How to Replace Rotors on an Expedition

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Ford sport utility vehicles include the Explorer and Expedition class of family truck that many Americans own. The Expedition is a popular vehicle for families and business owners who like to have a large automobile to get things done. When the road has taken its toll on the brakes, disc brake rotors are the first things to get damaged by brake pads that have worn away. Replace rotors on an Expedition where damage cannot be machined away. It is necessary to have new rotors installed to correct problems left behind from worn brake shoes that were not replaced before damaging the Expedition disc brake rotors.

Things You'll Need

  • Expedition rotors
  • Floor jack
  • Jack stands
  • Allen wrenches
  • Tie backs
  • Hammer
  • C-clamp
  • Position the floor jack under the frame near the wheel and tire that you will be working on. Support the weight of the vehicle on a jack stand and remove the floor jack from the lifting position. Remove the wheel and tire that covers the Expedition brake rotor you will be replacing. Set the wheel and tire off to the side during the installation.

  • Clean around the disc brake caliper and rotors. Remove extra dust and debris with brake cleaner, compressed air, or a rag. Tap on the top of the brake caliper to dislodge any debris collected inside the caliper. Removing the collected dirt and debris will allow the moving parts and fasteners to be extracted and installed much easier with any build up of material removed before beginning.

  • Loosen the brake caliper from the caliper mount by turning the two caliper bolts counterclockwise. Loosen them one at a time without removing. Then remove one after another once you've broken the bolts loose first. The caliper will continue to rest around the brake rotor.

  • Grasp both ends of the brake caliper and work it away from the rotor towards 11 o'clock. Shimmy or walk it off, one end at a time. The caliper continues to maintain a squeeze pressure even when the vehicle is off and it takes some time for the calipers to come away from the rotors. This is common. Work the caliper off the rotor and then tie the caliper to the shock or strut to prevent the weight of the caliper from hanging on the short brake line it is attached to. Protect the brake lines to prevent any leaks that can occur from pulling on these brake line ends.

  • Hit the backside of the rotor lightly with the hammer. Tap it all around. The brake rotor is centered onto the axle using the wheel studs to guide it into place. It is not secured except for the brake caliper holding it in place. Once the caliper is removed, the rotor can be pulled off the wheel studs and replaced with a new one. If the rotor is hard to come off the axle end it is because of debris and rust may have built up inside the rotor's hub. Continue to tap and bang around the outer edge of the rotor and the rotor will come free from its position and come off the axle end over the wheel studs.

  • Clean the axle end after removing the old rotor. Align the wheel studs up with the new rotor alignment holes and push onto the end of the axle. Make sure the new disc brake rotor sits evenly onto the end of the axle.

  • Cut the tie back holding the brake caliper and attempt to slide the caliper over the new rotor. If the new rotor is thicker than the opening in between the two brake shoes in the caliper, use a C-clamp to depress the calipers and brake shoes enough to fit over and around the new rotor. The caliper needs to be secured to its mounting bracket in order to hold the new rotor in place while operating as one of the friction points during braking. When the caliper can fit around the rotor and depress its plungers to brake, the new rotor is installed and the wheel and tire can be replaced.

Tips & Warnings

  • Bleed the brake lines after installing a new disc brake rotor on an Expedition. Use a one foot tube, a cup and brake fluid. Connect one end of the tube to the bleeder valve on the brake caliper and the other end into brake fluid in a cup. Depress the brake pedal until only fluid comes out the tube. Tighten the bleeder valve, replace the wheel and tire, and test the brakes. Refill the brake master cylinder under the hood of the car if you expelled enough fluid during bleeding to warrant a brake fluid refill for the entire system.
  • After removing and replacing a wheel and tire on an automobile, it is necessary to tighten the wheel lug nuts after a short period of travel. To insure that the wheel is secured to the vehicle correctly and avoid losing a wheel during operation, maintain lugs and tire pressure regularly to get the best performance from your wheel and tire package.

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  • Photo Credit Powerfitz
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