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Nissan Armada Front Brake Pads Replacement Guide
How to change the front brake pads on a 1st generation 2004 to 2015 Nissan Armada with photo illustrated steps.

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2012 Armada Front Wheel
Slightly Loosen Lug Nuts
Raise Front With Floor Jack
This automotive "how-to" guide was specifically written to assist owners of the first generation (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014 & 2015) Nissan Armada in changing the front disc brake pads.

Owners of other Nissan or Infiniti vehicles such as the Versa, Cube, Sentra, Altima, LEAF, Maxima, 370Z, Juke, Rogue, Murano, Xterra, Pathfinder, Quest, Frontier, Titan, QX56, Q50, G37, EX37, QX60, FX37, FX50 and QX80 may also find these front brake job DIY instructions to be helpful.

The items needed to complete this procedure include a tire iron, floor jack, jack stands, a 17mm socket, a ratchet, a "C" or "F" clamp, and a tube of brake parts lubricant.

A few compatible replacement front brakes with their part numbers are as follows: Wagner QC1286, Raybestos ATD1286C, Bosch D1286, Bendix D1286, Akebono ACT1286, Monroe DX1286, Power Stop # 16-1286 and TRW TPC1286.


Please verify the correct replacement parts for your Armada by using the Amazon Part Finder website. The compatible brake pads may vary depending on the model year, trim level and whether it has the rear wheel drive (RWD) or four wheel drive (4WD) transmission.
Spin Off Lug Nuts
Six Lug Nuts Removed
Front Brake Rotor
The first few steps are to park your Armada on a level surface, engage the emergency parking brake and chock the rear wheels to prevent it from moving.

Then slightly loosen the 6 lug nuts on the front wheel with the tire iron.

Raise the front of the vehicle with the floor jack and securely support it with the two jack stands. (I prefer to work on one side of the vehicle at a time for extra safety.)

Spin off the six lug nuts and set them aside in a safe place.

Pull off the front wheel to reveal the front brake caliper, bracket, rotor and suspension.

Front Brake Caliper
Loosen Upper Caliper Bolt
Loosen Lower 17mm Bolt
The front brake caliper is held in place to the bracket by two bolts on the back side.

Loosen the upper caliper bolt with a 17mm socket and ratcheting wrench by turning it clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle). Then loosen the lower caliper bolt.

Remove Lower 17mm Bolt
Remove Upper Caliper Bolt
Pull Off Brake Caliper
Spin out the two caliper bolts and set them aside in a safe place.

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

Rest Caliper On Suspension
Two "V" Springs
Pull Springs Off Pads
Rest the brake caliper on the suspension or hang it from the spring with a bungee cord or rope.

Try to avoid stressing or kinking the rubber brake fluid line.

Pull off the two metal "V" springs from the outer edge of the old brake pads and set them aside in a safe place.

Remove Old Outer Pad
Wear Bar Bottom Inner Pad
Replace Pad Abutment Clips
Pull the old brake pads out of the caliper bracket and make a mental note of where the wear or "squeal" bar is situated.

The wear bar on this 2012 Armada was located at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

If your new set of front brake pads came with new metal pad abutment or "anti-rattle" clips, pull the old ones out of the top and bottom of the bracket before installing the new ones.

Pull Out Caliper Slider Pins
Lubricate & Replace Pins
Attach "F" Clamp To Pistons
In order for the brake caliper to work properly, the two caliper slider pins need to be well lubricated.

Gently pull the upper and lower caliper pins out of their rubber dust boots. Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant grease to each caliper pin before pushing them back in to place.

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

Attach the "C" or "F" clamp to the caliper pistons using the back of an old brake pad to evenly distribute the pressure.


Twist Off Brake Fluid Cap
Compress Caliper Pistons
Replace Brake Fluid Cap
Move to the engine bay and remove the yellow and black plastic brake fluid cap by turning it counter clockwise. It is located at the right rear area of the engine bay closest to the driver's seat.

Removing the brake fluid reservoir cap will allow the brake fluid to more easily travel backwards through the system when you compress the caliper pistons.

