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    Thread: Am I going to need an impact driver to remove the rotor set screw?

    1. 04-22-2012 01:41 AM #1
      I have new rotors and pads and am willing to install them. I have done a couple other brake jobs before but not on VW and of course VW makes like SO EASY for DIYers!!

      I had the one front tire off today and realized I didn't have the 7mm hex driver in my tool set so I had to bag the operation before T-Storms came rolling in. One thing I tried to do was get the rotor set screw off. I took one look at the corroded phillips screw and thought no way is that coming off by hand, but I gave it a try anyway and sure enough it didn't budge and I almost stripped some of it. A PHILLIPS screw???!!! REALLY, VW??? A screw is bad enough for that area of the car but at least make it a torx or hex? PHILLIPS???

      Just for kicks, I tried my cordless screwdriver on max power and no movement on that either. So, am I wondering if anyone out there has had any luck removing that blasted screw with anything other than an impact driver, which conveniently enough for me, I DON'T HAVE right now!

      Oh, and if you were wondering, these are the original rotors and brakes on my 2002 VW Jetta wagon so there is plenty of SEIZE power to overcome in this whole brake job. That set screw is not coming out without a fight. Even if I get that screw out, I have heard the rotors can seize in there pretty nicely. Great. I am ready to throw out the DIY white flag and take it to the pros.
      Last edited by The_Dark_Knight; 04-22-2012 at 01:44 AM.

    2. Member dkline87's Avatar
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      04-22-2012 02:02 AM #2
      try a manual impact screwdriver. I had to use one the first time I did the brakes on my '03 GTI and it worked like a charm. The one I used was really old, but something like this should do the trick.

      http://www.harborfreight.com/impact-...ase-37530.html

      heres another one if there is a Sears near you.

      http://www.sears.com/craftsman-impac...1&blockType=G1

      Goodluck!
      Last edited by dkline87; 04-22-2012 at 02:14 AM. Reason: added option

    3. Member cuppie's Avatar
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      04-22-2012 03:21 AM #3
      ^ ^ ^ This.

      An impact gun (if that's what you were thinking of) will just make a mess of the screw. An impact driver (pro tip: a 3lb short-handle sledge is the perfect implement for it. Ear protection is recommended!) is the right tool. Reason: it drives itself into the screw as it twists the screw. Prevents round-outs.
      (For installation: Just snug it up with a screwdriver. It's only an M6 screw...)

      As to the rotors being stuck:
      That's Brakes 101. Cast-iron rotor, steel hub, aluminum wheel... Add wheel cleaner (nearly always corrosive), water, road salt, heat, and time, and... it'll corrode. But, that's what a big hammer (like, the aforementioned 3lb sledge) is for.
      Put one wheel bolt in (4-6 turns), so you don't launch the rotor.
      Strike rotor from its backside with the nice heavy hammer. It'll come off.
      Clean hub with wire wheel on drill.
      Before installation: wipe a coat of anti-sieze around the snout on the hub (a little on the face of the hub is OK); and apply some to the rotor screw, too. It'll help things to come apart a lot easier next time (and, help keep the wheel from getting stuck too.)
      - Cup
      '88 Scirocco 16v, 'tastefully' modified.
      Click here for my Cincy pics
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    4. Member OddJobb's Avatar
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      04-22-2012 12:04 PM #4
      Worst case you can simply drill the rotor screws out and get new ones. This is what is done most of the time when they're corroded/rusted in.
      Quote Originally Posted by LG6R View Post
      I never understood this and don't take it personally because people come on here and say that all the time. But if you don't know what it is or what it does, why don't you leave it the hell alone?

    5. 04-22-2012 07:44 PM #5
      All good advice. Thanks!

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      04-22-2012 11:58 PM #6
      Manual impact screwdriver is the way to go.

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      04-23-2012 02:34 PM #7
      Use a plenty of anti-seize on the replacement rotor screw, and don't crank it in super tight.

      The screw is only used to hold the rotor in place when the wheel is off the car, once a wheel is mounted, the rotor screw serves no purpose. You can even mount the wheel on the car without the screw if it breaks broken off in a front wheel hub or rear rotor (it will be harder to start the first lugbolt since the rotor can turn and misalign with the holes in the wheel hub).

    8. 04-24-2012 11:19 AM #8
      More great info. Thanks!

      It was mentioned above by cuppie that these rotor screws are size M6 so I can just pick up a few new ones at the local hardware store, right? No 'special' VW feature that would require me to get these at the dealer? I want to be prepared in case I need to drill out some of these screws.

    9. Member cuppie's Avatar
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      04-24-2012 12:37 PM #9
      The only "special VW feature" that I can think of, would be their somewhat odd size.
      M6x1.0 (normal so far...), by 15mm (slightly wierd length - 16mm is a little more "standard", and would work), countersunk Phillips-head screw (that's where it gets hard to find.)

