How-To DIY: Parking Brake Disassembly/Rear Brake Pad Replacement

MountainPass

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#1
Hello friends!

Yesterday we had to replace our rear brake pads on our RWD Model 3. The looks we got at the Tesla Service Centre were funny, who the heck wears out their brake pads on an electric car?! The answer is Team MPP!

This DIY will be useful for anyone who needs to remove their rear calipers to replace their pads, rotors, or to paint their calipers.

Time required: 30-45 minutes

Difficulty: 2/5

Tools required:

- One helper
- 5mm Allen key/ hex bit
- 6mm Allen key/ hex bit
- Torque Wrench
- 21mm 1/2" drive socket
- 14mm wrench/socket
- 1/4" or 3/8" drive ratchet depending on sockets
- Floor Jack
- Jack stands

My apologies if the photos aren't amazing, I used my phone!

1. Loosen the lug nuts on the right rear wheel

2. Jack up the right rear corner of the car from the lift point, for safety place a jack stand or your wheel under the car



3. Remove the wheel

4. Prepare to unplug electronic parking brake - push the red clip away from you to unlock the connector



It will look like this



5. Now the important part: Have your helper get in the car. They must hold down the brake pedal, and place the car in N (hold the selector there for a few seconds). It is important to never touch the throttle during this process. When the car is placed in N, the parking brake motors will retract. Now you can unplug the parking brake motor. Once unplugged, place the car back in P, and safely exit the vehicle.

6. Okay, the hard part is over! Now it's time to disassemble the brakes. Use a 14mm wrench and undo the two caliper slider bolts



7. Remove the caliper, it will still be connected to the car via the brake hose. Be careful not to strain it.

8. Remove the electronic parking brake motor. You will need a 5mm allen key or hex bit. Be gentle with the motor, and be sure not to introduce any dirt or debris.



9. You did it! This is what you will be looking at, the next step is to safely retract the piston.



10. Insert your 6mm Allen key or hex bit into the exposed adjuster.



11. We need to apply gentle pressure to the piston as we turn the adjuster, I tried with my hands first, but I wasn't strong enough! We don't recommend using a piston compressing tool, it really doesn't need much pressure. We used channel locks, once again, very low pressure required, be careful not to mar any surfaces.

Rotate the adjuster clockwise, while applied steady pressure to the piston, it will retract smoothly and easily. Turn the adjuster until it stops. Don't force it!



12. Now we are ready to replace our pads. Remove them from the carrier, and replace them. They are labelled inside and outside, so there is no confusion. You may choose to use brake pad lubricant, we decided to forgoe that, since it will burn off at the track.

We compared the measurements of our old and new pads. The new pads were 8.5mm thick, the old ones were 4mm. We are going to the track in a few days, so we needed to make sure we have enough pad.







8.5mm isn't very much for a new pad, but with our powerful regen, it should last a very long time under normal operating conditions.

13. The parking brake motor has splines that go into the adjuster we used our allen key in. You may have to turn the adjuster a little so the parking brake motor lines up. The motor will be able to adjust for this later, so as long as you can install the motor, it will be fine. Clean off any dirt, then install the motor on the caliper, and tighten the 5mm bolts.



14. Install and tighten the 14mm caliper slider bolts

15. Now that everything is assembled, reconnect the parking brake connector, and engage the red locking tab.



The parking brake motor will do a full sweep to it's limits, adjusting to the new pads. Don't be alarmed by the noises!

16. Install and torque your wheel. You finished one side! Now all you have to do is repeat these steps on the other side!



Always pump your brake pedal at least 5 times after any work on your brakes, this will ensure the caliper pistons are no longer retracted, and the pads are contacting the rotors.

The Model 3 will automatically clear the error messages that popped up during this process.

There is no complicated bedding-in process for your new pads, just drive normally and try to avoid hard stops using the brakes for the first 100 miles.

That's it, enjoy!

- MPP Team
 
Last edited:

iChris93

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#3
5. Now the important part: Have your helper get in the car. They must hold down the brake pedal, and place the car in D. It is important to never touch the throttle during this process. When the car is placed in D, the parking brake motors will retract. Now you can unplug the parking brake motor. Once unplugged, place the car back in P, and safely exit the vehicle.
Any reason neutral wouldn't work?
 

Little1er

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#7
most likely would fall under the maintenance or modifications section, no?
I agree that this would be considered part of maintenance as the forum is structured right now, but it would be nice to have a section dedicated to actual DIYs.

As of right now, the maintenance and repair seems to be congested with defect issues, product recommendations and washing, not actual DIY info. Modifications also seems to be the gathering section for wheel/tire info, tint/wrap and accessories. Just my observation.

As a big DIY guy that likes to get my hands dirty with guides to help/inspire, I would love to see sub-forums for DIY Modification, Wheel and tire info, and section for Suspension and Brakes. Just my $0.02.
 

3V Pilot

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#9
Great write up and pics, Thanks for posting! I don't expect to need many brake jobs with this car but I usually do my own. Love the details here and will keep this in mind for when the time comes. Please post more DIY stuff if/when you do them. BTW, are you the guy with the Evora converted to EV? I love that thing!
 

MountainPass

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#10
Great write up and pics, Thanks for posting! I don't expect to need many brake jobs with this car but I usually do my own. Love the details here and will keep this in mind for when the time comes. Please post more DIY stuff if/when you do them. BTW, are you the guy with the Evora converted to EV? I love that thing!
That's us! Lotus EV Conversion DIY? :p
 

Quicksilver

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#15
I think we can agree they are both great looking cars. And they drive like nothing else on the road, as much as I love my Model 3 I'll always miss the Lotus!
Agreed! Did you ever consider getting a used Tesla Roadster?
 

3V Pilot

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#16
Agreed! Did you ever consider getting a used Tesla Roadster?
As much as I loved the Lotus I didn't really like the look of the Roadster that much. I know it's basically the same the car but the extra weight in the Roadster would of also destroyed the best parts of driving and handling. Now, the new Roadster, well, that's a whole different story!.....