Rear brake job: caliper, rotor, and wheel bearing replacement-B5 Passat and Audi

Dec 7, 2013
Rear brake job: caliper, rotor, and wheel bearing replacement-B5 Passat and Audi
  • Rear brake job, caliper removal, rotor replacement, and rear wheel bearing replacement
    difficulty: 2/5back to 1000q: B5.5 VW Passat TDI "how to" index


    This article shows how to do a rear brake job on a VW Passat, replace the caliper or rotor, and remove the rear wheel bearing/rear brake dust shield.
    Please see myturbodiesel's 2004 2005 Passat TDI forum if you have any questions or comments about this procedure. Disclaimer: Before you attempt any brake work on your car, refer to the factory service manual and follow all precautions. Any and all information presented on this website is superseded by the official service manual and is not a substitute for the services or advice of a certified professional mechanic. See the TOS Agreement for the full legal disclaimer. If the brakes are faulty or not working correctly, tow it to a mechanic and do not attempt to drive the car. Faulty brakes can result in an accident or loss of control so have your local garage do brake work if you're not qualified to work on the brakes.

    VW Passat rear brake rotor wear limits:
    FWD (TDI)
    new brake rotor thickness: 10mm
    rotor wear limit: 8mm

    AWD 4motion
    new brake rotor thickness: 22mm
    rotor wear limit: 20mm

    The rear brake pads wear limit on a mk4 Passat is 7mm including the backing pad. For some reason, the inside pads may wear faster than the outside pads so it's best to remove the wheel to check how thick the inside pads are. Also, the rear pads normally wear out faster than the fronts on VW because the electronic brake distribution (EBD). Obviously, the front rotors and pads have more absolute braking power but under light braking the EBD uses more rear brakes bias so that the car doesn't dive.


    brake pad set
    brake rotor
    FWD: VW# 4a0 615 601 a (4a0615601a)
    AWD: VW# 8d0 615 601 a (8d0615601a) (10mm thick) or 4b3 615 601 (4b3615601) (22mm thick)
    (2x per side) 13mm caliper bolts VW# wht 003 250

    brake cleaner spray
    VW tool 3272 or equivalent (can be loaned from autozone or advance auto)

    optional if rusty or damaged (2x per side) brake carrier allen head bolts VW# n 906 889 02

    DIY rear brake pad and rotor replacement and removal procedure on VW Passat
    Caution: If the replacement bolts don't have threadlocker on them, use blue medium strength threadlocker to make sure the bolts won't back out. If the bolts holding the brake fail or fall out, you could lose all braking action!

    First loosen the rear wheel lug bolts. Don't remove them, just loosen them 1 or 2 turns.

    Chock the front wheels, raise the rear of the car, rest it securely on jack stands at the factory jack points, and make sure the car is safe and secure before doing anything else. If you need more tips on jack stand locations, refer to your factory service manual and some pictures in 1000q: B5 Passat jack stands.

    Finish removing the rear wheels and release the parking brake. Note - some of these pictures were taken with the subframe out of the car, the only difference is that your rear shock/spring will be in place.

    Pull off the parking brake cable clip and unhook the parking brake cable end. The parking brake must be off to release the cable. If the parking brake cable boots are torn and it's cold enough, water can freeze the parking brake in the "hold" position.
    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    While counterholding the 15mm counterhold nut bracketed in the above picture, loosen the 13mm caliper bolt. The service manual says to always replace the bolt because it has threadlocker on it. Always use new bolts since the brakes see corrosion from salt and rust. If the bolts holding the brake fail or fall out, you could lose braking action!

    If you're just changing the brake pads, you could loosen one side and remove the other so that the caliper pivots away from the rotor. VW rotors tend to wear out by the time the brake pads are worn so always check the thickness of the rotor before reusing it. You must remove the caliper to replace the rotor. The pads tend to get stuck to the rotor when pulling the caliper away because of a lip worn into the outermost edge of the rotor. Note how the spring clips sit in the caliper.

    You may notice the jack stand underneath the rear suspension - it was an emergency backup only in case the other jack stands at the factory jack points failed and was barely touching the suspension and had no weight on it. Never carry the weight of the car on the moving suspension.

    Rest the caliper on a box or tie it up so that it's not hanging by the brake lines. Also use brake cleaner spray to wash the piston and pad contact surfaces.

    If you have to change the rotors, loosen the 2x 8mm allen head brake carrier bolts shown below.

    The rotor can now be removed. There might be a small phillips screw holding it in place. While the carrier is off, check the slide pins for rust, torn boots, and add a tiny bit of grease if needed.

    Note: because the brake pads are worn, the brake piston moved out to adjust. You have to turn AND press in the rear brake pistons to account for the new thick brake pads. You cannot press them in only because it will damage the brake piston self adjuster.

    Shown below is a tool 3272 equivalent used on another VW caliper. The one shown below is rented from the local auto parts store and has the H014 adapter plate.

    Below is a video showing how the windback mechanism works and why you should always use the parking brake:

    To completely remove the VW Passat rear brake caliper for replacement or rebuild:
    To remove the caliper, (not required for a normal brake job) disconnect the banjo bolt for the brake fluid. Note the color of the washer. Some have black titanium washers, some have silver aluminum washers. The bolt is visible in the pictures above.

    Remove the brake carrier (2x 8mm allen bolts) and brake rotor as shown earlier.

    Installation is the reverse of removal.

    How to remove the rear wheel bearing VW Passat or remove the brake dust shield (FWD only)
    Remove the 5x 8mm allen bolts holding the bearing assembly to the rear subframe. You have to rotate the bearing hub so that your allen bit can go through the holes in the assembly. The rear brake dust shield will fall off. Installation is the reverse of removal. Use threadlocker and always use new bolts!

    The rear wheel drive wheel bearing is different.

    Torque specs
    2x 13mm brake caliper bolts: 26 ft-lb (remember to counterhold the 15mm nut)
    2x 8mm brake carrier bolts: 70 ft-lb

    brake line banjo bolt: If silver aluminum seal: 33 ft-lb, If black titanium seal: 28 ft-lb

    5x 8mm rear wheel bearing allen head bolts: 44 ft-lb

    wheel bolts: 89 ft-lb (dry)