Changing your own brake pads is an easier job than many people think
and a job like this is a simple way to save money. To do your own brake
job you will need the following items:
-A floor jack
-A socket set and ratchet
-Light sand paper
With your C2 Corvette on the ground, take your wheel lug
wrench and break the lugnuts loose. DO NOT REMOVE THEM; just make sure
that they are all broken loose. This can be much harder to do when the
car is off the ground. Open the hood and check the brake fluid level
before beginning. If your brake fluid is very low you may have more
severe brake system problems.
Jack up the driver’s side of your Corvette and place a
jack stand under the car then repeat on the passenger’s side. Use the
wheel lug wrench to remove the lug nuts and front wheels. If you have
an issue with brake fluid, inspect in around the brake calipers and
brake hoses for any wetness. C2 Corvettes have issues with the caliper
piston boots tearing and leaking so inspect everything thoroughly.
You will see a pin running through the top of the
brake calipers, that also runs through your brake pads. On the back
side of that pin there should be a clip holding the pin in place.
Remove that clip and remove the pin running through the caliper. If its
been a long time since your brakes were serviced you may need to tap
this pin out with a small hammer. Be careful when removing this pin not
to damage it unless you plan to replace it as well. Once you have the
pin out, it’s a good idea to lightly sand off any corrosion.
The brake pads may slide right up out of the calipers
but very often there will still be too much tension provided by the
caliper pistons. This is where the large pliers come into play. You
want to clamp down on the inside of the brake pad and the outside of the
caliper and when you apply pressure it will slowly push in the pistons
on that side of the caliper. Repeat on the other side, but never add
pressure to one side without having a brake pad in the other side or
without having a pad in any other caliper, as the back pressure can push
the piston out of the caliper and damage the piston boot. Once you’ve
added a little pressure to both pads, they should slide out. If you are
unable to put the new pads in, add only enough pressure to the pistons
on one side to fit the pad between the pistons and brake rotor then do
the same to the other side of that caliper. Once you have the pistons
pushed in enough to fit the pads, I recommend using the grease that
comes with the brake pads as this will help prevent any friction noise
and allow the pads to move smoothly.
Once the pads are lubricated and inserted into the
caliper, replace the caliper pin, and then put the safety clip on the
back of the pin. Repeat the same actions to the other side of the car.
Inspect your calipers to ensure that the caliper pins
and the safety clips are all in place, then put the wheels back on.
Hand tighten the lug nuts at first to make sure that they are not cross
threaded then use your lug wrench to tighten them. Once the wheels are
tight, you can remove the jack stands and lower the car. Check the
brake fluid again and top off if needed. If you are installing a
performance brake pad, they generally come with break-in directions that
can help to season the pads properly to avoid glazing and early wear
and tear to the pads.