The key lesson here is easy so I’ll get right to it: Disc brakes are much easier to work on than drum brakes. That being said, here are some highlights and before/after pictures from my recent brake job on the Dodge 1500. Maybe there’ll be a lesson in here somewhere…

These are one set of front brake pads before replacement, showing obvious signs of wear.

These pictures are before and after having the rotors turned at O’Reilly. The drivers’ side rotor was seized on the hub pretty solidly, it took about fifteen minutes of banging on it with my 3-pound dead-blow hammer before it finally popped off, just as I was about to give up. The rotor on the passenger’s side came off after three good hits. There was plenty of thickness/life left in the rotors at only 64,000 miles, but they did have a slight warp to them which was causing the steering wheel to freak out (scientific term) whenever the brakes were applied. That has been fixed, and everything is ship-shape.

Brake pad before/after comparison. Not much left on the old ones.

Everything has been put back together on the front! Shiny, turned rotor and new pads. It took me about half an hour to figure out how the retaining springs on the pads went back on but I eventually got it. Sometimes it just takes a little bit of concentration, and the realization that it’ll all fit back together just like puzzle pieces.

Time for the rear brakes!

I decided that the rear rotors looked pretty good, so I did not have them turned. Rear brakes on any vehicle usually only provide about 30% of the stopping power so the components are usually smaller and wear out slower. (On this particular truck, the front brakes have two pistons per caliper and the back brakes only have one.) I also didn’t have the parking brake rebuilt or replaced, since the truck has such low mileage.

Old pads, still in the caliper assembly.

And a comparison of how much they had worn down, side by side with the new pads.

This also shows some of the corrosion that has occurred over the years. I think the truck may have been driven in a salty area.

Finished! Everything went smoothly, only minor speed bumps to this job. Everything is clean too! I went through a whole can of brake parts cleaner. Super! No real lesson here so I’ll finish it off with an awesome picture of a breaker.

Talk about a smart grid! Har har.

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