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Jeep Wrangler Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to replace the front brake pads on a 4th gen 2007-2011 JK Jeep Wrangler with picture illustrated instructions.

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Wrangler Front Wheel
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Loosen Five Lug Nuts
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Raise With Floor Jack

This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the 4th generation 2007-2011 Jeep Wrangler "JK" in replacing the front brake pads.

Owners of previous generation Wrangler vehicles such as the YJ (1987-1995), TJ (1997-2006) or other Jeep vehicles such as the Compass, Patriot, Liberty and Grand Cherokee may also find these DIY front brake job instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this front brake job include the following: a floor jack, jack stands, a tire iron or lug nut wrench, a 13mm socket with ratcheting wrench, a "C" clamp and a new set of brake pads.

A few compatible aftermarket brake pads with their part numbers are as follows: Raybestos PGD1273C, Monroe DX1273, Bendix D1273CT, Silencer OR1273, ACDelco 17D1273CH or 14D1273CH, Wagner QC1273, Akebono ACT1273, and Wearever CNAD 1273.

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Spin Off Lug Nuts
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Five Lug Nuts Removed
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Remove Front Wheel
The first two steps are to engage the parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on each front wheel with a tire iron or lug nut wrench.

Then raise the front of the vehicle with a floor jack and securely support it with 2 or more jack stands.

Spin off the five lug nuts and remove the front wheel to reveal the front brake caliper, bracket and rotor.

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Front Brake Caliper
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Loosen 13mm Caliper Bolt
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Wrench Holding Caliper Pin
Use a 13mm socket with ratcheting wrench to remove the two brake caliper bolts on the back side of the caliper by turning them clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle).
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Lower Caliper Bolt Removed
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Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
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2 Caliper Bolts Removed
If you have trouble removing the brake caliper bolts due to the caliper slider pin spinning, hold the caliper pin in place with an adjustable crescent wrench or a 5/8" wrench.
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Remove Brake Caliper
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Rest Caliper On Suspension
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Pads In Caliper Bracket
Once the two 13mm caliper bolts have been removed, you can carefully lift the caliper off the brake rotor.

Rest the brake rotor on the suspension and try to avoid putting any stress on the rubber brake line.

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Pull Out Old Brake Pads
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Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
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Brake Parts Cleaner Spray
Pull the old brake pads out of the caliper bracket and make a mental note of how the wear or "squeal" bar was situated on the old pads. On this 2011 Jeep Wrangler, the wear bar was located at the top of the inner brake pad.

Clean off the rotor, caliper body, caliper piston and caliper bracket with some brake parts cleaner spray. Perform this cleaning in a well ventilated space and try to avoid breathing in any of the toxic fumes or carcinogenic brake dust.

If your vehicle exhibits 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 car'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.



 

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Disc Brake Quiet Gel
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Brake Fluid Reservoir
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Remove Reservoir Cap
To help prevent braking noise, apply some CRC Disc Brake Quiet gel or a similar product to the rear of the brake pads where they come in contact with the caliper. (Do not apply anything to the friction surface of the new pads.)

In preparation for compressing the caliper piston, move to the engine bay and remove the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it off in the counter-clockwise direction.

Removing the cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the system when the caliper piston is compressed.

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Compress Caliper Piston
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Replace Anti-Rattle Clips
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Pull Out Brake Caliper Pins
If your new set of front brake pads came with metal anti-rattle clips, pull the old ones out of the caliper bracket and install the new ones in their place. These clips will help prevent the new brake pads from moving around in the bracket and creating noise while braking.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the caliper piston will need to be compressed backwards with a "C" clamp.

Attach the "C" clamp to the caliper using the back of an old brake pad to help evenly distribute the force across the piston.

Very slowly compress the brake caliper piston until it rests flush with its rubber dust boot. Check the brake fluid level in the reservoir several times while compressing the piston to ensure that it does not overflow. Brake fluid is harmful to any painted surface, so be sure to clean up any spills immediately and thoroughly rinse the area.

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Lubricate Caliper Pins
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Install New Brake Pads
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Push Flush Against Rotor
In order for the brake caliper to work effectively, the caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Carefully pull the caliper pins out of their rubber dust boots and apply a generous coating of high pressure/temperature moly lubricant or a silicone based "caliper pin grease".

Then re-insert the two caliper slider pins back into their original positions inside the rubber dust boots.

Install the new front brake pads into the caliper bracket with the wear or "squeal" bar situated at the top of the inner brake pad. Push together the two brake pads until they rest flush against the surface of the rotor.

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Lower Caliper Over Pads
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Replace Upper Caliper Bolt
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Replace Lower Caliper Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and down onto the edge of the brake rotor. If the caliper won't fit over the new pads, you may need to compress the caliper piston back a bit more.

Line up the bolt holes in the brake caliper with the caliper slider pins. Insert the two 13mm caliper bolts and thread them in a few turns by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the two caliper bolts to 1/4 to 1/2 turn past hand tight or about 20-25 ft lbs of torque if you have a torque wrench.

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Tighten Both Caliper Bolts
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Brake Line Bleeder Valve
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Bleeder Valve Rubber Cap
Double check that both caliper bolts are snug before continuing on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal previously felt overly soft, mushy, or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with moisture 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 new DOT3 brake fluid. For more on this topic, check out my Brake Line Fluid Bleeding DIY Guide.

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Replace Wheel & Lug Nuts
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Check Brake Fluid Level
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Replace Reservoir Cap
Replace the front wheel, spin on the five lug nuts by hand and partially tighten them with the lug nut wrench.

Lower the vehicle from the jack stands and floor jack until the front tire holds enough of the vehicle's weight to prevent it from spinning.

Progressively tighten the five lug nuts in a "star" or "criss cross" pattern to just past hand tight. It would be best to use a torque wrench or an air gun with a torque stick to tighten the lug nuts to about 75-100 ft lbs.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and press the brake pedal a few times to restore the brake line pressure. Then check the brake fluid level in the reservoir and verify that it is at the "MAX" (maximum) line. Once the brake fluid level is correct, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap by twisting it on in the clockwise direction.

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

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

For more, check out my other Jeep Wrangler Repair & Maintenance Guides.
 

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