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Old 04-29-2020, 04:22 PM   #1
BrandonKastning
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Wrench 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

I attempted a rear axle brake pad swap today. I learned quite a bit. Firstly I pulled the bolts which leaked oil or brake fluid (not sure which one) (guessing brake fluid) onto my brake discs.

I did some googling and quickly mitigated it the best I could by using paper towels to dab the leaks and then used rubbing alcohol and dabbed the parts I could still see. (If it was oil; google results said that if I didn't use alcohol then it could heat up later when driving and then my brakes wouldn't work. (I learned the hard way a few years back using WD-40 thinking it would help my brakes)... big mistake. (Please don't ever try that).

Okay so I get everything all ready. And the caliper pins look as if they require a special tool. The service manual from Saturn doesn't specify the tool to use.

I took a picture because it's solid round. I am quite puzzled; that shouldn't surprise those who know me on here so far!

Any pointers would help! If it is a special tool, then I really need to know what to buy!

Thanks as always!

Best Regards,

Brandon Kastning
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:03 PM   #2
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

1-You'll probably need to bleed that brake caliper after replacing the brake pads.

2-This youtube video may help; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeJp5uZwttY. There are one or two soft steel pins, each one about 1/8th of an inch diameter that need to be pushed out to release the brake pads and spring retainer. I use a small diameter pin punch to knock these pins out. A nail of the appropriate diameter can be used too, preferably grinding down the point to a flat to make the largest contact area against the pin to drive it out. You may have to use a screwdriver or small pry bar to leverage the caliper piston loose, back into home position. When prying, you'll know if you did it right as the brake pads will loosen up. All disc brakes are self adjusting by clamping the brake pads against the rotor, leaving zero air space between rotor and pads. The pads rub lightly against the rotor to keep dirt from being embedded as well as act quickly to braking application.

As you can see, the service manuals leave a lot to be desired. Older manuals from the '60s were extremely informative with detailed line drawings, photo illustrations and snapshots for accurate views to anyone getting their hands dirty.
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Old 04-29-2020, 05:12 PM   #3
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

To replace the brake pads on the style of caliper in your picture you do not remove the bolts. The bolts hold the caliper together and if you removed/loosened them than you have caused brake fluid to leak out and likely compromised the brake calipers.

To remove the brake pads the pins like in the second picture and the clip need to be removed and the pads pushed back to retract the pistons and then slide the pads out of the caliper.

All you need to remove the pins is a punch of a slightly smaller size than the pins and then tap them out.
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
To replace the brake pads on the style of caliper in your picture you do not remove the bolts. The bolts hold the caliper together and if you removed/loosened them than you have caused brake fluid to leak out and likely compromised the brake calipers.

To remove the brake pads the pins like in the second picture and the clip need to be removed and the pads pushed back to retract the pistons and then slide the pads out of the caliper.

All you need to remove the pins is a punch of a slightly smaller size than the pins and then tap them out.
ssicarman,

What do I do now that I have compromised my brake calipers (which I most probably did) ... lots of fluid came gushing out. All over the disc too. (I would say 5/20 area of space on the disc) ended up getting fluids on it.

I am not 100% what a brake caliper is... do I need to replace a new part?

Thank you.
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Old 04-29-2020, 06:05 PM   #5
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Wrench Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
1-You'll probably need to bleed that brake caliper after replacing the brake pads.

2-This youtube video may help; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AeJp5uZwttY. There are one or two soft steel pins, each one about 1/8th of an inch diameter that need to be pushed out to release the brake pads and spring retainer. I use a small diameter pin punch to knock these pins out. A nail of the appropriate diameter can be used too, preferably grinding down the point to a flat to make the largest contact area against the pin to drive it out. You may have to use a screwdriver or small pry bar to leverage the caliper piston loose, back into home position. When prying, you'll know if you did it right as the brake pads will loosen up. All disc brakes are self adjusting by clamping the brake pads against the rotor, leaving zero air space between rotor and pads. The pads rub lightly against the rotor to keep dirt from being embedded as well as act quickly to braking application.

As you can see, the service manuals leave a lot to be desired. Older manuals from the '60s were extremely informative with detailed line drawings, photo illustrations and snapshots for accurate views to anyone getting their hands dirty.
fdryer,

I checked the video; however it seems as if the end of those pins on the 2004 have a 19mm from the sounds of it. Mine is just round. So I need to find a nail and use a hammer (is that my understanding) ?

