Car Corner
Brake Job on 93 Camaro

September 1, 1998
By Scott Lewis

Time finally took its toll on my brakes. At 44K miles, I needed a rear brake job on my 1993 Camaro Z28. Read on and find out my philosophy on brake jobs, and the easy and heard way to do the rear disc brakes on a 4th generation Camaro.

I first noticed a slight grinding on my way to work one Monday morning. Unfortunately I didn't have time to work on the car until the weekend, and had to drive with the grinding all week. This required me to brake (no pun intended) my number one rule about doing brake jobs.

My #1 rule about brake jobs is: Do the brake job before they start grinding.

Now for the brake job. I will start with the easy way. For a 1993 Camaro Z-28, all you have to do is the following:

  1. Remove the wheel (Duh!).
  2. Remove the bolt at the top of the caliper. This is in the rear, and shouldn't provide much trouble. However, it takes some strength so use a 1/2" in ratchet if possible.
  3. Loosen, but do not remove, the allen bolt at the bottom of the caliper. (This is what makes this the easy part.)
  4. Pivot the caliper out of the way.
  5. Remove the old brake pads.
  6. Compress the caliper piston. This can sometimes be done buy hand, but I prefer to use a C clamp.
  7. Install the new pads.
  8. Pivot the caliper back into position.
  9. Install the top bolt to caliper.
  10. Tighten the allen bolt to bottom of caliper.
  11. Replace wheel (duh, again).

This took me about 15 minutes. Now for the hard way.

Since the right rotor was grinding, it had to be "turned" or "cut." This means I had to remove it from the car and take it to a service station to have them put it on a lathe to smooth the surface.

Since the rotor was coming off, I thought I would have to remove the bracket that held the emergency brake cable. The bolt that holds this bracket is the same allen bolt that holds the bottom of the caliper. So I removed the allen bolt, the emergency brake bracket, the caliper, and finally the bracket that help both of them in place around the rotor. Then I removed the rotor and took it to the service station.

When I got home with the freshly cut rotor, I realized that I was doing it the hard way. It seems that it is impossible to put the caliper and the emergency brake bracket on at the same time. I spent 40 minutes trying. Finally I had to run a long thin bolt (not from the car) through the bracket, the caliper, and the bracket that supported the caliper. This allowed me to "hinge," or bend, the caliper/emergency bracket into position against the force of the spring that provides tension to the emergency brake cable.

While holding this in place I bolted the emergency brake bracket to the caliper to the pivot for the cable. Then I started the top bolt to the caliper, and finally removed my long, thin bolt from the bottom. However, getting the allen headed bolt into its place was difficult as well. Seems there really isn't enough room for it to fit between the bracket and the spring. It took some effort to "force" it in place.

Then I tightened everything up. That part was easy.

Here is the big lesson. You can remove the bracket that holds the caliper and the emergency brake bracket as an assembly. This is just two big bolts. This would have provided the ability to remove the rotor. Then the assembly could be reassemble, all without unbolting the emergency brake bracket from the caliper.

So why didn't I have the left rotor "cut"? Simple. If you follow my #1 rule about brake jobs, I consider it unnecessary to have rotors cut. In my experience, I have never had a rotor warp, or thin to the point of needed resurfacing (on a lathe) unless there was grinding. If you get to your brakes early, all you ever have to to is change the pads. I did the front brakes on the Camaro a couple of years ago, and that was when the little metal tab (sensor?) started squeaking. I have not had any trouble with the front brakes.

Why didn't I do the brake job when the tab on the rear brakes squeaked? Good question. Because the pad that has the little metal tab wasn't the side that was grinding. Life's not perfect. That's why it is good practice to check your brakes regularly. I would recommend getting under a car and checking the thickness of the pads once or twice a year. That should let you know when the time is right.

I have not had to have a rotor or drum "turned" since I came up with my number one rule of brake jobs over 12 years ago. Not bad. So follow my advice and enjoy easy brake jobs for a long time. And the cost is cheap too. I paid $21.99 for the brake pads, and that is with a lifetime guarantee. If the pads wear down, I just take them back and get another set for free.

Just do it before they start grinding.

For those keeping track... It cost me $8 to have the rotor cut. With tax that kept the total cost a little under $35.