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Ford Mustang Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads on an updated fifth generation 2010 to 2014 Ford Mustang with pictures.

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2012 Mustang Front Wheel
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Slight Loosen Lug Nuts
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Raise Front of Vehicle

This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically written to assist owners of the face lifted 5th generation (2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 & 2014) Ford Mustang in changing the front disc brake pads.

Owners of the earlier 5th generation Mustang from 2005 to 2009 and possibly the 4th generation 1994 to 2004 models with similar front brake hardware may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 12mm socket with a 3/8" ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp, a packet of brake parts lubricant grease and a set of new front brake pads.

A few compatible aftermarket front brake pads with their part numbers include the following: Wagner QC1463, Motorcraft BRF-1081, Akebono ACT1081, Hawk HB453F.585, Wagner ZD1081, Raybestos ATD1463C, and Axxis # 45-10010U.


Please verify the correct replacement parts for your Mustang by checking the Amazon Part Finder website. The correct part numbers may vary depending on the model year, trim level and whether it has the performance braking package or not.
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Spin Off 5 Lug Nuts
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Lug Nuts Removed
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Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
The first few steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface, engage the emergency / parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent it from moving.

Then slightly loosen the 5 lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them counter clockwise with the tire iron.

Raise the front of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with the two jack stands.

Spin off the five lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place. I prefer to work on one side of the car at a time for extra safety.

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

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Front Brake Caliper
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Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
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Loosen Lower 12mm Bolt
Loosen the two caliper bolts located on the rear of the caliper by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 12mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.
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Remove Lower Bolt
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Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
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Two 12mm Caliper Bolts
Spin out the upper and lower caliper bolts by hand and set them aside in a safe place.
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Pull Off Brake Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
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Remove Old Outer Pad
Carefully pull the brake caliper off the old pads and out of the bracket.

Rest the caliper on the suspension or suspend it from the spring with a bungee cord. Try to avoid stressing the rubber brake fluid line.

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Remove Old Inner Pad
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Wear Bar - Bottom Inner Pad
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Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Pull the old inner and outer brake pads out of the bracket. Make a mental note of where the wear indicator or "squeal" bar was situated on the old pads.

On this 2012 Mustang GT, the wear bar was located at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

I usually buy the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC1463 ceramic front brake pads since they don't require any backing plates, shims or disc brake quiet gel due to the built in insulators. I also like how they don't create a lot of brake dust.

If your new set of pads included new 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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Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
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Lubricate & Replace Pins
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Attach "C" Clamp To Pistons
In order for the brake caliper to work 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 high temperature brake parts grease.

Push the pins in until the rubber dust boots snap over the metal lip at the end of each pin.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the two pistons will need to be compressed backwards.

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



 

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Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
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Slowly Compress Pistons
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Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Move to the right rear area of the engine bay (closest to the driver's seat) and twist off the brake fluid reservoir cap in the counter clockwise direction.

Removing the cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the lines when you compress the two caliper pistons.

Very slowly turn the "C" clamp handle clockwise to compress the pistons while repeatedly checking the level in the brake fluid reservoir to avoid having it overflow. Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since brake fluid can easily damage painted surfaces.

You may need to reposition the "C" clamp to fully compress both caliper pistons until they are flush with their rubber dust boots. Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boots surrounding the pistons.

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

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

Spread a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease on any surface where there is metal to metal contact such as the outer face of the caliper piston or where the pads meet the bracket. Do not apply grease to the friction surface of the new pads.

If your Mustang previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations while braking, you may need to have the rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or it may be easier and cheaper to just replace them with new rotors. If this is the first front brake job on your car 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, 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. Be sure to properly tighten the two bracket bolts with a torque wrench.

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Install New Outer Pad
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Wear Bar - Bottom New Inner Pad
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Press Pads Against Rotor

Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear bar situated at the bottom of the new inner pad.

Press the two pads flush against the rotor.

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Replace Front Caliper
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Insert Upper Caliper Bolt
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Spin In Lower Caliper Bolt
Lower the caliper down over the pads and in to the bracket.

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

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

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Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
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Torque Upper 12mm Bolt
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Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the upper and lower caliper bolts by turning them counter clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 12mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 24 ft lbs of torque.

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

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or "spongy", the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may contain 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.

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 Front Wheel
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Spin On 5 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 in a criss cross or star pattern by turning them clockwise with the tire iron.

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Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
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Lower Front of Vehicle
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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 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 100 ft lbs torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Sit in the driver's seat and firmly pump the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure.

Check the brake fluid reservoir and verify that the level is correct. If it is low, add some new DOT 3 fluid.

Take the car for a short and cautious test drive with the windows down so you can hear any strange noises when you press the brake pedal that may indicate a problem.

To break in your new 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 Ford Mustang Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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