I was there having the inverter pump recall/replacement done. With much trepidation (because of what I had read concerning the supposed 'complexity' of changing the pads of a Prius) I went to a mechanic I have known for almost 40 years and asked him if he could do the brake change. Told me they could do it and they had done it before.

    Gave me a call when they were almost done and I walked down to pick up my car. When I got there they were doing the last few things while it was still up on the rack (I had asked them if they could replace the tires while it was up there).

    So, they let down the car and step inside the Prius to start it up. Now, here I think they'll see a bunch of error lights come on and Armageddon will be unleashed. Guess what, not even a single little light came on. No big deal and no big issue. Started me wondering if there were internet posters from the dealerships (incognito) trying to confuse the populace to insure that they would have service coming through their door. Who knows,,, either way,, I've become a skeptic. ;)

    So, watch what you learn on the internet - some of it is good and some of it is bad. I'm here to tell you that a plain-old-garden-variety mechanic (albeit one I have a lot of trust in over the years) replaced the brake pads with absolutely NO issue. So, my two cents says to save the extra bucks the dealership is going to quote you and just have a mechanic you trust (or if you are handy do it yourself) do the change for you. Had I known it would be just a simple operation, heck, I would have done it myself.

    So breathe easy - the car brakes, they service, just fine! :rockon:
  2. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer

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    I've found that its just as easy to replace the brake pads (or shoes in the rear) as it is in any other vehicle. There's no difference.
  3. bsd43

    bsd43 Member

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    I don't think the consensus here is changing the pads is anything out of the ordinary, but bleeding the hydraulic brake fluid requires the scanner to control the valves. At 250k miles, it's probably time to change out the hygroscopic brake fluid anyway, thus needing the tool.
  4. bayareapilot

    bayareapilot Junior Member

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    That's great to hear! I need to replace the rear brakes and may just feel brave and do them myself. Not entirely certain why I need new rear brakes although I did leave the parking brake on a few times when driving (that certainly didn't help <brain fade moment>). Perhaps it is parking in San Francisco and all these hills? ;0)

    Anyway, your post made me feel brave enough to replace the rear brakes by myself,,,, perhaps. :)
  5. usnavystgc

    usnavystgc Die Hard DIYer

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    Do it!!!!!!!!:) and save $$$$$$$$. It's really no big deal.
  6. Mike Mc

    Mike Mc Junior Member

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    I too need to do my front Pads, at 170K miles! I assume you didn't bleed them, did you just compress the caliper piston back in?
  7. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    I suggest you disconnect the 12V battery before you mess around with the brakes.

    1) After you have removed a caliper, if the brake actuator pump decides to run then the caliper piston will shoot out. That can ruin your day since it is not easy to bleed the brake system without the Toyota diagnostic laptop or equivalent.

    2) The mechanical shock caused as you are handling the calipers, compressing the piston, etc. may cause the skid control ECU to log a DTC if 12V power is applied.
  8. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

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    John (Britprius) also recommended disconnecting the two ABS relays in the fuse box, I took his advice when I did my brakes. My 2004 only had 52K miles but the rotors had rusted from the inside out, and the rust had "climbed over" to make contact with the pads, which caused noises and would diminish the life of the pads which still had a whole bunch of meat on them. I put in cheap aftermarket rotors, sanded the existing pads smooth, lubed the caliper slides and called it a day.
  9. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

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    sorry I didn't realize OP is a pilot.
    Enter left downwind, extend two miles, cleared to land runway two eight right, number three following the Mooney on final and the Saberliner turning base, confirm information golf.
  10. nutmeg

    nutmeg just rollin'

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    Pull the two ABS relays in the fuse box under the hood (they are the two blue relays) and step on the pedal until you hear a buzzer (two or three times slowly, like you would 'bleed' the brakes on a normal car)

    the brake system charges the hydraulics as soon as you open the door... if you've ever wondered what that sound is when the door opens ;)
  11. cnschult

    cnschult Active Member

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    This is the first I've ever heard anyone recommend stepping on the brake pedal until there is a buzzer, what is this for and how necessary is it? I didn't do this and had no problems, I would think this would cause the pad to be pressed tighter to the rotor, making it harder to remove for replacement or inspection.
  12. css28

    css28 Senior Member

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    I believe it's depleting a charged hydraulic accumulator. This should allow you to service the brakes without disconnecting the battery (and losing various stored things in doing so).
  13. Britprius

    Britprius Senior Member

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    If you empty the accumulator and the battery is still connected it will automatically recharge it's self through the low hydraulic pressure switch and eject the calliper or rear cylinder pistons if the pads are removed or the rear brake drum is off. Do not do it!!!! Opening the drivers door is another way of starting the pump even without the key fob.
  14. Cory151

    Cory151 Junior Member

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    I just did the fronts brakes on my 2005. It was just like a previous poster mentioned, no different than any other car. I didn't disconnect any batteries, relays and my passenger door was open the whole time so I could set my manual on the seat.

    It was fun.
  15. css28

    css28 Senior Member

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    Doesn't removing the relays disable that? I think it does.
  16. p1cfl01

    p1cfl01 Junior Member

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    It would be great for someone can do a DIY just on front and rear pads replacement with step by step explanation of the why. I could understand why the we might need to disconnect the battery and the ABS fuses since all are electronically controled. For those who did it without and nothing bad happened doesn't mean that it will not happen, maybe they just got lucky. We should be careful with doing this since someone can really get hurt from that piston shooting out to your hand. And then another that has to do with brake bleeding since that requires the scan tool or maybe that one is best left alone to the pros or the shop.
  17. The Critic

    The Critic Resident Critic

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    Although I have a gen iii, I will probably do a video soon of the brake flush and brake maintenance service (lube slide pins, clean pad contact points).


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