And yes they do seem to leave a lot out. Too bad they don't do it like they did in the 60's anymore. Photo illustrations that aren't difficult to see (like chilton) would be very useful.

And tools required for each job I think would also be useful. I do know that chilton doesn't do that. Does haynes? If so; might be worth picking it up for the tools required section reference.
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:00 PM   #6
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonKastning View Post
ssicarman,

What do I do now that I have compromised my brake calipers (which I most probably did) ... lots of fluid came gushing out. All over the disc too. (I would say 5/20 area of space on the disc) ended up getting fluids on it.

I am not 100% what a brake caliper is... do I need to replace a new part?

Thank you.
Brake clean will clean the brake fluid off of the rotors.
I have never split the calipers open so I am not sure what seals them. It may be a rubber type seal or metal to metal sealing. For safety and legal reasons replacement would be a good idea.

Sample picture of caliper.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...374948&jsn=357
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Old 04-29-2020, 07:20 PM   #7
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Brandon,

Some posters have mentioned a punch to push out the retaining pins for the brake pads. If you have one, use it. If you don;t then just a long nail that is strong enough to push out the pin. Once the pin has moved a bit you use pliers at the opposite end to pull it out. Before you reinstall the retaining pins, give them a good clean up and a dab of grease in the holes. That way the pins will go in easily and stay in.

If you have gotten brake fluid on the brake rotor you can clean this off with a can of spray brake cleaner. If you have gotten fluid on the pads, then they are contaminated and need throwing away and new ones installed. You can't clean brake pads. When you install new pads, dab some grease on the backs of the pads so they connect nice and smooth to the pistons. If the pads are worn then you will need to push the pistons back into their housings as the new pads will be too think to fit otherwise. You can do this with a large screwdriver or a large c clamp to push the piston back in. It's easier to loosen the bleed nipple to do this, BUT you may end up having to bleed the system, so keep it simple.

FYI... The braking system works by having brake fluid in a sealed system that works under pressure. So when you press the brake pedal, the fluid is put under pressure and wants to move. The only things that can move are the brake pads, so press on the brake pedal and that is the action. The reaction is the pressure pushes the brake pads towards the sides of the brake rotor and hey presto, the car slows down. You cannot compress brake fluid, but you can compress air. That is why you do not want air in your braking system. If air does get in, you will lose pressure and braking ability. Cars do have safety back up systems though.

Each brake caliper has a "bleed nipple'. Essentially, when this nipple is opened by loosening it with a wrench, you allow fluid to escape and air to get in. The only way you can fix this is to 'bleed the brakes'. You can do this single handed, but many folks enlist a helper. One pressing the brake pedal. the other watching the brake fluid & air coming out the bleed nipple, then locking it up when no more air bubbles are seen in the fluid. You will need to read up on bleeding brakes and the stuff you will need.

Here is a tip I use when I am working on the brakes on the rear of the L 300 and need to remove the caliper from the car. Behind the caliper, there is a steel rigid line, which goes along the trailing arm and then connects to a flexible rubber hose, which in turn connects to another steel rigid line. The purpose of the rubber flexible hose is to flex with the up and down movement of the suspension. What I do to reduce dramatically any spilled brake fluid is I get a pair of vice grips and a couple of small pieces of hard board or similar. Placing the 2 pieces either side of the rubber flexible hose, I then squeeze the vice grips around the the 2 pieces (it avoids damaging the rubber hose). What you are doing is blocking off the flow of brake fluid. So if you have to remove the caliper, the only fluid you lose is from that clamp point to the caliper, which is a few drops at most. You can also buy plastic grips that you can use directly on rubber hoses to clamp them down.

Just think of it in medical terms when they get a bleeder in an operation. They clamp the blood vessel to stop the flow of blood. Same difference with your car.
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:00 PM   #8
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
Brake clean will clean the brake fluid off of the rotors.
I have never split the calipers open so I am not sure what seals them. It may be a rubber type seal or metal to metal sealing. For safety and legal reasons replacement would be a good idea.

