Front Brake Pads & Rotors Replacement Guide
How to change the front disc brake pads and rotors on a first generation 2001 to 2006 Acura MDX SUV.
2006 MDX Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Front of SUV
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 replacing the
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 and other items 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, a 19mm socket with a 1/2" drive ratchet, an "F" clamp, a can of brake cleaner spray and a tube of brake parts lubricant grease.
The first few steps are to park the SUV on a level surface, shift the transmission into "P" (Park) and turn off the ignition.
Engage the emergency / parking brake and place wheel chocks on both sides of the rear tires to help prevent the vehicle from moving.
Slightly loosen the five lug nuts on the front wheel by turning them about 1/4 to 1/2 turn in the counterclockwise direction with the lug nut wrench.
Carefully raise the front of the SUV with the floor jack and securely support it with at least two jack stands placed under the frame rail. I prefer to only work on one side of the SUV at a time to keep three tires on the ground for extra safety.
Caliper, Bracket, Rotor
Loosen Bottom Bolt
Loosen Top Caliper Bolt
Spin off the five lug nuts and set them aside in
a safe place.
Remove the front wheel and tire to reveal the caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.
Loosen the two small bolts on the back side of the caliper by turning them in the clockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the SUV) with the 14mm socket and a 3/8" drive ratchet.
(If you click on the pictures, you'll see directional arrows showing the correct way to rotate the ratchet.)
Spin Out Two Bolts
Caliper Bolts Removed
Pull Off Brake Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them
aside in a safe place.
Pull the caliper off the old pads and out of the bracket.
Suspend From Spring
Remove "V" Spring Clips
Wear Bar - Inner Pad
Suspend the caliper from the suspension spring
with a bungee cord, twine or rope. Try to avoid bending, kinking, stressing
or pulling on the rubber brake fluid hose.
Detach the two "V" shaped pad spreader (friction reduction) spring clips.
If your new set of front pads includes a bag of replacement hardware with new spring clips, you can discard the old ones.
Remove the old inner and outer brake pads from the bracket.
The wear indicator bar or "squeal bar" was located on the inner brake pad.
Remove Old Outer Pad
Pad Abutment Clips
Bottom Anti Rattle Clip
|If your set of new brake pads includes new pad abutment clips (or "anti-rattle" clips), pull the old clips out of the top and bottom of the bracket.
Two Bracket Bolts
Loosen Bottom Bolt
Loosen Top Bracket Bolt
Next, loosen the two larger bolts on the back
side of the bracket by turning them in the clockwise direction (as seen from
the outside of the vehicle) with a 19mm socket and a 1/2" drive breaker bar.
(Click on the pictures to see arrows indicating the correct direction to loosen the bolts.)
If the bolts are very tight or were secured with Loctite Red (high strength), you may need to apply some heat to the bolts and/or use a rubber mallet to hit the breaker bar to loosen the bolts.
Spin Out Bracket Bolts
Bracket Bolts Removed
Caliper Bracket Removed
|Set the two bracket
bolts aside in a safe place.
Pull the bracket off the wheel hub and set it aside.
Two Rotor Set Screws
Impact Screwdriver Set
Loosen Rotor Set Screws
|Here comes the most
difficult part of the procedure at least in my experience.
You'll need to remove the two Phillips head set screws on the outer face of the old rotor.
If might be possible to remove them with a standard Phillips head screwdriver. Or you may need to purchase an impact screwdriver set and use a hammer to loosen them.
My set screws had not been removed for over 100,000 miles, so they were thoroughly rusted in place and I broke all off the Phillips head bits in my impact screwdriver set. I even tried using my Kawasaki 1/2 HP electric impact wrench.
Electric Impact Wrench
Broken Impact Bits
Drill Out Old Screws
|So my only option was to drill out the old set screws with my electric drill and a variety of drill bits.
Screw Head Broken Off
Remove Old Rotor
Broken Screw Extractor
|Once I drilled a
hole into the set screws, I was able to use a
broken screw extractor drill bit
to remove them.
Removing the rusted set screws probably added an extra hour to this job (about half an hour per rotor).
Clean Oily New Rotor
Slide On New Rotor
Install New Set Screws
|Take the new rotors
outside to a well ventilated area.
Thoroughly clean off the oil and grease on the new rotors by spraying them CRC brake parts cleaner spray. Allow the rotors to fully dry.
