How to Change Ford Windstar Brakesby Jule Pamplin
The anti-lock braking system on the Ford Windstar is engineered to stop the vehicle within the standards set by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The key to effective braking is when the brake fluid forces the caliper piston against the brake pads, which in turn make contact with the brake rotors to slow and eventually stop the vehicle. When the surface of the brake pads have been worn to the point that they can no longer perform adequately, it is necessary that you change the brake pads. If you don't, the rivets in the worn pads can cut grooves into the surface of the rotors, and you'll have to replace them, too.
Park the Ford in a location that will provide space to work on both sides of the vehicle. Apply the parking brake.
Loosen the lug nuts with the tire iron.
Lift the Windstar with the jack. Put jack stands under the frame of the vehicle.
Remove the lug nuts and take the wheels off of the vehicle. Turn the steering to the left to access the right brake first.
Remove the two caliper bolts with the 13 millimeter wrench. The caliper surrounds the rotor. The caliper bolts are on the left side of the right caliper.
Remove the brake line from the caliper by removing the 10 millimeter bolt at the point of the brake line to caliper connection. Place a drip pan beneath the line to catch any excess brake fluid.
Pull the caliper from the rotor.
Pull the rotor from the wheel bolts of the Ford. If the rotors are fixed to the steering knuckle by rust, use a hammer to tap the rotor free from the vehicle.
Spray the new rotor with brake cleaner. Wipe the excess cleaner from the surfaces of the rotor. Place the new rotor onto the wheel bolts. Make sure that the "top hat" side of the rotor is facing outward. The top hat is the side of the rotor that extends from the plane of the rotor. The opposite side will be concave.
Place the new brake pads into the new caliper. The pads will slide onto the sides of the caliper and mirror the curve of the caliper walls.
Place the caliper around the new rotor. Tighten the caliper bolts with the 13 millimeter wrench. Connect the brake line to the new caliper using a 10 millimeter wrench.
Turn the steering wheel to the right and remove the caliper and rotor on the left side of the Windstar.
Return the steering wheel to the neutral position; the wheels will be pointed forward.
Put the wheels on the wheel bolts. Screw on the lug nuts. Remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle.
Tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.
- Check the level of brake fluid when you are finished replacing the brakes. The master cylinder (what holds the fluid) is located under the hood, near the windshield on the driver's side of the Windstar.
- Press the brake pedal three or four times before driving.
Things You'll Need
- Tire iron
- Jack stands
- 10 millimeter wrench
- 13 millimeter wrench
- Drip pan
- Brake cleaner spray
- Brake pads
Jule Pamplin has been a copywriter for more than seven years. As a financial sales consultant, Pamplin produced sales copy for two of the largest banks in the United States. He attended Carnegie-Mellon University, winning a meritorious scholarship for the Careers in Applied Science and Technology program, and later served in the 1st Tank Battalion of the U.S. Marine Corps.