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Ford Explorer Rear Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the rear disc brake pads on a 5th generation 2011-2015 Ford Explorer SUV with photo illustrated steps.

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2014 Explorer Rear Wheel
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Loosen 5 Lug Nuts
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Raise Rear of Vehicle

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the fifth generation (2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Ford Explorer SUV in changing the rear disc brake pads, turning back the screw-in type caliper piston and lubricating the slider pins.

Owners of other Ford or Lincoln vehicles such as the Fusion, Mustang, Taurus, Escape, Edge, Flex, Expedition, F-150, Focus, C-MAX, MKC, MKZ, MKX, MKS, MKT and Navigator may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a floor jack, two jack stands, a tire iron, a 13mm socket, a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench, a disc brake piston tool (Lisle # 28600), a packet of brake caliper grease and a set of new rear brake pads.

A few compatible sets of replacement brake pads with their part numbers include the following: Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1377, Bosch BC1377, Raybestos ATD1377C, ACDelco 17D1377CH, Wagner QuickStop ZD1377, Dura International BP1377 C, Monroe CX1377, Bendix D1377 CQ, ProAct Ceramic # ACT1377, Motorcraft BRF1446, Akebono ACT1377 and TRW TPC1377.


Please note that the compatible part numbers for your Explorer may vary depending on if your SUV has the H/D (Heavy Duty) or S/D (Standard Duty) braking systems. Please double check with your Ford dealer, the Amazon Part Finder website or an auto parts store before buying new brake pads. I believe that most, if not all, of the part numbers above are for the SD (standard duty) brakes.
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Spin Off Lug Nuts
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5 Lug Nuts Removed
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Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
The first two steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface and make sure that the emergency / parking brake is not engaged.

Then slightly loosen the 5 lugs nuts on the rear wheel by turning them in the counterclockwise direction with the tire iron.

Raise the rear of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with at least 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.

Spin off the 5 lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

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

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Loosen 13mm Clockwise
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
The rear caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side of the caliper facing towards the center of the vehicle.

Loosen the upper caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with a 13mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Loosen the lower 13mm caliper bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).

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Spin Out Lower Caliper Bolt
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Pull Off Rear Caliper
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Screw-In Type Rear Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull the rear caliper out of the bracket and off the old pads.

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

The rear caliper has a "screw-in" or "turn-in" type piston that you will need to turn back in the clockwise direction in order to have it retract in to the caliper body.

To accomplish this, you'll need either a brake piston tool such as the Lisle # 28600 which looks like a metal cube with various types or numbers of pins or pegs on each side. If necessary, you can also turn back the piston using a pair of needle nose pliers.

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Pull Out Old Inner Pad
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Remove Old Outer Brake Pad
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Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Pull the old inner and outer brake pads out of the caliper bracket and discard them.

I recommend buying the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1377 brake pads since they have excellent reviews on Amazon. I also love how they don't require any backing plates, shims or disc brake quiet gel due to the built in insulators.

If your new set of rear brake pads included replacement brake hardware, pull the old pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket before installing the new ones in their place.

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Remove Lower Caliper Pin
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Lubricate & Replace Caliper Pins
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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider or "guide" pins need to be well lubricated.

Pull the caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots attached to the bracket and apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to each one before pushing them back in to place.

Move to the right rear area of the engine bay behind the 12V automotive battery and twist off the black plastic brake fluid reservoir cap in the counterclockwise direction.

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the lines when you retract the piston.



 

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Lisle Caliper Piston Tool
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Turn Back Caliper Piston
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Insert New Outer Brake Pad
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, you'll need to turn back the screw-in type caliper piston.

Test fit each side of your brake piston tool (such as the Lisle # 28600) until you find the side that has the best grip on the caliper piston.

Attach the piston tool to an extension bar and a 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Hold the tool against the piston and slowly turn back the piston in the clockwise direction until it is flush with its rubber dust boot.

Repeatedly check the level in the reservoir while you are retracting the piston to prevent it from overflowing. Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since it can easily damage painted surfaces.

If the rubber dust boot sticks to the piston, stop turning, rotate it back in the counterclockwise direction and then try again to turn it clockwise. You may need to apply some brake parts lubricant to the side of the piston if the rubber dust boot continues to stick to it.

Replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible since brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture).

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 may be carcinogenic (cancer causing) if inhaled.

If your Explorer previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations in the rear end during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (A.K.A. resurfaced) or it may be easier and cheaper to just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the SUV's first rear brake job and the rotors appear to be in good condition, you should be able to just change the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, 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.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to any area where there is metal to metal contact such as the outer face of the caliper piston and the back of the new pads. Do not apply brake parts lubricant to the friction surface of the new pads or to the face of the rotor.

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Push Pads Against Rotor
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Check Caliper Fit Over Pads
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Lubricate Caliper Slider Pin
Install the new inner and outer brake pads in to the bracket.

An optional step is to check if the caliper fits over the thicker new pads. If it won't fit, you may need to turn back the piston a bit further.

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Re-Insert Upper Caliper Pin
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Push In Lower Slider Pin
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Lower Caliper In Bracket
Make sure that the two caliper slider pins are fully inserted in to their rubber dust boots and that they can easily be spun around and moved back and forth.

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

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding holes in the slider pins within the bracket.

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Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
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Spin In Upper Caliper Bolt
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Tighten Counterclockwise
Spin in the upper and lower caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the upper caliper bolt by turning it counterclockwise (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.

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Tighten Lower 13mm Bolt
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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
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Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the lower 13mm caliper bolt in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV) to just past hand tight or about 24 ft-lbs of torque.

If you haven't already, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

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 4 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 upper caliper bolt.

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Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
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Replace Rear Wheel
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Spin On 5 Lug Nuts
Replace the rear wheel and spin on the five lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in the clockwise direction in a "crisscross" or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.

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Slightly Tighten Clockwise
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Lower From Jack Stands
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Torque To 100 ft-lbs
Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the lug nuts in a crisscross or star pattern to about 1/8 to 1/4 turn past hand tight or about 100 ft-lbs of torque. It would be best to use a torque wrench or an impact wrench with a torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and firmly press down 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, pour in some fresh DOT 4 fluid.

To break in your new 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 verify that the lug nuts are still tight after a short test drive.

For more, check out my other Ford Explorer DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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