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Chevrolet Tahoe Front Brake Pads & Rotors Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads & rotors on a 2nd generation 2000 to 2006 GM Chevy Tahoe with part numbers.

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2006 Tahoe Front Wheel
Loosen Lug Nut Caps
Spin Off Plastic Caps

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 front 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 items needed to complete this front brake job include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a propane blow torch, an 18mm wrench, a rubber mallet or breaker bar pipe, a "C" or "F" clamp, a packet or tube of synthetic brake parts lubricant grease, brake cleaner spray, and a tube of Loctite Red thread locking adhesive liquid.


Please verify the correct replacement parts for your Tahoe with a GM dealership's parts counter, an automotive parts store, or the Amazon Part Finder website. The appropriate part numbers may vary depending on your vehicle's model year, trim level, if it has disc or drum rear brakes and/or whether it has a rear wheel drive (RWD / 2WD) or four wheel drive (FWD / AWD) transmission systems.

The front brake pads and rotors that I installed on this 2006 Tahoe LT 5.3L V8 rear wheel drive (RWD) model and can recommend are as follows: ACDelco 18A925A Advantage Front Disc Brake Rotor and the Wagner ThermoQuiet QC785 Ceramic Front Disc Pad Set With Installation Hardware.

A few other compatible replacement sets of front brake pads for Tahoe models with four wheel disc brakes are as follows: ACDelco 17D785CH or 14D785CH, Wagner Severe Duty SX785, Raybestos ATD785C, Hawk Performance HB323Y.724, Bendix MKD785, Prime Choice Auto Parts SMK785, Power Stop Z23-785 and Bosch BC785.

Some other compatible replacement rotors with their part numbers include the following: Power Stop AR8640XPR, Callahan CFP40242B, Raybestos 56825R or 56825PER, Wagner BD125654E, Brembo BDR27161, Bosch 25010534 and Bendix PRT5259.

Pull Off Plastic Hub Cap
Slightly Loosen 6 Lug Nuts
Raise Front of Vehicle
The first few steps are to park the vehicle on a level surface, turn off the engine, and engage the emergency / parking brake.

Then place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear wheels to prevent the SUV from moving while you are working on the front brakes.

Spin off the plastic lug nut caps in the counterclockwise direction. I found it easier to use a 7/8" socket and ratcheting wrench to loosen the caps.

Once all 6 lug nut caps are loosened, pull off the plastic hub cover and set it aside in a safe place.

Slightly loosen the 6 lug nuts by turning them counterclockwise.

Raise the front of the vehicle 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 Counterclockwise
6 Lug Nuts Removed
Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
Spin off the 6 lug nuts in the counterclockwise direction and set them aside in a safe place.

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

Front Brake Caliper
Stripped Torx T55 Caliper Bolt
Propane Blow Torch
The front brake calipers on a second generation Tahoe are held in place to the bracket by two Torx T-55 star bit bolts that are notorious and infamous for stripping or being difficult to remove.

This 2006 Tahoe already had a stripped Torx caliper bolt, so I decided to skip trying to remove the caliper bolts.

Unless you have an impact wrench with an impact Torx T-55 socket, I'd recommend not touching the caliper bolts.

The brake pads can be replaced by just removing the two 18mm bolts that secure the bracket and caliper assembly to the steering knuckle.

GM applied heavy duty thread locking adhesive to the two 18mm bracket bolts. In order to remove the bolts, you may need to apply heat with a propane blow torch.

Heat Bracket Bolt
Loosen With Rubber Mallet
Loosen Upper 18mm Bolt
I'd recommend wearing protective eye wear and gloves before continuing.

Very carefully apply a small flame to the lower bracket bolt and the area immediately around the bolt for a few minutes.

Try to avoid heating the rubber dust boot around the caliper slider pin or the rubber brake line.

Loosen the bracket bolt by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with an 18mm wrench.

If you need some help, either hit the wrench with a rubber mallet or use a breaker bar (pipe) for extra leverage.

Since the upper bracket is very close to a rubber brake hose, I attempted to loosen it with out using the propane torch.

It was much more difficult to loosen but not impossible.

If you do use the propane torch to heat the upper bracket bolt, use a very small flame and only heat the area furthest from the rubber slider pin dust boot and rubber brake line. It might also be wise to shield the brake line with something inflammable.

Ratcheting Wrench
Loosening 18mm Bolt
Two 18mm Bracket Bolts
Continue loosening the two bracket bolts in the clockwise direction with an 18mm socket and 3/8" drive ratcheting wrench.

Be careful when you remove the bolts, since they might still hot enough to burn your fingers.

Pull Off Bracket & Caliper
Old Pads In Caliper
Caliper Attached To Bracket
Carefully pull the caliper and bracket assembly off the rotor.

Rest the caliper and bracket assembly on the suspension.