Slide the new rotor over the lug studs.
The OEM part number for new rotor set screws is Honda 93600-06014-0H (also known as 93600060140H).
Tighten the rotor set screws in the clockwise direction until they are snug.
Line Up Bracket
Loctite Blue - Optional
Spin In Bracket Bolts
|Optional Step - I
chose to apply a drop of Loctite Blue (medium strength - removable with hand
tools) to the bracket bolts.
Hold the bracket in place with one hand.
Spin in the two bracket bolts a few turns by hand in the counterclockwise direction (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) to help prevent them from becoming cross threaded.
Note - If you were to slide under the vehicle and view the back side of the rotor, the bolts would be tightened in the "normal" clockwise direction. Since we are viewing the brakes from the outside of the SUV, the perspective is reversed and the bolts are tightened by turning the ratchet in the counterclockwise direction.
Torque Bracket Bolts
Tighten Bottom Bolt
Caliper Slide Pins
|Tighten the two
bracket bolts with the 19mm socket and a 1/2" drive ratchet until they are
It would be best to use a torque wrench to tighten the 19mm bracket bolts to the service manual specification of 101 lb-ft (or 137 N*m). Specifically for vehicles with dual piston front brake calipers.
Double check that both bracket bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.
In order for the caliper to operate smoothly, the two caliper slide pins (also known as "guide" pins or "slider" pins) need to be well lubricated.
Lubricate & Replace
Lubricate Abutment Clips
Install New Clips
|Remove one slide
pin at a time, apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease and push it back
into its rubber dust boot.
Do NOT mix up the two caliper slide pins. The "leading" slide pin has a rubber damper on the end while the "trailing" slide pin does not.
Apply a thin layer of brake caliper grease to the parts of the new pad abutment clips where they will come into contact with the bracket or the new pads.
Top Pad Abutment Clip
Wear Bar - Inner Pad
Install New Inner Pad
|Push the new pad
abutment clips into the top and bottom of the bracket.
Make sure they are fully seated.
The new inner brake pad should be equipped with the wear indicator bar.
Install New Outer Pad
Push Pads Against Rotor
Attach "F" Clamp
|Install the new
inner and outer brake pads into the bracket. Push the pads together against
In order for the caliper to fit over the thicker new brake pads, the two pistons will need to be compressed back.
Attach the "F" clamp to the caliper and use the old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure across the pistons.
Remove Reservoir Cap
Compress Caliper Pistons
Two Pistons Retracted
|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.
Slowly turn the "F" clamp handle in the clockwise direction to retract the caliper pistons.
Repeatedly check the fluid level in the reservoir to make sure it doesn't overflow.
Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since it can easily damage painted surface.
Continue compressing the caliper pistons until they are just about flush with the rubber dust boots that surround them. Try to avoid pinching or damaging the rubber dust boots.
Replace Reservoir Cap
Install "V" Spring Clips
Lower Caliper Over Pads
reservoir cap as soon as possible when you are done compressing the caliper
Brake fluid is hygroscopic (absorbs moisture from the air) so the reservoir cap shouldn't be left off any longer than absolutely necessary.
Attach the new "V" shaped pad spreading spring clips to the outer edges of the new brake pads.
Carefully lower the caliper over the new pads and into the bracket.
If the caliper won't fit over the thicker new brake pads, you may need to compress the pistons back a bit further.
Spin In Caliper Bolts
Torque Caliper Bolts
|Spin in the two
caliper bolts and tighten them in the counterclockwise direction (as seen
from the outside of the vehicle).
The service manual torque specification for tightening the 14mm caliper bolts is 27 lb-ft (or 37 N*m).
If your brake pedal has been feeling soft or spongey, you may need to flush the brake lines with fresh fluid.
Check out my Acura MDX Brake Line Bleeding Guide for more information on this topic.
Double check that the caliper bolts and bracket bolts have been properly tightened.
Replace Front Wheel
Spin On Five Lug Nuts
Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
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 the five lug nuts in a "criss-cross" or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.
Lower Car From Stands
Torque Lug Nuts
Brake Job Complete!
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.
Be sure to write down the procedure in your vehicle's service records.
please check out all of my
2001-2006 Acura MDX DIY Repair & Maintenance Guides.
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