How to Replace Rotors on Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Ford car sport utility vehicles include the Explorer and Ford car class of family truck that many Americans own. The Ford car is a popular vehicle Ford car families and business owners who like to have a large automobile to get things done. When the road has taken its toll on the brakes, disc brake rotors are the first things to get damaged by brake pads that have worn away. Replace rotors on an Ford car where damage cannot be machined away. It is necessary to have new rotors installed to correct problems left behind from worn brake shoes that were not replaced before damaging the Ford car disc brake rotors.

Under The Hood:

 How to Replace Rotors on a 1994 Ford Explorer Four-Wheel Drive

Raise the hood of the Explorer and remove the master cylinder cap. Remove brake fluid from the master cylinder until the fluid level reads half-full or lower. Use a syringe or turkey baster to remove the fluid from the reservoir.

Loosen the lug nuts on all four wheels of the Ford SUV with a 21 mm socket and breaker bar.

Place the jack beneath the frame, at the front of the Explorer, and lift the vehicle. Place jack stands beneath the axles to support the Explorer while you replace the rotors.

Remove the lug nuts and take the wheels off.

Remove the two slide bolts on the back side of the caliper, using a 13 mm wrench.

Lift the caliper from the caliper bracket and suspend it above the brake assembly with a bungee cable or wire coat hanger--do not allow the caliper to hang from the Explorer by the brake line.

Slide the brake pads from the slots in the caliper bracket. The pads sit on either side of the brake rotor.

Remove the two caliper bracket bolts with the 15 mm wrench or the 15 mm socket and ratchet. Remove the bracket from the rotor.

Pull the rotor from the wheel hub. Use a hammer to strike the center section of the disc, if it cannot be easily pulled from the lug bolts by hand.

Spray brake cleaner on the lug bolts and steering knuckle. Clean the area with a wire brush to remove any rust that may have built up on the hub parts.

Clean the new rotor with bake cleaner to remove the packing oil from the disc's surface. Wipe the rotor dry with a clean towel before installing it.

Place the new rotor onto the lug bolts. Make sure the raised center section of the disc is facing outward.

Place the C-clamp over the caliper piston and the back side of the Explorer's caliper. Squeeze the piston into the side of the caliper with the clamp. Remove the clamp from the caliper once the piston is fully depressed, or opened.

Replace the caliper bracket onto the rotor. Screw in the bracket's bolts with the 15 mm wrench or socket and ratchet.

Apply brake grease to the back sides of the new brake pads. Place the new brake pads into the slots of the caliper bracket, on either side of the new rotor.

Replace the caliper over the brake pads and screw in the slide bolts with the 13 mm wrench.

Replace the wheel onto the lug bolts and screw on the lug nuts by hand.

Repeat steps 5 through 17 for each rotor that needs to be replaced.

Lift the Explorer with the jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the Ford's tires to the ground and tighten the lug nuts with the 21 mm socket and breaker bar.

Place a funnel into the opening of the master cylinder. Fill the container with brake fluid until the fluid reaches the full line on the reservoir.

Items you will need

  • Syringe or turkey baster

  • 21 mm socket

  • Breaker bar

  • Lifting jack

  • Jack stands

  • 13 mm wrench

  • 15 mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Bungee cable (or wire coat hanger)

  • Hammer

  • Brake cleaner

  • Wire brush

  • Cloth towel

  • Rotors

  • Brake pads

  • C-clamp

  • Funnel

  • Brake fluid

 How to Replace Rotors on an Expedition

Position the floor jack under the frame near the wheel and tire that you will be working on. Support the weight of the vehicle on a jack stand and remove the floor jack from the lifting position. Remove the wheel and tire that covers the Expedition brake rotor you will be replacing. Set the wheel and tire off to the side during the installation.

Clean around the disc brake caliper and rotors. Remove extra dust and debris with brake cleaner, compressed air, or a rag. Tap on the top of the brake caliper to dislodge any debris collected inside the caliper. Removing the collected dirt and debris will allow the moving parts and fasteners to be extracted and installed much easier with any build up of material removed before beginning.

Loosen the brake caliper from the caliper mount by turning the two caliper bolts counterclockwise. Loosen them one at a time without removing. Then remove one after another once you've broken the bolts loose first. The caliper will continue to rest around the brake rotor.

Grasp both ends of the brake caliper and work it away from the rotor towards 11 o'clock. Shimmy or walk it off, one end at a time. The caliper continues to maintain a squeeze pressure even when the vehicle is off and it takes some time for the calipers to come away from the rotors. This is common. Work the caliper off the rotor and then tie the caliper to the shock or strut to prevent the weight of the caliper from hanging on the short brake line it is attached to. Protect the brake lines to prevent any leaks that can occur from pulling on these brake line ends.

