Maintenance: Changing Front Rotors and Brake Pads

I saw grooves on both my front and rear rotors. Didn’t notice any braking issues but all the reason the change the rotors and pads. I decided to go with PowerStop. Why PowerStop? I had good experience with them on my Xterra so I decided to add them onto my Explorer.

During my research on brake pads and rotors I discovered that Explorers will have rotors that will come with two different front rotor sizes that will determine type of rotors for the rear. Explorers will come with either standard (325mm) or heavy duty (352mm) front rotors. The standard will come with non-vented rear rotors and heavy duty will come with vented rear rotors. For my 2017 Explorer Platinum the correct front rotor size is the heavy duty (352mm) version with vented rear rotors.

What I used:
Step 1: Slightly Loosen lug nut from wheel. Note: Loosen, not remove.

Slightly loosen the 19mm lug nut from the front tire so when it’s off the ground it’ll be easier to take off.

Step 2: Jack car up.

Jacking up the front should be good enough if you are only changing the front brake rotors and pads.

Step 3: Take off the lugs nuts and remove the wheel.

Now that the wheel is off the ground, you should be able to take the lug nuts off entirely and remove the wheel.

Step 4: Remove the rotor set screw

Take advantage of the brake pads to remove the rotor screw with a T40 Torx bit. It’ll help for someone to press the brakes while you take off the screw.

Step 5:  Remove caliper body and bracket

I used 18mm socket with a breaker bar to remove this.

I placed the Caliper body + bracket on top of the suspension knuckle. I suggest using a zip tie or short bungie cord to secure it.

Step 6: Remove rotors and install new rotors

Once the rotor is removed, I took the opportunity to clean the mating surface. I cleaned it with a wire brush and applied copper anti-seize on the mating surface after.

Before putting on new rotors I always clean the factory oil off of it by using a brake cleaner. This is to prevent oil from contaminating the brake pads.

Step 7: Reinstall caliper body + bracket

You’ll need to install the caliper body + bracket with the 18mm bolt.

Step 8: Remove caliper body, install new clips, brake pads

Once the caliper body + bracket is back on, I remove the caliper body. I started this process by using 17mm socket to remove the caliper guide pin bolts. Once the 17mm bolts were removed I was able to slide the caliper body off. Make sure the caliper is not dangling, this can cause stress and damage to the brake line. Secure it with a zip tie or bungie cord if needed.

Brake pads, and clips were removed.  Make sure you clean the rust and gunk under the clips with a wire brush. It’ll make reinstalling the clips so much easier.

New clips installed. I suggest removing the clips one at a time, cleaning the gap and then install the new clips. It’ll make your life a little easier because the clips have a specific orientation.

I noticed the pads have different anti-rattle springs on them. On my car the flat top was on the outside and the pointy top was on the inside.

Brake pads installed.

Step 9: Relubricate the caliper guide pins and reinstall the caliper body

You’ll need to compress the pistons before reinstalling the caliper body. I used a 4″ C-Clamp with the old brake pad to compress the pistons.

Relubricated the guide pin with SIL-Glyde Silicone Based Lubricant. What’s nice about the PowerStop brake kit is that it came with new pin boots, pin bushing so I replaced those. Afterwards, I installed the caliper.

Helpful notes:

  • This part might be a little tricky especially when the inside brake pad is always trying to pop out. I held the the pads together while I had someone else slip the caliper body on top of the pads
  • Another solution would be to install the caliper body first with only the top guide pin bolt so that the caliper can easily swing up. Swing the caliper upwards, install both inside and outside brake pads and then swing it back down.

Front brake pads and rotors finally changed.

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