Replacing the Saab 9000 rear brake pads and discs


The Saab 9000 rear brakes consist, on each side, of a solid (non-ventilated) brake disc (rotor) and a floating, single-piston caliper. So far as I can tell, all models are fitted with the same caliper, manufactured by ATE. This procedure lists step-by-step instructions on how to replace the rear brake pads and, optionally, the discs.

Saab 9000 brake pads are available here

Time required

Naturally, this will vary with both the individual and what they find when they get there. However, this took about 30 minutes per side, including replacing the disc. Subtract perhaps 5 minutes if you aren't changing the disc.

As usual, double this for the first side if you haven't done it before. Of course, I was making notes and taking photographs as well.

Tools required

These are for replacing the pads only. For tools required to replace the discs as well, see here. I assume some basic tools, such as a jack, axle stands, socket set, etc. However I do not assume you will already have all the necessary metric socket and spanner sizes, especially if you are in the USA. Here is a list so you can make sure you have all the necessary sizes before you start.

  • 14mm spanner.
  • 4mm hexagon bit or Allen key.
  • 7mm hexagon (Allen) bit. An Allen key may not be enough to undo the screws as they may be quite tight.
  • Copper (anti-sieze) grease - My local parts shop keeps it on a shelf next to brake pads and shoes.


  1. Jack up the rear of the car and place it on axle stands. If you are not sure where you can safely place the jack and axle stands on a 9000, go here for more information.

  2. Remove the roadwheel.

  3. If replacing the disc, apply the handbrake, slacken off the disc retaining screw (don't remove it yet), then release the handbrake.

  4. Remove the dust plug on the rear of the caliper (near the handbrake cable) using a 14mm spanner. This will reveal a 4mm Allen screw. (Photos taken from within the wheel well).

  5. Using a 4mm Allen key or hexagon bit, locate the screw under the dust cover and rotate it anticlockwise (as seen looking directly at the screw head) as far as it will go to retract the piston into the caliper.

  6. Remove the plastic plugs at the rear of the caliper and remove the two 7mm hexagon (Allen) screws underneath the plugs.

  7. Unclip the retaining spring while supporting the caliper. Do not let the caliper hang from the brake hose, as this may damage the hose.

  8. Remove the pads. The outboard pad simply slides out. The inboard pad clips into the piston. Pull it directly out of the piston to remove.

  9. If you wish to remove and replace the brake disc (rotor), this is the time to do it. Click here for the procedure.

  10. Fit the new pads as a straightforward reversal of removal. My pads came with a spring clip for the inboard pad and a self-adhesive pad on the outboard pad. If you have a self-adhesive pad backing, remove the backing paper before installation. If not, smear the backing plate of the outboard pad with copper grease to help suppress any brake squeal.

  11. Reposition the caliper and refit the spring clip.

  12. Smear the sliding pin(s) with copper grease and refit. Tighten them snugly.

  13. Refit the plastic plugs.

  14. IMPORTANT - do not skip this step or you risk damaging the caliper when you press the brake pedal!
    Screw the piston adjusting screw clockwise until the pads touch the disc and the disc cannot be turned by hand. Then back off the screw until the disc can be turned (about a quarter of a turn of the screw). It is easier to do this accurately if the wheel is refitted first, although this means getting under the car to reach the adjuster. Once this is done, it helps to press the brake pedal a few times and work the handbrake on and off a few times to settle the pads and mechanism, then repeat the adjustment.

  15. Press the brake pedal to settle the brake pads. Again turn the screw clockwise until the disc cannot be turned by hand and back off the screw until the disc can be turned.

  16. Refit the dust cover over the piston adjusting screw.

  17. Refit the roadwheel if not already fitted prior to adjustment.

  18. Lower the car.

  19. Torque the roadwheel bolts to 120Nm (90lbft).

  20. Check the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. Top it up to MAX if necessary.

  21. The brakes will not perform well for the first hundred miles or so until the pads bed in. This seems to take longer if the discs are new as well. With new discs and pads, be especially careful for the first few miles. The performance of mine after doing all four wheels was pathetic for a few miles. I have since adopted the practice of doing the front discs and pads, driving for a few miles to get them working, then doing the rear pads and discs and going for another test drive. This is a bit safer and less harrowing.

  22. My handbrake came up rather high and was not very useful, but I decided to ignore it until I had driven the car for a while, then adjust it if it seemed necessary. However, after driving for a few miles, the handbrake was working normally and did not require adjustment.