Hit the backside of the rotor lightly with the hammer. Tap it all around. The brake rotor is centered onto the axle using the wheel studs to guide it into place. It is not secured except for the brake caliper holding it in place. Once the caliper is removed, the rotor can be pulled off the wheel studs and replaced with a new one. If the rotor is hard to come off the axle end it is because of debris and rust may have built up inside the rotor's hub. Continue to tap and bang around the outer edge of the rotor and the rotor will come free from its position and come off the axle end over the wheel studs.

Clean the axle end after removing the old rotor. Align the wheel studs up with the new rotor alignment holes and push onto the end of the axle. Make sure the new disc brake rotor sits evenly onto the end of the axle.

Cut the tie back holding the brake caliper and attempt to slide the caliper over the new rotor. If the new rotor is thicker than the opening in between the two brake shoes in the caliper, use a C-clamp to depress the calipers and brake shoes enough to fit over and around the new rotor. The caliper needs to be secured to its mounting bracket in order to hold the new rotor in place while operating as one of the friction points during braking. When the caliper can fit around the rotor and depress its plungers to brake, the new rotor is installed and the wheel and tire can be replaced.

Items you will need

  • Expedition rotors

  • Floor jack

  • Jack stands

  • Allen wrenches

  • Tie backs

  • Hammer

  • C-clamp

 How to Replace Rotors on a Ford F150

Removing the rotors on a Ford F-150

Jack the front of the F-150 where there is clearance between the ground and the bottom of the tire. Be sure the back wheel is chocked. It does not matter which front tire as you will do both.

Remove the front tire. You can inspect the brake pads and the rotor at this point.

Remove the two bolts holding in the caliper. The bolts will be either torx or allen fittings.

Place the caliper out of the way. Be careful as there is a hydraulic line attached so do not place it to far from the rotor.

Remove the dust cap from the spindle assembly. You will see a lock nut and bearings beyond the dust cap.

Pull the cotter pin from the lock nut with a pair of pliers. You will need to straighten out the bottom of the pin as it will be bent to keep from slipping out.

Back the lock nut out with a wrench or a pair of pliers. The bearing and race should slide right out.

Pull the rotor off the spindle. You may want to clean the spindle as it will be greasy and the race and back bearing may have stuck on it.

Place the new bearings in a tub.The bearings will need to absorb the grease. This is called packing the bearings.

Installing the New Rotor

Pull the larger bearing and race from the grease and place it in the back of the rotor. You will need to tap the wheel seal in the back of the rotor. You can do this with a hammer. be sure to tap it on the back till it is flush with the rotor.

Load the back end of the rotor with lithium grease to keep it lubricated. This will further help pack the bearings.

Slide the rotor back on the spindle. The spindle should slide to the back of the spindle and leave enough room for the bearings and lock nut.

Place the smaller bearings and race along the spindle. Slide all the way till it stops.

Pack the entire front end of the spindle with grease. This will help the packing as well.

Tighten the lock nut back on the spindle until it is snug. Then turn the nut back half a turn.

Slide the cotter pin back through the hole in the lock nut. Separate the bottom of the pin to keep it from slipping out.

Attach the dust cover back on the end of the spindle. This cover will stick on.

Slide the caliper back on the rotor. Be sure to tighten the bolts snug.

Mount the wheel back on the axle. You can lower the jack once the wheel is tightened back on.

Prepare to change out the rotor on the other side. Repeat the steps to replace the other rotor.

Items you will need

  • Bearing and race kit

  • New rotors

  • Pliers

  • Crescent wrench

  • Socket set

  • Ratchet

  • Jack

  • Chock

  • White lithium grease

 How to Replace the Rotors on a Ford Excursion

Park the Excursion on a level surface suitable for lifting and supporting the heavy SUV. Apply the parking brake only if you're replacing the front brake rotors. Turn off the air suspension button located in the rear of the vehicle.

Place a wheel block or block of wood behind one of the rear tires for added safety when replacing the front brake rotors. Place the block in front of one of the front tires if you're replacing the rear brake rotors.

Crack the lug nuts loose with a breaker bar and suitable socket on the wheels where you're replacing the rotors.

Lift the Excursion with the weight-rated floor jack and support the axle onto weight-rated jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and wheels.

Place a the C-clamp over the caliper so the top of the clamp is touching the inner caliper housing and the screwing bore of the clamp is against the bottom of the outer brake pad plate. Tighten the clamp just enough to allow room for the new rotor (a turn or two). Do not bottom the caliper pistons into their bores.

Remove the upper and lower caliper plate bolts located on the back side of the knuckle with the breaker bar and a socket. Remove the caliper and plate assembly and then support it on the suspension with heavy-duty caliper wire.

