Tonight we are looking at what is involved in replacing the rear disc brake pads on Falcon’s from the XA model to the XD. This rear brake setup is also found on the ZH, ZG, ZF and ZJ Fairlane’s and the FC LTD.
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, jack the car up and support it on chassis stands (NEVER work on a car supported by the jack alone!) and remove the rear wheels.
The first port of call is to push on the handbrake lever on each caliper to make sure you get at least a little bit of free movement and they are not seized. If you find they are difficult to move even the smallest amount I suggest overhauling the calipers which we will cover in a future post. You risk uneven and premature brake pad wear and unsatisfactory handbrake operation if you leave them as is.
The handbrake cable has to be removed from the caliper before the pads can be replaced so we need to remove the securing clip from the cable outer –
And then pull the outer of the cable forward until we can get the inner of the cable through the slot in the locating bracket. To get enough slack in the cable to do this you may have to loosen the adjuster (and the handbrake must be in the off position!). The adjuster can be found under the drivers side of the car, up near the transmission crossmember. It should have a 13mm (1/2 inch) nut that is turned anti-clockwise to loosen the cable.
And here is how the cable comes out –
Don’t worry about removing it from the handbrake lever just yet. Next we need to remove the two 5/8 caliper mounting bolts.
Once these are removed we should be able to slide the caliper and it’s mounting bracket towards the back of the car just enough to clear the rotor and with a bit of fancy footwork you should be able to get the caliper in such a position that you can take the handbrake cable out of the lever on the caliper.
Yes, there are other ways of removing the handbrake cable from the caliper, removing the handbrake lever is one of them but I like to do it this way so you don’t have to worry about setting up the return spring again.
When you have things this far it’s time to wind the piston back into the caliper so you can fit the new pads. The easiest way I have found to keep the caliper still is to wedge it between the leaf spring and the rotor, while being careful not to stretch the rubber brake hose.
As you can see I have used a large flat-blade screwdriver (with a square shaft so that you can put a spanner on it for leverage) to wind the piston in, however pictured below is a dedicated tool that you can buy from most auto parts places that does make this part of the job a bit easier.
The piston in the drivers side caliper has to go in a clockwise direction and it’s anti-clockwise for the passengers side brake.
As is typical with these brake setups the piston can be very hard to move, in particular to get moving in and a fair bit of force is usually required. If you find you can’t get it moving in at all (the piston will only rotate around) try loosening the bleeder nipple enough so that brake fluid can escape. Just remember though you will need to BLEED THE BRAKES once you’re done.
If a quick brake pad change is all you are after you can just fit new pads and reassemble everything at this stage. There is more to this job if you want to do a ‘complete brake service’ such as cleaning and lubricating the slides and overhauling the handbrake mechanism which I will cover once the diff has been taken out of the car. It’s getting replaced anyway and I don’t like hurting my back any more than I have to! Tomorrow is looking good for that part.
Back to the quick pad change, once you have the new pads in place fit the end of the handbrake cable into the handbrake lever and carefully slide the assembly over the rotor. Fit the two mounting bolts and TIGHTEN.
Repeat the job on the other side and then double-check everything you have done. If everything looks good pump the brake pedal half a dozen or so times (be careful not to go right to the floor with the pedal at this stage as it can cause issues with the master cylinder), check the brake fluid level and clean up any spillage with clean water and then check the handbrake operation and adjust if necessary.
That concludes the ‘quick Falcon brake pad change’ article.