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I have never been able to remove the pads from my Avid BB7 brakes. It seems to take too much force to get them out, I figure I missed a step somewhere, or I'm doing something wrong. I can't figure it out.

The official instructions say "Turn both adjuster knobs all the way out (counter-clockwise), then squeeze the pad tabs together and pull both pads and pad spring clip straight out of the caliper."

It seems like the simplest thing in the world to do, but the pads (and the spring clip) do not come out. I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. Is there a secret to this? How much force is it supposed to take? Anyone have any suggestions?

  • I want to add that, once old pads are extracted, inserting a pair of new tabs is also a nontrivial operation. Namely, it is hard to feel when they are finally in place deep enough. Because the pads lock onto two internal pins, it requires a little force to make them past those. Otherwise I had a false feeling that pads have been fully inserted, but they did not clear the disk after it was inserted in the caliper. The manual does not state this clearly. – Grigory Rechistov Jan 8 '18 at 5:25
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I have struggled with this both times I changed the pads on my brakes.

I was able to do it by squeezing the clip ends together with one hand and using a needle-nosed plier to reach through the opening in the body of the brake caliper with the other. You can grab onto the back part of the spring between the pads with the plier to help to push it out.

I found that wiggling, up and down, back and forth, and side to side eventually got the clip clear of the retaining tabs and it popped right out.

Good luck.

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I've been pulling them out a lot lately. They do come out easily, but only if you have the adjusters all the way withdrawn on both sides. The catch is that the adjusters (at least the ones I'm working with) can start seeming tight before they are backed out all of the way. So backing them off can be a bit of a judgment call.

Update: I was doing the "holiday overhaul" on my partner's bike and I was also sorting out why the brakes were hanging up a bit (corroded cable) and noticed another thing that can make the pads harder to get out than they ought to be – the actuator arm wasn't releasing all the way because the cable was a bit too tight, so I was missing maybe 5 or 6 mm of travel when the brakes were released.

Once you've got them all the way backed off and the wheel removed, pinching the tabs together and centering the pads in the caliper opening should let them come out fairly easily. Sometimes, I find that it helps to hold the pads all the way to one side and slide the one towards the center out a bit and then reverse the process. There is a pin in the adjuster that secures that pads and if you don't clear that they will hang up. Often when the pin hangs up you naturally pull out the other pad a bit. Once one pad is past the pin, pushing it towards the side and pulling the other one should be enough to get the whole assembly out. They come out with very little force.

There is nothing that will stop you from pulling the pads out one at a time, just move one towards the center and pull it out, then do the same with the other one. If you do this, you're likely to leave the spring behind, but it is relatively easy to coax out with a pair of tweezers or a pointy object or even a blast of air from behind.

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