Things You'll Need
Syringe or turkey baster
13 mm socket
Bungee cord (or wire hanger)
The Mercury Mountaineer and Ford Explorer share brakes and most other internal components. The 2002 and 2003 Mountaineers come equipped with four-wheel disc brakes. Ford recommends replacing the brake pads every 35,000 to 50,000 miles. The pads are designed with built-on wear indicators that scrape against the brake rotors once the pads have reached a certain level of wear. Listen for the brake squeal or grinding sound from the wear indicators. Replace the brake pads as soon as possible to avoid rotor damage.
Park the Mountaineer on a flat stretch of road. Pull the hood release lever under the dashboard on the driver's side of the vehicle. Move to the engine compartment.
Lift the cap from the master cylinder and remove one-third of the brake fluid from the reservoir. The master cylinder is located to the right of the Mercury's engine, near the firewall that separates the engine bay from the inside of the vehicle. Use a syringe or turkey baster to remove the fluid from the container. Lay the master cylinder cap loosely over the container.
Loosen the lug nuts on all four wheels (or the two wheels on which you need to replace the brake pads). Use a lug wrench or 21 mm socket and breaker bar to "crack" the lugs by turning them one-half a turn.
Place the lifting jack beneath the frame at the front of the Mountaineer and lift the SUV. Place jack stands under the axle and lower the vehicle onto the stands for support.
Remove the lug nuts and take the wheels off.
Turn the front wheels to gain better access to the caliper's back side. Use a 13 mm wrench to remove the two caliper slide bolts.
Lift the caliper from the rotor and suspend it above the brake assembly with a bungee cord or a make-shift sling using a wire coat hanger.
Take the worn brake pads from the sides of the rotor. The pads fit into the slots in the caliper bracket.
Replace the worn pads with new brake pads.
Place a worn brake pad over the two caliper pistons inside the caliper. Clamp the pad against the pistons by placing a C-clamp over the old pad and the back of the caliper. Squeeze the pistons into the side of the caliper to make room for the new brake pads.
Remove the C-clamp and old brake pad. Place the caliper over the new brake pads in the caliper bracket slots and screw in the caliper bolts by hand.
Tighten the caliper bolts with the 13 mm socket and ratchet.
Turn the front wheels back to the neutral position (facing forward) and replace the wheels onto the wheel bolts. Screw on the lug nuts by hand.
Lift the front of the Mountaineer and remove the jack stands. Lower the front tires to the ground and tighten the lugs with the lug wrench.
Place the jack beneath the frame in the back of the Mercury and lift the rear-end of the SUV. Place jack stands beneath the rear axles and replace the rear brake pads as you did the front.
Replace the rear wheels onto the wheel bolts, screw on the lug nuts, lift the vehicle to remove the jack stands, and lower the back tires of the Mountaineer to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts with the lug wrench or socket and breaker bar. Return to the engine compartment.
Lift the master cylinder cap from the reservoir opening and place a clean funnel inside. Pour brake fluid into the container until the fluid level reaches the full line. Remove the funnel and replace the master cylinder cap. Close the Mercury's hood.
The Ford Motor Company recommends using DOT-3 brake fluid in the Mountaineer.