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by Roger Lister
I had the opportunity to replace the brake pads on my wife's Concorde. After I finished the driver's side, I decided to get a couple shots of the process for others.
First, notice that I have a jackstand under the car. Please, for safety's sake, always use jackstands because you will be pushing and shoving some.
The 1994 Concorde (Intrepid/Vision/LHS/New Yorker) I'm working on has the Kelsey-Hayes two pin calipers. [Similar systems were used on many other cars.]
I'm pointing at the wear indicator. If your brakes squeal with your foot off the brakes... You need to replace the pads because this little piece of metal is rubbing on the disk. Just to let you know you are on borrowed time.
And yes, brake work CAN be dirty...
("Slayerdude" recommends leaving the inboard pad in the caliper while using a C-clamp to compress the pison - this exerts even pressure on the entire piston face, rather than on points of it. "I have seen the phenolic pistons chip, crack, split in half.")
Not all pads require you to pry a clip off first, and some use funky springs to hold the pads in place in the caliper (Like my Caravan...). Anyway, be careful when prying, would hate to get a screwdriver through the hand... Anyway, once the clip is free, pull the pad away.
The inside pad pulls out from the piston with its own clips. Pull it right out and then you are ready to start putting the new pads in.
Before the new pads go in, now is a good time to check the surface of the rotor for problems and gouges. If you have had metal to metal contact, I'd take the rotors to a shop to get turned. Watch minimum thickness...
Now that the old pads are out, you need to push the piston back into the caliper. You ARE NOT going to push it in by hand. There ARE special expensive tools JUST for this purpose.
If you CAREFULLY center a "C" clamp in the piston, and remove the cap from the brake fluid reservoir (wrap a rag around the opening and DON'T let the fluid get on your paint...), and slowly turn the screw until the piston is in the caliper. Then your new pads will fit around the rotor...
(Webmaster: I use a block of wood to even out the pressure across the piston surface. See the note earlier about leaving the inboard pad in place for this process.)
(Slayerdude: Taking the master cap off prevents pressure and blowout of the opposite caliper!)
Modern brakes are really good and quiet, but I still like to add the "Blue Goo" disk brake quiet gel. It works, and it might not be needed today, but...
Last chance to check the piston seal for tears and such, because it is time to put everything back together...
Slayerdude added: “It is very important on that style caliper, regardless of mileage, to service the caliper slides! The caliper and slides must slide freely or the brakes will wear unevently, drag, squeak, or cause a low pedal! Push out the metal slide pins from the caliper, pinch at both ends, kind of fold in half, and twist
the rubber hardware sleeve to break it loose from the rust. Remove it and grind/file the rust from these holes. Hardware replacement is recomended. But you can scrape the rust off the rubbers and reuse them.
You must now lube the insides of the rubbers with silicone lube. Put a coating of lube on the rust-free holes the rubbers came out of. Don't forget to file or sandpaper the contact points of the caliper to knuckle surface.”
On the driver's side, the BOTTOM of the caliper clips in the knuckle. On the passenger side, the TOP does. Remember I said the same caliper is used for both sides? This is why I say this. OK, the other side kicked my butt until I remembered this little tidbit. See if I forget it again...
Now, put the bolts back in for the pins and tighten them down. You did remember to check the piston seal for damage? How about the brake line for cracks? Check the piston for cracks? The caliper? After reassembly, another good squirt of brake cleaner on the rotor surface is a good idea. I had a pretty clean rag to start with, but there are always oils in your hands. Get as much of the stuff off as you can and you should be fine.
Remember to put the cap back on the brake fluid reservoir, and to pump the brakes a few times before setting off down the street. Keep the "Blue Goo" off of the pad material and handle the pad material as little as possible. If you DO touch the pads, use the brake clean to remove oils... Make sure you have all the bolts tightened down again.
It doesn't take very long to do, even if the rotors were turned by a machine shop. A WHOLE lot easier than old fashioned drum brakes at all four wheels. Yes, I do remember those... Owned a few... Another story for another day.
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