2012 Nissan Maxima Brake Pads and Rotor Replacement

Even though our 2012 Nissan Maxima only has around 36K miles on it, the brakes have been horrid. Vibrating, squeaking and making all kinds of noises. Rather than do the back and forth with the dealer I decided to just replace all the rotors and pads myself. I found a reasonably priced kit on Rock Auto that contained all 4 rotors, all pads and hardware. I had it shipped to my house and it took a few days.

Starting on the fronts. I jacked up the car from the front on a cross member. I put some jackstands on the jacking points on the frame rails. Please *Never* work under your car without properly setting jack stands. Jacks fail all the time. Breaking loose the lugnuts before jacking may be a good idea here if you don’t have an impact gun.

Front wheel off. I removed the caliper slide pin bolts (19mm for front). These came out relatively easy and will release the caliper from the wheel. Do *not* let the caliper hang from the brake lines. That’s a good way to get yourself into a real mess. I used a wire coat hanger wrapper around the front spring, and through the slide mounting holes. Maybe some day I’ll learn to take clear pictures.

With the caliper removed, I removed the pads from the caliper bracket. I can now work on removing that caliper bracket. This is secured with 22mm bolts on the front. These needed some time to soak in the glory that is PB blaster. After a while the impact gun got them loose. You can not replace the rotor without getting this bracket off.

With a few smacks of a small sledge, the rotor should just pop off now.

Now to be able to fit the caliper back over new brakes, the piston needs to be compressed back into the caliper. Remove the brake fluid reservoir cap in the engine bay to make this easier. Using one of the old pads and a C clamp, screw the piston back into the caliper. At this point I would normall say spray everything in the caliper down with brake parts cleaner, but I didn’t check to make sure I had any before starting… whoops.

Time to prep the new pads. If the new pads came with a wear spacer, put that on the new pads (Usually on the lower end of the inside pad). Use the included grease to coat the backing plate of the pads (Some new pads say not to do this). Also lube up the tabs that hold the pad into the caliper bracket allowing it to slide.

Replace the old metal clips on the caliper bracket with the new ones provided. Reassemble everything and then you get to do everything all over again on the other side! The new rotor will feel lose if you don’t have the screw that holds the rotor to the hub. This car’s old rotors didn’t have any. Once the wheel is on, this will tighten the rotor up.

I decided to bed in the front pads first before working on the rears. Follow the instructions that should have come with your pads, but it usually involves a few quick stops from 60-15, 45-15 and 30-15, making sure to never come to a complete stop. You should be able to smell the brakes. Then drive around for ~5 minutes to let them cool off, again avoiding coming to a complete stop. After the bedding process you should see your new rotors change color from the heat dissipation.

On to the rears…

I’ve read that are some gotchas with the rear brakes online. Apparently one of the caliper slide bolts is really hard to get out. But if you take off the bracket to replace the rotor, you don’t really need to remove the lower slide bolt. So I figured I’d give it a shot and see how it goes.

Rear wheel off. The parking brake assembly is inside the rotors here, so I don’t have the parking brake on. I couldn’t really find any information on if the parking brake would fly out everywhere when I took off the rotor, but no one really mentioned anything about so I figured I was safe.

Trying to get a picture of the “impossible” bolt. There is not a lot of clearance behind this bolt to get an impact gun on, and big sockets can’t even fit.

Now I get to move into the garage. Check the forecast before you start some auto maintenance outside. You don’t want to have to put brakes back together and the wheel back on in the middle of a Florida downpour!

Back to work…

I used my tiny 1/4″ ratchet with a 14mm socket that barely fit onto the bolts and was able to crack it free with a sledge hammer. I’m actually suprised the ratchet didn’t break apart. Well I loosened the bolt, but definitely couldn’t get it out. You can see a tiny clean spot here where the bolt hits the suspension arm. This caliper is staying on the bracket. At this point you could just change the brake pads.

Now I got to work on the 19mm caliper bracket bolts. And kept working on them… I tried a ratchet and hammer. I tried letting my impact gun sit on the bolt for minutes at a time. Multiple applications of PB blaster.

You know what? The rear rotors are still looking pretty good here. I think I’m going to just go with replacing the rear pads…. Anyone want to buy some new 7th gen Maxima rear rotors?

