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Dodge Ram 1500 Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front brake pads of a 4th generation 2009 to 2013 Dodge RAM 1500 with photo illustrated steps.

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Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Raise Front of Vehicle
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Continue Loosening Nuts

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the fourth generation (2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, and 2013) Dodge RAM 1500 truck in replacing the front brake pads.

Owners of other Dodge, Ram Trucks, or Chrysler vehicles such as the Dart, Avenger, Challenger, Charger, Durango, Dakota, Journey, Grand Caravan, 2500, 3500, 4500, 5500, C/V Tradesman,  200, 300, Aspen, Jeep Commander, Grand Cherokee and Town & Country may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this front brake job include a floor jack, jack stands, a tire iron, a 13mm socket with ratcheting wrench, a 17mm thin cone spanner wrench, a packet of brake caliper grease, a "C" clamp, brake parts cleaner spray and a set of new front brake pads.

A few compatible aftermarket brake pads include the following with their part numbers: Wagner MX1084, Bosch BP1084, Akebono ACT1084, Monroe DX1084, and Bendix MRD1084.

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Spin Off Lug Nuts
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Lug Nuts Removed
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Front Brake Caliper & Rotor
The first few steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface, engage the parking/emergency brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel with the tire iron.

Then raise the front of the truck with the floor jack and secure it with at least two jack stands. I prefer to work on one side of the vehicle at a time for extra safety.

Spin off the five lug nuts, set them aside in a safe place, and pull off the front wheel.

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Front Brake Caliper
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Hold 17mm Slider Pin
Look on the rear of the brake caliper and locate the two caliper bolts.

Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 13mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

If the caliper slider pin rotates as you are trying to loosen the bolt, hold it in place with a thin 17mm cone spanner wrench.

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Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Lower 13mm Bolt
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Remove Lower Caliper Bolt
Move to the bottom of the caliper and loosen the lower caliper bolt with the 13mm socket and ratcheting wrench.

Spin out the two 13mm caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

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Pry Off Stuck Caliper
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Pull Off Brake Caliper
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Remove Old Outer Pad
Pull the brake caliper out of the bracket and off of the rotor.

If you have trouble removing the caliper, try gently prying it off with the end of the lug nut wrench.

Pull the old inner and outer brake pads out of the bracket. If your set of new brake pads came with new metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips, pull the old ones out of the top and bottom of the bracket before installing the new units.

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, brake caliper assembly and the lug nut studs with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth to clean off the brake parts since breathing in brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (causes cancer) if inhaled.

If your vehicle previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the truck's first front brake job and the rotors appear to be in excellent condition, you should be able to just replace the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, just remove the two bolts on the rear of the caliper bracket that attach it to the steering knuckle. Then loosen the old rotor with a rubber mallet, pull it off, and slide the new one in its place.

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Remove Inner Brake Pad
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Pull Out Caliper Pin
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Lube Both Caliper Pins
In order for the brake caliper to work properly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Gently pull the upper and lower caliper pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant.

Then push the two caliper slider pins back in to their rubber dust boots.



 

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Attach "C" Clamp
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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Compress Caliper Piston
In order for the brake caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the two caliper pistons need to be compressed backwards.

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper using the back of one of the old brake pads to evenly distribute the force across the two pistons.

Move to the engine bay and twist off the yellow brake fluid reservoir cap by turning it 1/4 turn counter clockwise. Removing the brake fluid cap will allow the fluid to more easily travel backwards through the lines when you compress the pistons.

Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle to compress the pistons while repeatedly checking the level in the reservoir to prevent it from overflowing.

Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since brake fluid can easily damage painted surfaces.

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Compress 2nd Caliper Piston
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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Install New Inner Pad
You may need to slide the "C" clamp over to the 2nd caliper piston to fully compress it.

Only compress the caliper pistons as far back as their rubber dust boots and try to avoid pinching or damaging the dust boots.

Once you are done compressing the pistons, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to any place where metal to metal contact takes place such as the outer rings of the two pistons. Do not apply lube to the friction surface of the new pads.

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Insert New Outer Pad
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Push New Pads On Rotor
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Re-Install Brake Caliper
Install the new inner and outer pads in to the caliper bracket and push them flat against the rotor.

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

If the caliper won't fit over the pads, you may need to compress the caliper pistons back a bit further.

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Insert Upper Caliper Bolt
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Insert Lower Caliper Bolt
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Tighten Lower 13mm Bolt
Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the holes in the caliper slider pins.

Thread in the two caliper bolts a few turns by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the two caliper bolts by turning them counter clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 13mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 24 ft lbs of torque.

Double check that both the upper and lower caliper bolts are tight before continuing on to the next steps. If the caliper slider pins turn as you tighten the caliper bolts, hold them in place with a 17mm cone spanner wrench.

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Tighten Upper Caliper Bolt
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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Front 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 DOT3 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.

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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
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Lower Truck From Jack
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Torque Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the five lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts with the tire iron.

Lower the truck from the jack stands using the floor jack. Continue tightening the 5 lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight. It would be best to use a torque wrench or impact wrench with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to about 135 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 front 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 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 Dodge RAM 1500 Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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