Sample picture of caliper.

https://www.rockauto.com/en/moreinfo...374948&jsn=357
ssicarman,

Thank you for that! I will invest in some brake clean and clean those discs up nicely!

After reading florida's post; I think I opened up the "bleed nipple"; there were 4 x 11mm socket bolts / wrench bolts that I pulled out completely.

I didn't actually try and pry the calibers apart... It just started oozing out when I pulled the bolts out. 2 were long and 2 were shorter.

This was my error it seems!
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Old 04-29-2020, 08:02 PM   #9
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by floridasl22002 View Post
Brandon,

Some posters have mentioned a punch to push out the retaining pins for the brake pads. If you have one, use it. If you don;t then just a long nail that is strong enough to push out the pin. Once the pin has moved a bit you use pliers at the opposite end to pull it out. Before you reinstall the retaining pins, give them a good clean up and a dab of grease in the holes. That way the pins will go in easily and stay in.

If you have gotten brake fluid on the brake rotor you can clean this off with a can of spray brake cleaner. If you have gotten fluid on the pads, then they are contaminated and need throwing away and new ones installed. You can't clean brake pads. When you install new pads, dab some grease on the backs of the pads so they connect nice and smooth to the pistons. If the pads are worn then you will need to push the pistons back into their housings as the new pads will be too think to fit otherwise. You can do this with a large screwdriver or a large c clamp to push the piston back in. It's easier to loosen the bleed nipple to do this, BUT you may end up having to bleed the system, so keep it simple.

FYI... The braking system works by having brake fluid in a sealed system that works under pressure. So when you press the brake pedal, the fluid is put under pressure and wants to move. The only things that can move are the brake pads, so press on the brake pedal and that is the action. The reaction is the pressure pushes the brake pads towards the sides of the brake rotor and hey presto, the car slows down. You cannot compress brake fluid, but you can compress air. That is why you do not want air in your braking system. If air does get in, you will lose pressure and braking ability. Cars do have safety back up systems though.

Each brake caliper has a "bleed nipple'. Essentially, when this nipple is opened by loosening it with a wrench, you allow fluid to escape and air to get in. The only way you can fix this is to 'bleed the brakes'. You can do this single handed, but many folks enlist a helper. One pressing the brake pedal. the other watching the brake fluid & air coming out the bleed nipple, then locking it up when no more air bubbles are seen in the fluid. You will need to read up on bleeding brakes and the stuff you will need.

Here is a tip I use when I am working on the brakes on the rear of the L 300 and need to remove the caliper from the car. Behind the caliper, there is a steel rigid line, which goes along the trailing arm and then connects to a flexible rubber hose, which in turn connects to another steel rigid line. The purpose of the rubber flexible hose is to flex with the up and down movement of the suspension. What I do to reduce dramatically any spilled brake fluid is I get a pair of vice grips and a couple of small pieces of hard board or similar. Placing the 2 pieces either side of the rubber flexible hose, I then squeeze the vice grips around the the 2 pieces (it avoids damaging the rubber hose). What you are doing is blocking off the flow of brake fluid. So if you have to remove the caliper, the only fluid you lose is from that clamp point to the caliper, which is a few drops at most. You can also buy plastic grips that you can use directly on rubber hoses to clamp them down.

Just think of it in medical terms when they get a bleeder in an operation. They clamp the blood vessel to stop the flow of blood. Same difference with your car.
florida,

Thank you very much for that detailed post! This helps me to actually understand what is being talked about and what I have done, seen and experienced today.

This actually alleviated stress as I believed I was going to have to buy new calibers and a bunch of other break hardware and about lost my mind.

I will do my research on bleeding brakes and hope I can find a way to do it with 1 person. (Maybe the brick joke) ... does it actually work?

Could one of the 4 x 11mm bolts have been the "bleed nipple" for the rear right brake caliber?

Much obliged

- Brandon
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:00 AM   #10
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

In your service manual picture the brake bleeder is at the top of the caliper, all three diagrams. One bleeder per caliper. If this is what you removed/opened then you are golden. Just may need to bleed the system if you left them open long enough to drain the master cylinder reservoir.
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Old 04-30-2020, 01:19 AM   #11
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

It's been a year or two since I replaced pads and rotors on the front and only pads on the back. On the rear brakes, I pushed the caliber piston back, remove brake shoes and put the new pads in place. It took less than 20 minutes, pretty easy.

