How to swap out brake pads on the B8.5 RS5

Tools I used:

  • 17mm plastic covered wheel socket
  • 1/2 inch drive flex handle bar
  • 1/2 inch drive torque wrench (set to 90 ft lbs)
  • Electric drill with 1/2 inch drive (because lazy/faster)
  • 15mm wrench
  • 13mm wrench
  • rubber mallet
  • regular mallet
  • punch (to tap out the pins)
  • Brake cleaner and brass brush (I used a spare one that I got for gun cleaning lol)
  • Permatex Nickel anti-seize (copper + aluminum + water = galvanic corrosion) High temperature stuff
  • Permatex Ceramic high temp brake grease (purple in color)
  • Brake piston tool (I need to get a ‘better’ one)
  • Wheel Lug guide tool
  • Jack + hockey puck
  • laptop and vagcom to retract EPB (YOU WILL NEED TO DO THIS)
  • (soldering iron because rear brake sensor)
  • New brake pads - I’m a big fan of Carbotech. Their 1521/Bobcat street compounds are really good as are their track compounds (I use RP2 in the front and XP10 in the rear). Mike Jr at Carbotech is really great to work with too. The pads have light colored dust that doesn’t stick to wheels. Go Deep! lol

First of, to save any other potential RS5 owner looking to do this themselves (lol, um, yeah), the plastic lug cap tweezer/remover is located below (bottom left - on the curve of the lug bolt bar included with the car):

That’ll save you guys all of 3 minutes trying to look for it haha.

Start of with flex bar to loosen lug bolts:

Jack up car:

Remove top most lug bolt and replace with Wheel lug guide. Remove all other lug bolts and set aside.

The idea is to tap out the two pins that’s holding the two retaining clips:

Grab the metal punch and your mallet, and let’s tap those pins out!

After you get it just past the state above, you can actually just push the pin through with the punch. What I also do is press down on the spring clips (that holds down the brake pads) with my finger so one side doesn’t ‘pop out’. If you’re worried about the punch moving, use your fingers to guide it (like in the pic). Hold the punch flush against the pin, and tap with a mallet. You won’t have to hit hard if you have a heavy mallet. Just tap… :slight_smile:

Once the pin is out most of the way, you can just grab the other side and pull it out (again, holding the spring clip down):

It’s all out:

To get the pads out, I actually grab the outer pads with my fingers and just pull towards me (though I have good grip strength). This should loosen it enough to slide out. For the inner side, well, I just hit it with my rubber mallet a few times to loosen it.

Once you have the pad out, rotate it 90 degrees and stick it back in halfway. We’re going to use the pad as a lever to retract the caliper piston. Once it’s inserted halfway (give or take - I like to make sure the edge of the brake pad’s backing plate is in the middle of the brake pistons), push it in the direction of the rotor (using the rotor’s outer edge as a fulcrum).

After that, slide new/replacement brake pad in, and move on to the next pad (do it one by one - if you compress a pair of pistons and the other side doesn’t have a pad in, those pistons will pop out - we’re trying to get all of them in!).

Retracted pistons:

What I do on this step is ‘optional’. I like cleaning things. So bust out the brake cleaner, get a brass bristle brush (I used the one I had from my gun cleaning kit), and clean the spring clip and pin.

I apply some Permatex brake grease (to combat squeal):

I use the high temperature stuff that won’t fizzle under ‘enthusiast’ use (though it might still turn to dust in track situations).

Insert the retaining pin as far as you can, and finish off with a rubber mallet:

Note: The front left side caliper has a brake wear sensor:

You can see the wire coming out of the caliper from the top inner pad.

This requires an additional step:

Basically, pop the rubber cap off of the brake bleed nipple to release the pad sensor (I recap it half way to prevent stuff from entering the bleed nipple). The sensor then connects to the metal piece in the above picture. On the other side, grab the end and squeeze the tab to pull out the female connector. The plastic extrusion (on the male side) needs to be popped out slightly out of the hole from metal holder, and rotated 90 degrees clockwise. After which you can then slide it down and out.

After that, insert the new pad with a sensor, and repeat the process backwards:

Remember to tuck the sensor wire using the bleeder nipple cover (and reapply it all the way).

Rear brakes

First thing’s first. VAGCOM. In 12.12, they’ve updated the look of how to do this. The old way of doing this was like this.

Basically, turn on your car (no need to start), insert VAGCOM cable, and connect to your laptop. Start VCDS. Now, on VAGCOM, we’ll selected ‘53 - Parking Brake’ -> ‘Basic Settings - 04’ --> to the below screenshot:

Select ‘Start lining change mode’ and click ‘Go’. After you hear the whirring of the parking brake stop, exit/shutdown, and turn off the car. You may now start taking the rear wheel off.

After taking the wheel off, you will see this (this is the rear right wheel):

The rear right wheel also has a pad wear sensor:

That would be the wire coming out of the middle of the caliper.

To remove, first, pop off the bleeder nipple cap to release wire. I would pull it out (carefully) as there is a small spring surrounding the sensor:

You can see the spring clip above. It’s tiny and you can probably lose it fairly easily. Set aside with the sensor wire for safe keeping!

Remove the sensor by squeezing on the female side (left) and pulling that part off.

The next step would then be to pop off the brake line from it’s holder:

This will give you some slack to handle the floating caliper.

To remove the caliper, you will need the 15mm and 13mm wrenches:

The 15mm wrench (closer to you) is basically to hold the bolts and prevent them from moving. The rear/furthest away from you) is the one you want to take out.

