Brake Job - What to expect

EAnton781

Original poster
Member
Mar 16, 2012
14
I'm pretty confident diving in to most maintenance items on the TB, but brakes are an area I know little about so I'm taking the truck in to a brake shop.

What can I expect? I'm at 120k. I'm assuming the rotors are still good for another grinding. What do I need to look for regarding pads, shims, etc? How much should I expect to pay and what kind of things will they try to up-sell me that I don't need? I'm just looking to match OEM quality, nothing top of the line. We're only planning on driving the TB for another 20-25k.

Thanks
 

Hotness

Member
Dec 7, 2011
210
Honestly, doing the brakes on the tb is probably one of the easiest things there is. I mean it takes longer to change your oil than to do a pad slap. I don't know about your shop but I know the shop here by me does brake jobs for around 500. It is very easy to do especially if you don't need rotors. You could do the pads for around 30 bucks per axle and would only take maybe an hour including taking the wheels off and on. After the wheels off there is 2 bolts to remove, swap the pads, add grease, and reinstall. You may need a c clamp to retract the caliper piston. Doing them yourself is very easy to learn and would save you some serious coin over the years. Just my .02
 
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navigator

Member
Dec 3, 2011
504
If you are comfortable doing most wrenching, disk brakes are pretty easy.
If your 02 is like my 06 you have disk brakes front and rear.
I can see drum brakes being a little intimidating but disks are pretty simple.
If you aren't getting any vibration when braking or scrubbing your rotors likely don't need to be turned.

I think when I replaced mine I could get the medium grade pads for about $40-45 per set.
My parts store was out of them so I had to go with the next best which was I think OEM quality.
They ran about $70-75 per set. You can try logging into your local auto parts stores websites to see what they will run for your vehicle. Many times you on advance auto's site you can get a 20% discount and free shipping so it is cheaper to buy online than to drive to the store.

It seems most advertisements I have seen are about $99 per axle around here.
I would say you are looking at $300-$400 for front and rear depending on the pads they use and how much they charge you for them.

My OEMs front and rear went out at about the same time, ~70k miles.

You can do it!
We're here to help.
 

MichEnvoyGuy

Member
Dec 3, 2011
522
Yeah the brakes are uber-easy on our trucks.

I recommend getting quality lifetime warranty pads and change them every 2-3 years just because. I havent paid for brake pads since 2004 :biggrin: Be sure to use a good quality lube on the contact points and the sliders. I use permatex synthetic brake lube.

And my factory rotors start flaking apart at 80000 miles. They were un-grindable. The good ol' days are gone as far as machining rotors goes. Companies got smart and they dont give as much meat anymore with rotors, doesnt make them money otherwise. Sucks.
 

IslandRunner

Member
Dec 4, 2011
316
Do yourself a favor and get the ceramic brakepads from AutoZone, Nearly zero dust and you will never buy pads again.
They are like $65 axle but they pay for themselfs in free replacement and less wheel cleaning.
 

The_Roadie

Lifetime VIP Donor
Member
Nov 19, 2011
9,957
Portland, OR
And a warning - using a c-clamp to push back in the piston without opening the bleeder runs a risk of pushing dirty fluid upstream past the ABS valves, potentially causing an ABS problem with contamination in the valve setas. Bleeding brakes is an art more than a science, and it's best to learn from an experienced person rather than read up from web sites and attempt the first one without backup.

Better to get or borrow the special tools:

brakes10.jpg


I'd recommend cultivating a local mentor before recommending an owner take it on for the first time solo. Our brakes are mushy even on a good day, and a faulty bleed will make them worse.

The clearance for the retention clips is also less on our platform than any other one I've worked on, and it can get extremely frustrating to get them in properly. And the downside of NOT installing the clips properly is large.

brakes50.jpg
 

Juicy K

Member
Feb 14, 2012
433
Indianapolis, Indiana
At 145,000 I had to buy new rotors, but then again the wife did not tell me they were grinding. She was down to metal on the front pads. The driver side got so hot it was rainbow colored, and since it got so hot the front slider on the caliper bracket was locked up, so I had to get a caliper bracket. If I would have had a shop do it. It would have sat. I refuse to have a shop work on my stuff. It really is easy, if there isnt a "how to" here yet, I think there was on the OS. It is really easy, The worst part (to me) was the rear rotors, but that was only because i was afraid of the e-brake, but once i looked at it a little bit I figured out how it works. Plus I know the job was done right, and every bolt was torqued to spec. :thumbsup:
 

MAY03LT

Member
Nov 18, 2011
3,422
Delmarva
EAnton781 said:
.....what kind of things will they try to up-sell me that I don't need?

