In this tech article we will discuss replacement of the front brake pads on the E30 BMW. While this tech article is specific to the E30, it applies to most other BMW models with floating calipers as well.
I had begun to notice that my brake had started to squeak a bit. Shortly afterwards, I noticed the “brake linings” light come on in the dash. This is a a visual system BMW uses to indicate that the brake pads will soon need replacement.
Use a zip tie, rope, or bungie cord to hold the caliper out of the way. You do not want to leave the weight of the caliper hanging on the brake lines.
Once the bolt is removed you can pull of the rotor. You may need to hit it with some wood or soft faced hammer.
In order to compress the pistons, first remove the brake fluid reservoir cap, this will relieve the pressure on the system, and make it easier for you to push the pistons. Next, use a large C-clamp as shown in the photo, to slowly push the piston back into the caliper. The caliper pistons should slide back with a minimal amount of force.