Replace The Front Brake Pads on a Chrysler Crossfire
If you're like me, you're pretty sick of the OEM Crossfire brake pads dusting like crazy. Those wonderfully bright aluminum wheels look terribly dirty after just a few days of moderate driving. Or perhaps you're the kind of person who just wants to make sure your brake pads are in good condition and are seeking to replace them as part of a routine maintenance schedule.
Thankfully, changing the pads is a pretty straightforward process, provided you've got a few tools and a handy guide like this one. It shouldn't take more than 20 minutes to do each wheel.
Keep in mind this guide is for the front brake pads on a non-SRT6 Crossfire. The procedure for replacing rear brake pads is significantly different, and is not covered here.
- OEM Tire iron or breaker bar with 17mm socket
- Torque wrench (optional, recommended) with 17mm socket
- Turkey baster or fluid pump (optional, recommended)
- 7mm allen socket & socket wrench
- C-Clamp(s) with at least 8 inches of clearance or a Brake Pad Spreader
- Flathead screwdriver (optional, recommended)
- Jack and jack stands
Being one of the most critical components of your car, brake pads should be inspected during routine maintenance. Low brake pads cause a number of symptoms: noisy brakes, reduced stopping power, and illumination of the Brake Wear Indicator or BAS/ESP lights.
Lift the car and remove the front wheels
While the car is still on the ground, remove the hub caps with a flathead screwdriver or plastic trim remover and loosen the 5 lug bolts on the front wheels.
Determine how you're going to lift the car. We find it easy to lift the car by the rear jack points, sliding the jack stand under the lifted side's front jack point once it has clearance.
Remove the lug bolts completely and pull the first wheel off.
Remove the caliper
With the wheel off, you have full access to the caliper and rotor. Take a flathead screwdriver and slide it between the rotor and inboard pad (if possible), or any other spot between the rotor and pad where you can get leverage. Twist the screwdriver to compress the piston and create a gap between the pad and the rotor. You probably won't be able to compress the piston completely - we just need to loosen its grip on the rotor so we can pull the caliper off.
Remove the caliper clip with the flathead screwdriver or pliers. Cover the clip with your hand, if possible, as debris may fly out when each end of the clip is released.
Disconnect the wear sensor from where it connects with the caliper.
Lastly, before removing the caliper, you need to remove the two slide pins on the rear of the caliper. Each slide pin is covered by a small plastic cap. Remove it and use the 7mm allen wrench to loosen and remove the pins.
With a little coercion, you should be able to lift the caliper from the rotor. Wiggling and loosening the pads with a flathead screwdriver may be necessary before it lets go. Once the caliper is free, do not let the caliper hang by the brake lines! Doing so may damage the lines or the caliper. Sit the caliper atop the rotor when nobody is holding it.
Remove the old brake pads
Remove both the old outboard and inboard brake pads. The outboard pad may have fallen off the rotor or caliper already. The inboard pad is held to the piston by clips - it simply pops off.
Before discarding the old inboard brake pad, remove the wear sensor. It simply pops out. Here's a comparison of the new brake pad (left) and the old one (right), with the wear sensor still attached. That's quite the difference!
Compress the caliper piston
Before you can install the new brake pads, you'll have to fully depress the caliper piston. Before you do that, however, it's a good idea to pop the cap on the brake fluid reservoir, and remove a small amount of brake fluid with a turkey baster or fluid pump. With the piston fully depressed, the brake fluid may rise past the max fill line, or overflow the reservoir.
With the old pad removed, the piston is simply a hollow cylinder set into the caliper. Compressing it can be difficult though, which is why we found a C-Clamp to be effective.
We found it more effective to re-seat either the old or new inboard pad on the piston to give the C-Clamps more surface to grip and provide even pressure on the piston. The inboard pads have metal flanges on the back that fit into the piston cylinder and keep it locked in place.
Position the C-clamp so it grips the brake pad on one side and the rear of the caliper on the other. As the clamp is tightened, it should compress the piston. Compress the piston most of the way to ensure it will fit on the rotor with the new brake pads installed.
If you're using the new inboard pad, now's a good time to apply some brake lubricant to the back of the pad, where it contacts the piston.
Install the new brake pads
Apply some brake lubricant to the back of the outboard brake pad, and install it on the outside of the rotor, where the old pad used to be. If you haven't already, install the new inboard brake pad on the caliper piston as well.
Fit the caliper back onto the rotor, ensuring it sits properly around the new brake pads.
Use brake lubricant to grease up the pair of slide pins and reinstall them on the back of the caliper. Ensure both are aligned with their respective holes in the caliper and, If your torque wrench fits, tighten them down between 21-30 lb-ft. Reinstall the black plastic caps when you're done.
Reinstall the brake wear sensor. It should simply slide into the inboard pad without much trouble. Reattach the plug connecting the sensor to the caliper.
Install the front caliper clip.
Bazinga! You're done with the first brake pad. Repeat this process for the other front wheel.
Once both brake pads have been replaced and the calipers reinstalled, ensure you check the brake fluid level and put the cap back on the brake fluid reservoir.
Have someone sit in the driver's seat and pump the brakes a few times to ensure the brakes feel right and pressure has built back up in the system.
Reinstall the wheels
Now it's simply a matter of reinstalling the wheels. Reattach each wheel and ensure the lug bolt holes align with the holes on the rotor. We find it's easier for someone to depress the brake pedals while someone else rotates the wheel to ensure the bolt holes are aligned properly.
Screw in the lug bolts but don't tighten them fully yet. Wait until the car is back on the ground before torquing the lug bolts to the proper spec.
Lower the car, and with a torque wrench and a 17mm socket, tighten the lug bolts to 81 lb-ft. Tighten the bolts in a star pattern to ensure the wheel is securely attached to the rotor. Reattach the hub caps when you're done tightening the lug bolts on each wheel.
Your brakes should be good to go! Take the car for a careful spin around a neighborhood or other non-busy street to ensure the brakes operate as expected. There may be a brief "bedding" period for your new brake pads as the pad surfaces conform to the ridges and surfaces of the rotors.
- Lug bolts require a 17mm hex socket and should be tightened to 81 lb-ft.
- Caliper slide pins require a 7mm allen wrench and should be tightened between 21-30 lb-ft.