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Old 11-30-2021, 09:22 PM   #1
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How I changed the brake pads and rotors on my 1996 F53

I did a quick patch up job on the rear brake pads a couple summers ago when my right rear caliper stuck and the pads got into the rotor. I replaced the pads and calipers on the rears and threw it back together to get back on the road.

I had marginal brakes, no worse and no better than before the brake job. Now I am taking it back apart, replacing the pads with StopPower pads and new Motorcraft rotors.

For the DIY RVer’s with limited tools this may be helpful, especially if you’ve never done this before. As a very young adult I was a BMW and VW mechanic and have maintained my vehicles for most of my life. Of late I have started paying an oil change place to change my oil but I still do most of my other work. All that to say I have decent mechanical skills but with limited heavy truck experience or tools.

For those who care I will show step by step what I’ve done, and someone more experienced than can chime in and tell me what I should have done differently.
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1997 34í Gas Bounder / F53 Chassis | Towing 1996 Ford Ranger on Acme Dolly
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Old 11-30-2021, 09:29 PM   #2
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Purchased an electric Hi-Power impact driver

Once I got the thing apart, I discovered about the only way to get the T18 star bolts holding the rotor to the hub out is with a hi-powered impact driver. So I purchased one from Harbor Freight for about $65.00. Had I purchased this at the beginning I could have used it to get the tire lug nuts off as well as the axle nuts. (My old air-driven impact is about useless for anything requiring much pressure.)

So if you donít already have one, Iíd purchase that along with a 20 ton bottle jack if you donít have both. (I purchased my jacks from Harbor Freight and Tractor Supply.)

Step one of course is to remove the tires. Without the impact driver, I used my 3/4Ē puller bar and loosed the lug nuts before jacking the rig up.

Once the bottle jack raised the tires off the ground, I ran the hydraulic level jack down just as a safety stand, then I also put my hefty wood blocks under the axle as a third safety stand.
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1997 34í Gas Bounder / F53 Chassis | Towing 1996 Ford Ranger on Acme Dolly
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Old 11-30-2021, 10:45 PM   #3
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Removing the hub

Removed the 15 mm axle to hub bolts and pulled the axle out. Some oil will leak out so youíll want to catch it in a container to avoid a mess.

My year model has (from outside going in) 1) a hub nut that is secured by 2) a spacer/tabbed keeper washer, 3) another hub nut, 4) spacer washer 5) outer bearing.

I donít have the tool to fit these slotted nuts so I used a screwdriver and hammer to bend the tab back on the keeper washer. Iíve long ago lost the punch I would normally use to move the nuts so I used an orphaned bolt for a punch and tapped the nut around until I could turn it by hand. I paid attention to how tight it was, removed the keeper washer, used the bolt/punch again on the inner nut (again noting how tight it was) until it turned freely and removed it.

I had some blocking under the hub/rotor assembly to catch it if it fell, it is heavy, but I was able to just pull and lift it off. More oil will leak out of the hub.
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Old 11-30-2021, 10:53 PM   #4
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Removing rotor from hub

At this point I saw the T18 star bolts holding the rotor to the hub and realized I had to purchase the hi-power impact wrench to remove them. I purchased the impact wrench at Harbor Freight as already mentioned. I went from parts to parts stores hunting a T18 external impact socket. Finally found one at OíReilly that was part of a set. All others in the set were 3/8 drive but the T18 was 1/2Ē.

Got up early the next morning, put the T18 socket on a 10Ē extension and hit the reverse button on the impact driver. No progress.

Changed out the 10Ē extension for a 3Ē extension. Still the bolts didnít budge.

Decided if I was real careful I could put the socket directly on the impact driver and almost get it straight down into the hub to reach the bolts. This worked, zipped the bolts right out with no hesitation.
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Old 11-30-2021, 11:23 PM   #5
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Replacing the oil seal

My oil seal isn’t leaking but it obviously has been on since day of manufacture. After pondering that a bit I decided it didn’t make any sense to put a new rotor and new pads and not protect them with a new seal. So I drove into Chattanooga to NAPA and purchased rear oil seals.

Got up early this morning and as soon as the frost was melted off the grass I moved the hub/rotor assembly around on a piece of cardboard in the sun and tackled the seal removal. That old seal was one tough seal. It did NOT want to come out. I long ago lost my cold chisel so I destroyed a cheap screwdriver before successfully chopping a cut, with my long-suffering wood chisel, into the seal, deep enough that I could pry the seal out.

Careful inspection of the hub shows no damage where the outer seal contacts the hub, and the place on the axle housing, where the seal seats, looks great.

I used brake cleaner to clean all the brake dust out of the hub, cleaned the oil out of the center of the hub, cleaned the bearings. Bearings and races look excellent.

Of course I don’t have the correct tool to drive the seal in. I found my 1/4” x 6” socket extension perfectly fit the seal surface driving/pressing contact area. Before installing the seal, I lubricated the inner bearing with 75W140 synthetic differential oil and replaced bearing in its race. I carefully tapped the seal into the hub until it bottomed out, being careful to tap all around the circumference to keep it reasonably straight as I tapped it down.

I’ll attach pictures of the old seal showing the cut made to remove it, as well as pictures of the hub retainer nut assembly after the next post.
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Old 11-30-2021, 11:39 PM   #6
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Installing the new rotor to hub and installing hub/rotor assembly

Cleaned the preservative gunk off the new rotor using brake cleaner, lay it in position on the hub. Put a dab of blue Loctite on each bold and hand started all the bolts. Used the impact driver with an extension to run the bolts down just to snug.

