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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Trying to replace brake pads on a 2009 Matrix. The rear brakes are discs, the type where the e-brake is part of the caliper

Initally I tried to push back the caliper pistons with a C-clamp - was applying a lot of force and couldn't get it to move at all! After a bit of research I realized that my pistons are the 'push and turn' type - so now trying to figure out how to do this - lots of conflicting information online, so figured I'd ask the forum!

- Q1: to push to pistons IN, do I turn clockwise or counter-clockwise?? One website said it's different between driver-side and passenger-side - why would they do that? Sounds like it's clockwise for both rear brakes?
- Q2: do I need to open the bleed port before I push the pistons back?
- Q3: tried to twist piston with needle-nose pliers, but the piston is very hard to grip (sloped 'cross' style pattern on the piston). Sounds like I need a special tool? People keep referencing this little 'cube' tool that attaches to a 3/8 ratchet that has different sides to fit different styles of turn-pistons - will this thing work for the Matrix?

So far finding this brake job rather frustrating! Hoping the good people here can help! :) Thanks in advance!!
 

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You will need a special tool, I don't know the Toyota specific one I'm sure someone else does. There are universal tools such as this one that will do the job. Once you have the tool the direction to rotate will become obvious. Opening the bleeder is not necessary but will make rotating the tool easier.

While you're at it take the time to bleed to brakes as to refresh the fluid. When rotating watch the boot so it doesn't bind up.
 
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Diehard Rams Fan
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It will turn in very easily with a brake disc tool for the job. They are cheap at any local parts store. Most rear brakes use the turn method and front brakes can be pushed back in with a c-clamp. I bought a complete disc brake kit on Amazon for under $20 that has everything I'll need for any car. A worth while tool investment.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Got the little universal 'cube' tool for turning pistons. The 4 knob side fit the Matrix caliper piston fairly well and I was able to turn it. However, it's just spinning, not going back in - even if I apply a ton of shoulder pressure!

Hmm, wondering if my calipers are seized...
 

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Got the little universal 'cube' tool for turning pistons. The 4 knob side fit the Matrix caliper piston fairly well and I was able to turn it. However, it's just spinning, not going back in - even if I apply a ton of shoulder pressure!

Hmm, wondering if my calipers are seized...
If it won't turn in you may have damaged it by using so much pressure with the c-clamp. You may need to replace the caliper. Not hard to do but you will have to bleed the brakes.
 
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Got the little universal 'cube' tool for turning pistons. The 4 knob side fit the Matrix caliper piston fairly well and I was able to turn it. However, it's just spinning, not going back in - even if I apply a ton of shoulder pressure!

Hmm, wondering if my calipers are seized...
Hi....my 2009 Corolla has different threads on left and right rear pistons...
..my right-rear turned in ANTI-CLOCKWISE....left rear clockwise...perhaps you have the same issue
..and yes, i also hurt my wrists and thumbs...i removed the piston and physically inspected the thread.

Go Figure
 

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The trick to these is to use needle nose pliers. You have to push and turn at the same time to seat the piston. Also, note the orientation of the raised posts on the back side of the brake pad.

My Mazda has this style and a PITA.
 

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Hi....my 2009 Corolla has different threads on left and right rear pistons...
..my right-rear turned in ANTI-CLOCKWISE....left rear clockwise...perhaps you have the same issue
..and yes, i also hurt my wrists and thumbs...i removed the piston and physically inspected the thread.

Go Figure
If you buy a disc brake tool kit, very cheap on Amazon, it's very easy to turn the piston back with the right tool. The right tool always makes the job easier. I have this one, only $20.
 
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The trick to these is to use needle nose pliers. You have to push and turn at the same time to seat the piston. Also, note the orientation of the raised posts on the back side of the brake pad.

My Mazda has this style and a PITA.
See my post above. Don't mouse around with the wrong tools when the right tools make the job 100% easier and quicker and cost very little! :)
 

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Been on the fence investing in this tool. Since only the Mazda uses this tool. I just rent it from AutoZone when I need it.

