We recently had a bad brake fluid leak on the rear of our VW Sharan, its a 1997 tdi.
We decided to change the complete rear brake caliper as it is a more reliable repair than just trying to replace the seals in the old one. To be honest, its an easier job too.
Here is the leaking rear brake caliper, it is the passenger (or nearside) one.
The rear brake caliper is held on to the mounting bracket by 2 bolts. Once these bolts are removed and the brake hose has been detached, the calliper is free to be changed.
How to change the rear calliper.
Here we are with the car jacked up and removing the wheel bolts.
(Tip – loosen off the wheel bolts before raising the car and fully removing them.)
Here is a shot of the rear with the wheel removed.
Here is an image from the top, showing the calliper assembly and brake lines.
Here we have clamped the brake hose to minimise brake fluid loss and prevent air from getting into the brake lines. Please note that I used ‘mole grips’ to clamp the brake hose as I did not have any ‘brake hose clamps‘ available. The danger in using ‘mole grips’ is that you can damage the brake hose and cause a leak that will result in the hose having to be replaced. It is always recommended that you use the correct tools for the job. It is very important that you do not damage the brake hose when clamping it, consider putting something between the tool and the brake hose when not using the correct ‘brake hose clamps‘.
The next thing that you need to do is remove the handbrake cable from the rear calliper.
With the handbrake released (please make sure the vehicles wheels are chocked and the car is jacked up securely. We recommend using axle stands, also consider leaving the car in gear), using a pair of pliers, lift the end of handbrake cable out of the retaining arm.
Here is the end of the handbrake cable unfastened.
Now fully detach the handbrake cable from the calliper handbrake mechanism.
Now loosen off the brake hose from the calliper. It is easier to loosen it off at this point before you remove the calliper. Do not attempt to completely remove the brake hose as you can twist the hose and damage it, just loosen it off.
The next step is to remove the calliper from the mounting bracket by removing the 2 mounting bolts (guide bolts). To remove each bolt, you will need 2 spanners. The first spanner sits on the bolt head behind the mounting bracket and the other spanner grips the body of the guide (or slide) to prevent it from rotating.
When both bolts have been removed, the calliper will be free to be removed except for the brake hose. You may find it necessary to use a screwdriver to release the calliper from its position.
The next image shows the calliper lifted out of position, revealing the rear brake pads.
You can now fully unfasten the brake hose to release the calliper. This is also a good time to inspect the rear brake pads.
Next, you need to refit the brake hose onto the new calliper. Make sure you refit the hose before you remount the calliper onto the vehicle.
The next sequence of images shows the new calliper being mounted into place, having the 2 mounting bolts fitted and then tightening them up with the 2 spanners.
Next you need to give the brake hose a final tighten back into the calliper. It is important to ensure that the brake hose is not twisted as you tighten it. If this happens, you must unmount the calliper again, untwist the brake hose and then refit the calliper.
Once this is done, you can then unclamp the brake hose.
You can now refit the brake cable.
The final stage is to bleed the air from the brake line and the calliper so that it works efficiently under braking. You can also inspect for any leaks.
We will not go into detail here as to how to bleed the brakes, but we have provided a few images for your reference. If you need to read up on how bleed car brakes, here is the link to our article (with video) – How to bleed car brakes.
Make sure that you thoroughly check the operation of the brakes and handbrake before you driver the vehicle. Double check that you have refitted everything before you refit the wheel and lower the vehicle.
If there is any sponginess in the feel of the brakes, then it is likely that the brakes will need to be bled again. Also check the operation of the handbrake by applying it and trying to rotate the rear wheel while the vehicle is still jacked up.
We hope we have given you some useful details to help you safely undertake this job. If you have any doubts, please consult a workshop manual (Haynes manual) or consider getting the job done by a car mechanic.