Remove the brake rotor from the hub. If the brake rotor does not come off the hub due to rust and other corrosives, spray the penetrating lubricant around the center hub hole of the rotor and allow a few minutes for the spray to soak in. Use a hammer to strike the inner plate of the rotor outward and turn the rotor 1/4 turn between strikes until the rotor breaks free from the hub. On rear rotors, strike the front hub of the rotor (being careful not to hit the lug studs) and turn 1/4 turn between strikes until the rotor breaks free from the hub.

Spray the replacement rotor with brake/parts cleaner spray to remove the sticky rust preventative solution coating. Spray both sides thoroughly.

Place the replacement rotor onto the hub and reverse the remaining procedure to reassemble the brakes and wheel.

Tighten the caliper plate bolts to 148-foot pounds with the adjustable torque tool and a socket.

Replace the wheels and lug nuts and snug the lugs nuts tightly to seat the wheels to the hub.

Lower the Excursion and re-tighten the lug nuts with the adjustable torque tool set at 110 foot-pounds. Move from one lug nut to the opposite lug in a star or crisscross pattern.

Apply the brake pedal several times until it feels firm. Remove the wheel block, release the parking brake and turn the air suspension back on before test driving the Excursion.

Items you will need

  • Wheel block or large block of wood

  • Breaker bar with socket set

  • Weight rated floor jack and jack stands, set of 2

  • 6-inch (or larger) C-clamp

  • Heavy-duty caliper wire

  • Penetrating lubricant spray

  • Ball peen hammer

  • Brake/parts cleaner spray

  • Replacement brake rotors

  • Adjustable foot-pound torque tool

 How to Replace the Rotor in a Ford Explorer

Buy new rotors for your Ford Explorer at your local auto parts store or online. Replace all of the rotors at once or at least the front or rear pair of rotors at the same time for safe braking performance.

Raise your Ford Explorer and be sure to block the wheels to keep your vehicle from rolling while you work. Remove the tire and wheel assembly on the first wheel you intend to work on.

Remove the caliper mounting bolts with a socket wrench or air ratchet. If you can't slide the caliper off of the brake disc (rotor), you may need to use a c-clamp to compress the piston (especially in dual piston models) back to allow you to move the caliper.

Use mechanic's wire to suspend the caliper and attached brake line out of the way while you remove the old rotor. Don't let the brake line get disconnected from the caliper or the brakes will need to be bled.

Pull off the old rotor and then clean the area around the hub with a damp cloth. Apply a small amount of anti-seize lubricant to the hub flange and then put the new rotor into position on the hub.

Replace the caliper and brake line to their original positions and then fasten the caliper mounting screws with a torque wrench or an air ratchet with an appropriate adapter to 100 ft. lbs. (136 Nm).

Install the wheel assembly and tire. Repeat the process for each additional rotor. When you've finished, lower your Explorer, tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench and pump the brakes until the pedal feels firm. Test drive your Ford Explorer to make sure that the rotor installation was successful.

 How to Replace the Rotor in a Ford Focus

For the Ford Focus excluding the SVT

Jack up your Ford Focus. Disconnect the negative battery cable. Remove the tire and wheel assembly and set aside.

Remove the outer brake pad retaining clip and the brake hose from its support bracket. Use a c-clamp if necessary or pull the caliper outward to release the piston. Suspend the caliper and attached brake line with mechanic's wire.

Pull off the old rotor and clean any dirt or corrosion off with a damp cloth. Install the new rotor and tighten the holding screws. Discard the mechanic's wire and mount the brake line and caliper back into place. Tighten the caliper bolts with a torque wrench to 21 ft. lbs. (28 Nm).

Replace the outer brake pad retaining clip and install the wheel assembly and tire. Repeat this process for each additional rotor, lower the vehicle and tighten the tire lug nuts with a torque wrench or an air ratchet with an appropriate adapter. Test drive your Ford Focus to make sure that the rotor installation was successful.

For the SVT

Raise your Focus SVT using jacks and jack stands. Block the wheels to keep your car from rolling while you work. Disconnect the negative battery cable before you start.

Remove the tire and wheel assembly. Next, remove the caliper mounting bolts and slide the caliper off of the brake disc (rotor). Suspend the caliper and connected brake line with mechanic's wire.

Pull off the old rotor. Clean the area with a damp cloth to remove any dust or corrosion. Slide the new rotor into position and replace the caliper and brake hose to their proper positions. Mount the caliper bolts with a torque wrench to 98 ft. lbs. (133 Nm).

Replace the wheel assembly, tire and lug nuts. Repeat for each additional wheel and lower the vehicle, tighten the lug nuts with a torque wrench and test drive your Ford Focus SVT to make sure that everything is working properly.

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