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OEM pad on left with 3,200 miles; new Hawk HPS pad on right
How to Install
Hawk HPS Front Brake Pads
(stock brakes on all but Track model)

Tools needed:

  • Jack
  • 9/16" (14 mm) socket wrench
  • Lug wrench or 21 mm socket
  • C-clamp

As this was my first brake pad installation, I found it to be extremely easy to do, even for a beginning Z chick mechanic! I did have my husband there to supervise since he has done brake pad changes for the past 10 years. The Hawk HPS pads did not include any instructions, so it was good that I had his guidance, and I would suggest that beginners like me, have someone with you the first time you attempt this, to avoid any mistakes.

We started by going down to the local firehall to use the engine bay. It is nice to have the room to work, and access to all the tools that are there.

First you will want to loosen your lug nuts using the lug wrench provided in your trunk space, in right hand corner closest to the rear of the car, or use an air gun with 21 mm socket if you have access. Don't loosen them all the way yet, just crack them loose. I found it impossible to avoid scratches inside the pocket where the lug nuts are seated (you can wrap a soft rag, paper towel, or electrical tape around the socket). After loosening the lugs, locate the designated jack space on your frame. The most desirable place to jack you car up from is the jack space in the center of the frame, just behind and between the front wheels. You can jack it up from the side, but you will have to do it two times where as you only have to jack it up once if you do it from the center of the frame. There are two markers that you place the jack between. Once the car is sufficiently jacked up, tires not touching the ground, you can loosen the lug nuts all the way, and take the wheels off.

The caliper sits on top of the rotor, and the brake pads. If you turn the steering wheel towards you, it is easier to locate the bolts holding the caliper on. They are on the back side, one bolt on the left, one on the right. You will need a 9/16 inch (14 mm) wrench, or socket wrench. First loosen both bolts, and then unbolt them totally. You can now carefully lift the caliper off the brake pads and rotor. It will hang down out of the way after removal.

Remove the brake pad on the outside of the wheel by lifting the clip on the right hand side of the pad and lift the brake pad up and out. Do the same for the back side pad. The OEM pads have clips on both the inside and outside pads, the Hawks come only with one clipped pad per set. We chose to use the clipped pad on the outside location. Take the new pad, and insert the clip-free end into the groove provided, and then snap in the clip side. It should click in. Use the same method on the inside, but remember this time that there is no clip. The pad should sit in tight. The rotors are floating so you may have to play with them until the pads line up flush with the top of the rotor. (On the inside OEM pad there is a thin metal plate that the piston pushes against; you can remove it and clip it on the new inside pad.)

Using a C-clamp, you will need to push in the part of the caliper that is shaped like a suction cup (it is the part that clamps onto the pads). Use even pressure on either cup and the other one will retract too. This will allow you to sit the caliper back on the pads and rotor without friction. Once you push that in, gently sit the caliper on, and insert the bolts back, hand tightening both, and then tighten with a wrench. If you are using a socket wrench, watch the torque as you can fracture or break the bolt. (Alternatively, you can use the C-clamp before completely removing the caliper — partially raise the caliper, place the C-clamp and then remove the caliper.)

After the bolts are tight, you can remount the wheel. Hand tighten the lug nuts, then give them a few turns with the lug wrench, and wait to tighten completely until after the car is down off the jack.

Now, you are ready for your second set of brake pads.

After letting the car down off the jack, tighten the lug nuts all the way. Take you car out for a test drive, listening with the windows open for any unusual sounds, grinding, crunching, or squealing. These are signs that something is not right. Test the brakes out to make sure they are grabbing well, if all feels right, you have just installed your new brake pads successfully.

Set the pads by doing 5-10 medium brake pressure stops from 30-35 mph, and then 5 hard stops from about 40 mph. Your brakes will be hot after this, so take your Z for a 10 minute brake cool down drive.


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New pads seated
© 2003 Z Chickz
Last updated: Sunday, January 14, 2007 8:45 AM