Brake Rotor Replacement - How difficult?

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by XavierG, Mar 16, 2003.

  1. I've done brake pads (and enjoy getting my hands greasy) but never rotors - On a scale of 1 to 10 (1 being simplest) how difficult a job is this? If I'm going to change my brake pads, would it be fairly easy to pull the rotors and put new ones in at the same time? Oh, the vehicle is a '93 Ford Aerostar (minivan).
  2. James Hart

    James Hart

    Feb 1, 2002
    Endorsing Artist: see profile
    if'n your doing the pads... rotors aren't much harder. I always pull them to be turned or replaced anyway.

    as far as the Aerostar, I don't know anything about them. My experience is in the 200 series Volvos
  3. odie

    odie Supporting Member

    I did them with some help . Didnt seem to hard. Just remember to do the fluid bleed thing correct.

    If someone or a website has a bassic 10 step directions type thing you should be able to do it with no problem.
  4. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Staff Member Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
    About a five if your asking, about a two if you've done them before. Depends a little on the car.
  5. Thanks guys! I got myself a Chiltons manual for my Aerostar and, from what I can see, it's not overly complicated - just need to get myself a torque wrench. Thanks again.
  6. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    Depends if its two or all wheel drive. On an all wheel drive Aerostar, the rotor slips right off the hub (sometimes a little whack with a hammer is req'd to get it moving) after the caliper is removed.

    On a two wheel drive, the rotor/hub is one piece. After removing the caliper, pull the center cover off the rotor(the little tin cap about 1 1/2" in diameter), remove the cotter pin, the tin crown, and unscrew the hub nut with a big pair of pliers. Wiggle the rotor and remove the outer washer and wheel bearing. The rotor now should slide off the spindle. Flip the rotor over and remove the grease seal and inner wheel bearing.

    To reassemble, repack the bearings with fresh grease, use a new grease seal and cotter pin, and reverse procedure, being careful not to overtighten the bearings.

    A word of caution on Aerostars....the rotors may be marked "left" and "right", or "driver" and "passenger". This has to do with the angle of the cooling fins in the inside of the rotor. While either rotor will fit either side, theyre not meant to be interchanged. If theyre specific from side to side, the boxes should be clearly marked.
  7. Hey Mike.... thanks for the comprehensive, yet very clear instructions (heck, you're better than a Chiltons manual!). I have the 2WD mode, and yes, the boxes are mareked "Left" & "Right".
  8. I just love Talkbass! The experience and knowledge (in most any field) that members bring is amazing.
  9. You dont need to bleed the lines to do rotors, as long as you don't rip the brake line out of the caliper.
  10. jasonbraatz


    Oct 18, 2000
    Oakland, CA
    every time i've done rotors i'm amazed at how easy it was after i'm done.

    aircooled beetle, a few A1 chassis vw watercoolers, and a 240sx. (240 was the easiest, btw)

  11. Oi, I miss my '84 Scirocco :bawl:
  12. Xavier, I just happened to have done rotors and calipers on a 1993 Aerostar!!

    Difficulty level about 5 for the reasons mentioned. With the rotors you should replace the bearings (inner and outer). This isn't a big cost but the old worn rotors have seated themselves to the old bearings and vice versa. Replacing them will assure a new contact surface that will wear together instead of wearing out the bearing race alone. Learning how to repack a bearing is good also. Put a fairly large dallop of grease in the palm of your clean hand. Loop your fingers through the bearing and push the side of the bearing into the grease glob HARD! Rotate the bearing 45º and keep doing it. Refill your palm with grease and keep pushing and rotating the bearing until you can see the grease push out through the inside of the bearing ring. Only when you've got grease completely filling the bearing cage will you have packed it sufficiently. Your worst headache will come with the re-installation of the calipers. If you can, replace your caliper with new ones using steel pistons. The steel pistons are more expensive but they won't deform and stick like the plastic ones. Fords are notorious for stuck calipers because of this. I also would recommend buying what is called a "brake-kit" for the fronts. This will include new caliper bolts (yours are likely very rusty and may be unsafe), shims, bolt sleeves, and other misc. parts. Use 'em all.

    By the way, Chilton's manuals are probably the worst for detail of any of the publishers. If you really get stuck get a Haynes manual. Mucho more diagrams, photos, and precise step by steps for just about any procedure. IMO the Haynes books are great for nearly any car, or truck, domestic or imported.

    Good Luck.
  13. Mike N

    Mike N Missing the old TB

    Jan 28, 2001
    New York
    If youre going to replace the calipers, you can buy "loaded calipers" that come with new pads, hold down hardware and copper sealing washers for the brake hoses. Its a good deal, take them out of the box and pop them on, bleed the brakes and youre all set.
  14. I have to say, I'm floored by the detailed replies! Honestly, I didn't expect to learn this much about rotor replacement on a bass forum. Hambone, thanks a million!

    Now, another topic - On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult would it be to extract my own wisdom tooth?
  15. pkr2


    Apr 28, 2000
    coastal N.C.
    Not at all difficult. About a six on the scale.

    Get a good pair of vice grip pliers and a half gallon of Jack Daniels........... :)

  16. That covers required tools. How about instructions? I figure if I use the pliers to pull the tooth out before I drink the 1/2 gal. Jack Daniels, Im still going to go through a lot of pain. On the other hand, if I drink the J.D. first, I may end up yanking out more teeth (and perhaps some other parts) than I need to.