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Chevrolet Tahoe Rear Brake Pads & Rotors Replacement Guide
How to change the rear disc brake pads and rotors on a 2nd generation 2000 to 2006 GM Chevy Tahoe SUV with photos.

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2006 Tahoe Rear Wheel
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Loosen Plastic Lug Nut Caps
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Remove Plastic Hub Cap

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the second generation (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006) GM Chevrolet Tahoe SUV in changing the rear disc brake pads, replacing the rotors and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other General Motors GMT800 series SUV or truck vehicles such as the Chevy Silverado, Suburban, Avalanche, GMC Yukon, Sierra, Hummer H2 and the Cadillac Escalade may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to change the rear brake pads include a floor jack, two jack stands, a lug nut wrench, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp and a tube of high temperature synthetic brake parts lubricant grease.

The additional tools needed to replace the rear rotors include a propane blow torch, an 18mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench or a standard 18mm wrench, and a tube of Loctite "Red" high strength thread locking adhesive.


Please verify the correct replacement parts for your Tahoe by consulting with your GM dealership's parts counter, an automotive parts store or the Amazon Part Finder website. The correct parts may vary depending on your model year and whether the SUV is rear wheel drive ("RWD" / "2WD") or four wheel drive ("4WD").

The parts that I used on this 2006 Chevy Tahoe LS RWD (rear wheel drive) and can personally recommend are as follows: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC974A Ceramic Rear Brake Pads and ACDelco 18A1412A Advantage Rear Disc Brake Rotors.

A few other rear brake pads that are listed as being compatible with the RWD (rear wheel drive) 2000-20006 Tahoe are as follows: ACDelco 17D974ACH, ACDelco 171-0870, Bendix D974A, Wagner Severe Duty SX974A,

Some new sets of brake pads that are listed as being compatible with the 4WD (four wheel drive) Chevy Tahoe include the following: ACDelco 17D834CH, ACDelco 14D834CH, ACDelco 17D834MH, Wagner Severe Duty SX975 and Wagner ThermoQuiet QC975.

Other rear rotors that are compatible with 2000-2006 Tahoe SUVs are as follows: ACDelco 177-902, Raybestos 580165PER, Wagner BD125655 and ACDelco 18A1412.

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Plastic Hub Cap Removed
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Slightly Loosen 6 Lug Nuts
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Raise Rear With Floor Jack
The first few steps are to park the SUV on a level surface, make sure that the emergency / parking brake is not engaged and chock both sides of the front wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Then loosen the plastic lug nut caps by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

You can also use a 7/8" socket or a 22mm socket to loosen the plastic lug nut caps.

Once all 6 caps have been loosened, you can remove the plastic hub cover.

Slightly loosen the 6 lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise with the tire iron.

Carefully raise the rear of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with the two jack stands.

I prefer to work on one side of the vehicle at a time to keep three wheels on the ground for extra safety.

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Spin Off Lug Nuts
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6 Lug Nuts Removed
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Remove Rear Wheel
Spin off the 6 lug nuts in the counterclockwise direction and set them aside in a safe place.

Remove the rear wheel to reveal the rotor, bracket, caliper and suspension.

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Rear Brake Caliper
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Hold Caliper Pin With Wrench
Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

If the caliper slider pin turns as you are trying to loosen the caliper bolt, hold it in place with a wrench.

I used a 20mm wrench that was nearby but a 19mm wrench would be a better fit. You may also use pliers or an adjustable spanner wrench.

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Loosen Lower 14mm Bolt
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Spin Out Lower Caliper Bolt
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Spin Out Clockwise
Then loosen the lower 14mm bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

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Two 14mm Caliper Bolts
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Pull Off Rear Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
Pull the rear caliper off the old brake pads and out of the bracket.

Carefully rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord.

Try to avoid stressing or kinking the rubber brake fluid hose.

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Old Pads In Bracket
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Remove Old Outer Pad
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Wear Bars - Top & Bottom
Pull the old brake pads out of the bracket.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bars or "squeal" bars are located on the old pads.

On this 2006 Tahoe LS RWD, the wear bars are located at the top and bottom of both the inner and outer pads.

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Attach "C" Clamp To Caliper
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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Compress Caliper Pistons
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, you will need to push back the pistons.

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper by using the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure.

Move to the right rear area of the engine bay and twist off the black plastic cap on the brake fluid reservoir in the counterclockwise direction.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the line.

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the piston.

Repeatedly check the level in the brake fluid reservoir to prevent it from overflowing.

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Check Brake Fluid Level
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Move Clamp To Other Piston
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Both Pistons Pushed Back
Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since brake fluid can easily damage painted surfaces.

I'd recommend moving the "C" clamp back and forth between the two sides of the caliper to evenly compress back both of the pistons.

Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boots surrounding the pistons.

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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Caliper Bracket Bolts
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Propane Blow Torch
Once both of the pistons have been compressed back, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

Don't leave the brake fluid cap off for longer than necessary since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air).

If you are going to replace the rotor, you will need to remove the two 18mm bolts that hold that caliper bracket in place.

GM secured the caliper bracket bolts with heavy duty thread locking fastener adhesive that requires heat for removal.

Be very careful when you are using the propane blow torch and don't let the flame come in contact with the rubber brake fluid hoses or the rubber dust boots on the caliper slider pins.

Carefully heat the area around the 18mm bracket bolt with the propane blow torch for about a minute or two.

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Loosen Lower 18mm Bolt
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18mm Bolt Loosened
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Apply Heat - Top Bolt
Loosen the bracket bolts by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 18mm socket and ratcheting wrench or a regular 18mm wrench.

