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DIY - 2000 Camry LE, Rear rotors, pads, shoes, caliper re-build, many pics. Part 2

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Part 2

This DIY is for a 2000 Camry LE, 6cyl, 1MZ-FE with 220,000 miles on the clock.

Re-building the brake caliper is pretty easy. First remove the boot, but be careful to note how the thin wire snap ring is used to hold the boot in place. It's a bit tricky to get it back in and you will pull your hair out trying to figure out how to do it.

Here's what is included in the caliper re-build kit. There are boots for the sliding pins, O-rings and wire keeper, copper washers, caps for the bleeder screws, and a packet of grease.

Remove the boot, and then remove the brake cylinder by blowing compressed air in the hole where the banjo bolt went. Be sure the bleeder screw is tight. Roll up and insert a rag between the cylinder and the caliper. BE CAREFUL not to have your fingers between the caliper and the brake cylinder. If you do, when the cylinder breaks free, you will be sorry.

There should be no rust on the cylinder, or inside the brake caliper. If there is rust pits or scores in the brake cylinder you might want to consider replacing the entire caliper. Mine was fine, so I just re-built it. You will see a single flat rubber O-ring towards the front of the caliper. Remove this rubber O-ring add discard it. Then clean up the caliper with brake cleaner.

Be sure the groove that the O-ring fits in is free of any debris, and then blow it off with compressed air, or just let it air dry. Coat the new O-ring with a light coat of grease supplied in the caliper re-build kit and insert it into the groove in the brake caliper. Coat the brake cylinder and the interior of the brake caliper with a light coat of grease and insert it into the caliper. Push it all the way back, attach the boot, and retaining spring/wire. That's all that's required to rebuild a brake caliper.

Once everything is cleaned up re-install the emergency brake shoes, and all of the associated hardware. Then smear a little wheel bearing grease on the O-ring that seals the bearing hub and seat the O-ring into the groove machined in the bearing plate. Be sure the ABS sensor is installed. Then install the bearing/hub assembly using the 4 bolts removed previously. You might have a bit of trouble getting a socket on the bolt by the emergency brake lever. A little fiddling, and prying with a screw driver will get the lever out of the way enough to get the bolt started.

The bolts are a little tricky to get inside the cavity. You can use a magnet to hold the bolt, but you can't really turn it with a magnet. Another way is to put a couple pieces of tape on the top of the bolt head. Then insert the bolt head into the socket. Add tape as necessary to make the fit tight. This way you can wiggle it around to get the threads started, then remove the tape after the threads catch. There is also a magnetic socket insert, but I didn't have any of those. Torque the bolts to 59 ft/lbs.

I decided to replace the old banjo bolts because they looked like they needed to be replaced, and I figured that the copper bolt threads were probably not as good as they could be. Well I came to find out that the banjo bolts aren't made of copper after all. They are made of steel, and are copper plated. Here's some pics of the old and new banjo bolt, and the pic on the right shows a magnet picking up the banjo bolt. It would not be magnetic if it were made of copper. So now the question is why Toyota decided to copper plate a steel bolt that was used in the brake lines. Probably has something to do with electrolysis. (??)

Then install the new rotor, and then the caliper with the new pads. Install the sliding pins with a little brake grease that hold the caliper in place. Install the new brake line that attaches to the caliper, and tighten the banjo bolt being sure to have the new copper washer on each side of the banjo fitting. Also be sure that the end of the brake line with the hook seats in the hole in the caliper. This is important so that the brake line clears the strut.

Normally you would attach the other end of the flexible brake hose to the hard line and bleed the brakes. If you did that, you would be introducing cruddy brake fluid into new brakes lines, and into the freshly cleaned brake cylinder and new O-ring. Instead I decided to bleed the brake line directly from the hard line. When the fluid came out clean, then I could hook up the new flexable line to the hard line, and continue with the bleeding procedure and be assured that only fresh fluid was going into the new setup.

There are several ways to bleed brake lines. An easy way is using a hand pump like you can get at Harbor Freight. They cost about $25 and are used mostly for checking vacuum leaks, but work equally well for bleeding brakes. The one problem I ran accross is that the continer supplied is a little small, and needs to be emptied often, and tends to tip over easily. The other problem is pumping a bit, watching the master cylinder, add some fluid, pump some more, look, add, pump, and look some more. What was needed was a bigger container to drain the fluid into. And to do a complete flush would take a lot of pumping.

