It is important to inspect brake pads at every service interval or anytime you are checking tire condition or tire pressure. It is always helpful to have a flashlight available to get the most accurate view of the inner and outer brake pads and to see if you need to perform M8 Softail rear brake pad replacement.
If cleaning or performing an M8 Softail rear brake pad replacement you will need to begin by removing any obstructions such as saddlebags or exhaust components. You may not have anything obstructing the caliper depending on what exhaust system is on your Softail.
It is a good idea to loosen the caliper brake pad pins before the caliper is removed. Use a 5mm allen to loosen both pad retaining pins. Loosen the caliper mounting hardware with a 12mm socket then lift the caliper up, off of the rear rotor.
Once the caliper is off and in your hands, you will be able to finish removing the brake pad retaining pins. This will allow the brake pads to drop from the caliper. If reusing the brake pads, be sure to note orientation. Keep the pads in their original locations. There is an anti-rattle clip above the brake pads on the ceiling of the caliper. This clip will remain in place. There is no need to address this clip unless it appears to be damaged.
When doing an M8 Softail rear brake pad replacement you will notice that they are considerably thicker than on Twin Cam models. If reusing the pads, be sure to clean and inspect them thoroughly. Blow off the pads with compressed air and a mild, aerosol brake cleaner. Also, take a minute to blow off and clean brake dust & debris from the caliper.
Assembly is simply in reverse.
Always tighten the caliper mounting pins and the brake pad pins to factory specified torque specs.