This procedure runs through changing the front brake pads and rotors
on your Elan. This material contained on this page is informational
in nature only, and does not imply all knowledge needed to safely
work on the braking system of your Elan! I will not warranty the
contents nor will Lotus Elan Central take responsibility for your
actions if you should attempt to work on your Elan's brakes based
solely on these instructions.
Front brake pads (4 of them)
Front rotors (2)
Brake fluid (maybe)
"Elan front brake pad pin/spring set"--Lotus part #A100J6085S
Jack and jackstands
Wheel lug wrench
Torque wrench (recommended and worth buying!)
A 4mm hex wrench
"Liquid Wrench" or other loosener of stuck bolts!
A "pin drift", nail-set, or other small tamp device -
"turkey baster" (read on!)
caliper piston pusher (see local auto store)
Removing Old Parts:
- Park car on level ground! Or, even better, put it up safely
on a proper car lift.
- Loosen all of the lug nuts just a bit only before raising the
- Then put the tranny in neutral and the parking brake on TIGHTLY!!
(block the rear wheels)
- Jack the two front sides of the car up and place a jackstand
under each of the inner jackpoints.
- Remove the front wheel on the side you wish to work on. Be
careful not to set it as to scrape its face.
- Grab the hub and manually turn the front steering rack toward
the side you are working on to help your access and visibility.
The hubs can be turned back and forth by hand as the front end
is off the ground.
- To remove the pads, simply remove the two round pins holding
them in place! Be careful not to damage these pins (this can be
difficult if the pins are not in good shape)! The sliding action
of your pads depends on them moving over these 2 pins. If in question
replace the pins! (order: "Elan front brake pad pin/spring
set"--Lotus part #A100J6085S [cheap] ). Do not hit the ends
of the pins too hard or you may deform them and make it difficult
or impossible to remove or re-install them. I would recommend
to replace them as my experience has shown the old pins will not
be in good enough condition and with new pins you can be sure
they work as designed. The pins can be hit out either side.
- The pads may be withdrawn after the pins are removed. Pull
them outward to remove--you may need to push the caliper in or
out to help take the pressure off the pad you are removing. Some
pads may have attached to them or separate spring-type devices--be
sure you know if the pads you are installing have them or need
- Push back the caliper piston. You may need some "caliper
pliers" to do this properly. You could just pry it back with
a screwdriver but you could bend or scratch things that way! Pushing
back the caliper piston will put more brake fluid back up into
the reservoir--you may need to siphon off a bit to keep it from
overflowing!! (Now you understand the "real" use for
a "turkey baster"!)
- [Philip Johnson wrote to say, "I did not find it necessary
to remove the brake caliper to remove the brake disk (rotor).
As the caliper is of the floating variety, there was enough movement
to allow safe removal of the disk (rotor) and refitting of the
new disk so long as the pads are fully removed, and thus there
was no danger of pulling or stretching the brake lines as the
caliper stayed in place.]
- Clean up your caliper--get all the dust and grime off it so
it will function better (use some "brake cleaner spray"--even
better use a lot with an old toothbrush).
- To remove the rotor you must take out the 4mm hex-head retaining
screw. The rotor should now pull straight off.
This Hex bolt is notorious for rusting in place and not wanting
to come out. The head can break off, so be prepared to use a can
of "rust breaker" to help get it out. The bolt is not
"essential" and you can drill it out or even replace the
rotor without it if you have to. You will not be the first to do
I should mention here to check your rotor for proper: thickness
/ surface condition / and run-out if you are not changing it!
O.E. Front Rotor Specs:
- Thickness 24.0 mm
- Minimum regrind thickness 23.0 mm
- Minimum thickness (wear limit) 22.0 mm
- Maximum run-out (installed) 0.10 mm
- Maximum run-out (removed) 0.03 mm
Fitting New Parts:
- Place the rotor onto the hub and secure it with the 4mm hex
screw. IMPORTANT: the EBC discs are "sided", meaning
there is a proper "left" and "right"!! This
IS marked on the box. (The grooves should spiral outward as the
hub turns as in forward motion) Stock rotors are not "sided."
- Place the new pads into the caliper (no they are not "sided")
and be sure the correct side is facing the rotor!!--again this
has been botched by even some of the best mechanics. You may have
to pull the whole caliper out a bit to create enough room for
the outer pad. Be patient and do it carefully.
- Now you can insert the new pins through the pads. The EBC pads
can be installed without the stock springs, but I found when I
did this I occasionally heard the pads rattle a bit over rough
roads, so I now have put the EBC pads in with the O.E. springs
from the "pin/spring kit" and the rattle is gone. I
have seen mechanics place a glop of grease between the pad and
caliper to stop this type of rattle, but it is not necessary if
you use the springs. See the Elan General Service Manual (section
JE) for pictures of these parts and set-up. Be sure the pins are
clean and smooth and straight before you insert them--I put a
very light dash of white lithium grease on the center area of
the pins to help the pads slide over them when in use.
- Double check to be sure you did everything right and the pads
are facing the right direction!
- Now is a good time to bleed the brake caliper if so desired
-- I recommend it as it is easy if you have the right tools!
Re-mount the wheel and tighten up the lug nuts (59 - 65 lb./ft.
= 80 - 88 Nm).
- Check the brake fluid level.
- Important: Pump the brake pedal a few times to restore the
caliper pistons to their working places; then recheck the brake
fluid and add as needed.
- Assure the brake reservoir lid is on, and all was done according
to plan! Then put the car back on the floor carefully.