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How to change rear pads and rotors on 03 Expedition


Old 09-16-2008, 09:04 AM
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How to change rear pads and rotors on 03 Expedition

This is a direct copy and paste of a how-to I did on changing brakes pads/rotors on an 03 Expy I posted on the Expy forum. Just wanna make sure I didn't miss anything (would kinnda suck to "find out" later on, if you know what I mean. )


Well, I changed my brakes yesterday (both front and rear pads and rotors.) This is an 03, 2WD Expy. Maybe or may not be different on the older/newer ones.

My friend only really took pictures of when I was doing the rear, but it's basically the same in the front, except for the fact that there's two pistons in the front, as well as a little spring on the inside pad.

- New pads
- New rotors
- Brake quiet spray or liquid
- C-clamp
- Jack
- Big L wrench that came with car to take off lug nuts
- 18mm ratchet or wrench

More or less, here's the instructions for the rear brakes.

1) Put car in Park, and put chocks on front tires. Don't engage rear parking brake.

2)Take off center cap, and loosen lug nuts.

3) Jack up one rear corner

4) Finish taking off lug nuts, and remove tire.

5) Loosen the 2 bolts holding on the caliper. I believe they were 18mm.

6) Take off caliper. In my case, I had to use the L wrench (the one you use to take off the lug nuts) to pry off the caliper from the rotor since the pads were somewhat gripping the rotor. Place rotor somewhere, as long as it isn't hanging by the hose.

7) Take rotor off. Mine came off pretty easily, though I have heard of cases where a BFH was necessary. The copper anti-seize must have helped

Also, I have heard of cases where the parking brake might be a little tight, and won't let the rotor come off. I think there a bolt somewhere that looses the little arms, but I'm not sure which one it would be.

8) Take off outer pad (the one not connected to the piston.) Again, I used the big L wrench to pry it off.

9) With a C-clamp, slowly push the in pad pad, until it won't go anymore. I opened the brake reservoir a little, just in case any liquid spilled out, but none should.

10) Again, with the L wrench, slowly pry off the pad. This pad will have clips in the back. Play around with it, until you can get it off. The little clip close to the outer pad might fall off, that's OK. Leave it off until you put the outer pad.

11) Spray the back of the new pads with brake quiet (it'll be a red sticky substance.) Let it dry a couple seconds.

12) Put the inner pad in. Make sure the clips go into the piston hole.

I had trouble putting mine on using my hands only, so I put it in as much as I could, put the old outer pad (the one with no clips) in front of it, and slowly squeezed it on with the C-clamp, until it stopped.

13) Now, put the outer pad on. Once you have it on, put that little clip that fell off. It seems it's what holds the caliper "together" so that the outer pad stays snug.

Make sure there is enough space between the pads so the new rotor slides on. If you pushed the caliper all the way back, this shouldn't be a problem.

14) Mount rotor. You may want to put a lug nut on, so the rotor isn't moving so much.

15) Slide the caliper over the rotor, and put on the two bolts. May sure they are tight on there.

16) Take off the lug nut you used to secure the rotor, and put the tire back on.

17) Tighten the lug nuts as much as possible, then lower the car. Finish tightening the lug nuts.

That's pretty much it. On the front, the only difference is the presence of 2 pistons, a little spring that clips onto the inner pad, and the loosening of one of the brake hose holder things to give you more mobility. It'd probably be a good idea to see how the little spring is mounted before you take off the pads. It'll save you one of those "Oh ****, where did this come from," moments.

You may take this time to bleed or change out your brake fluid as well. It'd probably be a good idea to bleed the lines, just in case you got some air in there. I'll be changing the brake fluid in mine in a couple days.

Either way, make sure that when you are done with all 4 rotors, that your brake fluid level is no more than max. As your pads and rotors wear down, more travel is required for them to slow you down. The more travel, the more brake fluid is used. There comes a point when the travel is too much (in other words, your pads/rotors are pretty worn out) and the brake fluid dips below a certain point. This sets off the Brake light inside. If you put too much brake fluid in there, it'll take longer for the system to warn you your pads/rotors are low.

After all 4 rotors and pads are in, you need to bed them in. I just followed these instructions: Click Me

PS: Make sure you wear appropriate clothes for this because you will get dirty.

As I said earlier, I'll try to have pictures up later today. Sorry for the long read.
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Old 09-16-2008, 09:08 AM
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Forgot to add that I cleaned the calipers with parts cleaner before inserting the new pads in.

I used the cheaper Raybestos pads and Amco (or was it AC Delco...w/e they have at Carquest). Tis was just under 400 for pads and rotors. Should have gotten the Brembo blanks online, but w/e.
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Old 09-16-2008, 10:03 AM
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You forgot to add

18: Torque wheel nuts to specified value
19: Re-torque wheel nuts after 100 miles.
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Old 04-18-2012, 07:56 PM
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Posts: 1
addition E-brake adj

This post was a GREAT HELP enabling me to get the rear pads/rotors done. My initial problem was ebrake not working well enough to pass NYS inspection. I never found a correct discussion of the ebrake (anywhere on internet) so here I go with what I experienced. The ebrake on my 2003 Expy is NOT self adjusting. In fact, the bottom spring that holds the ebrake shoes together HOLDs the adjusting star wheel in one spot. Nothing to adjust it xcept taking it all apart and adj manually. Yes there is an oval rubber plug in the back - BUT no way I could access it with an A-Arm in the way. So I had to remove the rotor to get at it. I also found that I had to manually adj the ebrake to just the point where I could barely get the rotor back on. Anything less and it fails inspection! For the record, my brake cable was fine. I only paid $174 for pads & rotors. Elevato must have incl both front & rear brakes for that price? Also , can't imagine a disc brake job without lubing the caliper pins - esp since its so easy. The side with the pins just slides out (no allen wrench req'd). I also got rid of any rust I saw hangin around anywhere and made sure the new pads slid nicely before reassembly. Roady taught me that one! Here's a pic.

Last edited by Polarizer; 04-18-2012 at 08:07 PM.
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