: spindle nut 1990 brougham

Johnny Kaka
05-12-13, 12:21 AM
Hey guys,

I am changing out the rotors and brakes on my 90 Brougham. I do not have the right size socket for it. I'll have to go get one tomorrow. In the meantime, could anyone give me any advice for this job? What potential pitfalls can I fall into? I know it's a simple brake job, but the last time I tried this I unknowingly busted a line and ran into a tree. (The calipers are now hanging from some wire and a zip tie.) So I have shied away from brakes until now.

05-12-13, 03:45 AM
Where are you located and where was the car originally from???? I ask this because on any northern car of this age, the brake lines are usually corroded and in need of replacement.

One pitfall is that on the front calipers the slider pins can become siezed, requiring a big torch to get them loose. Always grease these pins when you do a brake job, using the proper high temp grease(there is specific grease for this at your auto parts store, don't use wheel bearing grease).

Johnny Kaka
05-12-13, 11:20 AM
I'm in NJ, the cars been a NJ car its whole life. Luckily, the previous owner put steel reinforced lines in and replaced the master cylinder. But breaking that spindle nut is a bitch. I cannot find the right socket for it. I'vce been to the store twice and failed to get the right socket.

05-12-13, 01:25 PM
You don't use a socket, you use a crescent wrench or big slip joint pliers. It won't be tight.

05-12-13, 01:29 PM
Steel reinforced lines? Brake line is steel.

05-12-13, 03:20 PM
Probably the spiral armour coated stuff.

Johnny Kaka
05-12-13, 04:15 PM
I wish I knew that! I had no idea it was as simple as a set of pliers. I mistook the axle sockets for what I needed, since the nut was too big for a 1 inch socket, and I thought I was going to need a breaker bar for it. I probably wasted an entire day altogether stressing over it.

Is there an easy way to get the bearing assembly out, before I waste another hour?
*thanks guys for all the help so far. Best forum on the internet.

05-12-13, 04:30 PM
Bearing assembly? They're taper bearings and replaceable races. Races can be removed with a punch, and new ones seated with an appropriate sized socket. New rotors come with new races installed.

Johnny Kaka
05-12-13, 04:56 PM
I am looking at my new rotor and there is no setup in there it is just an empty hole. The factory manual refers to the piece I mean as the "bearing assembly and outer cone"

05-12-13, 05:34 PM
New bearings will come with the "seat", you can use those ones if your new rotors don't have them. Do you know how to pack the bearings with grease? BTW is Johnny Kaka your real name?

Johnny Kaka
05-12-13, 06:19 PM
I'm afraid I don't know how to pack the bearings. It looks like there is another bearing setup behind the rotor as well, but there was a rubber lip on the old rotor, keeping it in. What is the name of this so I can replace it?
Johnny Kaka has been my nickname since childhood. There are people that don't know my real name and call me that. It is catchy, I like it.

05-12-13, 07:09 PM
Here is a video on how to do your bearings. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BBwu2c1rLA

05-12-13, 07:21 PM
There is an inner and outer bearing. Most bearings come with new races, some don't (stupid, since you do both together). The seals usually have to be purchased separately.

The seat is pressed in first, then the bearing is put in place, and then the seal is pressed in.

05-12-13, 09:03 PM
Please... if this is your first time doing this, you really need someone to come over and help you. If you don't what the parts are, where they go, how to install them, you can easily damage your car. Improper bearing packing or preload will ruin the spindle. Brakes are easy to do, IF you know all the tricks to do them properly.

Johnny Kaka
05-12-13, 09:25 PM
The problem that I have, is I don't trust any mechanics, I can't afford one, and I don't know anyone that would help me. I would've had this done yesterday if I had help, but I don't have anyone to help me right now. The car could be off the ground all week once I go back to work.


I meant mechanics in my area, not the good folks on these boards.

05-12-13, 10:59 PM
Where are you? Maybe one of us is local. If not, we'll get you through it, explaining, pics, videos. Just don't do anything without checking first.

05-12-13, 11:23 PM
I'll bet there are videos on youtube explaining it. Like said before, it's pretty easy, but if you have never seen any of it done before, simple mistakes can be made.

