How to Replace a Front Rotor on a Lincoln LSby Jody L. Campbell
Replacing the front rotor on your Lincoln LS will require equal parts of mechanical skills, dexterity and applied caution. The right equipment to perform the job and a couple of suggestions to make future replacement a little easier will come in helpful. The amount of money you could save by doing this yourself can motivate you and ensure the job gets done right.
Park the Lincoln LS on a flat paved surface. Apply the parking brake and release the hood latch. Place the wheel chock behind one of the rear tires. Open the hood and remove the master cylinder cap. Suck out half of the brake fluid from the reservoir with a turkey baster and discard. Replace the cap securely. Drop the hood down (without closing it) so the underhood light bulb on the Lincoln LS doesn't kill the battery while you perform the rotor replacement.
Break the lug nuts loose on the front tire(s) using the breaker bar and a socket. Lift the front quarter of the LS with the floor jack and place the jack stand under the front frame rail. If desired, lift the other side to elevate the front axle. It is recommended to replace both rotors on an LS as opposed to just one side. This way you won't have a thick new rotor on one caliper catching first while the other has to compress against an older, thinner rotor.
Remove the lug nuts and wheel. Position the large flathead screwdriver into the front of the caliper. In a prying motion, compress the caliper pistons (there's two on the LS calipers) by prying the outboard pad evenly against the surface of the rotor. Because it's dual piston, you'll have to apply enough force to compress them in. Go as far as the caliper pistons will allow. This will make sure there's plenty of room for the new thicker rotor.
Locate and remove the two caliper anchor bolts on the inside knuckle using the ratchet and a socket. This will remove the caliper with the pads and anchor as an entire assembly and save time. If you were replacing the pads on the LS, you would have to separate the caliper, extract the pads, then remove the anchor to remove and replace the rotor. Hang the caliper assembly to the front suspension out of the way using a bungee cord so it does not hang by the brake hose.
Remove the rotor. If the rotor is stuck to the hub, spray the center of the rotor and hub connection with lubricant, put on the safety glasses and strike the flat plate of the inside edge of the rotor with a hammer outward. Try to use force to shock the rotor from the hub, but excessive force and repeated blows with the hammer can create excessive run out. Try to avoid hitting the rotor on the front or face of the hub.
Clean the flange face of the hub with sand paper or emery cloth to remove and excess rust or buildup that caused the rotor to come off stubbornly. Apply a light coat of anti-seize lubricant around the circumference of the hub that the rotor sits around and also along the edge of the hub flange that sits inside the hub of the rotor. This will help future replacement or removal of the rotor.
Clean off the rust preventative coating on the new rotor with brake clean spray. Spray both sides liberally and wipe dry with a shop rag. Install the new rotor onto the hub of the flange and screw on one lug nut on a lug stud to hold the rotor in place flush to the flange, but out of the way of the caliper assembly.
Replace the caliper assembly and anchor bolts and tighten with the ratchet and a socket. Remove the lug nut from the lug stud and replace the wheel and lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts flush to the hub. Repeat the steps for the other side to replace that rotor. If excessive force was used to remove the rotors and you want to check rotor run out, you'll have to keep the tires off and restore hydraulic pressure back to the caliper pistons first, by pumping the foot brake pedal until it feels normal. Then, use the rotor run out gauge to check lateral run out.
Lower the LS and tighten the lug nuts alternately with the torque wrench set at 100 foot pounds and a socket. If you didn't check rotor run out, pump the foot brake pedal now to restore pressure to the caliper pistons. Check and adjust the level of brake fluid in the master cylinder reservoir and only add new DOT 3 or 4 brake fluid. Fill and replace the cap securely. Close the hood and remove the wheel chock.
Things You'll Need
- Floor jack
- Jack stand(s)
- Wheel chock
- Turkey baster
- DOT 3 or 4 brake clean
- 1/2 inch drive breaker bar
- 1/2 inch drive ratchet
- 1/2 inch drive socket set
- 1/2 inch drive adjustable torque wrench
- Large flathead screwdriver
- Bungee cord
- Safety glasses
- Anti-seize lubricant
- Spray lubricant
- Emery cloth or light grade sand paper
- Brake clean spray
- Shop rags
- Rotor run out gauge (optional)
Jody L. Campbell spent over 15 years as both a manager and an under-car specialist in the automotive repair industry. Prior to that, he managed two different restaurants for over 15 years. Campbell began his professional writing career in 2004 with the publication of his first book.