Brake Caliper


To be able to replace brake pads, service the rotor, or to replace the caliper, the caliper must be removed. The procedure for doing this will vary according to caliper design. Always follow the specific procedures given in a service manual. Use the following as an example of these procedures:

  • Remove the brake fluid from the master cylinder.
  • Raise the vehicle and remove the wheel and tire assembly.
  • Make sure the correct caliper is installed on the correct anchor plate.
  • Lubricate the rubber insulators (if so equipped) with silicone dielectric compound.
  • On a sliding or floating caliper, install a C-clamp with the solid end of the clamp on the caliper housing and the screw end on the metal portion of the outboard brake pad. Tighten the clamp until the piston bottoms in the caliper bore , then remove the clamp. Bottoming the piston allows room for the brake pad to slide over the ridge of rust that accumulates on the edge of the rotor.
Bottoming the piston in the caliper's bore.
  • On threaded-type rear calipers, the piston must be rotated to depress it. This requires a special tool.
A special tool is required to move a threaded piston into its bore. Courtesy of Ford Motor Company.
  • Disconnect the brake hose from the caliper and remove the copper gasket or washer and cap the end of the brake hose. If only the brake pads are to be replaced, do not disconnect the brake hose. If copper washers or gaskets are used, be sure to use new ones--the old ones might have taken a set and might not form a tight seal if reused.
  • Remove the two mounting brackets to the steering knuckle bolts. Support the caliper when removing the second bolt to prevent the caliper from falling.
  • On a sliding caliper, remove the top bolts, retainer clip, and antirattle springs.
Sliding caliper removal.
  • On a floating caliper, remove the two special pins that hold the caliper to the anchor plate.
Floating caliper removal.
  • On a fixed caliper, remove the bolts holding it to the steering knuckle.
  • On all three types, get the caliper off by prying it straight up and lifting it clear of the rotor.
  • Fill the master cylinder reservoirs and bleed the hydraulic system.
  • Check for fluid leaks under maximum pedal pressure.
  • Lower the vehicle and road test it.