Then, I used the bleeder valve to flush out old brake fluid until each brake all around flowed clean with new fluid I kept adding as I bled the brake system flushing out the old black brake fluid. I used a rubber hose that fit onto the bleeder nipple and the other end into a small plastic bottle with the end of the hose under brake fluid. This allowed me to flush the old brake fluid out and not worry about air getting into the brake lines. You literally would have a hard time keeping air out any other way. Even when you use two people... they would have to be pushing the brake peddle slightly and slowly while you close the bleeder valve to keep air out... not easy to do. The issue is when you let on the peddle... air can back feed into the caliper causing major issues.

There is a certain order, I can't remember exactly. It had something to do with the ABS. Each brake needed to be bled in a certain order opening only one bleeder valve at a time and repeatedly going around in a certain order. I think you start on the longest brake lines first and circle around next shortest etc... and then repeat a few times while you keep topping off the brake reservoir. Don't let it run dry or you just let air into the brake system. Using a DIY bleeder bottle makes it is easy. I used up one bottle of brake fluid just to perform the flush and about half of the second bottle to top off.

The ugly old black brake fluid was flushed out, no air entered the lines and the brake system was completely purged of air... it worked great. I was amazed how black the old brake fluid was. I should have flushed the fluid years ago!
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Old 04-30-2020, 03:44 AM   #12
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonKastning View Post
fdryer,

I checked the video; however it seems as if the end of those pins on the 2004 have a 19mm from the sounds of it. Mine is just round. So I need to find a nail and use a hammer (is that my understanding) ?
Anything with a 19mm (hex) at the caliper is a caliper mounting bolt and is unrelated to the caliper pins from which the brake pads hang. Was this truly unfamiliar to you?

The 2000 L-Series Brake Service Manual has only one order for bleeding at all four wheels when more than one brake pipe is being bled.

1) right rear; 2) left front; 3)left rear; 4) right front.

There is no separate order especially established for cars with ABS.

If only one brake is being bled then no further bleeding is required elsewhere.

BrandonKastning, I admire your willingness to take on significant tasks to maintain your vehicle. I must admit to being alarmed in this instance, however, as you were unaware that the first items which were loosened on the rear calipers were actually the bleeder screws (bleeder nipples). The work your are performing here is for SAFETY maintenance, but remember that it's not merely for your sake. It's also for the sake of other drivers around you that the car must be able to brake safely and reliably.

As for the fact that the FSM for the brakes didn't seem to provide all of the information you'd expected to see, no, you won't see those things.
It must be remembered that some things go unstated because the volumes are written for professionals with specialized training, owning their tools, working in a factory authorized garage setting, and with required factory specialty tools where applicable that the dealership would own. We are DIYers without the benefit of such things. With that in mind, purchasing a DIY repair manual by HAYNES or CHILTON would also prove useful to you for future work. A mechanic I used to work with gave praise to these books as he had found them useful. Having had a HAYNES Manual now for about 13 years I can say with certainty that it's a very handy book and a useful companion to the FSM volumes. The HAYNES Manual does provide a section on necessary tools.
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Old 04-30-2020, 10:20 AM   #13
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

If your goal is to flush and replace all brake fluid, you must breed all brakes to remove the old brake fluid. Yes, that sequence sound right. The mention to the ABS was from a YT video.

Manuals remain as static printed but the brain fails to do the same. However, if I were going to do the brakes again I would always read over my Haynes before preceding. However, I don't ever recall the Haynes manual ever mentioning the bolt sizes. One of the pet peeves I have with Haynes manuals.
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:50 PM   #14
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ssicarman View Post
In your service manual picture the brake bleeder is at the top of the caliper, all three diagrams. One bleeder per caliper. If this is what you removed/opened then you are golden. Just may need to bleed the system if you left them open long enough to drain the master cylinder reservoir.
ssicarman,

I removed 4 x 19mm bolt (which is now confirmed to be incorrect). Not golden!

Thank you!
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:51 PM   #15
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rj 2000 LS2 View Post
It's been a year or two since I replaced pads and rotors on the front and only pads on the back. On the rear brakes, I pushed the caliber piston back, remove brake shoes and put the new pads in place. It took less than 20 minutes, pretty easy.