Johnny Kaka
05-13-13, 12:15 PM
I am really thankful for everyone helping out here. I was a bit ashamed of my ignorance, but I'd really prefer to know how to properly fix the brakes on my cad without a mechanic. When I took off the wheel, I knew I was in for a ride. I thought all rotors just slipped over the bolts and it would be a simple job. I have found a bunch of videos. I can take pics as well if need be. I will probably need a lot more help in the days to come, if you guys don't mind hanging with me.
Currently I have installed the old bearings in the rotor, replaced the seal (the new one has a lip on it - is that to prevent damage when removing? The last seal had no lip and I bashed it up pretty good.) and installed the rotor onto the spindle.the front bearings are installed as well as the washer and spindle nut. I re-packed the new bearing cases with grease, as per the video suggested (which was very helpful, thank you!). The inside of the rotor in the front has been slathered with grease as well. Rotor spins nicely, maybe for about 1 revolution on it's own. The only thing missing from this side is the cotter pin. I can't seem to find it anywhere. Autozone didn't have any. Just hairpins.
I have watched a bunch of videos. It looks fairly simple, but I have lost a little confidence since realizing I didn't know what kind of rotor I had. I live on a hill, and I'm petrified of botching this and wrecking my car or hurting someone.

right now I'm going to hunt down a cotter pin and get the calipers and new shoes back on. What should I be looking out for before installing the calipers? Is there something small that I could miss and screw it up? I have not bled them at all. they are hanging from a zip tie in the wheel well.

Maybe I should mention what brought this on. The brakes have been pulsating pretty badly since I got it. I assumed it was a warped rotor. I could even feel it on the right side. But they were very strong, so I figured I could leave the rotor change until after some other things that need attention (the rear shocks need replacement - they're shot.) A few weeks back, the brakes became very spongy, to an uncomfortable degree. I was pumping the pedal and driving slowly since then, and I knew this had to get done immediately. What I thought was that the rotor has shifted and/or become unstable and is causing excessive play in the brakes. This is why I started the project in my garage this weekend. I just didn't anticipate not knowing what I was doing! I'm determined to fix and learn this car without taking it somewhere. But I would rather do it right the first time and not have any catastrophes. I suppose I could have done some more research before starting. But with youtube, the factory manual, and most of all this site, I feel like I am in good shape.
Thanks everybody.

05-13-13, 01:26 PM
If the rotor is warped, you need to either put on new rotors, or remove them again, take them to the parts store, get them turned, and do the reinstall all over. Any parts store will have the pin you need for the castle nut. We call them cotter pins, but they aren't, they are a straight pin that you pass through, then bend the ends back over then nut. You MUST put the correct preload on the nut! While you are at the parts store, get new pads, new slide pins, and a caliper slider service kit (slides and o rings).

Get back to us after you have all that stuff... also, can you take pictures and post them as you do things? This way we can try and make sure you are doing things correctly. It's important to understand that if you don't get this right, you could easily kill yourself or others. Not trying to scare you, this isn't a difficult job, it just needs to be done right.

05-13-13, 01:54 PM
I just did this same process to my 87 brougham before winter. It was my first time doing it, also. I ordered new rotors/hubs, new bearings (inner and outer), new "cotter pin" (which as Jay said isn't really a cotter pin), new calipers and new pads.

As Jay suggested I used some channel lock pilars to get my castle nut off.

To pack the bearings I used some lucas "think n tacky" red bearing grease. Put a glob in the palm of your hand and tap the bottom of the bearing into the glob repeatedly until you see the greasing coming out the top side of it. After they are packed I smeared some grease into the hub's race and pushed the bearings into place.

I smeared some more on my spindle and put the hubs on, then the outer bearings and the castle nut. I tightened it down with my channel locks and then backed it out to "just tight".

The only problem I ran into was getting the calipers off. My caliper bolts were rusted pretty good and one of them the hex hole for the key was rounded. I sprayed it down with some pb blaster and the next day it turned easy with some vice grips.

I've put a couple hundred miles on the car since then and it rolls great, stops great, no bearing or brake problems.

Hope that helps.


Also check this out from when I did it:


Maybe some good info for you.

Johnny Kaka
05-13-13, 03:18 PM
I have new rotors, new shoes, but I'm using the old bearings. Is that wrong? Should I get new ones? I repacked them with new grease. A friend of mine mentioned "preloading" the bearings. I don't exactly get what he means. I am not replacing calipers at this point, will I still need to bleed them?

By slide pins, you don't mean the housing bolts right?
That's what the Napa people keep telling me I need. My housing bolts are fine as far as I can tell. What is the slide pin? I have this:
but I think there is a bolt that goes inside? Not sure how to proceed.
- JayoldSchool, I know exactly what you're saying, and I promise not to move this vehicle until I'm 100%. When I get back from work, I'll start posting some pics of what I'm doing.

