Removing Rear Brake Calipers on 411-S1


  • 13/16 socket wrench to remove caliper bolts and heavy hammer to get it started (not sure why this is Imperial, not metric, but 13/16 worked the best)
  • 7/16 open wrench to remove brake line (or vice grips if either the nut or line is shot and must be replaced)
  • Wire cutter to cut split pin (cotter pin)
  • 13mm socket wrench to remove shock absorber bracket
  • Small bucket to collect dripping brake fluid
  • Heavy welders gloves to protect hands when a frozen bolt breaks free and smashes your hand into something hard and sharp
  • Magnetic back light that can be positioned inside the wheel well. I bought a strong LED light at the hardware store and a round 65 kg magnet that I bolted to it


  1. After the health and safety lecture on what you need to do to jack the car up and remove the rear wheels, position the light so you can see the inner workings of the brakes
  2. Cut off the split pin that holds the emergency brake on, remove the pin and remove the cable controls
  3. Unbolt three bolts holding the shock absorber bracket to the axle. Note that the inner one may be hard to access if you leave the shock on the bracket, with the alternative of removing the shock
  4. This gives you room to unbolt the two heavy bolts that hold the caliper to the axle
  5. To loosen the heavy caliper bolts, use an extension bar on the socket wrench, or gently tap the wrench with a heavy mallet. Wear gloves
  6. When the bolts are loose but not yet off, shift to removing the hydraulic brake line that goes along the axle. If badly corroded you may find you have to sacrifice it using vice grips and flare a new pipe when reassembling. Wear gloves
  7. Position the bucket under the pipe, it will slowly drain
  8. Remove the heavy bolts and the brake calipers should come off.

For the most part, this is a standard job, except that the emergency brake and the shock absorbers get in the way.

In my case, the car had been rebuilt 14 years ago and then garaged, so bolts and nuts came apart reasonably easily. For most Bristols, you may not be so lucky. On reassembly do yourself or the next owner a favour… use anti-seize compound.