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Acura MDX Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front brake pads on a 1st generation 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 and 2006 Acura MDX SUV.

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2006 MDX Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Lug Nut Wheel Lock Key
This automotive maintenance tutorial was specifically created to assist owners of the first generation (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005 & 2006) Acura MDX in changing the front disc brake pads and lubricating the caliper slider pins.

Owners of other Acura or Honda vehicles such as the RDX, ILX, TLX, RLX, TL, CL, RSX, RL, TSX, ZDX, NSX, Integra, Pilot, Accord, Civic, Fit, Clarity, CR-V, CR-Z, HR-V, Odyssey, Element  and Ridgeline with the VTEC 3.5L V6 engine may also find these DIY instructions to be helpful.

The tools needed to complete this procedure include a lug nut wrench, a floor jack, two jack stands, a 14mm socket with a 3/8" drive ratchet or a 14mm wrench and an "F" clamp.

A few compatible replacement sets of new front brake pads with their part numbers include the following: Akebono ACT691, ACDelco 17D855C, Bosch BP691 and Wagner ZD691.


Raise SUV With Floor Jack
Support With Jack Stands
Spin Off Five Lug Nuts
The first few steps are to drive the SUV on to a level surface, place the transmission in park and engage the emergency / parking brake.

Place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear tires to prevent the vehicle from moving.

Slightly loosen the five lug nuts in the counterclockwise direction about 1/4 to 1/2 turn with the lug nut wrench.

If you have a locking lug nut, you'll need the adapter key which may be located in your glove box or in one of the rear cargo area storage compartments.

Raise the front of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands.

Please do not solely rely on the floor jack to support the vehicle.

Spin off the five lug nuts in the counterclockwise direction and set them aside in a safe place.

5 Lug Nuts Removed
Rotor, Bracket, Caliper
Front Brake Caliper
Once the front wheel is out of the way, you'll be able to see the rotor, bracket and front brake caliper.

The caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts located on the back side of the caliper.

The two caliper bolt heads face in towards the engine bay.

Loosen Lower Caliper Bolt
Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Spin Out Top Bolt
Loosen the bottom caliper bolt by turning it in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet or a 14mm wrench.

Then loosen the top caliper bolt by turning it in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.

Spin out the two caliper bolts the rest of the way by hand.

Spin Out Bottom Bolt
Caliper Bolts Removed
Rest Caliper On Rotor
Set the two caliper bolts aside in a safe place.

Carefully pull the caliper out of the bracket and off the old brake pads.

Rest the caliper on the rotor or suspend it from the suspension spring with a bungee cord or some rope.

Two "V" Spring Clips
Remove Top Spring Clip
Remove Bottom Clip
Pull the two "V" or "U" shaped metal spring clips off the outer edge of the two old brake pads.

Set them aside in a safe place.

If your new pads don't include replacement brake hardware such as new spring clips, you may need to re-use the old clips.

Remove Old Outer Pad
Wear Bar - Top Inner Pad
Remove Old Outer Pad
Remove the old inner and outer brake pads out of the bracket.

I noticed that the inner brake pad was much more worn away and thinner than the outer pad.

Make a mental note of where the wear indicator bar or "squeal" bar is situated on the old brake pads.

On this 2006 MDX Touring, the wear indicator bar was situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

Pad Abutment Clip
Replace Top Clip
Attach "F" Clamp
If your new set of pads included a bag of replacement brake hardware, pull the old pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.

My new pads didn't include new clips, so I just removed the old ones, applied some lubricant and pushed them back into place.

Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the clips and bracket where they will come in contact with other or the new pads.

In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the two caliper pistons needs to be compressed back.

Attach the "F" clamp to the caliper and use the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the pistons.

Right Rear of Engine Bay
Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
Reservoir Cap Removed
Move to the right rear area of the engine bay and locate the brake fluid reservoir bottle.

Carefully twist off the grey plastic reservoir cap 1/4 turn in the counterclockwise direction before removing it.

Since there are wires attached to the reservoir cap for the fluid level sensor, just leave the cap off to the side of the bottle.

Compress Caliper Piston
Replace Reservoir Cap
ACDelco Brake Pads
Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to push back the caliper pistons.

Repeatedly check the fluid level in the reservoir to prevent it from overflowing.

Continue compressing the caliper pistons until they are flush with the rubber dust boots that surround them.

Try to avoid pinching or otherwise damaging the rubber dust boots.

You may need to release and re-position the "F" clamp in order to fully compress the two caliper pistons.

Remove Excess Fluid
Brake Caliper Grease
Lubricate Abutment Clips
If the fluid level in the reservoir is above the "MAX" line, remove some with a paper towel, a fluid pump or a turkey baster.

