Thursday, July 3, 2014

How to replace the front brake rotors and pads on a 2005 Scion tc

The front brakes on a 2005 Scion tc were pulsing badly. Last year I found, removed and replaced two seized caliper pins. Although the rotors and pads were not badly worn, they would need replacing. This is a fairly simple job on this and most vehicles.

                                                                       The Repair Basics                                        

  • Safety: Safety glasses, gloves, ear plugs and a dust mask. 
  •  Tools: A scissors jack, breaker bar,  21,17, and 14mm 1/2" drive sockets and a ratchet, a large C clamp and washer.  
  •  Parts and materials: Two rotors, two sets of brake pads, caliper or anti-squeal grease, lacquer thinner or brake parts cleaner. 
  •  Cost of materials: rotors $60 (29.95ea), Pads $28.45.
  •  Shop labor cost for the job: $100 on average. 
  •  Home mechanic estimated time: 2-3 hours   

1) Loosen the front lug nuts with a 21mm socket and a breaker bar.
2) Block the back wheels
3) Jack up front with a scissors jack. This vehicle sits so low to the ground, I couldn't get my floor jack under it. I used a scissors jack positioned at center of the cross-member, which is 25” from the inside of each tire. Place jack stands left and right.

4) With 14mm socket remove the caliper mounting bolts, not the pad bracket bolts.
5) Separate the caliper from the pad bracket. Hang it or rest it on the knuckle above.

Remove the caliper and set it aside...safely

6) Remove the pad bracket with a 17mm socket and ratchet. A breaker bar may be needed to bust it loose.
7) Remove the rotor. If rusted on tap from behind to jar it loose. Penitrant may be needed to help. On my vehicle there were two M8 threaded take outs on the rotor that was a big help in getting it off.
8) Clean the surface of the hub where the rotor seats with a wire brush and lacquer thinner. Likewise clean the mating surface of the caliper pistons and opposite piston side contact surfaces.


1) Remove the old pads from the pad holder and install the new ones. I reused the shoe mounting hardware as it was in good shape.
2) Install the new pads in the same orientation and coat the back plates liberally with anti squeal compound.
3) Clean the surface of the new rotor with lacquer thinner to remove shipping sealant.
4) Install the new rotor. It is helpful to hold it in place with two lug nuts.
5) Install the 17mm pad holder bolts (with new pads) and torque to 38 ft lbs.
6) Retract the caliper piston with a large C-clamp and washer until it is flush.
7) Install the caliper with 14mm bolts and torque to 30 ft lbs.

Whenever possible use a torque wrench on brake parts

8) Install the wheel and thread the lug nuts on snugs.
9) Lower the vehicle and torque alternately to 100 ft lbs



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