Today we are looking at what is involved in replacing the front brake pads on Toyota Hilux 4×4 models. I believe the setup to be the same across nearly all four-wheel-drive Hilux’s, although a 2005 model is the newest I have done this job on so I can’t comment on the latest models.
The job is a relatively straight forward one but obviously being brakes you must get things right the first time! As always when doing a brake job I suggest you start and finish one side at a time so that there is little chance of anything getting left out and if you are unsure of anything you still have the other side to compare with.
Also, this article is written assuming that the brake rotors are in good condition. I will endeavour to do an article on replacing the rotors some time in the future.
We will start with the car jacked up and resting on two chassis stands and both front wheels removed. As usual don’t be tempted to work on the car without supporting it with chassis stands, if you don’t have any it’s a good idea to go and buy a set, they aren’t expensive and they could save your life if something goes wrong.
My apologies in advance for the quality of the pics, I’m still trying to get a handle on the settings of our new camera.
The first step is to remove the two wire clips as shown –
The next step is to remove the top and bottom retainer pins –
Once both pins are removed we can then push the caliper pistons back so the new pads will fit. When doing this I prefer to clamp the flexible brake line and open the bleeder screw so that I’m not pushing old brake fluid back up into the lines. If the condition of the brake fluid in your vehicle is a bit ordinary I highly recommend you do this, but at the same time this step is not an absolute necessity.
If you are going to push the pistons back without opening the bleeder it is a good idea to remove the lid of the brake master cylinder as the excess fluid may fill the master cylinder reservoir rather quickly. Also have some water handy so you don’t ruin the engine bay paint if it does overfill (put the lid back on the master cylinder before splashing water around though).
If you do decide to open the bleeder when pushing the caliper pistons back (with the flexible line clamped of course!) and once you’ve finished you find that the peddle feel is not up to scratch or the vehicle pulls to one side while braking you will more than likely need to Bleed Any Air Out Of The Calipers. Sometimes you can be unlucky and air can get in where brake fluid should be. Also, remember to remove the hose clamp when you’re done, a very easy thing to forget!
The brake fluid in our ‘tutorial’ Hilux was nice and clean and looked like it had been changed not too long ago so I didn’t bother with opening the bleeder but here is a pic of how you would set this up –
To push the pistons back I find it easiest to let the (old) brake pad fall in a little towards the hub and then you can (carefully) lever the brake pad against the brake disc. Keep in mind that these calipers have twin pistons each side so you may have to lever the top of the pad a bit and then the bottom a bit to get things moving.
Once you have a bit of a gap between the brake pad and the disc you should be able to lever from the middle of the brake pad and push the pistons back evenly.
When the brake pad won’t go back any further, remove it and get the new one ready to be fitted. Don’t push the other brake pad back yet, fit the new brake pad first so that the pistons that you just pushed back don’t come out again with the pressure of pushing the other pistons in. Confused? Yeah me too. Just do one pad and one set of pistons at a time ok!
Genuine Toyota brake pads have anti-squeal shims fitted and these should be refitted even if you are using aftermarket brake pads. If your Hilux has had more than one brake pad change and you find that the shims are no longer there, don’t stress, some people don’t bother refitting them and not having them won’t affect the braking.
We decided to use Bendix pads for this vehicle as it used for towing a caravan from time and time and in my opinion they give a lot better pedal feel than the cheaper brands. For this vehicle the Bendix 4WD pads retail for around $110.00.
Your new brake pads will more than likely be marked where they need to go, usually the two inner pads will be marked left and right but the outers are usually just marked ‘outer’. It’s important that you follow this as it dictates where the wear indicators are positioned.
Ok, now we can fit the first new brake pad.
And then push the other side pistons back.
And remove the old brake pad, fit the anti-squeal shims to the inner brake pad and slot it into place. It is then time to refit the top and bottom retaining pins. As you push the bottom pin in the wire clip needs to be sat in position so that the pin goes through the two loops. Once the bottom pin is all the way in you can fit the ends of the wire clip into the holes in the brake pads. This can be a bit tricky and is made a lot easier with a pair of pointy-nosed pliers.
As you are putting the pins in or after both are in position you need to rotate them so that the hole in the end is visible so you can fit the wire clip.
Then fit the ends of the wire clip into the holes and push the middle section into the hole in the caliper.
That’s it! One side done. Just as a reminder, if you have opened the bleeder screw now is the time to make sure that it is tight and remove any hose clamps used. Also, you might find it easier to move the steering to the opposite lock for doing the other side, saves bending over in the wheel arch.
Once you have both sides finished you should pump the brake pedal half a dozen or so times to make sure the pedal ‘comes up’ and the pads move in close to the rotor. I usually then refit both wheels and give them a quick spin to make sure there is no metal-to metal nasties or any other issues.
One of the last things to do is to check the brake fluid level. If it is too high it is a good idea to soak up a bit of the excess with a rag, just be careful not to get it on any paint work.
And finally, it’s time for a test-drive. The brake pedal might feel a bit ordinary for the first few stops but it should improve the more you drive. Always read the literature that often comes with new brake pads as it will usually have the necessary ‘bedding in’ info for that particular brand.