How to Repair Brake Pads on a Saturn 2000 SL1

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    • 1). Unscrew the lid from the brake master cylinder reservoir and remove siphon out about half of the brake fluid in the reservoir, using a clean turkey baster. Place this siphoned fluid in a small container for later disposal -- do not reuse this fluid.

    • 2). Loosen, but do not remove, the front lug nuts, using a ratchet and socket. Raise the front of the Saturn with a floor jack and position jack stands under the vehicle's subframe. Lower the SL1 onto the jack stands. Remove the front lug nuts, by hand, and pull the front wheels from the Saturn.

    • 3). Loosen the two caliper pins, using a ratchet and socket, then pull the pins from the rear of the caliper -- notice that the pins have a smooth end and a threaded end. Pull the caliper up and off the caliper bracket, then suspend it from the strut spring, using a bungee strap.

    • 4). Grasp the inner and outer brake pads and pull them out of the caliper bracket. Pull the brake pad clips -- the thin metal shims above and below the pads -- from the caliper bracket. Remove the two caliper bracket-to-steering knuckle bolts, using a ratchet and socket, and pull the caliper bracket from the steering knuckle.

    • 5). Remove the rotor-retaining screw, using a Phillips screwdriver. Pull the rotor from the Saturn's front hub. If the rotor does not pull of easily, lightly strike the rear of the rotor with a rubber mallet to free it. Inspect the rotor for any visual defects, including: deep grooves, mirror-like shine, grind marks or cracks. Replace the rotor with a new one if any defects exist.

    • 6). Set the rotor on the front hub, lining up the screw hole in the rotor with that in the hub, then tighten the rotor-retaining screw with a Phillips screwdriver. Place the caliper bracket back over the rotor. Hand-tighten the caliper bracket-to-steering knuckle bolts, then torque the bolts to 70 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

    • 7). Press the new brake pad clips -- part of the brake pad hardware kit -- in the brake pad grooves on the caliper bracket until the click into place -- they only fit one direction. Apply a thin coat of disc brake grease to the rear of the new brake pads, then slide them into the caliper bracket.

    • 8). Set the old inner brake pad in the caliper so that it contacts the piston inside the caliper. Position an 8-inch C-clamp over the caliper so that the screw part touches the inner brake pad and the fixed part touches the rear of the caliper. Tighten the C-clamp until the brake pad stops moving. Remove the C-clamp and the old brake pad. Place a round-ended toothpick under the edge of the rubber dust boot surrounding the caliper piston and pry it upward slightly to release any trapped air. Press the dust boot back into place with your finger.

    • 9). Apply a generous coat of disc brake grease to the smooth part of the caliper pins; do not get any grease on the threaded part. Remove the caliper from the bungee strap and set it back on the caliper bracket. Insert the pins through the caliper and bracket, then hand-tighten them. Torque the caliper pins to 27 foot-pounds, using a torque wrench and socket.

    • 10

      Repeat Steps 3 through 9 to replace the pads on the other side of the Saturn.

    • 11

      Reinstall the front wheels on the SL1's front hubs, then hand-tighten the lug nuts. Raise the front of the Saturn off the jack stands, using a floor jack, and remove the jack stands. Lower the SL1 to the ground. Tighten the lug nuts, in a crisscrossing pattern, to 95 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.

    • 12

      Press and release the brake pedal repeatedly until it feels firm. Check the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir and add fresh DOT 3 brake fluid until the level reaches the "Max" line on the reservoir, if needed. Tighten the lid onto the master cylinder reservoir.

    • 13

      Take the old brake fluid in the small container to a used auto fluid-recycling center for disposal. Check if a local auto parts store performs this task for free.

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