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Discussion Starter #1
I've changed front and rear brake disks and pads on my cars over the years and I've always struggled on with a piece of wood, grippers and a c-clamp when it came to pushing the caliper pistons back in. So I've decided to make my life easier and buy a tool to make all future pad changes easier. But I see there's 2 basic tool types available - Brake Pad Spreader and Caliper Compresser.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/NEILSEN-TOOLS-CT2301-BRAKE-SPREADER/dp/B004495GX4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469440159&sr=8-1&keywords=brake+pad+spreader

and

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00H00W2JA/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_02_02_t_img_lh?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Does anyone know the main differences and benefits between these two tool types please? I'm trying to figure out which I'm better off buying. :confused:
 

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Take the sotec, you need two threads, one left and one right handed thread. the rear left piston is screwed anti-clockwise in!
 

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Discussion Starter #3 (Edited)
Cheers, that's a really great point. I was thinking the Sotec looked very comprehensive and seems great value.

What are the main advantage/disadvantage is of a Brake Pad Spreader compared to a Piston Compressor though? Do they both do the same job, just in a slightly different way?

Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I see that the Brake Pad Separator tool simply forces its two paddles apart, whereas the Piston Compression tool marries up with the cars circular piston ring and rotates it, either to the left or right.

Do some cars need the piston to be rotated in order to be compressed, and some don't? In which case, wouldn't you need both types of tool?
 

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You're looking at two completely different tools there.

The spreader is just a tool to push the pistons back, so it would only be used on the front brakes which have no handbrake mechanism.

The Sotech product is a set of handbrake piston rewind tools, for use on the rear brakes. Unless you're going to be working on a lot of different cars you don't need a universal set like that, just the one rewind tool with an adaptor to suit the pistons on your car.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I see. :yes: Thank you very much Dave, that's really helpful.

And thanks Verbout, that kit looks even better value than the one I found earlier. Seeing as the kit is so cheap at £13 odd I also think it makes sense to invest in one of these rather than a compression tool with single adapter, which seems to be around a tenner anyway.

I have just one last question please: Is the Universal Compression Kit good for doing the front calliper pistons as well as the rears?
 

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Yes, I think there is a blank disc for that in the pack, the other discs have pegs you match with holes/slots in the calliper piston.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Thanks very much, I'll order a set now. Actually looking forward to doing the job now!

Cheers for all the help guys. :thumbup:
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well, that was the most difficult and painful experience of what is usually a simple brake disc and pad change that I've ever had. Today. I. Ache.

What should have taken 2-3 hours (changing discs and pads all round) on the front drive with axle stands took 6-7 hours. The MiTo is a 2010 reg but it was more like working on an everyday driver from the early 1980's! It was filthy with rust and brake dust and so corroded!

I bought the car pre-owned a year and a half ago so I don't know for sure but I reckon the discs and pads on the car were original Alfa factory parts. The brake discs were so heavily rusted and corroded that chunks literally broke off in my hand whilst removing them! They had seized hard to the hubs and took quite a bashing to remove them. In the rear 2 arches the brake discs and hubs had corroded so badly that they had even eaten away at the back of the alloy wheel and had become seized tight to the wheels. Getting the wheels off the car was genuinely really difficult - 15 mins careful teasing on one side! I've never seen an example anywhere near as bad. So absolutely everything needed to be thoroughly stripped and cleaned before it could go back on and be reassembled.

One of the calliper slide bolts that Alfa had fitted was misshapen and de-threaded so badly it was a battle to remove it. Assuming it was that way from the factory I've never seen anything like it. And the handbrake pistons almost defeated me.

I have to say thank you to Verbout! Without the winder tool you recommended I would have been royally stuffed. The front caliper pistons were a breeze and could have been done with a trusty G clamp. But the rears with the handbrake were a different story altogether! The first issue was how ludicrously stiff they were. Even with the handbrake loosened they were extremely hard to rotate. And worse was that all the online how-to guides and youtube videos showed the MiTo rear calliper piston as being a clockwise-compress mechanism. But the passenger side rear on my MiTo wouldn't budge a millimetre rotating it clockwise and had to be wound anti-clockwise (which made me sweat with fear of doing it wrong and the potential damage it'd cause). I even stopped due to the concern after 1/2 and inch of compression to try and find some confirmation online that I was not ruining the handbrake mechanism, but I couldn't find anything re. the MiTo so, reluctantly (and out of desperation at that point), I carried on. Fortunately it wound in all the way and the handbrake is operating perfectly, so I can only assume that the passenger side is counter-clockwise on the Bosch callipers fitted to the 2010 1.4 TB MultiAir Veloce. The drivers side was standard clockwise - and was still a real pain to rotate.

As I say, definitely the most difficult experience of simply changing brake discs and pads I've ever had. I hope the MTec dimpled and grooved discs and Greenstuff pads last a good while as I don't want to be doing that job again anytime soon.
 