Then, I used the bleeder valve to flush out old brake fluid until each brake all around flowed clean with new fluid I kept adding as I bled the brake system flushing out the old black brake fluid. I used a rubber hose that fit onto the bleeder nipple and the other end into a small plastic bottle with the end of the hose under brake fluid. This allowed me to flush the old brake fluid out and not worry about air getting into the brake lines. You literally would have a hard time keeping air out any other way. Even when you use two people... they would have to be pushing the brake peddle slightly and slowly while you close the bleeder valve to keep air out... not easy to do. The issue is when you let on the peddle... air can back feed into the caliper causing major issues.

There is a certain order, I can't remember exactly. It had something to do with the ABS. Each brake needed to be bled in a certain order opening only one bleeder valve at a time and repeatedly going around in a certain order. I think you start on the longest brake lines first and circle around next shortest etc... and then repeat a few times while you keep topping off the brake reservoir. Don't let it run dry or you just let air into the brake system. Using a DIY bleeder bottle makes it is easy. I used up one bottle of brake fluid just to perform the flush and about half of the second bottle to top off.

The ugly old black brake fluid was flushed out, no air entered the lines and the brake system was completely purged of air... it worked great. I was amazed how black the old brake fluid was. I should have flushed the fluid years ago!
Rj,

Did your brake system work better after flushing all the dirty fluid out?
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Old 04-30-2020, 12:56 PM   #16
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by pierrot View Post
Anything with a 19mm (hex) at the caliper is a caliper mounting bolt and is unrelated to the caliper pins from which the brake pads hang. Was this truly unfamiliar to you?

The 2000 L-Series Brake Service Manual has only one order for bleeding at all four wheels when more than one brake pipe is being bled.

1) right rear; 2) left front; 3)left rear; 4) right front.

There is no separate order especially established for cars with ABS.

If only one brake is being bled then no further bleeding is required elsewhere.

BrandonKastning, I admire your willingness to take on significant tasks to maintain your vehicle. I must admit to being alarmed in this instance, however, as you were unaware that the first items which were loosened on the rear calipers were actually the bleeder screws (bleeder nipples). The work your are performing here is for SAFETY maintenance, but remember that it's not merely for your sake. It's also for the sake of other drivers around you that the car must be able to brake safely and reliably.

As for the fact that the FSM for the brakes didn't seem to provide all of the information you'd expected to see, no, you won't see those things.
It must be remembered that some things go unstated because the volumes are written for professionals with specialized training, owning their tools, working in a factory authorized garage setting, and with required factory specialty tools where applicable that the dealership would own. We are DIYers without the benefit of such things. With that in mind, purchasing a DIY repair manual by HAYNES or CHILTON would also prove useful to you for future work. A mechanic I used to work with gave praise to these books as he had found them useful. Having had a HAYNES Manual now for about 13 years I can say with certainty that it's a very handy book and a useful companion to the FSM volumes. The HAYNES Manual does provide a section on necessary tools.
pierrot,

Thank you for this information. This is exactly what I needed to read. Yes; it was truly unfamiliar to me. Before coming onto this thread; the only thing I knew how to do was to change my oil.

I spent most of my life behind a computer screen in a small room. I don't get much human contact.

I found the following tool which may aid me in doing this by myself; in the order you describe. Since you say that HAYNES has a tools required section (I will get one; then I will have all 3 to reference). (CHILTON, FSM and HAYNES).

I will do a better job looking over all the references before jumping onto another job on the L300.

Tool I found on Amazon (It claims that I can safely bleed my brake system by myself).

Here it is : Has anyone used one of these?

"CARSC Hand Held Vacuum Pump Tester Set Vacuum Gauge and Brake Bleeder Kit for Automotive with Adapters Case"



Thanks again!

- Brandon
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:11 PM   #17
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

In each chapter of your GM manuals are tools needed to perform tasks. Tool references are made through out procedures where you have to find the tool list along with drawings. And as usual, they're drawings only....... If you copy the tool part number and google it, you might see an actual tool image. Not all GM part numbers will result in the actual tool or equipment image. Further checks can show these tools on ebay for more images instead of drawings.

