Today’s tutorial or article, whatever you would like to call it, focuses on changing the rear brake pads on EA to ED model Falcon’s and their equivalent LTD and Fairlane models (DA/DC and NA/NC). I believe the XG and XH utes and vans have the same setup also.
As usual please read through this article in it’s entirety before starting out so that you get an understanding of the steps involved and to ensure you have, or have access to, the required tools and equipment needed to complete the job and more importantly, remember you are playing with brakes here, everything must be done 100%!. And make sure you read our disclaimer 🙂
Ok, obviously the first thing is to jack the car up and support it with chassis stands and remove the wheels. DO NOT be tempted to leave it on the jack only!!
It’s always a good idea to check to see if the handbrake levers are moving reasonably freely and come most of the way (if not all of the way) back to their stops. You should be able to move the levers backwards and forwards a bit by hand.
If the lever/s are seized and won’t move it’s time for a caliper overhaul, which we will cover in a future post.
Ok moving on, we need to remove the handbrake cable from the caliper before we can get to the brake pads so we first need to remove the clip holding it to the bracket –
And now pull the outer part of the cable forward so that the cable inner can come through the hole in the bracket. If the cable is tight you may have to loosen the adjuster off which can be found underneath the car, approximately in line with the drivers seat. A 13mm spanner and vice or multi grips are needed here.
With a bit of maneuvering (and possibly swearing) you should now be able to remove the cable end from the lever.
Next up the two 13mm bolts that secure the caliper to the mounting bracket need to be removed.
Now we can lever the caliper top and bottom (a bit at a time) to remove it from the mounting bracket and rotor.
Once the caliper is free try not to let it hang from the rubber brake line (sit it on the top of the rotor) and remove the brake pads. The outer one lifts up and out and the inner has clips that hold it to the caliper piston and may take a bit of force to remove.
At this stage we should make sure that both top and bottom slides move nice and freely. If they don’t try gently knocking them out, cleaning up the surfaces with wet-and-dry sandpaper and then refitting them with a small amount of grease to keep them lubricated.
Now for the fun part! Because the handbrake mechanism is part of the caliper, the caliper piston has to be wound back in rather than just pushed back in like on Falcon front brakes.
As far as tools needed to get the piston wound in, there is a tool available (pictured below) from just about any auto parts store that you use with a 3/8 drive ratchet that is quite good or you can simply use a square-shaft screw driver and appropriately sized spanner to achieve the same result. Typically the tool is an easier way to do it but the screw driver method does work if that’s all you got.
The idea here is to rotate the piston (anti-clockwise for driver side, clockwise for passengers side brake) while keeping some inwards pressure on the piston, as if you are trying to just push it back into the caliper. A second set of hands to hold the caliper helps here too.
If you find that you can turn the piston but it won’t go in try opening the bleeder nipple (refit the caliper and top bolt to secure it while you loosen the bleeder). Just be aware that you will have to Bleed The Brakes any time a bleeder is opened.
When you have the piston back as far as it will go you need to line up the slot in the piston so that the locator of the new brake pad will fit correctly. This is the approximate position –
Now we can fit the new brake pads to the caliper, again, keeping an eye out for correct piston to inner brake pad alignment.
And then refit the caliper over the rotor and mounting bracket. If you find that you can’t get the caliper with the new pads over the rotor check that you have the caliper piston all the way back in and check the rotor for a lip on it’s outer edge (or get the rotors machined, which is always a good idea!)
Next up fit the two 13mm caliper bolts and tighten. The torque spec for these bolts is 25Nm.
Then refit the handbrake cable (follow the earlier instructions in reverse) and move on to the other side and repeat what you have just done.
Once both sides are done, CHECK and RECHECK everything (bolts, handbrake cables, etc), I can’t stress this enough, you don’t want to find out the hard way that you’ve done something not quite right.
We can now pump the brake pedal half a dozen times or more (IMPORTANT – avoid pushing the pedal all the way to the floor, this can cause problems with the master cylinder) and the pedal should gradually get firmer. When you have a good pedal check the brake fluid level in the master cylinder and top up if necessary (if the pedal feels spongy or continually goes down too far the brakes will probably need to be bled). Also, if the brake fluid overflowed from the master cylinder when pushing the pistons back wash the area down with water.
If you had to loosen the handbrake cable adjust it back up to approx where it was beforehand and operate the handbrake a few times. Use the cable adjuster to improve the handbrake if you feel it comes out too far.
All we need to do now is fit the wheels and take it for a test drive.