How to Remove & Replace Brake Rotors on a Lincoln Town Car

by Jody L. Campbell

Lincoln Town Cars have had a history of warping rotors. There was a technical service bulletin out about applying the correct torque to the lug nuts and how to do it. Needless to say, the original rotors of the vehicles lasted the longest, but when they had to be replaced, the problems started. The higher quality the rotor, the less often you're going to have to replace them, but the more you're going to pay for them at the parts store. With some tools in the garage and a little time invested, you can perform this repair in your own driveway and save money on labor charges at the local repair shop.

Park the Lincoln Town Car on a flat, level paved or concrete surface. Apply the parking brake. Press the trunk release button.

Place a wheel chock behind one of the rear wheels. Open the trunk and turn off the air ride button, located on the left side near the trunk hinge on the sidewall.

Break the lug nuts loose with the breaking bar and socket on the left front tire. Just crack them loose.

Lift the left front quarter of the Lincoln Town Car with the floor jack, and place a jack stand under the frame just behind the left front tire.

Remove the lug nuts and wheel from the left front tire.

Remove the caliper bolts using a ratchet and socket.

Pry off the caliper with the straight-edged screwdriver and secure it to the coil spring with the bungee cord.

Remove the pads from the caliper anchor. Pry them out with the screwdriver if you need to, but note how they are placed in the anchor so you can replace them in the exact same manner when it comes time to.

Remove the caliper anchor bolts. You may have to break them loose with the breaking bar and socket, but switch over to the ratchet once they're broken free to speed things up.

Remove the rotor. Look on the hub facing of the rotor. There may be some retainer washers that hold the rotor secure to the hub; if so, you'll need to pry them forward with the screwdriver and pull them off with channel locks or pliers. The only purpose of these retainer washers is to hold the rotor secure to the hub while reinstalling the caliper anchor and caliper. Do not worry if you ruin these or if they're not even on the rotor. You don't really need them. If the rotor does not move after you've removed the retaining washers, you may need to shock it from the hub. Do so by striking the rotor fin with a hammer with force to break it free from the rust to the hub. You may have to hit it several times; try hitting from behind more than in front, but be careful not to inflict damage to the fender or injure yourself.

Sand down the facing and edges of the hub with a light-grade sandpaper. Take some time and clean the hub from rust and corrosion as well as you can.

Spray the new rotor with brake clean spray very thoroughly. New rotors have an oil-based coating on them to prevent them from rusting due to condensation in the air. This oil coating must be cleaned off or it will create braking problems in the future. Be liberal with the brake clean on both sides of the rotor, and wipe it dry with a shop rag.

Replace the caliper anchor and pads. Tighten the caliper anchor bolts tightly with the ratchet and switch to the breaking bar to get another half turn out of them.

Squeeze the piston of the caliper in with the C-clamp all the way. Replace it over the anchor, pads and rotor. Replace and tighten the caliper bolts.

Replace the tire and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts as tight as you can get them with the ratchet and socket, then lower the Town Car and use the adjustable torque wrench set at 100 foot-pounds, but tighten the lug nuts in an alternate pattern. In other words, tighten each lug nut in the opposite position from the one tightened first until all the lug nuts are tightened to 100 foot-pounds.

Repeat the process for the right side.

Pump the food pedal when you're done to restore hydraulic pressure to the caliper pistons. Failure to perform this task can result in hazardous and dangerous results. Four or five pumps or until the brake pedal feels normal should suffice. Release the hood latch and trunk latch again if you closed it before. Check and adjust the brake fluid level in the master cylinder, and turn the air ride button back to the on position in the trunk. Remove the wheel chock.

Release the parking brake and test-drive.

Items you will need

About the Author

Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.