Following the same steps from the front, I pushed the caliper piston back in using the C clamp and one of the old pads. Replaced the hardware on the bracket, and lubed up the new pads making sure not to get any lube on the braking surfaces.

Loaded up the brake pads into the bracket and reattached the caliper. Rear brakes done! I followed the same break in procedure as the front. The rotors didn’t need it this time, but the new pads did.

Braking is now much smoother and feels better all around. Good day to save some money!

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List of purchases for this project:

Rock Auto

Qty Product Price Notes
1 POWER STOP KOE6075 Autospecialty By Power Stop 1-Click Daily Driver Brake Kits Front And Rear $175.79 Info

Organize the Closet

So I have a closet where I throw most of my junk (Read: networking equipment rack, boxes, wires, cables etc…) This closet also happens to be the closet with the attic access in the house. So whenever I need to get up in the attic to run another cable, I’ve got to clear out the entire closet to get my ladder in there.

I need to build something that organizes the closet, but also allows me to get into the attic without clearing everything away.

So I started measuring and jumped into sketchup to start designing. After quite a bit of contemplating, I decided to build a ladder into the closet organizer.

The black box is my network rack.

The shelves are spaced around 18 inches apart and I felt like this design gave me a good bit of storage and the ability to access the attic if I needed to. If you can make out from the picture, there are no studs behind the side walls, so I’m going to use pocket holes to secure the side cleats front and back. This will be my first foray into pocket holes, so it should be interesting.

Time to start gathering supplies. Off to home depot to buy some wood. I purchased 3 premium studs with the least amount of knots that I could find. 4 1x2x6ft select pine boards for the shelf cleats and some 3/4 x 16 inch by 3 foot melamine shelves (5 total).

Where to start? I wanted to first clean up my mess of a network rack with wires running everywhere. The UPS for it was powered by an extension cord that was run out of the closet to an outlet in the room. I didn’t like this. I had to run a new outlet into the closet.

The closest power source I found was the switch box for the fan/light in the room. After taking the switch out to see how easy it would be to feed a new line into the box, I decided that wasn’t possible. The box was old and broken, and the switch was held to it by drywall screws! Time to replace the whole box… That’s for another post. Removing the old box made fishing the new outlet line much easier, and it was then tied to the source power for the fan light. Viola! New outlet in the closet.

While I was up there reorganizing I decided to install a high isolation rg6 switch for my cable. Last year we “cut the cord” and I installed a Mohu Sky HD antenna on the outside of the house. The land line cable still provides us with most network channels in HD, but not CBS. So in order to watch CBS Sunday Morning, we needed the antenna. Well sometimes reception isn’t that great on normal channels, so I want to switch back to the land line cable for the network channels. This is where the switch comes in. I pulled the antenna source cable, and the land line source cable through the ceiling, and then ran the output up into the attic as the source for my main splitter. Cable/Antenna switch works great, and it’s hidden in an upper corner, so not noticeable at all. Just have to remember to switch the TVs to either cable or antenna source, or it will seem like it isn’t working at all.

Now I can get on to building the organizer. Taking measurements from sketchup for the ladder angles, I cut the 2x4s at a 14.5 degree foot angle with the mitre saw. I needed to use a straight edge and circular saw to make the top tight-angled cuts, and then used my belt sander clean up the cuts and make the 2 legs as identical as possible. I kind of forgot to take pictures of this step. After cutting the ladder rungs and building the ladder, I went into the closet for placement.

Once I figured out where the ladder needed to go, I drilled pilot holes for the lag screws that were going to hold the ladder to the wall. I chose to go with Spax 4 inch powerlag t star screws. Holy cow these things are beasts. Such a huge improvement over my supply of grip tite screws from home depot, I decided to restock all my supply of screws with the Spax wafer head T star screws. I ordered 1 pound boxes of 1 1/4, 2, 2 1/2 and 3 inch. All of which were used on this project. Time to relegate the grip tite screws for jobs I don’t care about.

Anyway, the ladder is now up in the closet.

