How to Change Ford Explorer Brakesby Don Bowman
It is always advisable to replace the brakes on a Ford Explorer with at least the equivalent type brakes as original. The amount of metallic used in the original pads is designed to dissipate heat at a certain rate, which is dependent on the type of rotor used, be it single or dual rotor vented. Too little metallic material will cause rotor warpage, and too much will cause excess squealing.
Raise and support the vehicle on jack stands. Remove the front wheels. Open the bleeder screw on the top inside of the caliper. It is a small 8mm or 10mm bolt with a hole in it for allowing fluid to escape. Just open it a few turns.
Spread the brake pads apart by compressing the brake caliper piston back into its bore. Do this by inserting a common screwdriver in between the pad and the rotor and pull outlward. This will force the pad to push in on the piston. Push the piston all the way in until it stops. Close the bleeder screw by tightening.
Remove the two bolts that run through the caliper and remove the caliper. Do not let the caliper hang by its hose. Hang it up or set it on the lower control arm.
Remove the brake pads. Pay close attention to the springs on both ends of the caliper-mounting bracket that the pads are slid into. The springs keep the pad tight so it cannot move, creating a squeal.
Install the new brake pads. Lay the new pads face down and apply the anti-squeal compound that comes with the pads. Apply this to the back of the pads and allow ten minutes to set up. Install the new pads in between the springs in the mounting bracket.
Install the caliper over the brake pads, install the two through-bolts and tighten. Put the wheels on and lower the vehicle.
Check and fill the brake fluid in the master cylinder as needed. Start the vehicle and pump the brake pedal slowly until the brakes have adjusted out and the pedal is reestablished. There will be no brakes at first because the caliper piston was pushed all the way in. It always takes several pumps on the pedal to get the piston back out and to tighten the pads to the rotor.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stands
- Set of 3/8-inch drive sockets
- 3/8-inch drive ratchet
- Lug wrench
- Set of wrenches
- Common screwdriver
- Brake fluid
- Do not attempt to drive the vehicle without pumping up the brakes as instructed in Step 7.
Don Bowman has been writing for various websites and several online magazines since 2008. He has owned an auto service facility since 1982 and has over 45 years of technical experience as a master ASE tech. Bowman has a business degree from Pennsylvania State University and was an officer in the U.S. Army (aircraft maintenance officer, pilot, six Air Medal awards, two tours Vietnam).