So I put on my thinking cap and came up with my Home made bleeding contraption. You can see the stock jar on the right, the Mayonaise jar on the left. Best Foods Mayonaise, um, um good.

I fashioned a top out of 1/8" ABS that I had laying around, and made some threading blocks by gluing two pieces of 1/4" ABS together to make a 1/2" block that could be drilled and threaded to accept a hose barb to connect to plastic tubing. I used ABS because I pick up scrap pieces for free when I visit the local TAP plastics store. It is easy to cut, and shape, and glues nicely, and is very tough. So now I had solved the problem of not enough capacity. But the look and fill problem was still there. Then I thought...why not attach a long piece of tubing to the vacuum pump long enough to reach from the back of the car to the front where the master cylinder was. I wasn't sure if it would work, but much to my surprise it worked just great.

EDIT: If you're planning on fabricating something like this, don't use ABS. It worked fine for the first go round. But after a few days exposed to brake fluid, it just disintegrated. I'll be re-doing the setup using aluminum and post the revised photos when it is completed.

After some fiddling, I discovered that the larger tubing (1/4" ID, 3/8" OD) fit the barbs easier than the smaller tubing (1/4" OD, 3/16" ID) did. And the smaller tubing fit easily inside the 1/4" tubing. Not a perfect seal but it makes taking the tubing on and off a lot easier. A little spit on the smaller tubing and it slips right into the larger tubing. I opted to use the smaller tubing for the long run since it would be easier to evacuate the smaller ID tubing compared to the larger diameter.

I could see the jar from the front of the car, pump up a bit of vacuum, watch the level go down in the master cylinder, top it off, pump some more, add fluid as necessary, until the fluid coming into the jar was clear. Release the vacuum, remove the plastic hose, and replace it with the flexable hose that connects to the hard line. To be sure I got all the air out of the system, once all the lines were connected, I put the one end of the hose on the bleeder valve, opened it a bit, pumped the vacuum pump until I was satisfied no air was left in the system. This home made contraption worked very nicely, and cost under $10 to make. The next time you bleed brakes, put one together and give it a try. I think you will be pleased with the results.

You can see from the pics that the fluid came out black. To say it needed changing would be an understatement. I gave up on the hand pump because it was taking way too long, and my hand was getting sore. So I hooked up my vacuum press pump to see if it would speed things up. I made this to press veneer and while it was made to do one thing, no reason it couldn't do something else. I originally made it using a A/C evacuation pump, so I figured it would be right at home, except I would be bleeding brakes instead of bleeding the A/C systems. I wasn't sure it would work, but it worked great. I just turned it on, and let it do it's thing. I re-filled the master cylinder as necessary and when the quart jar was almost full, I shut it off, dumped the fluid and did it some more. It took another 1/2 quart to get the fluid clear.

Most people wouldn't have a pump for a vacuum press laying around, but you might be able to hook something up to a shop vac. Maybe drill a hole in a dowel, epoxy some tubing in the hole, and tape the plug to your shop vac. That might work as well, but I haven't tried that. I read in the hand vacuum pump directions that you should exceed 20# vacuum or the brake system might be damaged. So I don't know the specs on a shop vac, but if you trash your brake system, don't blame me.

The only thing left now is to put on the wheel and torque the studs to 76 ft/lbs.The other side is pretty much the same. After I had put everything back together, I bled the front wheels and I'm pretty sure that most of the old fluid has been flushed out even though I didn't do anything to the front brakes. One drawback to just bleeding the brakes, is that if the bleeder valve is on the top of the caliper, the accumulated crud will collect in the bottom of the brake cylinder. If you rebuild the caliper then you get everyghing cleaned up nicely, and you are assured that all of the crud is cleaned from the brake cylinder. When I do the front brakes, I'll rebuild the caliper to see that all the crud is removed. In the meantime I'll drive around for a while, and let things seat, and then re-bleed all 4 wheels and top off the master cylinder with fresh brake fluid.

Well I hope I got the pics in the right place to match the descriptions. Let me know if you find something not in the right place.

EDIT: I did a bit more work on the system and came up with a final product that bleeds the brakes without having to use a vacuum press, just the hand pump. It works much better than this one did. I call it the PowerBleeder, there is a complete DIY here:

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