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so I can only assume that the passenger side is counter-clockwise on the Bosch callipers fitted to the 2010 1.4 TB MultiAir Veloce. The drivers side was standard clockwise - and was still a real pain to rotate.
You mean passanger side counter-clockwise to turn IN? And drivers side standard clockwise to turn IN?

And worse was that all the online how-to guides and youtube videos showed the MiTo rear calliper piston as being a clockwise-compress mechanism
But I think that this thread made clear to you before opening the brakes, that this is not the case?
 

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I've changed front and rear brake disks and pads on my cars over the years and I've always struggled on with a piece of wood, grippers and a c-clamp when it came to pushing the caliper pistons back in. So I've decided to make my life easier and buy a tool to make all future pad changes easier. But I see there's 2 basic tool types available - Brake Pad Spreader and Caliper Compresser.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/NEILSEN-TOOLS-CT2301-BRAKE-SPREADER/dp/B004495GX4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1469440159&sr=8-1&keywords=brake+pad+spreader

and

https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B00H00W2JA/ref=pd_luc_rh_sbs_02_02_t_img_lh?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

Does anyone know the main differences and benefits between these two tool types please? I'm trying to figure out which I'm better off buying. :confused:
the first one is useful for brembo type calipers or other opposing caliper pistons

the last one could be used on all other types.
 

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@eyedee, glad it worked out for you.:thumbup:

Me and my son have just done the brakes on his Vectra, all new discs and pads.

Over six hours, everything had to be stripped and cleaned, as you have done.

The sliders were all seized and the holes had to be cleaned out with a metal file.

But doesn't it feel good knowing it costs you parts only? And knowing the job is done to a better standard than your local workshop.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
You mean passanger side counter-clockwise to turn IN? And drivers side standard clockwise to turn IN?

But I think that this thread made clear to you before opening the brakes, that this is not the case?
You're absolutely right. I made a mistake by forgetting that it was your kind help here that provided me with the correct information (which later became a notion due to sheer confusion having seen so many contradictory reports online). I searched and viewed so many different websites and youtube videos before ordering parts and carrying out the job that I got a bit confused as to exactly what I'd seen and where I'd seen it.

The issue of finding the correct brake discs and pads complicated things so much I lost track a little of some things I'd learned previously. My MiTo is a 2010 model that could have had 1 of 2 different calipers - Bosch or TRW. I only became aware of this moments before ordering a set of pads. This caused issues as the rear calipers are not well marked and required me removing the wheel to find out which part my car was using. Most of the aftermarket front brake pads I found did not have pad wear indicators, or if they did they only had one, not two as is fitted as standard, so this complicated things a little further.

On top of this the discs were difficult to track down as I wanted sports (grooved/dimpled/drilled) disks which required a lot of research in order to find a set at a price point I was able/willing to pay. I had to contact companies directly to get them to check product compatibility and stock levels as the online checkers never worked for the 2010 Alfa Romeo MiTo 1.4 TB MultiAir.

So apologies if I caused any offence by getting slightly confused. I'm only human but, again, sorry if I have offended you in any way.


@eyedee, glad it worked out for you.:thumbup:

Me and my son have just done the brakes on his Vectra, all new discs and pads.

Over six hours, everything had to be stripped and cleaned, as you have done.

The sliders were all seized and the holes had to be cleaned out with a metal file.

But doesn't it feel good knowing it costs you parts only? And knowing the job is done to a better standard than your local workshop.
Cheers Verbout. :beer:

I'm pleased you got your sons Vectra done too. Yes, it definitely feels GREAT knowing you saved so much money - and did the job thoroughly and properly without cutting any corners.

I was getting quotes of around £400 for OEM pads and discs all round. This way I only spent £170 odd on uprated Greenstuff pads and MTec dimpled and grooved discs. The car looks good and stops so much better, and I saved over £200!

Happy days. :thumbup:
 

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no problem :yes: glad you managed it. I also have been quite confused about the rear brake mechanism/working principle. Had to change the caliper because the handbrake mechanism did not work anymore. Now i have a brembo/lucas mixture which does not work properly, as the disc is not completely blank. I have to check this again (--> I opened this damn brake approx 10 times this summer.)

which sport discs did you order?
 

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Discussion Starter #16
The various caliper combinations can be bit of a pain - especially when trying to order the right parts. Sorry to hear of your frustrations with the handbrake too.

Re. brake discs I got a great deal on a set of MTec Grooved and Dimpled discs (vented front, solid rear). About £112 delivered for all 4 discs. They look decent quality for the price and they suit the car nicely. I wanted a disc that stood out a little, but I didn't want to go for a drilled disc as they're too harsh on the pads imho. I'm happy with the way the MTec's perform. :thumbup:
 
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