Alright guys - not sure if anyone has posted details on changing the brakes on a Golf R before (i couldn't find one anyway), so i decided to take some pics while i removed the factory pads and fitted new Remsa pads.
The reason for the pad change is plain and simple - i hate the immense amount of brake dust that the pads on European cars emit. After only 400km of easy driving, i have had to clean the wheels 3 times already.
Firstly, the front pads are only slightly bigger (about 5mm all round - checked against my friends 2007 GTI) than a GTI, although the rear pads are exactly the same. The Remsa pads were sourced through Greg @ GSL Rallysport and he was very helpful and easy to deal with. GSL RallySport, The Motor Sport Revolution!
Front Pads Time Needed: approx 40 minutes or so Tools Needed: 7mm allen key, several flat blade screwdrivers, some masking tape to protect the caliper from scratching.
Image of front pads: Stock VW ones on the right, new Remsa pads on the left. Note the plug is for the low brake pad warning sensor and is fitted to the passenger side of the vehicle.
Step 1) Once you have the wheels off, on the rear of the caliper there are 2 plastic caps that need to be removed to gain access to allen key bolts. Using a 7mm allen key, loosen the allen key bolts and remove them - this will allow you to separate the caliper and gain access to the pads.
Step 2) You will also need to remove the spring on the face of the caliper (the part with the R logo on it). In order to protect the paint on my calipers, i chose to put some masking tape over the areas at risk of being scratched. Insert a flathead screwdriver at each end of the spring arms to lever the spring arms away from the caliper slightly. Once you have done this, several decent tugs on the spring (towards the centre) will have it pop off. Just keep a good hold of it because it has some spring-iness in it and will fly off if you aren’t holding onto it.
Step 3) Once you have removed the 2x allen key bolts from the rear of the caliper and removed the R spring on the face of the caliper, you will now be able to wiggle the caliper off. I would suggest getting something (piece of wood/box etc) about 20cm high to rest the caliper while you change the pads, to avoid stretching the brake lines.
Step 4) Now if you have travelled some kilometres in your R, you will need to use a brake piston compressor to push the piston back inside the caliper unit before fitting the new pads. Because my R had only 400kms on it when i did the pad change, this step wasn’t necessary for me. Remove the old pads, and replace them with the new pads. Note that the passenger side brake pad features a low pad sensor (as shown in the 2nd image below).
Step 5) Once the new pads have been fitted, and your caliper piston has been compressed back in to the caliper, you can re-fit the caliper body that you removed earlier. In reverse order of the stages you took to dismantle the caliper, re-fit the two allen key bolts into the rear of the caliper (don’t forget the dust caps) and then the fun part........re-fitting the spring with the R logo. This is a pain in the neck and you will need to use your muscles. One side took me about 10 mins to get the spring back in, and the other side only took about 1 minute - so just keep persisting if you are having trouble. Then put your wheel back on.
Obviously, double check that all bolts have been tightened up and then pump the brake pedal a few times to push the caliper pistons onto the new pads. You may need to pump the brake half a dozen times before the pedal regains its feel again. Then take the car for a carefull drive and check that everything feels ok.
Rear Brakes Tools Needed: 13mm and 15mm open-ended spanners Time required: Approx 5-10mins each side once you have the wheel off
Image of the standard pads with the new Remsa pads.(new pads on the top, stock pads on the bottom)
Step 1) Once you have the wheel off, locate the two bolts on the rear of the brake caliper which secure the two parts of the caliper together. You will need a 13mm open ended spanner to undo the bolts while simultaneously using a 15mm spanner to prevent the bolt from spinning (hard to explain but see the 2nd image below)
Step 2) Once you have the two bolts undone, remove them from the body of the calliper. You should now be able to wiggle centre part of the caliper off and gain access to the brake pads.
Step 3) This is pretty much a common sense exercise now. Remove the stock pads from the caliper and replace them with the new pads. The pads sit in a specific area of the calliper so you’d be hard pressed to get it wrong here.
Step 4) Once the new pads have been put in place, re-fit the central caliper section over the top of the pads. Note, that you may need to use a caliper piston compressor to re-set the piston into the caliper at this stage.
Re-insert the 2 bolts that you removed in Step 1 and 2 and do them up tightly. It should now look like this.
Lastly, put your wheel back on and pump the brake pedal until you get a firm pedal feel, then take the car for a cautious drive and double check everything feels and works ok.
My car has now travelled approx 4,000km with the new pads installed and they are fantastic - im very happy with them. Brake dust is mearly a fraction of what the stock pads put out.
They provide excellent stopping power (rated to 650 degrees), and they dont emit any noises or squeals etc. No negatives at all to be honest.
Below is a picture of my front wheels after approx 400km of driving. A mix of about 150km of highway and the remainder in the city. You can see the wheels are still visually very clean. With the stock pads, the wheels would be an obvious grey colour by now:
6,000km in and these Remsa pads are still brilliant. Seriously recommend changing your stock pads over to these - if for no reason other than CLEAN wheels.
These pads bite hard (as tested on a recent spirited drive on some twisties), are well priced, have no negative side effects and keep your wheels much cleaner than the stock pads. And no doubt my disks will last longer without those horrible standard metallic pads tearing away at them.
M4RKO - yes i changed the pads on my friends Mk5 GTI as well. Pretty much the same process. The rear pads and process are exactly the same, but the fronts are a little different. Didn't take any photos of his pad change though im sorry.
Originally Posted by M4RK0
Awesome Lukas!! Very nice write up
Will this be similar doing on the GTI?
Thanks Cam. Yes i initially contacted GSL to ask about either ProjectMu (which i had in my old 200sx and they were great) or the QFM pads - but he recommended the Remsa ones and said that i wouldn't be disappointed as they are fantastic pads. Turns out he was right. Greg from GSL was very helpful and polite etc.
Originally Posted by Cam
Great write up Lucas.
I've read on various forums GSL are good to deal with.