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How to Replace the Brake Pads on a 2001 Suburban

by Jule Pamplin; Updated November 07, 2017

Items you will need

  • Tire blocks

  • Poultry baster or syringe

  • Lug wrench or 21-mm socket and breaker bar

  • Jack

  • Jack stands

  • 10-mm socket

  • Ratchet

  • Flat screwdriver

  • Brake parts cleaner

  • Wire brush

  • C-clamp

  • Brake grease (anti-squeal compound)

  • Funnel

  • Brake fluid

The 2001 Chevrolet Suburban is fitted with all-wheel anti-lock disc brakes. The brake system is comprises disc rotors that are squeezed by brake pads during braking to slow, and eventually stop, the vehicle. General Motors recommends replacing the brake pads every 50,000 miles. Replace the brake pads as a part of regular vehicle maintenance. Inspect the rotors while you change the brake pads, to prevent premature pad wear in the future.

Park the Suburban on a flat stretch of ground, and apply the parking brake. Place the transmission in "Park," and turn the engine off. Pull the hood release lever, located under the dashboard on the driver's side of the SUV. Move to the front of the vehicle, and lift the hood.

Remove the master cylinder cap. The cap is located on the right side of the Suburban engine, near the back of the engine bay. The master cylinder container is white and contains brake fluid visible from outside the container. Remove half of the brake fluid from the reservoir with a poultry baster or syringe, and dispose of the fluid. Place the master cylinder cap over the container, loosely, to keep debris from the remaining fluid, and allow the air to escape, during the caliper piston depressions in future steps.

Place tire blocks behind the rear tires. Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels with the lug wrench or 21-mm socket and breaker bar. Place the jack under the front of the Chevy, and lift the front tires off the ground. Place jack stands under the front axles, and lower the Suburban onto the stands.

Remove the lug nuts, and take the front wheels off. Remove the two caliper slide pins from each wheel caliper with the 10-mm socket and ratchet. Lift the right caliper from the wheel hub and brake pads, and rest it on top of the Suburban rotor or steering arm above the brake assembly.

Pry the two brake pads from the slots of the caliper bracket. The bracket holds the brake pads in place next to the rotor. Use a flat screwdriver or other prying tool to remove the worn pads. Inspect the caliper bracket and rotor for damage and scoring. Spray brake parts cleaner on the brake pad slots, and clean the area with a wire brush.

Apply anti-squeal, copper-based brake compound to the back sides of the new brake pads. Place the pads into the caliper bracket slots on either side of the brake rotor.

Place the C-clamp onto the caliper and caliper piston. Squeeze the clamp to force the piston into the side of the caliper, making room for the thicker brake pads. Remove the clamp, once the piston edge is completely flush with the side of the caliper.

Place the caliper over the new brake pads inside the caliper bracket slots. Screw in the caliper slide pin, by hand, before tightening them with the socket and ratchet. Return the right front wheel to the wheel bolts, and screw on the lug nuts by hand.

Move to the left brake, and repeat steps 5 through 8, to replace the other set of brake pads. Replace the left wheel, and screw on the lug nuts.

Lift the front of the Suburban with the jack, and remove the jack stands. Lower the front tires to the ground, and tighten the lug nuts. Move to the engine compartment. Remove the master cylinder cap, and place a funnel inside the reservoir. Add DOT-3 brake fluid, until the master cylinder is full. Remove the funnel, and place the cap onto the container. Close the hood.

About the Author

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.

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