      They are available from the dealer, you know.
      Auburn VW (1stVWParts.com) shows list price (part# N90529301) as 60 cents each.
      Last edited by cuppie; 04-27-2012 at 08:27 PM.
      - Cup
      '88 Scirocco 16v, 'tastefully' modified.
      Click here for my Cincy pics
      things currently broken (Scirocco): 5
      things currently broken (QSW): 5!!

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      04-27-2012 10:33 AM #10
      If the screws don't come out nicely, just drill them out (I usually use an acetylene torch if it gets to that point), or if they break off in the hub, just leave the broken piece in there.

      If it does come out nicely, use plenty of anti-sieze during re-installation.

      As mentioned above, the rotor can be installed without that screw. The screw does make installation of the wheel a little easier, but it's no big deal. Probably half the cars I repair with a Phillips screw on the rotor (mostly Honda and VW) go back together without said screw due to complications during removal.
      2012 Corolla
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      04-27-2012 08:49 PM #11
      Just try some liquid wrench before going to the extremes. It could take more, but I've always had good luck with that stuff.
      -Holmes

      People are always surprised that my car smells of crayons

    12. Member
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      04-27-2012 09:42 PM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by Holmes741 View Post
      Just try some liquid wrench before going to the extremes. It could take more, but I've always had good luck with that stuff.
      You can try Liquid Wrench, PB Blaster, WD-40, etc...but if an impact driver doesn't break it loose, the only answer in my experience is heat (or drilling if heat isn't available).

      Then again, it'll probably pop right loose with an impact driver. VW's generally don't seize so bad. Hondas/Acuras on the other hand, probably 7 in 10 they seize and the new rotor goes on with no screw.
      2012 Corolla
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    13. Member arethirdytwo's Avatar
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      05-04-2012 11:59 PM #13
      Get the driver, cheap and easy. I'd hit it with bolt breaker, heat it with a MAPP torch and then it should come out.

    14. 05-23-2012 05:53 PM #14
      I just want to follow up on how things went and provide some additional info that might be helpful to the next person who does this job. First off, I purchased the manual impact screwdriver from Harbor Freight. It ended up being like $5. What a DEAL compared to the $25 Craftsman. This thing worked like a charm. I first sprayed PB Blaster on it and then used the impact screwdriver and it worked EASILY. For the next three rotor screws, I tried to get them out without even adding any PB Blaster and the impact screwdriver made short work of them. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this tool in your arsenal and a big THANKS goes out to dkline87 for that link to Harbor Freight. It seems like those rotor screws were not bad after all; maybe it was just that one that was stuck more than the others.

      The tougher problem ended up being the rear caliper carrier bolts. Those beasts were on their super tight. I had to spray them a couple times and then use a breaker bar to get them to budge. I was putting a ton of torque on that thing as well and almost stripped one of the bolts. Therefore, I recommend that you be prepared for those ones if you are doing a rear brake job.

      Thanks to all for the good advice!

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      05-23-2012 06:09 PM #15
      Quote Originally Posted by The_Dark_Knight View Post
      The tougher problem ended up being the rear caliper carrier bolts. Those beasts were on their super tight. I had to spray them a couple times and then use a breaker bar to get them to budge. I was putting a ton of torque on that thing as well and almost stripped one of the bolts. Therefore, I recommend that you be prepared for those ones if you are doing a rear brake job.
      Depending on the car, those carrier brackets may not have to be removed to change the rotor. In my experiences with VW, they usually don't have to come off.
      2012 Corolla
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      Need any VCDS (VAG-COM) diagnostics or coding in the North NJ area? PM me.

    16. 05-27-2012 10:33 AM #16
      Whenever I have problems with screws or bolts corroding or sticking, I replace them with stainless steel versions. No more rust, corroding, or sticking. I normally get them at a nut an bolt shop here in town. If they don't have them they'll order for you.

    17. n00b
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      03-30-2013 11:16 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by cuppie View Post
      The only "special VW feature" that I can think of, would be their somewhat odd size.
      M6x1.0 (normal so far...), by 15mm (slightly wierd length - 16mm is a little more "standard", and would work), countersunk Phillips-head screw (that's where it gets hard to find.)

      They are available from the dealer, you know.
      Auburn VW (1stVWParts.com) shows list price (part# N90529301) as 60 cents each.

      Found these Countersunk Phillips-head screws at Lowes Home Improvment Store. The Hillman Group 2-Count 6mm-1.0 x 16mm Oval-Head Zinc-Plated Metric Machine Screws. Item #: 138592, Model #: 880757, Price $0.92

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      04-02-2013 07:54 PM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by Holmes741 View Post
      Just try some liquid wrench before going to the extremes. It could take more, but I've always had good luck with that stuff.
      Just a little FYI out of left field.
      50/50 mix of Acetone and Power steering fluid is far superior to liquid wrench/WD-40/and PB blaster..... just thought I'd give that tid bit of secret info to you for breaking rusted stuff free... I promise you won't be disappointed.
      2.0T+034efi+meth = 300+whp = Part out PM me for anything

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