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How to Replace the Brake Pads on a Dodge RAM 1500

by Gregory Crews

The worst sound in the world is coming to a stop in your truck and and you hear the sound of pure metal scraping against the rotor. This means your brake shoes have worn out. There are other factors at play as well when you are fixing your brakes. You want to make sure your rotors are in good shape and your bearings are properly greased. Here's how to replace the brake pads on a Dodge Ram 1500.

How to change brake pads on a Dodge Ram 1500.

Park the vehicle on a flat surface. Make sure the back wheel is chocked. This means you need to wedge something behind the wheel, between the back of the tire and the ground to keep it from rolling backward. Never trust the emergency brake. When you jack the vehicle up, the chock will keep the truck from rolling back. Always do this just in case your emergency brake is faulty.

Remove the front tire. It doesn't matter which one as you will end up doing both. As you remove the tire, look at the rotor and the calipers. If you will feel toward the back of the caliper, you will find two bolts holding it around the rotor. Usually the caliper is held on by a 1/2-inch bolt. Make sure both top and bottom bolts are removed. The caliper should now just fall off the rotor. Remember that the brake lines hold brake fluid so you will want to make sure you are careful when handling the caliper.

While holding the caliper, remove the old shoes. When you buy shoes from the auto parts store, you will notice they are labeled. One should say "Front" and the other should say "Back." If you remember which shoe you pulled off, then it should be easy to remember which shoe goes back on. You will notice as you try and put the shoe on that both may not go back on smoothly. You don't have enough room as the shoes you pulled off were worn down and the ones you have are brand new. You will want to take your C-clamp and you can actually use an old brakeshoe. Put the old brakeshoe back on the caliper where you see what looks like a cylinder popping out. It will actually look like a camera lens when it retracts. Push that back down. If you use the old brakeshoe and the clamp, it will push it down easily.

When you get the cylinder pushed down, place the shoes on the caliper. They are slotted so it goes on a certain way. Match it up per side of caliper. When you finish putting the shoes back on the caliper, inspect your brake assembly. Take your fingers and gently slide them along the front and back of the rotor. Make sure it is smooth. If you notice a lot of ridges and bumps in the rotor, then it is time to get it "turned" or replaced. In most cases, you can "turn" or regrind the rotor back to a flat surface. Be careful removing the rotor.

It is simple to remove the rotor, but you will have many parts to keep track of. Remove the dust cap, pull the cotter pin, nut and the washer. There is a bearing as well. When you pull it off the spindle, you will notice a bearing in the back. You might as well replace those as they get old and burned out. In most cases, there should be a seal. You can take the now-removed rotor to any auto parts supply store and someone at the store can turn the rotor or point you in the direction of someone that can do it for you. If they can't turn it, then it should be replaced. Go ahead and pick up two as you will want to replace the other side as well. You will also use grease to "pack" or lubricate the bearing. Soak the bearings in grease. Place the larger bearing in the back of the rotor and make sure it is packed with grease.The appropriate order is going to be as follows: seal, bearing and the race. On the inner side, it will be the small bearing, the race, the washer, the nut and the cotter pin. Put it back on the spindle and load it up with grease. Excess grease will fall out. Go ahead and put your locking nut and washer back on and when you go to tighten it down, only go half a turn after you get a little resistance. You will then place the cotter pin back through the little hole in the nut and put your dust cap back on over the spindle.

Once that is done, line up your caliper and put it back on. Tighten the bolts holding the caliper back on to the rotor and you will be able to put your wheel back on. Follow these steps on the other front wheel as well.

Tip

  • There is a bit of work attached to replacing the rotor and packing bearings. Changing brake pads is fairly easy and doesn't take much time to do.

Warning

  • Be careful as you work under a vehicle on a jack. Always be aware of how the jack is balanced and make sure it is sturdy. Double and triple check. You can purchase jack stands to hold the vehicle up by the frame and you won't have to worry about the jack. Make sure your parking brake is set and your back wheel is chocked.

Items you will need

About the Author

Gregory Crews has been in the film industry for three years and has appeared in more than 38 major motion pictures and 16 television shows. He also writes detailed automotive tutorials. His expertise in the automotive industry has given him the skills to write detailed technical instructional articles.

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