Edit : I previously rented the tool in 2016. The tool failed on me. The blank I needed was worn out and would not stay in place. That's why I needed the needle nose pliers.
 

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Been on the fence investing in this tool. Since only the Mazda uses this tool. I just rent it from AutoZone when I need it.

Edit : I previously rented the tool in 2016. The tool failed on me. The blank I needed was worn out and would not stay in place. That's why I needed the needle nose pliers.
For $20 I love having the tool and being brand new it works beautifully. Just saving me the time having to run down and to Auto Zone is worth it. And as my cars have changed over the years it's come in handy many times. If it was $100 maybe I would think differently but for $20 it's a no brainer.
 
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If you buy a disc brake tool kit, very cheap on Amazon, it's very easy to turn the piston back with the right tool. The right tool always makes the job easier. I have this one, only $20.
Hey Supercharged...
Of course a tool helps a lot...
I just wanted to point out that my pistons turned in different directions at the rear....:cool:
...information that i could not find anywhere...
I've done my GF Mazda 3, My Audi, etc...all turned in same direction..
First time i discovered one side CLOCKWISE, and the other side ANTI-CLOCKWISE..

Thought some folk would find that info useful
 

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Got the little universal 'cube' tool for turning pistons. The 4 knob side fit the Matrix caliper piston fairly well and I was able to turn it. However, it's just spinning, not going back in - even if I apply a ton of shoulder pressure!

Hmm, wondering if my calipers are seized...
Need to revive this because I am having the exact same problem as the original poster, same exact calipers. I'm wondering if you ever solved this, I have a 2010 Matrix and I'm trying to replace the rear brakes. Currently working on the right rear. If I turn the piston counter-clockwise it will extend but if I turn it clockwise it just turns in place and doesn't retract. Did getting the tool kit posted above work? I have a tool to rotate it but not simultaneously apply pressure.
 

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Need to revive this because I am having the exact same problem as the original poster, same exact calipers. I'm wondering if you ever solved this, I have a 2010 Matrix and I'm trying to replace the rear brakes. Currently working on the right rear. If I turn the piston counter-clockwise it will extend but if I turn it clockwise it just turns in place and doesn't retract. Did getting the tool kit posted above work? I have a tool to rotate it but not simultaneously apply pressure.
You have to turn and press inwards. As you turn, resistance from the piston will keep it from being pushed in.
 

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You have to turn and press inwards. As you turn, resistance from the piston will keep it from being pushed in.
Thanks, turns out I just wasn't putting enough elbow into it. I ended up removing the lid to the brake reservoir and removing some fluid from the brake line and finally got it into a position where I could put some more inward pressure on it and finally got it to retract. It was just stubborn. Other side was a little easier. Also found both sides turned clockwise to retract.
 

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Hi....my 2009 Corolla has different threads on left and right rear pistons...
..my right-rear turned in ANTI-CLOCKWISE....left rear clockwise...perhaps you have the same issue
..and yes, i also hurt my wrists and thumbs...i removed the piston and physically inspected the thread.

Go Figure
Thank you for the post, I'm going to try turning and pushing anticlock on right side of rear Corolla, cause the clock wise makes it turn but it is not going back in. Amazon kit being delivered today.
 

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Need to revive this because I am having the exact same problem as the original poster, same exact calipers. I'm wondering if you ever solved this, I have a 2010 Matrix and I'm trying to replace the rear brakes. Currently working on the right rear. If I turn the piston counter-clockwise it will extend but if I turn it clockwise it just turns in place and doesn't retract. Did getting the tool kit posted above work? I have a tool to rotate it but not simultaneously apply pressure.
Trying to replace brake pads on a 2009 Matrix. The rear brakes are discs, the type where the e-brake is part of the caliper

Initally I tried to push back the caliper pistons with a C-clamp - was applying a lot of force and couldn't get it to move at all! After a bit of research I realized that my pistons are the 'push and turn' type - so now trying to figure out how to do this - lots of conflicting information online, so figured I'd ask the forum!