I use a very similar setup like the vacuum brake bleed kit in that link. I adapted a Sears hand held vacuum gauge with pvc tubing and discarded ink jet bottles (small) to create the same basic setup for one man bleeding. The problem is the bleed screw on every brake caliper or brake wheel cylinder are designed for positive pressure bleeding - creating pressure like pressing down on the brake pedal and holding it down while someone opens and closes a bleed screw. Pressure allows brake fluid to flow out. Two man brake bleeding unless you're interested in a pressure bleed kit that applies pressure to the barek master cylinder without needing a second person.

When using a vacuum bleed tool, opening the bleed screw also loosens the spaces between bleed screw threads and caliper body. Once vacuum is produced, this vacuum pulls brake fluid and air between bleed screw threads and caliper threads. In effect you can become confused between pulling air out of the brake system or pulling air around the bleed screw. Not very accurate as you're interested in pulling all old brake fluid and any air in the brake system for a proper bleeding procedure. Not pulling surrounding air around the bleed screw. I and many others know this and can determine where air is coming from to ensure correct bleeding. I also made a pressure bleeder from a Home Depot garden sprayer, small pressure gauge discarded from work and a tire valve.

If you search for brake pressure bleeding tools, you should see several examples. Pressure is applied to the master cylinder creating hydraulic pressure to flow when a bleed screw is opened. Your choice to determine how you decide to learn about brake bleeding at home as many diyers did.
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:40 PM   #18
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Default Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrandonKastning View Post
Rj,

Did your brake system work better after flushing all the dirty fluid out?
Brandon,

It's not so much about the color of the brake fluid that is to be remembered. Apart from the new type of synthetic brake fluid, which I believe is classed DOT 5 ALL other brake fluids (I believe the fluid type for the L series is DOT 3 or 4) are HYGROSCOPIC. Simply put brake fluid is made from a glycol based liquid and it absorbs moisture from the air. That is why the brake system is sealed to avoid that. However, over time the fluid will absorb some moisture and other contaminants, hence you will get discoloration. You can buy a simple test much like the test strips for checking swimming pool water. You simply pop a strip in the fluid reservoir and it will tell you the amount of moisture absorption. Unlike engine, transmission oil and coolant, poor old brake fluid tends to get overlooked by most drivers (I am guilty) and yet without good brakes, you are one step away from a hospital bed. Some recommendations are change the whole fluid in the system every 2 years or 24,000 miles.

Some years ago I had a GMC Safari minivan and had cause to swap out the Master brake cylinder. First time I had ever done that job. What truly gobsmacked me when I removed the old cylinder was the sludge at the bottom of the master cylinder reservoir. It was the color and consistency of river mud. To think that was in my braking system?

The only advice I can offer to you as you seemingly tackle a never ending range of rebuild tasks on your car, is do not rush at it like a bull at a gate. Read up on the tasks in your manuals, watch you tube video's and ask on here if you are unclear BEFORE launching in to the jobs, especially jobs like brake work.

Decide on what the job is that you want to do. If you task is the replace the brake pads, just do that. Do not swerve into more jobs on the brake system. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
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Old 04-30-2020, 02:55 PM   #19
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by floridasl22002 View Post
Brandon,

It's not so much about the color of the brake fluid that is to be remembered. Apart from the new type of synthetic brake fluid, which I believe is classed DOT 5 ALL other brake fluids (I believe the fluid type for the L series is DOT 3 or 4) are HYGROSCOPIC. Simply put brake fluid is made from a glycol based liquid and it absorbs moisture from the air. That is why the brake system is sealed to avoid that. However, over time the fluid will absorb some moisture and other contaminants, hence you will get discoloration. You can buy a simple test much like the test strips for checking swimming pool water. You simply pop a strip in the fluid reservoir and it will tell you the amount of moisture absorption. Unlike engine, transmission oil and coolant, poor old brake fluid tends to get overlooked by most drivers (I am guilty) and yet without good brakes, you are one step away from a hospital bed. Some recommendations are change the whole fluid in the system every 2 years or 24,000 miles.

Some years ago I had a GMC Safari minivan and had cause to swap out the Master brake cylinder. First time I had ever done that job. What truly gobsmacked me when I removed the old cylinder was the sludge at the bottom of the master cylinder reservoir. It was the color and consistency of river mud. To think that was in my braking system?