I used a rubber mallet to help loosen the bracket bolts.

If you have trouble loosening the bolts, try heating up the area for another minute with the blow torch or use a breaker bar on the wrench to apply more torque.

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Loosen Upper Bracket Bolt
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Caliper Bracket Removed
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Clean New Rotor
Only loosen the two bracket bolts a few turns and then allow the assembly to cool off for at least 5-10 minutes.

I'd recommend wearing thick work gloves when you handle the caliper bracket or the two bolts. They might still be hot enough to burn your fingers.

Once everything has cooled off, remove the two bolts and pull off the bracket.

Wipe both sides of the new rotor with a shop towel and brake cleaner spray to remove any oil or dirt.



 

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Pull Off Old Rotor
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Parking Brake Assembly
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Push On New Brake Rotor
Pull off the old rotor.

If you have trouble removing the old rotor, make sure that the emergency / parking brake has been released.

You can also try hitting the rotor with a rubber mallet to loosen it.

Clean off the lug nut studs and the parking brake assembly with brake parts cleaner spray.

Push the new rotor in to place over the parking brake assembly and on to the studs.

(This Tahoe was primarily used in the very flat state of Florida, so the emergency / parking drum brake pads were in great condition and did not need to be replaced and the mechanism did not need to be adjusted.)

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Two 18mm Bracket Bolts
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Pull Out Old Metal Clip
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New Pad Abutment Clip
If your new set of rear pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old metal pad abutment clips or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Apply some brake caliper grease on to the area where the clips will reside in the bracket.

Push the new pad abutment clips in to the bracket and apply a thin layer of grease to the area that will come in contact with the brake pads.

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New Clips Installed
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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
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Pin & Rubber Dust Boot
In order for the brake caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a thin layer of synthetic brake parts lubricant grease.

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Apply Brake Grease
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Lubricate & Replace Pins
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Lug Nuts - Hold New Rotor
Push the slider pins back in to their rubber dust boots.

Spin on one or two lug nuts to hold the new rotor in place.

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Temporarily Attach Bracket
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Apply Red Loctite
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Spin In Lower 18mm Bolt
Hold the bracket in place with one hand and spin in the upper bolt a few turns in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV).

Apply a small amount of Loctite "Red" to the threads on the bracket bolts.

GM used a yellow colored thread locking adhesive that is similar to the heavy duty Loctite "Red 271" that is considered to be a permanent glue that can only be removed by heating the area to 500 degrees Fahrenheit (260 degrees Celsius).

Spin in the bottom bracket bolt and tighten it in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

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Loctite On Top Bolt
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Tighten Counterclockwise
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Tighten Lower 18mm Bolt
Continue tightening the two bracket bolts in the counterclockwise direction with the 18mm socket and ratcheting wrench to about 85 ft-lbs of torque.
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Torque To 85 ft-lbs
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Double Check Bolts
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Grease On Tabs ("Ears")
Double check that both of the bracket bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Apply some brake caliper grease to the tabs or "ears" at both ends of each new brake pad where they will come in contact with the pad abutment clips.

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Slide In New Outer Pad
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Push Pads Against Rotors
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Lower Caliper Over Pads
Insert the new inner and outer brake pads in to the bracket.

Push the two pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

Lower the caliper over the new pads and in to the bracket.

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Loctite Blue - Caliper Bolts
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Spin In Counterclockwise
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Drop Of Loctite Blue
An optional step is to apply some Loctite "Blue" medium strength threadlocker to the caliper bolts.

Loctite Blue can be easily removed in the future with just the use of hand tools and it helps prevent the bolts from loosening due to vibration or shock.

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Replace Lower 14mm Bolt
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Torque To 30 ft-lbs
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Hold Pin With Wrench
Spin in the two caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) a few turns by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Hold the slider pin in place with a 19mm wrench to prevent it from spinning.

Tighten the two caliper bolts in the counterclockwise direction to just past hand tight or about 30 ft-lbs of torque.

Double check that the two caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

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Rubber Valve Cap
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Push On Rear Wheel
If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain some air bubbles.

It would be best to bleed the brake lines at this time in order to flush out the old fluid and replace it with fresh DOT 3 brake fluid. For more on this topic, check out my Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With An Assistant DIY Guide or alternatively the Brake Line Fluid Bleeding With A Power Bleeder Guide.

The brake fluid bleeder valve is located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper just below the top caliper bolt.

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Spin On 6 Lug Nuts
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Slightly Tighten Clockwise
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Lower SUV From Stands
Replace the rear wheel and spin on the 6 lug nuts in the clockwise direction by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in the clockwise direction with the tire iron.

Carefully lower the SUV from the jack stands by using the floor jack.

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Torque To 140 ft-lbs
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Replace Plastic Hub Cap
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Rear Brake Job Complete

Continue tightening the lug nuts in a "star" or "criss cross" pattern in the clockwise direction to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench to make sure that the lug nuts are properly tightened. The Tahoe's owner's manual specifies that the lug nuts should be tightened to about 140 ft-lbs of torque.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and pump the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure. Check the brake fluid in the reservoir and verify that it is at the proper level. If it is low, add some DOT 3 fluid.

To break in your new rear brake pads, just drive normally for the first few hundred miles while trying to avoid any hard or "panic" stops which may glaze over the new pads and cause them to be noisy and/or not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway or garage for drops of brake fluid which may indicate a leak, check the brake fluid level in the reservoir, and also verify that the lug nuts are still tight.

For more, check out my other 2000-2006 GM Chevrolet Tahoe DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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