How to Change the Brake Pads on a 2002 Explorer

by Jule PamplinUpdated November 07, 2017
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Items you will need

  • Tire blocks

  • 21 mm socket

  • Breaker bar

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • 13 mm wrench

  • C-clamp

  • Brake pads

The brake pads on the Ford Explorer should be replaced every 35,000 to 50,000 miles depending on the driving habits of the owner. During the brake pad replacement you should also inspect the other components of the system for damage or significant wear. The front brake pads and rear pads will be changed similarly; however, there are differences in the surrounding components that make replacement unique.

Park the Explorer on a flat stretch of road or driveway. Put the transmission in "park" and apply the parking brake.

Place tire blocks behind the rear wheels and loosen all of the lug nuts with the 21 mm socket and breaker bar.

Place the lifting jack beneath the "cross-frame" section of the Explorer's undercarriage. The cross-frame is the intersection of the framing under the vehicle. Lift the Ford and place jack stands beneath the front axles for support.

Remove the lug nuts and take the front wheels off.

Turn the right front wheel to the left to access the caliper slide bolts. Remove the bolts with the 13 mm wrench and take the caliper from the right front rotor. Set the caliper on top of the steering arm to avoid hanging it by the brake line.

Turn the left front wheel to the right and remove the caliper bolts with the wrench. Place the caliper on top of the steering arm.

Inspect the brake rotors for wear and other damage. The surfaces of the rotor should be smooth and consistent. Replace any rotors that are found to be badly scored or warped.

Slide the worn brake pads from the inside of the brake caliper. Place one of the pads against the caliper pistons inside the caliper. Clamp the pad and the back of the caliper with a C-clamp. Screw the C-clamp arm to force the pistons inside the caliper. Remove the C-clamp once the pistons are completely depressed inside the caliper.

Slide new brake pads onto the sides of the caliper.

Replace the caliper over the brake rotor and screw in the caliper bolts by hand. Tighten the bolts with the 13 mm wrench.

Turn the front wheel to the neutral position and replace the wheel onto the wheel bolts. Screw on the lug nuts by hand.

Lift the Explorer with the jack to remove the jack stands. Lower the vehicle and tighten the lugs with the 21 mm socket and breaker bar.

Place the tire blocks in front of the front tires. Lift the back of the Explorer and remove the lug nuts and rear wheels.

Repeat the process for replacing the rear brake pads with the exception of depressing the rear brake caliper pistons. There is just one piston for each rear caliper so there is no need to use a worn brake pad. Use the C-clamp alone to force the pistons into the caliper's side.

Replace the wheels and lug nuts. Lift the back end of the Explorer to remove the jack stands and lower the rear tires to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts with the 21 mm socket and breaker bar.

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