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F30 M Performance Brakes on E90 E92 E93 Guide


This guide will cover the installation of the front and rear F30 M Performance BBK onto an E9X.

Credit goes to a lot of people on e90post including feuer in particular.


This is the most comprehensive guide on the internet as far as I have seen. There is plenty of information floating around but the information is scattered everywhere, I figured it would help if I documented the process in detail while I installed this to my E93 335i.

I started by purchasing the F30 M Performance Brake Kit, I got the Phoenix Gold version for $1229 shipped from BMW of El Cajon on Ebay. These kits do not come with rear rotors, which is okay because the F30 rear calipers sit too low when mounted to the E90 knuckle by ~3mm and the F30 rotor hits the inside of the caliper. The proposed solutions are to elongate the steel knuckle holes to move the caliper up, or grind the inside of the caliper to make clearance for the F30 rotor, or to buy a bracket which replaces the ears on the caliper, none of which will be discussed in this guide.

Instead of doing the above machine work, I purchased a set of E60 Zimmerman blanks from DRT-Euro on Ebay and asked them to dimple and slot them like the BMW M Performance rotor pattern. When I got them back, there was a difference between the slotting and dimple styles but I figured they were good enough and you might not ever know without close inspection. The Zimmerman rotors were a one-piece design, but since they are rear rotors and I wasn't going to be doing any heavy tracking with the car, I find that perfectly acceptable to me. These rotors were only $204 shipped and have a slightly shorter diameter eliminating the need to machine the inside of the caliper to clear the rotor. If you purchase OEM E60 rotors instead of the Zimmerman, the height of them is actually taller by a couple mm and this means the caliper may still require milled out on the inside. One down side to using the aftermarket E60 rotor, the ebrake dust shield tabs need bent back or cut off, otherwise you'll have an awful grinding noise when you drive. This is not the case with the OEM E60 rotor, but modifying this tab is easier than permanent modifications to the internal well of your caliper.

The other main problem people have dealt with doing this swap, is the rear F30 calipers aren't centered on the F30 rotors when mounted to the E90 knuckle, so the calipers get sent out to Fab Factory or another machine shop and have the caliper mounting tabs machined down. If you use the F30 rotors, you have leave 12-13mm of material on the caliper ear. If you use the E60 rotors, you leave 15-16mm of material on the caliper because they have a ~3mm different offset. I don't even know the factory width of this tab, some people have reported that no machining is required at all with the E60 rotor. So by using the E60 rotor you get to keep more material on the caliper ear, potentially all of it which promotes strength, and the elongation of the knuckle and grinding of the inside of the caliper well machine work may not be necessary, which would normally be in addition to the machining done to center the caliper. As stated above, this elongation modification may not be avoidable if you want a perfect pad sweep, because the caliper sits too close to the center of the hub and misses the outer portion of the rotor. The caliper fits, barely, but the position of the pad in this configuration is not optimal. An alternative to elongation of the knuckle is to purchase an Eccentric bushing and press the M12 bushing out and put an offset M10 bushing in.

The rear F30 calipers also use longer and wider mounting bolts(M12) than the E90(M10). So instead of boring out the bolt holes on the knuckle(the knuckle is steel and I think this is shady without using one of the bore relocation inserts) and cutting the bolt to length(Or finding a bolt the right size), I bought 4x M10X1.5X11.0MM Part #101511 solid wall Timeserts and some red Loctite to reduce the F30 caliper threads down to the E90 size.

Its also worth noting that I did the ECS Stainless Steel brake lines at the same time, you can see that guide here:


It will be assumed that you'll be using aftermarket (Zimmerman) E60 rotors, and have obtained a set of F30 M Performance (Or the correct Brembo M Sport) calipers and have checked the fitment on your car. The ears may or may not require milled down to fit, just depending on the unit to unit variance on your particular rotors. The amount which requires removed is said to be ~3mm less than the F30 rotor. Due to variations in aftermarket rotors, it is recommended that you purchase the rotors and compare the offset to a stock F30 rear rotor in order to the get difference which you need to mill. Or better yet, mock up the E60 rotors and hold the calipers in place and mark them yourself. If that is not possible, I'd recommend the caliper ears be milled down to leave 15-16mm of material REMAINING, for use with an E60 rotor. Remember, this may mean you do not have to do any milling, so please double check yourself. Also keep in mind there is more to simply milling, it must also contour to the shape of the knuckle, as can be seen here:
The larger size of the calipers means you should make sure your wheels will fit. Generally 19" wheels are required and due to the nature of the wider E60 rotors you need to make sure it will clear your spokes. If you think there may be contact issues, purchase a 5-10mm wheel spacer.