05-13-13, 05:10 PM
You're on the right track. Those two links are exactly what you need. The bolts and the bushings. Lube the slider HOUSING BOLTS with the correct high temp brake lube, same for the CALIPER BOLT SLEEVE (and check the O rings inside the mount, replace if needed). Also, I always reuse bearings with new rotors. Unless the bearings are damaged, I don't replace. I clean carefully, repack, and install. New seal on the back, install with a piece of wood, or my favourite tool, a hockey puck. No need to bleed unless you opened a line. You will need a big C clamp or a brake piston tool (I use C clamp) to push the piston back in the bore to give clearance for the new pads. Take the master cylinder cover off when you do this.

Here's the way I preload the bearings. Others may do it different. There are how tos out there, read, watch videos. Install rotor on spindle. Add outer bearing. Add spacer. Add nut. Tighten nut by hand. Grab nut with slip joint pliers. Start turning rotor with one hand while tightening the nut with the pliers. When you begin to feel drag on the rotor, stop tightening. Back the nut off to the hole in the spindle, insert the pin that's not called a cotter pin (lol), bend the ends back, cut the extra off, hammer the dust cap in place, give the rotor a spin to check that it is turning freely, grab the rotor edges to make sure there is no play, do the pads/caliper, repeat on the other side. I've done a lot of GM RWD front brakes in the past 25 years, and I have yet to damage a race/bearing/rotor/spindle.

Johnny Kaka
05-13-13, 11:31 PM

this is what I came up with. I preloaded the bearing as instructed. when I backed off, I was spinning the rotor, and it tightened the nut on its own. Pin is in and bent. I wiped a bunch of grease out of the way so we could see.


This is what I got at Autozone. slides seals, clips and grease. The old pins are pictured. Once I cleaned them I saw that maybe they need replacing!

Next step is the calipers.


Jay, you were right. These pins are shot. At least they look shot to me.

05-14-13, 06:17 AM
I've reused much worse but always regretted it. Now when I pull them if there's any signs of rust or roughness I replace them. Cheap enough.

Johnny Kaka
05-15-13, 08:16 AM
I installed everything else last night. Everything looks ok but the outer pad is a bit loose. won't this cause rattling/clunking when I hit bumps? is there a clip I can get for the outer pad? Also, the pads are rubbing on the rotor. Will this resolve when I start the car and push in the brake pedal?

05-15-13, 11:12 AM
If you can spin the rotor with one hand with a little (not much) drag with the pads and caliper on, things should be good. Make sure you pump the pedal a couple times before driving, and double check the level of fluid in the master. Take it easy on the first drive. You may want to look up the procedure on "bedding brake pads".

Johnny Kaka
05-15-13, 03:18 PM
I would like to do that, but I live in a crowded NJ area, and it will be hard to get up to 60 on a back country road. I'd get rear ended doing it at any time on the highway. (I might get away with it if I went out at 3 am).
There's a good chance I'll have to bleed all four brakes. I'm told this is very easy, but I'm more nervous about that than anything else. Is it as simple as running a tube to an oil pan, opening the Bleeder valve, having someone press the brake pedal all the way in, and closing the valve while the pedal is still in? what could I do to screw up a bleed?

05-15-13, 07:50 PM
Don't worry about bedding them, they'll still work fine. Why do you think you need to bleed? And, no, that's not how you bleed.

Johnny Kaka
05-16-13, 08:56 AM
The brakes are still very mushy. The brake fluid looks very dark. Now that I have new pads and rotors, I can hear air when I hit the brake pedal. I have heard and read that was how you bleed brakes, but that isn't exactly how the manual describes it. So that is what I want to figure out how to do next. How difficult is it?

05-16-13, 09:47 AM
It's easy. When I did my 87 I went to napa and got a "break bleeder kit" for like $5. It was just a little bottle with a magnet on it and some tubes. Hooked the tubes to the bleeder screws and opened them, then pumped the brakes a little, watching the tube to see any bubbles. Also keep an eye on your fluid level in the master cylinder. When no more bubbles are seen I closed the bleeder and that was it, I believe.

A quick google search nets you lots of youtube videos and how-to articles for doing it alone or with a partner.

Johnny Kaka
05-18-13, 06:54 PM
Bleed is happening tomorrow. Next stop is my rear shocks. I'm starting a new thread on those, where I'm sure to make a fool of myself all over again.

05-18-13, 07:05 PM
Is it as simple as running a tube to an oil pan, opening the Bleeder valve, having someone press the brake pedal all the way in, and closing the valve while the pedal is still in? what could I do to screw up a bleed?

That is correct. Brake fluid doesnt always cooperate but its that simple. Like outsider said, keep fluid in the res cause if you run out, you'll be in for a lot longer job then should be.