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    Thread: Stupid rear caliper piston compression and the dumb tools for it

    1. Member DHill's Avatar
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      06-05-2005 06:54 PM #1

      I've done this twice on my Mk3 with no problem, but Dad's doing his Passat and this handy tool that I bought from ECS broke in the process.

      It's a generic brake compression tool, designed to help you rotate and compress the piston in the rear calipers simultaneously, as needs to be done on most rear calipers for Dubs.

      I seem to remember a site where you can get VAG SPecial tools, such as the 1311 or whatever that does the brake piston compression. ANybody remember it?

      OR, can you suggest another tool? I've used this one on my Mk3 twice, my friend's A4 once, and now my Dad's Passat. THe metal became so fatigued it bent and broke this time around (count 'em.... 4 brake jobs and it broke), and it went beyond the limit so there is no bending it back. And I don't have the time right now to rebuild it.

      Any suggestions? Any help would be great. THanks.



    2. Member Liam817's Avatar
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      06-05-2005 11:11 PM #2
      I just got the compression tool that TT sells, not cheap but did the job and looks to be more than strong enough to last.

    3. 06-06-2005 12:11 AM #3
      Talk to anyone at http://www.parts4vws.com --I didn't see the tool on their website, but I bought mine from them, so I know they sell it. I forget exactly how much the dedicated VW tool is--something like $60, I seem to recall--but if you're going to change your rear pads at all frequently, it's totally worth the investment. Built solid as a rock, it works like a charm every time.

      --Griff

      editted for bonehedd typoes


      Modified by Griffy at 12:14 AM 6-6-2005


    4. Member DHill's Avatar
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      06-06-2005 10:49 PM #4
      Thanks guys.

      Yet again, the forum gives me hope.


    5. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      06-08-2005 02:18 PM #5
      I have the same tool pictured and got it from Advanced Auto, in their "specialty tool" section. It was about $60.00. I did the rear brakes on my rado with it and no problems. Probably quicker and easier then having it mailed to you. Unless of course you don't have an Advanced by you.

    6. Member DHill's Avatar
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      06-10-2005 07:12 AM #6
      Quote, originally posted by 6cylVWguy »
      I have the same tool pictured and got it from Advanced Auto, in their "specialty tool" section. It was about $60.00. I did the rear brakes on my rado with it and no problems. Probably quicker and easier then having it mailed to you. Unless of course you don't have an Advanced by you.

      Thanks for the input, but that is the tool that I already had. It broke after about 4 uses, so I think it's time for a stronger one.


    7. Member RPTOFNDR's Avatar
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      06-10-2005 01:54 PM #7
      Picked up the "OEM 27111" Caliper Piston tool from AutoZone,Pretty beefy & lots of different adapters. $35

    8. 06-10-2005 02:03 PM #8
      i think harbor freight might have this set as welll, i always just rent mine from autozone

    9. Member sdriver's Avatar
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      06-10-2005 03:42 PM #9
      The official VAG tool is made by http://www.zelenda.com and is more like $100.

      http://www.germanautoparts.com also has a cheaper one that should be strong enough.

      I'm a little surprised you broke the ECS tool, but thanks for the post as I was about to buy one


    10. Member DHill's Avatar
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      06-10-2005 07:56 PM #10
      Quote, originally posted by sdriver »
      The official VAG tool is made by http://www.zelenda.com and is more like $100.

      http://www.germanautoparts.com also has a cheaper one that should be strong enough.

      I'm a little surprised you broke the ECS tool, but thanks for the post as I was about to buy one

      Zelenda is the site I was trying to remember!! Thanks.


    11. Member Volkswoot's Avatar
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      06-12-2005 12:52 PM #11
      i just used a c-clamp, and slowly compressed it..

    12. Member sdriver's Avatar
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      06-12-2005 05:42 PM #12
      Quote, originally posted by enebo8u »
      i just used a c-clamp, and slowly compressed it..

      That's a good way to destroy the auto-adjust mechanism on a rear calliper. The cheapest way out is to buy a generic "cube" socket driver attachment, but that sucks compared to the proper tool.


    13. Member animaniac's Avatar
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      06-12-2005 08:25 PM #13
      when we did our vr6 rear pads we thought it was a allen key until we took them off and found the daft piston......

      i now know you can buy tools to wind them back in but when we did ours we got a speare socket which was the size of the dots on the piston and grinded it until we were left with 2 little spike like things on the socket they just about clipped locked into the marks on the piston and with abit of force we were able to get the piston back in!

      pretty good that home made tool is.... we even did my mates with it!

      it isnt as good tas the proper tool but it does the job just about!

      Diagnostic technician and conspiracy theorist.
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    14. Member DHill's Avatar
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      06-13-2005 08:55 AM #14
      For everyone above and anyone else who reads this thread... these are all solutions to the problem. I've had experience with all of them. From what I've learned, from a scale from hardest (i.e. I hate cars and never want to work on them again... until next weekend) to easiest (this is sweet why don't I quit my job and do this all the time?):

      1. C-clamp (bad... VAG says rotate, so rotate. One of these days I'll dissect a rear caliper and take pictures to show everyone why)
      2. Socket adapter thing. (After 2 hours per side of grunting, pressing, and twisting, I got those suckers back in)
      3. generic piston tool from ECS or Autozone (it's great, until it breaks -- again, I got 4 uses out of it. Once on my stock brakes for my VR6, another time after I took those off and sold the calipers, but compressed them for the buyer so he wouldn't have to mess with it, then again on my friend's B4 Audi A4, and now on my Dad's b4 Passat, which was the killer).

      And eventually I'll add the number 4 on that list, which is either the real VAG tool from Zelenda or the German Auto Parts tool. Both look better than the generic kit but I haven't tried them yet.