The F30 brake pad sensors that come with the kit do not work, you'll need to re-use the sensors if they are still good or you can purchase these: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B013THROAY/

Rear Brakes

Start by breaking the lug nuts loose, jack up the car and properly suspend one of the rear wheels in the air using a jackstand. If you want, you can put all four corners up on jackstands if you'll be doing the front and rear brakes all at once, but due to the rear differential, I do recommend putting both rear wheels in the air so you can test the rotation. Remove the wheel and set it aside. I also recommend placing a card board box under the wheel you're working on, inevitably brake fluid will squirt out or drip in an unexpected place and this will keep it off your floors. Home Depot sells them for cheap if you don't have any.

To minimize the brake fluid that leaks out, put a steering wheel lock or something heavy on the brake pedal:

Now using a 14mm wrench, loosen the brake line that feeds the caliper, keep a rag and drip pan handy to catch the brake fluid. Then using an 11mm brake line wrench, loosen and remove the nut on the other end, be very careful you do not strip this soft aluminum nut. Once its released, pour out fluid into the pan and wipe off any spillage.
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Use a screw driver to pop out the pad retainer:

If you're doing the right rear wheel, you need to remove the brake sensor from the caliper, don't lose the clip, and disconnect it all the way back out of the way:
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Looking down, you can see the two bolts on the back of the knuckle that hold the caliper on:

Loosen with a 16mm ratchet and the caliper should come off. I recommend grabbing a paper towel when doing this part so brake fluid doesn't shoot out onto your car when the pads get compressed. Once removed, grab one of the rubber plugs from your new calipers and stick them in the old calipers to prevent them from leaking on your shop floor.
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Use an allen wrench to remove the key holding the rotor in place:

At this point you have to smack the rotor on the hat which is the inner circular area that sticks out. Not the very center where the nut is, but around the area where the lug nuts go in. Hit it a few times and the rotor should come off. If you can't get it to come out, you can buy or borrow a gear puller from Autozone. Be careful when using a gear puller, the rotor tends to fly off the hub. This was their 5 ton unit, it was barely large enough:
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As you can see in the picture below, the dust shield obstructs the F30 caliper:

So grab some tin snips and cut away some of the dust shield and be VERY CAREFUL! This tin is incredibly sharp when you're cutting it and it would be way too easy to have your hand slip and slice one of the tendons in your fingers:
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You may have to cut the dust shield toward the center which sits next to the ebrake as well, depending on how your calipers were machined and the clearance of your rotors. You can use a hammer and punch this mini shield back so that it doesn't rub on your rotors. If you don't do this, you'll probably have a scraping sound when you are driving around.
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Next, you need to reduce the threads on the caliper from M12 to M10, and as I explained in the Intro, I used a Timesert. The Timesert has a collar on one end that sticks out a little bit, and to prevent this collar from interfering with the mounting surface of the knuckle, I inserted the timesert from the rotor side with some red loctite:
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As you screw the timersert in, it will begin to have resistence. This is because the bottom threads are cold rolled and designed to expand into the outter threads, locking them into place. So grab your stock caliper bolt, or preferably the official tap that comes with the Timesert kit, and begin to screw it in from the collared/rotor side just far enough so we can get the timersert seated and locked in:

Now do the same with the other hole and leave these bolts in for at least 10 minutes so the loctite can begin to set. You don't want to pull them out too soon in case the inserts try to back out:

Once you have this finished you can go ahead and mock the caliper up onto the knuckle and make sure the dust shield doesn't hit anywhere, you do not need to tighten completely.
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Go ahead and remove the caliper and put the E60 rotor on without the lugnuts or allen key bolt. Ensure the rotor does not scrape on any of the dust shields by holding and spinning it on the hub. If it doesn't want to spin, its probably catching on something, possibly the parking brake and may need adjusted:

Make sure the rotor is in the center of the caliper. If it is not, you'll either need to use some washers or send the caliper back to have it machined again.
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Once fitment of the caliper has been confirmed, we'll need to put the brake pads into the calipers AFTER the caliper is mounted. Here is a demonstration of how the pins and clip work:

First, slide in the brake pads with the compounds facing inward toward the rotors:
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Then you place the clip down and slide one of the pins through the side of the caliper, into the brake pad and OVER the clip, through the other brake pad and into the caliper. I did not push the pin in all the way since its just a demonstration. Push the other side of the clip down and do the same thing:
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And this is what it will look like assembled, except the pins will be punched in all the way:
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So go back to your caliper and put some brake paste on the back of the pads which will face the piston/caliper, away from the rotors as well as on the sides of the clip which press down onto the brake pads(not shown):

Now put these pads into the hole on the caliper, on either side of the rotor:
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Now, install the clamp and pins as explained above. Once you have the first pin through both pads, grab a 1/4 drive socket that is smaller than the pin, place it on the end of the pin and use a hammer to tap the pin into place. A longer socket makes it easier to grasp:
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Now do the same with the lower pin and the caliper is assembled:
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Now install the brake line back onto the caliper end first with a 14mm, then do the other end with the 11mm brake line wrench:
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This next part you need to really pay attention! Ensure the car is in a safe place and the rear wheels are not on the ground. This means, ensure all four corners of the car are on jack stands or the front wheels are properly chocked or on ramps. When safe, release the brake pedal. Next, do NOT touch the brake and press the ignition button one time to put it in accessory mode. Make sure you do not have your foot or anything on the brake as this will start the engine. Double checking that your car will not roll, put the car into neutral and go put a couple lug nuts in the rotor. Spin the rotor, checking all clearances. The rotors should not scrape the calipers or the dust shields and should spin with minimal resistance. Check the brake pad clearances. Once done, put the car back into park and turn off again.
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Now, before you put the wheel back on, optionally you can do a temp bleed job so the brakes aren't completely worthless. Open your brake fluid reservoir cap, make sure its mostly full, and hook up a vacuum bleeder to the nipple on the caliper or any bleeding method you prefer. A pressure bleeder is preferred because air can leak in through the threads of the bleed screw when using a vacuum pump, making it difficult to get an air tight seal, however a vacuum style bleeder is used in this guide because that is all I had on hand.

Get as much air out of the lines as you can, making sure to keep the brake fluid reservoir full and then tighten the bleeder valve, clean up any brake fluid.
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Lastly, MAKE SURE YOUR WHEEL FITS! I scratched my caliper finish because the wider rotors put my calipers further out and it made contact with the spokes of my OEM 230 style wheels. I bought 5mm spacers to fix the problem, they barely clear as you can see in this photo:

When done with the rears, it will look like this:

Repeat on this entire process on other side.

Front Brakes

Put the brace back on the brake pedal. Crack the front lug nuts, safely put the front end of the car on jack stands and remove the front left wheel.

Position a drip pan below the brake line and loosen the bottom portion feeding into the caliper enough so its loose. Then completely remove the top portion of the brake line, hold a paper towel around it to catch any fluid leaks. With this top end of the line removed, you can now twist and remove the caliper end, be ready to pour the fluid stored in the line into the drip pan.
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Now remove the rubber grommets on the lines from the bracket and remove the brake line:
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Remove the brake pad sensor if doing the front left wheel:
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Put your hand on the brake pad retainer so it doesn't go flying, and pry it out with a flat head screwdriver:

Remove the two bolts on the back holding the caliper on and take off the caliper. Make sure to have a paper towel handy, as the caliper is shifted it likes to squirt fluid out of the newly exposed hole. Grab the rubber plug from your new caliper and stuff it in the old one to stop it from leaking everywhere.
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Use an allen wrench and remove the allen key holding the rotor on. Smack the hat once again with a hammer to remove the rotor, or use a gear puller. Make sure you move everything out of the way, when the rotor breaks free it can be unpredictable:
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Remove the dust shield:
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Bolt the new dust shield on, only two of the original bolts will fit. On the bottom left hole, use a sharpie and mark the knuckle to get an idea of where the new hole needs drilled:
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Take a measurement or just guess, hammer the marked location flat, drill the new hole and bolt back up to the knuckle:
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Install the new rotor with the allen keeper:

Adjust the dust shield on top and bottom and bolt on the new calipers:
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Apply the paste to the backs of the pads and the sides of the retaining clip that presses down onto the pads then insert into the calipers and secure just like the rears:
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Install new brake pad sensor:
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Connect the brake line:
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Release the brake and bleed the line. Make sure to bleed the inner and outer bleed screws.

Put the wheel back on, check clearances and repeat with the other side, and then bleed your brakes once again using the INPA method explained here: https://bmw.spoolstreet.com/documents/inpa-dsc-brake-bleed.55/