: Rear Brake Discs and Pads

03-14-12, 05:49 PM
Well it appears as though I may be having to change my rear brake discs and pads at only 19500 miles. Got a bit of a grinding thing just started on on the rear offside, definitely happens under braking and there is some scoring going on. I'm not driving it until I sort it. It seems that some manufacturers set their braking systems up slightly differently to others. Done lots of research on www and it seems that my rear discs handle most of the braking during town driving. Front discs and pads however are still absolutely superb with surprisingly very little wear.

Going to do the job myself, just waiting for a brake piston rewind tool to turn up. Going to use genuine GM brake pads that fit the Vauxhall Vectra, Saab 9-3 and the BLS. Have checked with a Saab dealer and they all cross reference ok. Discs or rotors, whichever you prefer, well seems mine are 278mm diameter. Information taken from sticker in engine bay and decoded via Saab Forum site. Settled for PAGID discs which cost 20 quid each.

Hoping the job won't take me more than a couple of hours on the drive. I've changed discs and pads before, so I'm not envisaging too many problems, especially as I've gathered all of the required tools together and I've got plenty of photo's, Saab 9-3 technical pages all sourced from the internet, to assist with torque settings etc.

MOT is finally due this year, so 60 quid spent now, should help things along nicely.

When I've done the job, I'll let on how it all went.

03-15-12, 07:07 AM
Hi ExRP01 .. good luck with the job .. how does the hand brake operat o these .. does it have separate shoes inside the disc or does it operate the caliper and pads??
Whens the MOT due .. mine is December!

03-15-12, 10:31 AM
Tong, hi,

I haven't started the job yet, hopefully be on Monday. My brake caliper piston rewind tool just turned up in the post this morning. I definitely now have all of the correct tools to do the job. I have just this morning ordered the brake discs.

Didn't go for PAGID in the end, bought EBC 278mm solid discs. The EBC Discs are effectively double the price, but I have the knowledge that they are made in the UK to very high standards. I spent nearly three hours on the internet yesterday weighing up all the pros and cons of cheaper discs and in the end, I'd rather know exactly where they came from and I'm putting money back in the hands of a UK business which seemed only the right thing to do in the end. Discs cost 83.98 inclusive of VAT and 24hr delivery.

I had both back wheels off this morning. Off side rear is scraping a good 'un when the rotor is turned. The rear pads look significantly worn. I'm a little disappointed in a way, because I've been back through my two service sheets and there is no mention or advisory of brake pads requiring replacement. I've only done 3444 miles in my Caddy since last August 16th 2011! 19363 in total as of this morning. Still, looking at the genuine fit GM SAAB stamped discs, they look like they need changing and I'll be happier when I've done it. There's nothing stamped on them to say where they were made, only the date of manufacture, 2007, so they could have been made in the Far East or anywhere on behalf of SAAB. At least with the EBC discs, they do have made in the UK stamped on their outer edge. I'm going to use genuine GM pads, 31.56 from my local Vauxhall dealer. Again, I could get cheaper pads for 10 quid less, but I'd be happier with GM. I'm going to have the brake fluid flushed and changed next week too, as soon as I've replaced the discs and pads. Was going to do it in May, but just as well get it all done at the same time. Basically, new discs, pads and brake fluid change is costing me 150 which is a huge saving over getting it all done at a garage.

Concerning the handbrake, I believe it's all operated via a cable onto the calipers, no braking shoes. If you need to tighten your handbrake, go into the centre console inside the car. Inside that you will find a wavy piece of rubbery plastic next to the cigarette lighter socket. Pull it off with a screwdriver blade and inside, you will see a silver nut head. That is how you tighten your handbrake. That's what I love about this car, it's set up almost identically to the SAAB 9-3 and that is how I found that little nugget of info out, by reading the SAAB Forum threads. Learning lots of good stuff! I've just been out and tried mine and it takes a good six or seven clicks before it's stuck on. I think it should operate only on four clicks which is probably another indicator my pads are knacked!

My MOT is due in December too, the 17th of December in fact, so I'll stick it in at the beginning of the month and if it goes straight through great, if something crops up, I'll have time to sort it.

03-16-12, 05:19 AM
Hi ExRP01,
Thanks for the info I think your right to go for the branded pads .. interesting about the handbrake and a relief because the volvo I had did have handbrake shoes and they collapsed inside the drum and made a hell of a mess!!
My caddy has done 50,500 hassle fre miles majority at motorway/Autobahn speeds and I am very happy with it .. in fact it is on a par with the S80 volvo I had, in terms of drivability and comfort .. not to mention better gizmos.