The only advice I can offer to you as you seemingly tackle a never ending range of rebuild tasks on your car, is do not rush at it like a bull at a gate. Read up on the tasks in your manuals, watch you tube video's and ask on here if you are unclear BEFORE launching in to the jobs, especially jobs like brake work.

Decide on what the job is that you want to do. If you task is the replace the brake pads, just do that. Do not swerve into more jobs on the brake system. KEEP IT SIMPLE.
florida,

I looked up the L300 braking fluid and you are right, it's DOT 3 / DOT 4. That's good to know regarding your GMC Safari and the master cylinder (I still do not know what that is yet). I am guessing it isn't the calibers.

I agree that sludge should not be in our braking system. I have been in a car accident once in my life due to bad braking system(s). I can say for certain you are correct on the importance of making certain my braking system is repaired correctly.

I have been in that hospital bed before with broken rib cage.

Regarding my brain and it's functioning. I have been told by many people to keep it simple. Unfortunately; it's not that easy for an Autistic brain to do that; especially with OCD.

With that said; I truly went after *only* the brake pads and thought I read the diagram correctly in the FSM.

Now that I understand (which is usually hands on) (my learning abilities are improved that way 10 fold) vs. not being able to actually see.

YouTube videos help if it's actually the same part and process. For instance the Alternator video that I shared on my other thread helped me a lot vs. the CHILTON guide.

Now that I have actually done the job correctly (which makes me happy to see my alternator moving with zero oil on it now, with my serpentine belt functioning perfectly.)

That gives me hope. Even though I messed up; I feel that it's a good thing in the long run. I am considering all of my L300 woes as a learning experience and a becoming an independent Man training so that I can take care of my families car's one day when I Marry one day.

With that said, I am now preparing to fix my mistakes by replacing Brake Fluid 100% and bleeding the entire system.

I am glad that people are designing tools for people like me who do not have other people to work on their cars with.

Thank you again for your assistance!
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Old 04-30-2020, 03:00 PM   #20
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Thumbs Up Re: 2001 Saturn L300 - v6 3.0 Liter - Rear Brake Pad Swap (Special Tool Needed) ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by fdryer View Post
In each chapter of your GM manuals are tools needed to perform tasks. Tool references are made through out procedures where you have to find the tool list along with drawings. And as usual, they're drawings only....... If you copy the tool part number and google it, you might see an actual tool image. Not all GM part numbers will result in the actual tool or equipment image. Further checks can show these tools on ebay for more images instead of drawings.

I use a very similar setup like the vacuum brake bleed kit in that link. I adapted a Sears hand held vacuum gauge with pvc tubing and discarded ink jet bottles (small) to create the same basic setup for one man bleeding. The problem is the bleed screw on every brake caliper or brake wheel cylinder are designed for positive pressure bleeding - creating pressure like pressing down on the brake pedal and holding it down while someone opens and closes a bleed screw. Pressure allows brake fluid to flow out. Two man brake bleeding unless you're interested in a pressure bleed kit that applies pressure to the barek master cylinder without needing a second person.

When using a vacuum bleed tool, opening the bleed screw also loosens the spaces between bleed screw threads and caliper body. Once vacuum is produced, this vacuum pulls brake fluid and air between bleed screw threads and caliper threads. In effect you can become confused between pulling air out of the brake system or pulling air around the bleed screw. Not very accurate as you're interested in pulling all old brake fluid and any air in the brake system for a proper bleeding procedure. Not pulling surrounding air around the bleed screw. I and many others know this and can determine where air is coming from to ensure correct bleeding. I also made a pressure bleeder from a Home Depot garden sprayer, small pressure gauge discarded from work and a tire valve.

If you search for brake pressure bleeding tools, you should see several examples. Pressure is applied to the master cylinder creating hydraulic pressure to flow when a bleed screw is opened. Your choice to determine how you decide to learn about brake bleeding at home as many diyers did.
fdryer,

To better understand what you are describing here regarding the kit I shared from amazon. Just stand-alone; is this not sufficient for a 1 man person? I read on the description that it does allow for that.

I have been an electronic version that is close to $100; however it requires adapters with it that are several hundred dollars (way out of my budget unless it's something I must save for to do this safely).

You seem like you really know how to make your own tools. That's quite the skill-set to have!

Thank you as always!
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