I started filling in the noticeable knots and abrasions from milling the 2x4s to sand down later. Since I wanted to keep the shelves and the ladder rungs at the same height, I now had my reference. To make this easier I ordered a laser level. I had never had one of these before and wow, it sure made life easier

With my reference lines projected, I could now start measuring the cleats for the shelves. Measuring 3/4 inch down from the line to account for the actual shelves of course. The rears were easy to attach to all the studs in the wall. The side were not. I ordered a Kreg pocket hole kit from amazon since I had never worked with them before and didn’t have any supplies. I would come to find out the 2 1/2 inch screws still weren’t enough to secure the side cleats front and back.

The jig is easy enough to use. Set your material depth on the jig and bit, clamp the jig and drill away.

Like I said above, after getting my side pieces ready, and drilling the pocket holes, I used some of the 2 1/2 inch screws from the kit to secure them to the front and back of the closet. They just weren’t biting enough to be secure. I did just get my fancy Spax 3 inch screws, but the wafer head is 1/2 inch diamter, and won’t fit into the pocket holes. Time for some alterations… Using my half inch drill bit, I widened the pocket holes to accept the wafer head screws. I also made the holes a tad deeper, so the screws would have more length to bite into the stud.

Not that pretty, but the holes are on the underside of the supports, and I don’t really care that much.

Installed

Now it’s time for the actual shelves. I went with melamine because it was prefinished, pre-egded and I was lazy. I know cutting it nicely will be a pain, but that’s a risk I’m willing to take. I bought 5 3 foot wide, 16 inch deep shelves. I bought 5 because I couldn’t make more than 1 shelf out of a 3 foot section, and the 4 foot sections were heavier and I didn’t feel like carrying them out of the store.

To cut melamine and leave a nice edge, be sure you have a sharp saw blade (I don’t). You will also need to tape the edge that you want to be clean. I taped the top edge so I could get a nice cut on the visible portion of the shelf. Since the circular saw spins so that the teeth cut from the bottom, the shelf will need to be flipped so the top is down while cutting. Be sure to keep your orientation straight so you’re left with the edge banding still on the front!

Taped and ready to cut with my not so sharp anymore finishing blade.

After cutting, if the picture weren’t so blurry, you might be able to see it is still a nice clean cut!

Once all the shelves were cut to size, I dry fitted everything before taking the ladder out for paint. I was going to paint the shelf cleats too, but once they were in and level, I didn’t really feel like touching them.

Time to take the ladder out and paint. I used a satin finish white spray paint. I think it turned out decent, plus the grass got some nifty new white stripes in the process.

Before reassembling the ladder I wanted to make it a bit safe to climb up so I applied some clear grip tape to each rung.

Now the ladder is complete and assembled. I just replaced it and re-drove the lags back into the wall. One last thing to do for more support is add some cleats to the ladder to support the weak side of the shelves. This will at least give me a little more peace of mind that the shelves won’t collapse.

Now I am finished! I really don’t care about the cleats not being painted. The aesthetic aggravation is much less than the grief I would have been caused removing and reinstalling them.

Sketchup/Real Life Comparison. Not bad if I do say so myself.

And of course filled with the junk I needed to organize.

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List of purchases for this project:

Amazon

Qty Product Price Notes
1 Kreg R3 Jr. Pocket Hole Jig System with Face Clamp and 5 Size Screw Kit $84.77
1 AFFINITY Anti-Slip Tape, Clear Textured Slip Resistant Safety Tread, 25 ft. Roll $12.99
1 C2G / Cables To Go 41015 High Isolation AB Switch $17.22
1 Spax 4″ T-Star Drive Washer Head Yellow Zinc Powerlag Screw $15.54
1 Firecore Self-Leveling Horizontal/Vertical Cross-Line Laser Level with Magnetic Bracket $49.99
1 Spax 1-1/4″ T-Star Yellow Zinc Wafer Head Cabinet Screw $7.98
1 Spax 2″ T-Star Yellow Zinc Wafer Head Cabinet Screw $7.98
1 Spax 2-1/2″ T-Star Yellow Zinc Wafer Head Cabinet Screw $7.98
1 Spax 3″ T-Star Yellow Zinc Wafer Head Cabinet Screw $12.98

Home Depot

Qty Product Price Notes
3 2 in. x 4 in. x 96 in. Premium Kiln-Dried Whitewood Stud $3.05
4 1 in. x 2 in. x 6 ft. Select Pine Board $3.52
5 Melamine White Shelf Board (Common: 3/4 in. x 15-3/4 in. x 3 ft.) $3.05