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2003 Forester X
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80 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Howdy folks,

I am attempting my first time at brake work, and after looking around at some tutorials and such, it doesn't seem so bad.

However, I am a college student away from home, and so my tools are limited. I have a full socket set and a basic toolbox, but one thing I've read over and over is to have a C-Clamp to compress the piston when you put the caliper back on with the new pad.

I don't have a C-Clamp here at college, and am having trouble finding somebody with one. Is there another way to do this? If not, what size do I need? I'd like to buy the smallest one I can that will fit around those calipers.

Either way, I know I will save money over taking it to the shop!

Thanks in advance!

Ben
 

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2008 Sports 2.5x
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335 Posts
C-Clamp

Howdy folks,

I don't have a C-Clamp here at college, and am having trouble finding somebody with one. Is there another way to do this? If not, what size do I need? I'd like to buy the smallest one I can that will fit around those calipers.

Ben
Check out Harbor Freight or a pawn shop for a cheap 6" C-Clamp. Doesn't have to be high quality to compress the piston.
 

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2003 XS
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169 Posts
Most hardware and auto supply shops carry them. They aren't terribly expensive. It's worth the investment, especially if you plan on doing the brakes again.
 

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53 Posts
If the calipers are in good shape, you can usually push the piston back into the caliper body using your thumbs. Opening the bleeder valve will make it easier, but you run the risk of getting some air into your hydraulic system. Then you have to bleed the brakes!

That isn't necessarily a bad thing, though. If you want to keep the system in good condition, it is a good idea to replace the brake fluid every year.
 

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The caliper has 2 "windows" if you put a big screwdriver through it you can use it as a lever to push the pistons back into the caliper. In the past i've also used the old brake pads as a lever. If you check out a chain auto parts store they'll probably have a special clamp just for doing this, its basically a flat sheet of metal that the clamp goes through so instead of putting it around the caliper it goes in the middle and pushes apart to press the caliper back in, they're usually pretty cheap.
 

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2012 camry se 6AT
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Get a caliper piston tool. I got one for $4 at a local auto store and one of my favorite tools. Easier to use than a c-clamp.
 

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2003 XS MT
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303 Posts
If you open the bleed valve you might be able to do it by hand.
True. But don't do it that way if you can avoid it. Unless you're changing fluid or planning to bleed the brakes leave it all closed if you can.

I use a steering wheel puller to retract the pistons.
 

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True. But don't do it that way if you can avoid it. Unless you're changing fluid or planning to bleed the brakes leave it all closed if you can.

I use a steering wheel puller to retract the pistons.
The factory service manual actually states that the bleeder screw should be open when compressing the pistons (they say its to prevent getting contaminated fluid back up into the ABS unit etc). Never actually tried it that way though.
 

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2016 & 2018 2.5i Premium CVT
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A big screwdriver or a small board will work fine. I've used the handle of a pair of pliers in previous cars.
 

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'09 STI
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4,128 Posts
True. But don't do it that way if you can avoid it. Unless you're changing fluid or planning to bleed the brakes leave it all closed if you can.
Again, didn't feel the need to state the obvious... Unless you're switching to your track pads I'm pretty sure the average person should be flushing their system as well if the pistons need to be retracted.
 
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