Sunday, January 10, 2010

Brake Pad Replacement on the SAAB 9-5

Replacing the brake pads on the SAAB 9-5 is easy. I'd suggest 2.5 hours for this job if you aren't in a rush. Most of the time seemed to be spent jacking up the car and removing the wheels.

The first step is to raise a wheel like you are changing a tire. Be safe and set the parking brake, block the wheels you aren't raising, use jack stands, all that good stuff. You'll then need to remove the wheel. On the front brake pads, it helps if you turn the wheel so you can get better access to the back of the caliper before you raise the car. Open the brake fluid reservoir and put a rag around the fill hole to pick up any fluid that may spill as you work on the calipers.

Once the wheel is off, you should see something like this-

The metal spring clip on the front can be removed with a screwdriver. There are two bolts holding the caliper. You can access these bolts by removing the plastic dust caps with the screwdriver.

The bolts are E-20 torx size. It might take some pressure, but they should loosen without too much fuss.

You can see in the above image where the top bolt is unscrewed and ready to be removed. Once both bolts are removed you can work the caliper loose. You'll want to push the piston inside the caliper a bit to give you room to wiggle the caliper free. You can do this with the screwdriver. Once freed, the caliper can be rested on a box or step stool to keep pressure off the brake line. The old pads are wiggled off and the new ones are installed. Push the piston inside the caliper all the way down to make room for the new pads. I used an oil filter wrench to do this and it worked perfectly, but they make a tool designed just for pushing the caliper piston (if you want to get fancy). Installation is done in reverse and the metal spring clip is installed as seen in the top image.

The rear brake pads are replaced in the same way. I found the clearance tight because of the rear suspension, but an extension on your socket wrench should give you room to remove the two bolts from the caliper. My rear pads still have plenty of material when my front pads were nearly bare, but I still replaced all four at the same time.

The tension spring is installed as seen above. Check the brake fluid level and replace the lid to the reservoir before you drive away. The new pads will need to be bed-in. There are several techniques to doing this and they are found on the internet. It'll be several hundred miles before brake performance is maximized. Be careful a give yourself plenty of braking distance while the pads are getting settled.

From Amazon:
Brake Pads

-P. Econmancer


  1. I really liked your blog, I love news like this site that people voted on the team of people to choose the greatest team twitter and compete for prizes

  2. hey, i have a random hose on the back of my engine that seems to have came loose or i am not sure where it is supposed to go? can i email you a picture and you tell me if it is supposed to be connected or compare it to your car to see what it is supposed to do? i have a clear image i can email.

  3. Absolutely. I'll do my best. econmancer (at) gmail (dot) com

  4. Thank you for the helpful instructions and pictures. I did not have an E-20 torx socket for the front caliper bolts, so I used a "Gator Grip" universal type socket instead. It worked like a champ!

    To compress the pistons, I simply left the inside pad on the caliper/piston, and squeezed the piston in using a large pair of channel lock pliers. Sometimes it helps to put a piece of tubing over the end of the bleeder, and then crack it open so that you can compress the piston with the pliers. Then tighten the bleeder before you take the pressure off the piston. It is handy to have four hands for that action (recruit someone to help hold the caliper). You can put the other end of the tube into an empty soda bottle to catch the used brake fluid.

    Thanks again for the help!

  5. Good tips! Great to hear that the post was helpful.

  6. Thanks for the write up. It was perfect and I motored right throught the pad replacement. Nice work.

  7. Some additions. Front: Once the Torx bolts are loosened, use needle nose pliers and slip the one prong twixt the outer surface of the bolt head and the rubber sleeve and the other prong in the torx hole, pull out. Taking the caliper off can really take some twisting and pulling. The front pad stays in place and the back pad stays in the caliper. You can balance the caliper on top of the disc carefully. Once you expand the caliper for new pads, you're going to need to put a clean rag in the reservoir to extract enough brake fluid to allow the sensor cap to be screwed back in. Place it SLOWLY back in, as it fills up with fluid too.

  8. Thanx for posting the imformation.. i needed to buy some tools to complete the job, but on the whole, the first successfull job i have attempted on my car... thax again

  9. Now the pictures are great,but one doesn't actual need a E20 star socket.If one was to purchase a 7mm hexon 3/8 drive this does the job even better.It took me exactly just under an hour to complete both sides.