Chevy Suburban Front Brakes Tutorial

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The Chevy Suburban is the longest living model to exist in the General Motors family to date. The station wagon shaped SUV began production in 1935 and is still produced at this time. The vehicle has endured several generational redesigns and is available in 1/2-ton, 3/4-ton and 1-ton models. The front braking system is like that of other comparable Chevy truck and SUV models in its weight class, considering the year of manufacturing.

Removing the Caliper

  • Before starting, siphon out half of the brake fluid from the master cylinder of the Suburban and then replace the snap-on cap.

    With the Suburban in park or first gear and the parking brake applied, the lug nuts need to be cracked loose 1/8 of a turn before lifting the SUV. Lifting the Suburban with a hydraulic floor jack or a manual scissor jack and then supporting the vehicle onto jack stands will be required. Never work on a vehicle--especially something as heavy as a Suburban--supported by a jack only. Complete the removal of the lug nuts and then the wheels to expose the front brakes.

    Remove the caliper guide bolts. This will require a 3/8-inch hex-head insert socket for an appropriate drive socket. The guide bolts have an interlocking sleeve that will extract along with the bolts.

    Once both bolts are removed, use a pry bar or a large straightedge screwdriver to remove the caliper and pad assembly from the rotor.

    Support the caliper to the suspension using mechanics wire, a makeshift hook or a bungee cord.

Replacing the Pads

  • The pads are attached to the caliper with seated clips. These clips can be unseated and removed by convincing them with a pry bar or screwdriver. The outboard pad had two horned clips attached to the caliper housing. The inboard pad had a three-pronged clip that sits inside the caliper piston bore.

    Once the pads are removed, a 6-inch C-clamp will be required to depress the caliper piston inward to make room for the new pads.

    Before installing the new pads, grind a clean surface onto the caliper anchor and the caliper mating surface and then apply a liberal coat of silicone brake lubricant or a graphite-based anti-seize compound.

    Before replacing the calipers, apply a coating of the lubricant to the interlocking slides of the guide bolts before installing them.

Replacing the Rotors

  • If you're replacing the rotors, you should be able to remove them once the caliper and pad assembly are removed. In some cases, the rotors may be stuck to the hub flange by corrosion and need to be convinced off with a few sharp smacks from a large hammer. Cleaning the mating surface of the hub flange is a good idea to ensure proper placement of the new rotor. A die-grinder with a course reconditioning disc works well.

    Be sure to clean the rust-preventative coating off of the new rotor with a parts cleaner or brake clean.

Wrapping it Up

  • Once the rotor and pads have been replaced, reinstall the caliper onto the rotor and then reinsert the lubed guide bolts. Tighten them to 35- to 40-foot pounds using a torque wrench and the 3/8-inch hex-head insert socket. Replace the wheels and lug nuts and then tighten the lug nuts flush to the hub flange. Once you lower the Suburban, re-torque the lug nuts between 120- to 140-foot pounds (depending on the year and torque specifications).

    Pump the foot brake pedal to replace the caliper pistons to their original position and re-seat the new pads to the rotor. Once the pedal feels firm, the pistons should be okay. Recheck and adjust the brake fluid in the master cylinder. Add only new brake fluid, if necessary.

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