      The generic tool is fine, but when you invest in a tool you usually expect it to last a long time, which is why you bought it, because you thought "I might as well get that, because I bet I'll use it a lot". It will be fine as long as your calipers aren't super stubborn, but if you find yourself searching for a wrench to put on the end of it... stop. It won't take too much to break it.

      So, I spent about $45 on that generic tool, which means each time I used it I got about $11.25 out of it. I would have paid someone at least $15 to do it for me, so I suppose it was worth it in the end... but man, I'm gettin' the beefier tool now.

      Consider this a product review.


    15. Member sdriver's Avatar
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      06-13-2005 09:19 AM #15
      Thanks again DHill. You are totally right... I did #2 yesterday on my Audi and it worked, but at one point I was wondering if the turning and slipping would ever end! Last week when I did my GTI, I borrowed something from my mechanic similar to #3 but higher quality, and it was almost too easy.

    16. 06-14-2005 10:15 AM #16
      I have a quick question. Are these tools universal in that they can be used on any manufactures brakes, or is it VAG only?

      Ie could I use it on a Honda, Nissan, Ford, whatever...


    17. Member DHill's Avatar
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      06-14-2005 03:10 PM #17
      The generic one pictured above in the initial post to this thread is "universal", in that there are many adapter plates that will fit different manufacturer's brakes.

      The tool offered on the Zelenda site is VAG-specific, and I believe the same is true for the Adirondack (German Auto Parts) tool.


    18. Member bigred35's Avatar
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      06-14-2005 07:16 PM #18
      I am the last person in the world to ever suggest ever using anything but the correct tool to do the job but, I found a large C-clmap that had a 15mm square on the base of the swivel foot. As I slowly compressed the piston I would use the wrench on the foot to turn the piston in. It took me 5 minutes per side using this setup. Plus I had the wood clamp in my garage to begin with!

      Check for those c-clamps guys!!


    19. 02-19-2006 02:46 PM #19
      In the Bently it says,

      "If the piston is not reset correctly, or if the brake pedal is operated iwth the caliper removed, the automatic adjustment mechanism will be destroyed."

      What does that mean? What is the "automatic adjustment mechanism"? And if you destroy it, is the caliper no good after that?


    20. 02-19-2006 03:03 PM #20
      i always had good luck w/ the modded generic cube piece. its not that bad if you mount the caliper back up w/o the rotor or pads, then the car holds it for you while you compress it. EZ

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      02-20-2006 02:58 AM #21
      Quote, originally posted by cacho »
      In the Bently it says,

      "If the piston is not reset correctly, or if the brake pedal is operated iwth the caliper removed, the automatic adjustment mechanism will be destroyed."

      What does that mean? What is the "automatic adjustment mechanism"? And if you destroy it, is the caliper no good after that?

      I think the piston seal breaks if the piston extends too far. Something like that. If you hit the brake pedal without there being pads or rotors in there, the piston will just move freely. Not a good thing. You can re-build a caliper with new seals.

      I think the automatic adjustment is for the parking brake. The brake pedal and the parking brake operate the same piston. The same mechanism that allows that to work is what requires you to rotate the piston as you push it in for resetting.

      I don't think you have to deal with this on Porsche cars because they have some kind of drum brake for parking in addition to the discs for stopping. VW chose the more complicated design, but I guess it is lighter, cheaper, and has fewer parts overall.


      Modified by phatvw at 12:00 AM 2-20-2006


    22. 02-20-2006 02:37 PM #22
      Quote, originally posted by phatvw »

      I think the piston seal breaks if the piston extends too far. Something like that. If you hit the brake pedal without there being pads or rotors in there, the piston will just move freely. Not a good thing. You can re-build a caliper with new seals.

      I think the automatic adjustment is for the parking brake. The brake pedal and the parking brake operate the same piston. The same mechanism that allows that to work is what requires you to rotate the piston as you push it in for resetting.

      I don't think you have to deal with this on Porsche cars because they have some kind of drum brake for parking in addition to the discs for stopping. VW chose the more complicated design, but I guess it is lighter, cheaper, and has fewer parts overall.


      Modified by phatvw at 12:00 AM 2-20-2006

      Damn! I know that my piston extended far because the motherf***er came off. So putting it back together w/o new seals is a no-no?


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      02-20-2006 02:48 PM #23
      Quote, originally posted by cacho »
      Damn! I know that my piston extended far because the motherf***er came off. So putting it back together w/o new seals is a no-no?

      Yeah I'd re-build that mo-fo to be safe. ECS has a sale on brand new calipers which probably don't cost much more than the repair kit from VW.


    24. 02-20-2006 03:03 PM #24
      Quote, originally posted by phatvw »

      Yeah I'd re-build that mo-fo to be safe. ECS has a sale on brand new calipers which probably don't cost much more than the repair kit from VW.

      Thanks, but my main question:

      Is it RECOMMENDABLE or REQUIRED that the seals in the piston be replaced?

      I mean, which seals exactly get broken? The only ones I saw when the piston come off were these rings around the inside of the piston openning. I didn't see anything that would get strethced and torn by extending the piston.


      Modified by cacho at 12:06 PM 2-20-2006


    25. 03-07-2006 05:13 PM #25
      bought mine from mac tools and its the best one out there imo really strong but u have to use a 21 mm and a 19mm wrench to turn it

    26. Member JonVWluver's Avatar
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      03-08-2006 02:28 PM #26
      When I did my rotor upgrade I did not know any better and was able to use a rubber hammer and knock each side on with little force, perhaps I am lucky it was ableto slide back on, I'm about to do my rear brakes again, but this time I know I need to do the job the right way
      Drive it like it's the last time you will because it might just be!

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