Well, they could do you like they did this guy and tell him that these pads were worn to the backing plates.

07-17-08_0936-2.jpg


Is there an existing problem with the brakes? Your post didn't mention why you're taking it to a shop.
 

woody79

Member
Dec 3, 2011
351
the roadie said:
And a warning - using a c-clamp to push back in the piston without opening the bleeder runs a risk of pushing dirty fluid upstream past the ABS valves, potentially causing an ABS problem with contamination in the valve setas. Bleeding brakes is an art more than a science, and it's best to learn from an experienced person rather than read up from web sites and attempt the first one without backup.

Better to get or borrow the special tools:

brakes10.jpg


I'd recommend cultivating a local mentor before recommending an owner take it on for the first time solo. Our brakes are mushy even on a good day, and a faulty bleed will make them worse.

The clearance for the retention clips is also less on our platform than any other one I've worked on, and it can get extremely frustrating to get them in properly. And the downside of NOT installing the clips properly is large.

brakes50.jpg

I did my front end brake job (pads and rotors) about 4 months ago. I used one of the old pads and a c-clamp to push the pistons back in. I was not aware that I had to open the bleeder valve to prevent damage. I did have someone with me and I had them watch the brake fluid in the master cylinder to make sure it did not overflow (as it says in the Haynes manual).

Since I have to replace the rear pads and rotors next, I guess I will follow your advice and recruit someone who can show me how to bleed the fluid when doing the rear brakes.

Thanks for the info Roadie.

Just hope I didn't cause any damage when I did the front. I have not noticed any issues and the truck has been stopping lot better on the new pads and rotors.
 

tblazerdude

Member
Dec 4, 2011
321
Just remember if you doing any kind of towing or aggressive driving ceramic pads would be the worst choice. They do last longer, and create less dust, however they sacrifice those items for stopping power and grip. I experienced a significant braking upgrade when I installed Centric Semi-Metallic Fleet Performance pads.
Here is a link:

Centric Fleet Performance Pads - 2004 Trailblazer

p/n 30608830
 

jimmyjam

Member
Nov 18, 2011
1,634
woody79 said:
I did my front end brake job (pads and rotors) about 4 months ago. I used one of the old pads and a c-clamp to push the pistons back in. I was not aware that I had to open the bleeder valve to prevent damage. I did have someone with me and I had them watch the brake fluid in the master cylinder to make sure it did not overflow (as it says in the Haynes manual).

Since I have to replace the rear pads and rotors next, I guess I will follow your advice and recruit someone who can show me how to bleed the fluid when doing the rear brakes.

Thanks for the info Roadie.

Just hope I didn't cause any damage when I did the front. I have not noticed any issues and the truck has been stopping lot better on the new pads and rotors.

i wouldn't lose sleep over it. how dirty is your brake fluid that you have solid chunks in it? if you're not experiencing any issues then you are fine. although if you have a few GMs i'd recommend getting a motive power bleeder, makes bleeding all four corners by yourself amazingly quick and easy.
 

xj2202009

Member
Mar 27, 2012
105
When I'm ready to undo the two bolts that hold the piston in place What I do is:
have someone step on the brake pedal a couple of times to make sure piston chambers are full, while someone is pushing down on the pedal turn the bleeder(the pedal will go all the way down, make sure they don't let the pedal come back up. Mess this step up and there will be hell to pay..air would be sucked up the line..
undo the two bolts push the piston back in and tight the bleeder. put the new pads in and reassemble everything.
now do the same to the other tires.
 

EAnton781

Original poster
Member
Mar 16, 2012
14
Thanks for all the good stuff to chew on. I went ahead and took er in. New pads, they were worn and cracked, rotors ground, bled out some light chunkage. $306 out of pocket and its one less thing on my DIY list this Saturday (belt tensioner, idler pulley, and drivers-side temp actuator). After that it's on to the motor mounts and she should be good to go until we trade her in for the 2nd generation model in 2014.
 

dp28688

Member
Dec 12, 2011
21
what kit is it you have roadie in your pic clamp and the bleeder bottle? just curious. might get me one like it.
 

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