Slowly compress the two caliper pistons by tightening the "F" clamp while repeatedly checking the level in the brake fluid reservoir to ensure that it does not overflow. Clean up any spilled brake fluid immediately since brake fluid can easily damage painted surfaces.

You may need to reposition the "F" clamp on the old brake pad to fully compress both pistons until they are flush with their rubber dust boots. Try to avoid pinching or damaging the rubber dust boots.

Replace the brake fluid reservoir cap as soon as possible when you are done compressing the pistons since brake fluid is hygroscopic (readily absorbs moisture from the air).

Thoroughly clean off the brake rotor, caliper bracket, brake caliper assembly and the lug nut studs with brake parts cleaner spray. Do not use compressed air or blow with your mouth to clean off the brake parts since breathing in brake dust can be harmful to your health. Brake dust can be carcinogenic (causes cancer) if inhaled.

Apply a thin layer of brake parts lubricant to any area where there is metal to metal contact such as the outer lip of the caliper pistons. Do not apply brake caliper grease to the friction surface of the new pads.

If your Armada previously exhibited shuddering, pulsating, or vibrations during braking, you may need to have your rotors "turned" (resurfaced) or just replace them with brand new rotors. If this is the first front brake job on your vehicle and the rotors appear to be in excellent condition, you should be able to just replace the pads with great results.

To remove the existing rotors and install new ones, remove the two bolts on the rear of the caliper bracket that attach it to the steering knuckle. Then loosen the old rotor with a rubber mallet, pull it off, and slide the new one in its place.

Both Pistons Compressed
Insert New Outer Brake Pad
Wear Bar Bottom Inner Pad
Install the new brake pads in to the bracket with the wear indicator or "squeal" bar located at the bottom of the inner brake pad.

If your new set of front brake pads did not come with wear bars attached, pull the wear bars off the old pads and attach them to the new pads.

Press Pads Against Rotor
Replace Both "V" Springs
Hold Pads Against Rotor
Press the new brake pads flush against the rotor.

While holding the pads flush against the rotor, re-install the two metal "V" springs in to the holes on the outer edge of the pads with the narrow end of the "V's" facing towards each other as shown in the picture above.

Lower Caliper Over Pads
Re-Insert Lower Caliper Bolt
Replace Upper Caliper Bolt
Carefully lower the caliper over the new brake pads and in to the bracket.

If the caliper won't fit over the new brake pads, you may need to compress the caliper pistons back a bit further with the "C" clamp.

Line up the bolt holes in the caliper with the corresponding holes in the caliper slider pins. Spin in the two caliper bolts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Tighten Upper Caliper Bolt
Tighten Lower 17mm Bolt
Rubber Valve Cap

Tighten the two caliper bolts by turning counter clockwise (as seen from the outside of the vehicle) with the 17mm socket and ratcheting wrench to just past hand tight or about 32 ft lbs of torque.

Double check that both the caliper bolts are tight before moving on to the next steps.

If your brake pedal previously felt soft or spongy, the brake fluid may be contaminated with water or the brake lines may 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 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 is located underneath a rubber cap on the back side of the caliper just below the upper caliper bolt.

Brake Fluid Bleeder Valve
Replace Front Wheel
Spin On 6 Lug Nuts
Replace the front wheel and spin on the 6 lug nuts by hand to prevent them from becoming cross threaded.

Slightly tighten the lug nuts in a "criss cross" or "star" pattern with the lug nut wrench.

Slightly Tighten Lug Nuts
Lower Vehicle From Stands
Torque 6 Lug Nuts
Lower the vehicle from the jack stands using the floor jack.

Continue progressively tightening the six lug nuts in a criss cross or star pattern to about 1/4 to 1/3 turn past hand tight or about 98 ft lbs of torque. It would be best to use a torque wrench or an impact wrench with a torque stick to properly tighten the lug nuts.

Sit in the driver's seat of the vehicle and pump 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, add some DOT 3 fluid.

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

It's also a good idea to regularly check your driveway or garage for drops of 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, check out my other Nissan Armada Repair & Maintenance Guides.

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