How to Change Ford Thunderbird Brakes

by Don Bowman

The front disc brake pads on a Ford Thunderbird have a metallic feeler that is bent to contact the rotor when the pad becomes worn to the point that it needs replacing. The squealing heard when the brakes are applied is this sensor indicating that the pads are dangerously low. When purchasing brake pads, always replace them with the same type of pad that came off. Pads will be offered as standard, semi metallic and metallic. The degree of metallic in the original pads, if any, was designed to remove the heat from the rotor to prevent warping. Rotors come in single plate and dual plate with louvers in between the plates to dissipate heat. The rotors' design and ability to dissipate heat predicates what type of pad is required.

Raise and support the car on jack stands. Remove the wheels. Open the bleeder screw on the top of the caliper. Insert the common screwdriver in between the pads and pry them in to compress the piston back into the caliper. Once the piston is completely compressed, close the bleeder screw and tighten.

Remove the bolts holding the caliper to its mounting bracket. Remove the caliper and lay it on the lower control arm so that it does not hang by the hose. Remove the brake pads from the caliper mounting bracket.

Remove the new brake pads from their box and lay them pad-side down with the back-side up. Install the compound that came in the box to the back of the pads. This compound is a semi-drying adhesive used to prevent the brake pads from moving in their slots and causing a squeal. Allow 10 minutes for the compound to start setting.

Install the new brake pads into the bracket from which they came. Install the caliper over the brake pads and install the bolts and tighten. Put the wheels back on and lower the car.

Check the brake fluid level and correct as necessary. Start the car and slowly pump the brakes to the floor and let them come back up several times until the front calipers are adjusted and the brake pedal is as high as it should be.

Items you will need

About the Author

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).

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