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Tim's Auto Repair
Tim's Auto Repair, mechanic
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Experience:  Have owned a repair shop for 25 yrs.
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How to collapse the rear brake calipers on a 1998 vw jetta

Resolved Question:

how to collapse the rear brake calipers on a 1998 vw jetta
Submitted: 6 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  Tim's Auto Repair replied 6 years ago.


you need to turn the caliper piston clockwise to get it to go may be able to rent a tool to do this at auto zone and most parts stores...but,you can do this with a large set of pliers


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Volkswagen Golf/Jetta/Cabriole 1990-1999

Brake Pads




NOTE Parking brake adjustment is only necessary after replacing brake pads or other brake components. If the parking brake does not hold the vehicle, the rear calipers and brake pads must be removed for inspection.

  1. Raise and safely support the rear of the vehicle on jackstands and remove the rear wheels.
  2. With the parking brake handle down and the brake fully released, firmly apply the brake pedal once.
  3. Pull the parking brake lever up 2-3 clicks. If the rear wheels cannot be turned by hand, no adjustment is required.
  4. If adjustment is required, loosen the locknuts and the adjusting nuts to just relieve the tension on the cables.
  5. Hold the release button on the handle and move the handle up and down 3 or more times to seat the cables and make sure they move freely, then leave the handle down.
  6. Tighten the cable adjusting nuts evenly until the actuating levers on the calipers just move off their stops. The gap must be less than 0.059 inch (1.5mm).
  7. To check for correct adjustment:
    1. At the first click, the rotors should turn by hand with some drag.
    2. At the second click, the rotors should be difficult to turn.
    3. At the third click, it should not be possible to turn the rotors by hand.
    4. When the brake handle is released, the rotors should turn freely.


Removal & Installation

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Once the caliper is supported, slide the pads out of the rotor

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Lube the guide bolts with a synthetic caliper grease

Click image to see an enlarged view

Fig. Always inspect the anti rattle clips for damage

Some brake pads contain asbestos, which has been determined to be a cancer causing agent. Never clean the brake surfaces with compressed air! Avoid inhaling any dust from any brake surface! When cleaning brake surfaces, use a commercially available brake cleaning fluid.

  1. Raise and safely support the vehicle and remove the rear wheels.
  2. Remove a sufficient quantity of brake fluid from the master cylinder reservoir to prevent it from over flowing when installing the pads. This is necessary as the caliper piston must be forced into the cylinder bore to provide sufficient clearance to install new pads.
  3. Remove the parking brake cable clip from the caliper. Disconnect the parking brake cable.
  4. Hold the guide pin with a back-up wrench and remove the upper mounting bolt from the brake caliper.
  5. Swing the caliper downward and remove the brake pads.
  6. Check the rotor for scoring and resurface or replace as necessary. Check the caliper for fluid leaks or a damaged dust seal. If any damage is found, the caliper will require overhauling or replacement.


To install:

  1. Retract the piston into the housing by rotating the piston clockwise.
  2. Carefully clean the anchor plate and install the new brake pads onto the pad carrier.
  3. Install the caliper to the pad carrier using a new self locking bolt or a thread locking compound and tighten to 26 ft. lbs. (35 Nm).
  4. Attach the hand brake cable to the caliper. It may be necessary to back off the adjustment nuts at the hand brake handle.
  5. Fill the reservoir with brake fluid and pump the brake pedal about 40 times with the engine off to set the piston. Setting the piston with the power assist could cause the piston to jam.
  6. Check the parking brake operation, adjust the cable if necessary.
  7. Road test the vehicle.



The brake pad wear limit is 0.080 inch (2mm). If the pads show signs of heat cracks or if they are worn unevenly, check the caliper for a sticking piston or guides. Check the caliper for signs of fluid leakage or damage to the dust seal. Check the rotor for signs of heat cracks or discoloration. Minimum allowed thickness of solid brake rotors is 0.393 inches (10mm). Maximum allowed run-out is 0.002 inch (0.06mm).

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Customer: replied 6 years ago.
I haven't been able to turn it in all the way. I seem to have hit a limit to how far I can turn in the caliper piston. But I can not install caliper. Does the emergancy brake have abything to do with this problem? The emergancy brake is not applied