03-16-12, 05:51 AM
I'm still really pleased too with my own BLS. You are right, the spec level is excellent and I can't fault it for comfort. Everything works seamlessly, down to the iphone connecting with the onboard UHP.

Back to topic, hopefully my discs will arrive soon this morning. I actually bought genuine GM pads from a seller on ebay. They fit the Vectra/Signum/Saab and I had checked out the part number from the Vauxhall dealer before I bid on them. I got them for just slightly less than half price. Just waiting their arrival now. Concerning pads, I learned a long time ago, that like oil filters, the best thing you can possibly do, is to buy genuine brake pads from the dealership. Invariably, they are only about 10 more expensive than cheaper branded pads, but the thing I have found with genuine pads is that on the whole, they bed in much better. Not only that, they are made to fit the brake caliper carrier correctly. I've bought cheap pads in the past where the pad frame has been a sloppy fit in the carrier.

After further extensive reading, it seems that premature rear disc/pad wear on Saab's has been an issue for many. Apparently, if you drive your BLS/Saab 9-3 in a spirited fashion through bends and corners (I am guilty of that often!) the stability control kicks in and there is constant braking adjustment to assist in preventing the vehicle from sliding away from you, hence the rear discs apparently do a lot more work than you might imagine. It seems a perfectly plausible explanation once you have read through a few testimonials of this. You'd be surprised too believe it or not, if you do drive your BLS hard, it isn't as sloppy in the bends and corners as some might have you believe. Trust me, I've flung my BLS very hard into bends and it handles very very well!

Well the wife is out at the moment and she's being a good girl and is getting me some thread locking compound. I almost forgot that. If I'm going to do the job, I'm going to do it absolutely properly. Looking forward to it!

03-17-12, 03:09 PM
Job done!!

EBC British made standard solid discs (part number D1252) arrived Friday afternoon, genuine GM pads - made in India, (part number 93192623 - Vauxhall stock number fits Vectra/Signum/Saab and of course, Cadillac BLS) arrived this morning and thankfully, they fit!

Fairly easy job, just a bit of a pain getting the caliper carrier bolts out because of old thread lock. The actual caliper bolts came out really easily. The pads were absolutely shot. Offside inboard pad was completely worn away down to the metal plate, which is worrying from the perspective, nothing untoward was picked up on the last service (main dealer) and that was just over 3000 miles ago - not happy! Hence discs were shot too. Heavy scoring on both inboard/outboard on each disc.

Cleaned everything up, new discs fitted. By far the hardest part of the job, was pushing the caliper pistons back in. What an absolute pain, even with the rewind tool, I had to use a pair of long nose pliers too, to wind the pistons back in (clockwise by the way). They eventually went back in smoothly. Anyway caliper carrier refitted, carrier bolts thread locked and all went back a treat. Pads in and back plates copper greased. Wheels on, test drive perfect, nice even braking, no squealing whatsoever. Handbrake adjusted very easily via nut in centre arm rest. Just need to book car in next week for brake fluid flush/change.

All in all, very pleased with todays work. Cost 83.98 for quality discs, genuine GM pads 15 (ebay bargain!), plus a fiver for the brake rewind tool and thread lock. I had all other tools including brake parts cleaner, so no other outlay was required.

I'd like to point out, that the vast majority of my driving has involved motorway/dual carriageway journeys, so the rear discs and pads wearing in the way they did, seems a little odd, but, I guess anything is possible. But it seems from the reading I've done, some Saab 9-3 owners have experienced a similar problem. I'll definitely keep more of an eye on the rears in the future!

03-22-12, 01:23 PM
Final chapter of my little saga sorted today. Brake fluid has been changed at a Saab Independent workshop, just six weeks before the car reaches four years from production and service log has been stamped, so complies with warranty.

Job cost 40 quid as per original quote. Technician did the job whilst I waited. Took about 40 minutes from start to finish. I will definitely be using the same place for my next service. Doing the ridiculous round trips I was doing to go to a Cadillac dealer is no longer sustainable. Not only that, at least the Saab Indy knows what he's doing with these cars, especially the diesel variant.

I asked if the sort of rear brake disc and pad wear I've seen on my own BLS is 'normal'. I was informed by the Technician that he's seen it often on Saab's and my BLS will probably be no exception to this as it shares the same braking system. Apparently, the rear brakes on these do much more work than you might imagine and the car is quite heavy. Obviously the amount of wear will undoubtedly also be linked to driving style, so some people may not suffer a similar wear pattern as I have.

Recommendation - keep a good eye on your rear discs and pads!