Removed extension and put T18 socket back directly on impact driver and again being careful to hold it as straight as I could tightened the bolts. I held the impact trigger for about the same amount of time I used to remove the bolts. I tightened them using a crisscross pattern.

Lubricated the seal with differential oil and squirted as much as I could get into the hub with hub resting horizontally on the ground. Then I grabbed the assembly and carefully placed it back in position on the axel housing being careful to not damage the new seal as I eased the assembly back on the housing.

I lubricated the outer bearing with differential oil, inserted in hub, installed the inner spacer/washer and the nut. Again taking my bolt/punch I worked the nut around until it is very snug. When I next pick up the work, I will adjust the nuts correctly, or at least as best I can given my lack of proper tools. I will detail how I do it. So for now I put a plastic bag over the opening and that is where I stopped this morning before moving onto my real work for the day.

I will take and attach pictures of the old seal and hub retainer nuts and spacers when I next work on it. I was never able to locate any pictures of the exact assembly I have so if you are considering doing this to yours, and donít know what to expect, these pictures should help.
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1997 34í Gas Bounder / F53 Chassis | Towing 1996 Ford Ranger on Acme Dolly
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Old 12-01-2021, 07:59 AM   #7
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Thanks for your posts, Marvin. I am following this closely, as next summer I plan to do a full brake overhaul on my 1997 F-53. Please keep the posts coming.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:55 AM   #8
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Pictures

Pictures in the order displayed show the old seal, torn up to remove. Then the inner nut, keeper tabbed washer, finally the final nut with tab engaged in slot.
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Old 12-01-2021, 10:01 AM   #9
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Adjusting tightness of bearing nuts

These are the old bearings, no new bearing to press in or otherwise contend with. I tapped the inner nut quite tight. At that point spinning the wheel would continue to turn a 1/4-1/2 turn. I loosed the nut then retightened to about the same point. Then I loosened maybe 1/4 turn. At about 1/2 that amount of loosening the wheel would continue to spin about 1/2 turn. A slight more loosen and it spins 3/4-1 turn.

Then installed the tabbed washer. Then the outer nut and tightened the outer nut as tight as I could get it. Bent tab down to hold it in place.

Put liquid Permatex gasket material on the axle to hub mating surface. Let it sit a few minutes then slipped the axle in place and lightly impacted it with the heavy duty impact wrench. Then checked tightness with my puller bar.

When I tear down and repair the other side I will show pictures of sequences not shown so far.
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Old 12-01-2021, 12:18 PM   #10
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I would suggest you REBUILD OR REPLACE the CALIPER AND replace HOSE; bad internals on hose can cause a caliper to stick and sticking can also be the piston/seal, and/or hose/caliper damaged by the heat. If you rebuild, replace pistons. YOUTUBE can be helpful since you have never rebuilt?
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Old 12-01-2021, 03:39 PM   #11
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I agree 100%. However, all rear hoses and calipers have been replaced, which I meant to mention at the beginning. When I purchased it several years ago, the rear lines on the differential were really rusted so I had them replaced along with the hoses. Summer a year ago, the rear caliper stuck so I replaced both of them when I replaced pads to get back on the road. So in one sense I am going back and properly finishing the brake job on the rear and adding (hopefully) a higher friction set of pads while Iím replacing the rotors.

I plan to go over all the metal lines going up to the front and will replace anything remotely questionable. Then front calipers, hoses, pads and probably rotors. I used to rebuild them years and years ago but havenít recently. Given my age and time constraints Iíll probably just replace the front ones rather than repair.
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Old 12-01-2021, 09:15 PM   #12
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More Pictures

New seal installed in hub, rotor installed to hub showing Torx (star) bolts, ready to install, finished product ready for wheels. Note the drive pins holding the pads and caliper in place. They are very easy to drive out and back in. I used my trusty bolt and 1/4Ē socket extension as punches.
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Old 12-03-2021, 10:06 AM   #13
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Parts Sourcing

Iíve completed the rear brake repair. As already mentioned, I had previously had the rear brake lines replaced, and replaced the calipers summer a year ago. I flushed the lines using Bosch 5.1 brake fluid about two years ago as well. DOT 5.1 has the higher boiling point but is still compatible with DOT 3 and 4.

I have another quart of 5.1 that I purchased from Amazon so Iím ready to flush/bleed the new lines. I also purchased the rotors from Amazon (BRR206) (free Prime shipping). I purchased the severe/heavy towing PowerStop brake pads (Z36-411) from Rock Auto since Amazon was out of stock. The wheel bearing seals came from Napa, and the brake calipers were sourced from Autozone.
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Old 12-03-2021, 10:08 AM   #14
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Brake Lines

This morning I crawled under and checked the brake line running front to rear. As suspected, it has a lot of rust deterioration at several places. (I recently lost brakes on my 1996 Ford Ranger due to a rusted line so Iím especially cautious about this.)

I clipped off a foot of each end and will be taking it to a company in Chattanooga that fabricates brake lines. Essentially, I will give them the two ends and tell them to make me a flexible brake line 25í long with those two ends attached. Then I will snake the line in and have one less potential brake failure eliminated. Iím also replacing the main line to rear axle flexible line since it appears to not have been replaced previously.

Once that is completed I will rebuild the front brakes on another thread.
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