Slide the caliper off and use your brake piston tool to compress the piston:

While holding the caliper with one hand, take the rear pads off (pop them off away from the brake rotor to remove the pad’s backing plate tabs from the retainer) and replace with new pads. I then coat a bit of nickel anti seize onto the two bolts and screw them in.

For the rear pad sensors, you now have two choices. If you 1) want the sensor in place and 2) bought brake pads that has the notch for them, you can now put the clip around the sensor lead and pop it back in.

though, if you’re like me, and the answer to the two questions above are ‘No’, then bust out your soldering kit… :slight_smile:

I cut the wires long to try and tuck it with the caliper bleed nipple cover. From them, I trim one of the wires shorter (so the longer one will ‘fold’ at the wire and not on the solder. I then strip the jacket using wire strippers and I twist them together:

With a soldering iron, I solder the wires together:

After that, I wrap the soldered joint with some electrical tape, and slide over some heat shrink and shrink it with a heat gun/hair dryer.

Or if you wanted to, you can also cut the wires as short as you can and solder them together:

Up to you…

Here’s the harness before:

And after:

Plug the pad sensor in:

And make sure to slide the brake line back into it’s holder (I still forget this from time to time):

Putting wheels back on
Straight forward, just the reverse.

  1. Double check your work (triple check even) to make sure you didn’t forget anything.
  2. Slide wheel back onto the Wheel Lug guide
  3. Firmly seat the wheel onto the hub (being mindful that the lug holes are lined up and that the wheel is flush with the hub)
  4. Insert the lug bolt opposite from the wheel lug guide. Lightly tighten in a star pattern (opposites). If done right, your last lug bolt will be the position that the wheel lug guide is so take the lug guide out and replace with lug bolt.
  5. Slowly let the car down. Check surrounding first. Move jack away from the car and make sure the handle is in a safe direction (aka not pointing at cars, windows, loved ones, crotch/es).
  6. Tighten lug bolts with torque wrench going in a star pattern (torque set to 90 ft lbs)
  7. Retorque in a star pattern, all of the wheels.
  8. Fire up vagcom, go to Basic settings of Parking brake and choose ‘End lining change mode’. You’ll hear the EPB whirr some more, stop, and whir a short bit.
  9. Turn on car, press brake pedal firmly a few times to reseat, cycle through EPB once or twice, and let the car idle for a bit to let the vacuum build up on the brake assist (at least I think we have it lol).

Hope this helps!

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Don’t forget to bed in the brake pads too.

Did you take off the gravel guards?

The dust shields? I didn’t take them off.

Nice write up, + for u. It’s always nice to have the tools listed somewhere, I usually do this up north when I have more time and space but last time I took wayyy too many tools because I forgot what sizes I needed.

Yeah, I call them gravel guards because Audi’s have so much fucking dust that they do nothing to shield them away lol

But yes, I take them off for track days. Helps with cooling, all they do is trap heat.

Thanks, Jspazz! Yeah, I have most of those tools in a bag that I take with me to the track. :slight_smile:

As for the shields, I’m torn. On one hand, the car has stock brake ducts that directs air to the brakes. On the other hand, the dust shield has openings that are scooped to direct air to the rotors.

PsYk: as the others have said, great write-up, both here and in your other thread. This should be very helpful to RS5 owners. Love the AR exclusive 8)

oh ya, karma bump.

Thanks Brandon! :smiley: I hope this becomes useful to someone at some point… :stuck_out_tongue: As for the rear pads with sensors, it seems like a lot of people don’t know about the rear sensor. Interesting. I guess very few RS5 owners state side swap pads?

Bump thread.

Quick note for those tracking. When removing the pads, please make sure to label them. Which wheel, and are they on the inside and outside.

Since the front Brembo 8 piston caliper has 4 pads, I would recommend swapping the pads top --> bottom and bottom --> top after every track day. After that, I would swap the side of the car which they are mounted on (the other wheel).

I noticed uneven wear between the top and bottom set after a few track days.

1 Like

Many thanks on this tread for the great write-up. I just put Centric Posi on my RS5 (have used them on my 08 RS4 and my Q5 and have loved them for street use) and this writeup helped tremendously. It allowed me to contact Dave at Zeckausen to send me the correct pads with the cutout for the sensor before I started the job. I had only 130 miles on the car so I didn’t even have to push in the calipers - easiest brake job I have ever done.

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welcome reggie. There are lots of incredibly technical and mechanical guys on here. AR is working to be the best collection of guys in that and the performance area. The RS5 is such a small production run car its good to get all the smart guys in the same spot.

If you have questions go ahead and post any of them. we are all here to help. Also who dosent love pictures consider posting a thread about your car and welcome again

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I was surprised to find this place. It is quite interesting. I have been involved with AW,QW and AZ for sometime. Even others who are more involved were surprised to find this place after I showed it.

When most of the actual technical guys left and came here. AZ started blocking links to this site. Clearly AZ isnt about the actual car culture its just about its culture. The general membership here is here to help and flush out the bs that seems to be a constant on the other sites. Not to say there isnt any good content on other sites but there it more bad then factual information and then on some of the sites the fact that they dont do anything about the trolling has just put most of the guys off and has been part of why AR grows.

Welcome, Reggie!

I am SO GLAD it helped you! Always happy when anyone finds this thread and it helps them (no matter how big or little).

Please, do stick around. And we would love it if you posted a thread showing off pics of your car(s). I personally love drooling over car pics. :slight_smile:

1 Like

@ PsYkHoTiK

Hello, just wondering if you did the trickle charge with a battery charger when you did the rears.

I did but in my estimation, it wasn’t needed. I also have a new Antigravity Lithium Ion battery and those are stout to say the least. If you have an older battery, I recommend using a battery charger.