Be careful since brake fluid can easily damage the vehicle's paint.

Replace the reservoir cap as soon as possible. Brake fluid is hygroscopic so it readily absorbs moisture from the air which can lead to reduced braking performance.

Clean off the lug studs, bracket and rotor with brake parts cleaner spray.

Apply some brake parts lubricant grease to the pad abutment clips where they will come in contact with the new pads.

If your MDX has been exhibiting shuddering or vibrations in the front end while braking, you may need to replace the OEM rotors with new rotors.

To replace the rotors, remove the two 19mm bolts on the back side of the bracket. Remove the two set screws on the outer face of the rotor with a Phillips head screwdriver. Hit the rotor with a rubber mallet to loosen the rust that might be holding it in place. Slide off the rotor and push the new one into place. Replace the two set screws with a Phillips head screwdriver. Move the bracket back into place over the rotor and next to the steering knuckle. Tighten the two 19mm bracket bolts to 101 lb-ft of torque.


Remove Caliper Slider Pins
Lubricate & Replace
Lubricate Lower Pin
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slider pins or "guide bolts" need to be well lubricated.

Pull the upper and lower caliper slider pins out of their rubber dust boots attached to the brackets.

Apply a thin layer of grease to the smooth parts of each pin before pushing them back into place.

Rotate the pins around and slide them in and out a few times to help spread the lubricant.

Lubricate Outer Ring
Lubricate Back of Pads
Wear Bar - Bottom Inner
Apply a small amount of grease to the outer ring of the two caliper pistons.

You can also apply some grease to the shim plates on the back side of the new pads where they will come in contact with the pistons.

Install New Inner Pad
Install New Outer Pad
Push Pads Against Rotor
Install the two new brake pads into the bracket.

According to the service manual, the wear indicator bar should be situated at the top of the inner brake pad.

I had wanted to purchase the original OEM Akebono ACT691 ceramic brake pads but I ended up having to buy the ACDelco 17D855C ceramic brake pads since it was a last minute purchase before a long road trip.

The wear indicator bar on the ACDelco pads was situated at the bottom of the inner brake pad instead of the top of the pad.

So far the new pads have performed perfectly for the last three thousand miles or so of highway, rural and off-road driving.

Push the two new pads together until they are flush against the rotor.

Re-Attach Top Clip
Replace Lower "V" Clip
Spring Clips Re-Attached
If your new pads are equipped with the small holes on the outer edge for the spring clips, re-attach the top and bottom metal spring clips.

The "V" or "U" shaped metal spring clips help to spread apart the pads in order to keep them from dragging on the rotor and causing unnecessary friction when you are not braking.

Lower Caliper Over Pads
Spin In Top Caliper Bolt
Spin In Bottom Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper over the new brake pads and into the bracket.

If the caliper won't fit over the thicker new brake pads, you may need to compress the two pistons back a bit further.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with their corresponding holes in the slider pins within the bracket.

Spin in the two caliper bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV) to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Upper Caliper Bolt
Tighten Lower Caliper Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap
Tighten the top caliper bolt in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the car) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight.

Then tighten the bottom caliper bolt in the counterclockwise direction (when viewing it from the outside of the vehicle) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet to just past hand tight.

If you have a torque wrench, the service manual specification for the front caliper bolts is 27 lb-ft.

Double check that the two caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next step.

(If you are removing the "banjo bolt" to disconnect the brake fluid hose and replace the caliper, the torque value for that bolt is 25 lb-ft. Be sure to replace the sealing washers for the banjo bolt.)

Brake Fluid Bleeder Screw
Replace Front Wheel
Spin On Five Lug Nuts

If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongy and you need to almost floor the brake pedal to stop the SUV, the brake fluid might be contaminated with water or the brake lines might 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 Acura MDX Brake Line Bleeding Guide or 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 or "screw" is located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper just below the upper caliper bolt.

(The bleeder valve torque specification is 6 lb-ft. The valve can be opened or closed with a 10mm wrench.)

Push the front wheel back into place.

Spin on the five lug nuts a few turns by hand in the clockwise direction to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Lower Vehicle From Stands
Torque Lug Nuts
Slightly tighten the five lug nuts in a criss-cross or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.

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

Continue progressively tightening the five lug nuts in a star or criss-cross pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight.

It would be best to use a torque wrench and tighten the lug nuts to the 80 lb-ft of torque specification as listed in the owner's manual.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and firmly push down 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, pour in some fresh DOT 3 fluid until the level reaches the "MAX" (maximum) line.

To break in your new front brake pads, just drive normally for the first several 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 not perform as well.

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway for drops of fresh 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.

For more, please check out all of my 2001-2006 Acura MDX DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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