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Hi, do not take this the wrong way but I advise to get help on this one. If you are unsure on how to fit anything to do with brakes or steering leave well alone. If you make a mistake it could be the end of you or others.
The retainers are known as shim-plates, the calipers need to be unbolted, pads removed and the shims sit on the pads *between the pad and the piston, not between pad and brake disc*
Calipers need to be bolted back on at correct torque setting other wise it could come lose then you would have brake failure.
Ask some of your friends who know about cars if they can lend a hand.
This sounds like a wear indicator( a metal tab on the brake pad) is doing its job, warning you that the brake pads need replacement soon. you can bend the wear indicators away from the rotor so they won't make contact. This will stop the annoying noise. Replace the pads and check the brakes soon. Brake pads should always be changed on both wheels at thge same time, so change the other front pads also.
did u checked the disc? was is flat and nice? or did it had scratches along the diameter of the disc? the pads need very flat rotors for them to work, it can be that the pads are too flat and hard because they are brand new and the disc may be deformed...have them checked hope this helps
Check the rear wheel cylinders if you have drum brakes on the rear. Check the master cylinder cap to be sure it's on right & snug. Use D.O.T. 3 fluid,not synthetic. If you're losing fluid there's a reason. Check the front brake pads & slides for the calipers,could be frozen with rust & eating up the pads. Fluid would seem low if the pads are shot.
You can compress the piston with a large C clamp. Screw type pistons are generally at the rear, when caliper is also used as emergency brake. I generally use the inner brake pad to protect the piston from damage while compressing it. If it does not retract it may be frozen or the rubber line going to it has internally failed. After completing change, pump brake a few times to re-set piston position so you have brakes.