Attach "C" Clamp To Caliper
Brake Fluid Reservoir
Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
In order to remove the old brake pads from the caliper, you'll need to compress back the two caliper pistons.

Attach the "C" or "F" clamp to the caliper using the back of the old pads to evenly distribute the pressure.

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

Removing the reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel back through the system when you compress the caliper pistons.

Compress Caliper Pistons
Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Room To Remove Pads
Slowly turn the "C" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to compress back the pistons.

Slide the "C" clamp over to the other side of the caliper to evenly push back the two pistons.

Repeatedly check the fluid level in the reservoir to prevent it from over flowing. Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since it can easily damage painted surfaces.

Continue compressing back the pistons until they are flush with the rubber dust boots surrounding them.

Push Out Old Brake Pads
Remove Old Pads
Slide Bracket Off Caliper Pins
Slide the bracket away from the caliper to create room for the old brake pads to be removed in between the two components.

If you have trouble pushing the old brake pads out of the bracket, tap them with a screwdriver or wrench.


Old Brake Pads Removed
Brake Caliper Bracket
Caliper & Slider Pins
Once the old pads have been removed from the caliper, you can separate the bracket from the slider pins.
New Pad Abutment Clips
Pull Out Old Metal Clip
Apply Brake Grease
If your new set of front brake pads includes replacement brake hardware, pull the old metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

Clean the bracket with some brake parts cleaner spray.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to the bracket where the new pad abutment clips will be installed.

Lubricate Clips
Lubricate Slider Pins
Apply Ceramic Grease
Push the new pad abutment clips on to the bracket.

Spread a small layer of brake parts grease on the new pad abutment clips.

In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Apply some brake parts grease to the exposed parts of the slider pins attached to the caliper.

Wear Indicator Bars Positions
Insert New Outer Pad
Insert New Inner Pad
There was a note in the box of Wagner ThermoQuiet QC785 brake pads indicating how the wear indicator or "squeal" bars should be positioned on the new pads.

The new pad with two wear indicator bars should be installed on the outer position.

The new pad with just one wear indicator should be installed on the inner position.

Re-attach the bracket to the two slider pins on the caliper but leave room to insert the new pads.

Slide the new brake pads in to the caliper with the wear indicator bars in the correct positions.

Pull Off Old Rotor
Old Brake Rotor Removed
Brake Parts Cleaner Spray
Pull the old rotor straight off the steering knuckle.

Clean off the lug nut studs and wheel hub with some brake parts cleaner spray.

Clean off any residual oil or grease from both sides of the new rotor with the brake parts spray and a paper towel or rag.

Wipe Off Oil & Grease
Push On New Brake Rotor
Spin On Lug Nut - Hold Rotor
Line up the lug nut studs and slide the new rotor on to the hub.

Spin on a lug nut or two in the clockwise direction to hold the rotor in place.

Lower Pads Over Rotor
Compress Pistons A Bit More
Spin In Upper 18mm Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper and bracket assembly over the new rotor.

If you have trouble getting the thicker new pads to fit over the new rotor, you may need to compress back the two caliper pistons a bit more with the "F" clamp.

Once you get the new brake pads over the rotor, line up the bolt holes in the bracket with their corresponding holes in the steering knuckle.

Temporarily spin in the upper bracket bolt to hold the assembly in place.

Apply Red Loctite
Spin In Bottom Bolt
Tighten 18mm Counterclockwise
Apply a small amount of Loctite Red (heavy duty) thread locking adhesive liquid to the threads on the lower bracket bolt.

The Loctite will help ensure that the bolts do not loosen due to vibration or shock.

Spin in the lower bracket bolt by hand a few turns to prevent it from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten the lower bolt with the 18mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight.

Loctite - Top 18mm Bolt
Re-Insert Top Bolt
Torque Top Bolt CC
Remove the upper bolt, apply some Loctite and then replace it.

Tighten both 18mm bolts in the counterclockwise direction to 148 ft-lbs of torque with a torque wrench.

(If you did remove the Torx T55 bolts, tighten them to 74 ft-lbs of torque.)

Double check that the bracket bolts (and caliper bolts) are tight before moving on to the next steps.

Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Remove Two Lug Nuts
Push On 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 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.

Spin off the one (or two) lug nuts that you temporarily attached to hold the rotor in place.

Push on the front wheel.

Spin On 6 Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten 6 Lug Nuts
Torque To 140 lb-ft
Spin on the 6 lug nuts in the clockwise direction a few turns by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the 6 lug nuts in a "criss-cross" or "star" pattern.

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

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 owner's manual specifies that the lug nuts should be tightened to about 140 ft-lbs of torque.

Replace Plastic Hub Cover
Tighten Plastic Lug Nut Caps
Front Brake Job Complete

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 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.

Be sure to record the brake pad change in your vehicle's service records.

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

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