How to Change the Brakes on a Ford Windstar
The Ford Windstar is an exceptionally safe and reliable minivan equipped with all wheel disc brakes. In order to maintain the safety of this vehicle, the brake pads need to be changed regularly. It’s easy to tell when the brake pads need changing, because the Windstar comes equipped with built-in indicators that make contact with the brake rotors when the brake pads have been worn down. If you have the proper equipment, you can change your Ford Windstar’s brakes by yourself.
Prepare the Car for Brake Removal
Park the car in a safe and stable area. Make sure there is sufficient space on both sides of the vehicle to move around and work on the car. Make sure the transmission is set to park and set the parking brake as well.
Remove the Tires
First, loosen the lug nuts on all the tires. Use a jack to lift the car, and place jack stands under the frame of the car for stability while removing the brake pads. Once the car is securely raised, remove the lug nuts and take the wheels off.
Disconnect the Brake Line from the Caliper
Remove the 10-mm bolt that connects the brake line to the caliper. Use a drip pan to catch any brake fluid that might drip from the valve.
Remove the Brake Caliper
You will have to remove the brake caliper, the part that surrounds the brake rotor. Start by turning the steering wheel to the left so you can access the right brake. Find the two caliper bolts that are on the left side of the caliper. Using a 13-mm socket and ratchet, loosen and remove the two caliper bolts, then pull the caliper free from the caliper bracket.
Remove Brake Pads
Next, pull the brake pads from the slots in the caliper bracket to remove them.
Remove the Caliper Bracket
The bolts that hold the caliper bracket in place are located on the back of the brake assembly. You can use these with a 15-mm socket and ratchet. After removing these bolts, you’ll be able to pull the caliper bracket away from the brake rotor.
Remove the Rotor
Next, pull the rotor away from the wheel bolts. This will require a bit of force. Use both hands and pull with even force on both sides until the rotor comes off. Don’t try to force the rotor out; simply exert an even force until it can be removed.
Clean the New Rotor and Brake Assembly
Spray the new rotor with brake cleaner and leave it to sit for a while. Spray the brake assembly with the brake cleaner as well and scrub the exposed surface well with a wire brush. You’ll want to make sure to get the steering knuckle, wheel bolts, and hub. Now clean the rotor off with a towel.
Replace the Rotor and Caliper Bracket
Attach the rotor to the wheel bolts. The raised section in the center that resembles a top hat should be facing outward. Once the disc is snug against the steering knuckle, you can replace the caliper bracket onto the rotor. Bolt it back into place with the 15-mm socket and ratchet.
Install New Brake Pads
Insert the new brake pads into their slots on the caliper bracket. Make sure the metal sides are facing outward.
Reinstall the Caliper
Place the caliper back onto its bracket, over the brake pads. The brake pads should fit against the caliper and mirror its curve. Using the 13-mm socket and ratchet, screw the caliper bolts back into place and tighten securely. Reconnect the brake line to the caliper and secure the bolt.
Repeat the Process for the Left Brake
Next, work on replacing the left brake. You’ll turn the steering wheel to the right for this. Follow the same steps as you did for the right brake.
Replace the Wheels and Lower the Vehicle
Once the new brake pads are securely in place, you can return the steering wheel to a forward position. Put the wheels back on the wheel bolts and screw on the lug nuts. Remove the jack stands and lower the vehicle. Tighten the lug nuts once more, and you’re done with the process of changing your Ford Windstar’s brakes.
It’s important to change your Ford Windstar’s brakes when the brake pads start showing signs of wear. Failure to do so can cause unsafe driving conditions and damage to other parts of the braking system. Ford recommends that you check the brake pads every 10,000 miles. In general, when you get your tires rotated, you should check the brake pads as well.