How to Change the Brakes on a Chevy Uplander

by Jule PamplinUpdated November 07, 2017
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Zedcor Wholly Owned/ Images

Items you will need

  • Tire iron

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • 13 millimeter wrench

  • 10 millimeter wrench

  • Drip pan

  • C-clamp or vise-grip pliers

  • DOT 3 brake fluid

The Chevy Uplander is engineered to exceed the standards for safe stopping distance established by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The anti-lock braking system relies upon the proper usage and maintenance of the braking system to uphold those standards throughout the life of the vehicle. The brake lines need to be bled at regular intervals, the rotors should be inspected for scoring, and the brake pads need replacing at the first sign of significant wear. The brake pad indicators on the pads will cause a "squeal" when the pad surface is at a level that warrants replacement.

Park the Uplander in an area that will allow for access on both sides of the vehicle. Place the transmission in "Park," point the front tires forward and place tire blocks behind the rear tires.

Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels with the socket on the tire iron.

Place the jack beneath the frame near the front bumper and lift the vehicle. Place jack stands beneath the frame and lower the vehicle onto the stands. The tires should be clear of the road surface while the Chevy is supported by the jack stands.

Remove the lug nuts and pull the wheels from the wheel bolts.

Turn the steering wheel to the right to allow for better access to the left brake.

Remove the two caliper bolts located on the right side of the caliper. The caliper is the metal apparatus that surrounds a portion of the rotor. Use a 13 millimeter wrench for these bolts.

Open the brake fluid bleed valve located near the upper-most caliper bolt with a 10 millimeter wrench. Two full turns on the valve will open it. Place a drip pan beneath the brake.

Slide the brake pads from the sides of the caliper. The pads are connected to the sides (or walls) of the caliper by thin metal clips.

Place a C-clamp or vise-grip pliers against the caliper piston and the wall from which it protrudes. Screw the C-clamp (or squeeze the vise-grip pliers) to force the caliper piston against the side of the caliper. The brake fluid in the caliper will be expelled through the bleed valve and into the drip pan. The piston is a ring that extends from one side of the caliper. Remove the C-clamp when the piston is flush with the side of the caliper.

Slide the new pads onto the walls of the caliper. The pads will face each other when installed properly. Close the bleed valve with the 10 millimeter wrench.

Place the caliper onto the rotor and screw in the caliper bolts using the 13 millimeter wrench.

Turn the steering wheel to the left to gain access to the right brake. Replace the brake pads on the right brake. Turn the steering wheel so that the wheels are pointing forward.

Place the wheels back onto the wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts by hand. Lift the Uplander with the jack, remove the jack stands and return the vehicle to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron socket.

Press the brake pedal fully, release and press it again. This will return brake fluid to the caliper that was expelled during the opening of the piston.

Open the hood. Remove the cap to the master cylinder and fill the reservoir with DOT 3 brake fluid until the level of the fluid is within 1/4 inch of the top of the container. Replace the master cylinder cap.


DOT 3 brake fluid is the recommended fluid for the Chevy Uplander. The DOT ratings signify the boiling point for brake fluid, ranging from DOT 2 to DOT 5.

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