  • Q1: to push to pistons IN, do I turn clockwise or counter-clockwise?? One website said it's different between driver-side and passenger-side - why would they do that? Sounds like it's clockwise for both rear brakes?
  • Q2: do I need to open the bleed port before I push the pistons back?
  • Q3: tried to twist piston with needle-nose pliers, but the piston is very hard to grip (sloped 'cross' style pattern on the piston). Sounds like I need a special tool? People keep referencing thisY little 'cube' tool that attaches to a 3/8 ratchet that has different sides to fit different styles of turn-pistons - will this thing work for the Matrix?

So far finding this brake job rather frustrating! Hoping the good people here can help! :) Thanks in advance!!
You ever get this
Trying to replace brake pads on a 2009 Matrix. The rear brakes are discs, the type where the e-brake is part of the caliper

Initally I tried to push back the caliper pistons with a C-clamp - was applying a lot of force and couldn't get it to move at all! After a bit of research I realized that my pistons are the 'push and turn' type - so now trying to figure out how to do this - lots of conflicting information online, so figured I'd ask the forum!

  • Q1: to push to pistons IN, do I turn clockwise or counter-clockwise?? One website said it's different between driver-side and passenger-side - why would they do that? Sounds like it's clockwise for both rear brakes?
  • Q2: do I need to open the bleed port before I push the pistons back?
  • Q3: tried to twist piston with needle-nose pliers, but the piston is very hard to grip (sloped 'cross' style pattern on the piston). Sounds like I need a special tool? People keep referencing this little 'cube' tool that attaches to a 3/8 ratchet that has different sides to fit different styles of turn-pistons - will this thing work for the Matrix?

So far finding this brake job rather frustrating! Hoping the good people here can help! :) Thanks in advance!!
This ever get resolved. Can't get cylinder to turn in with cube tool. tried counterclockwise and cylinder now all the way out. Is it because i need to apply pressure while turning? The cube tool does not apply pressure. Spinning, turning the piston in does nothing.
 

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Trying to replace brake pads on a 2009 Matrix. The rear brakes are discs, the type where the e-brake is part of the caliper

Initally I tried to push back the caliper pistons with a C-clamp - was applying a lot of force and couldn't get it to move at all! After a bit of research I realized that my pistons are the 'push and turn' type - so now trying to figure out how to do this - lots of conflicting information online, so figured I'd ask the forum!

  • Q1: to push to pistons IN, do I turn clockwise or counter-clockwise?? One website said it's different between driver-side and passenger-side - why would they do that? Sounds like it's clockwise for both rear brakes?
  • Q2: do I need to open the bleed port before I push the pistons back?
  • Q3: tried to twist piston with needle-nose pliers, but the piston is very hard to grip (sloped 'cross' style pattern on the piston). Sounds like I need a special tool? People keep referencing this little 'cube' tool that attaches to a 3/8 ratchet that has different sides to fit different styles of turn-pistons - will this thing work for the Matrix?

So far finding this brake job rather frustrating! Hoping the good people here can help! :) Thanks in advance!!
Had same problem, 2015 Corolla. My solution below. I hope this helps someone. I bought the "cube" tool, a mistake. 2 step process.
1. Tool to fit onto piston and turn clockwise to retract it
2. MUST apply pressure while doing it
With the caliper off, it is very difficult to apply any pressure and you have zero leverage. Firstly, do not buy the "cube" tool for a toyota. I used the cube tool and happened to have a large C clamp. Clamp tool onto cylinder (needed 4 hands), apply pressure an give it a 1/4 turn, then repeat. Clamp and tool will constantly fall off. 2 hrs later and bloody hands, job done. I would lube down the boot, I was unable to spin the piston without also spinning and twisting the boot, which tore.

So, in conclusion, do not buy the cube tool. Get a tool that will spin the cylinder AND apply pressure. The kits are not that much, under 20 bucks. Or borrow from local auto parts store.
 
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