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AAA Instructions, Replacing The Front Brakes On Your Pontiac Grand Am, Plus What You'll Need For The Job

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 1 2

Just A Couple Of Basic Automotive Tools

And Some Good Old Fashioned American Ingenuity

Performance Brake Parts

AAA instructions for replacing the front brakes on your Pontiac Grand Am, is the only place you'll need to go to complete this job. It can be accomplished by the novice mechanic. Only a limited toolbox will be required. You'll need a good solid jack and at least one jackstand is recommended to do this job safely.

Parts you'll need to replace your front brakes, are available from Amazon.com, as well as most local auto parts stores. If you feel like shopping around you may find them at the same price as Amazon but they will not deliver them to you.  Amazon.com will show you multiple retailers with many choices and price levels on each item you need.

Most on-line auto parts retailers, will offer free shipping to help boost their sales numbers in today's economy. The competition in the virtual automotive store that we know as the internet, is pretty darn stiff. Make sure to check return policies as well. And know you're getting free shipping, don't just assume it.

You'll want to make sure you have a flat solid surface to work on, such as a concrete drive or pavement. Your dirt garage, or out in the yard on the grass, is an accident waiting to happen. Your support can easily  sink into the ground and make the vehicle unstable.  This can cause the vehicle to unexpectedly fall or shift causing injury to you or the car.

ACDelco 14D727CH Advantage Front Ceramic Disc Brake Pad Set
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(price as of Oct 13, 2013)

Here's The List Of Parts You'll Need

Plus What You'll Need For Tools

Performance Brake Pads
Only a few inexpensive parts are needed to replace front brake pads on the Pontiac Grand Am. Start with a new set of pads, plus if you've heard the old brakes grinding at all, (metal to metal) you'll most likely you'll need new front brake rotors as well.

Another sure-fire indicator that your rotors must be replaced is a pulsing in the pedal when you apply the brakes. They still work they just ride on the warped rotor and give you that shimmy that's been bugging the crap out of you.

New Rotors and Brake pads are very inexpensive. They are all available online at major websites like Amazon.com where I've always found the best prices for parts like this. If you spend a little more time comparison shopping on their website, you should be able to find someone who offers free shipping. It's a very convenient way to get any auto parts you need.

Have the information on the car ready like the make and model and any options like engine size and Ac or no Ac. Standard or automatic. Despite that these facts may seem irrelevant to your brake job, it helps to assure you're getting the right parts by perfectly matching the accessories to your model.

Tools You Should Have On Hand

The first thing your going to need is the aforementioned jack and jackstands. You'll need a good lug wrench, to remove the wheel. Some model cars have a special socket for this and it's usually in the trunk of the car.

You'll need a decent ratchet and socket set, although the job can also be done with open end wrenches of the proper size for your car. Add A medium-sized hammer and possibly a number 2 Phillips head screwdriver for removing rotors from some models. You may also meet the need for an Allen wrench instead of the Phillips head on some cars.

Some of the higher end brake pads as well as most kits, will have lubricant you will use to lube up the retainer pins that you'll be pulling out of the brakes. If you buy an inexpensive set of pads, make sure you have some of this lubricant or grease to do this.

A large set of channel lock pliers may be needed to loosen the pins that secure the caliper to the spindle. A Large, (4 inch) C-clamp will be needed, to press the pistons back into the caliper. This must be done to make enough room for the much thicker new brake pads.

I think that about covers this part of the article. Now all we have left is the real job and we'll be done. Like I always say, "It's never easy".

Now For The Real Fun

Lets Get Dirty

Starting with the car in park and on a flat surface, use the proper lug wrench to break free all lugnuts on the wheel. Do Not remove them at this point. Once they've all been slightly loosened, jack up the first side you'd like to get done. Lift the car high enough to get a solid jackstand under the frame of the car, away from the wheel you'll be working on.

Once the car is stable, ( Give the fender a good shake) You can remove the rest of the lugnuts and the wheel. Once you have this done you'll be able to see if you do in fact need rotors, if there was ever a question.

Find the two bolts behind the caliper that mount it to the spindle. Using a proper sized box or open end wrench, or a socket and ratchet, remove the two bolts from the caliper. Sometimes the bolts will be stuck inside the slide hole. If this happens make sure you've turned the bolts all the way out past the threads and pull the bolt/pins forcibly from the caliper. Once you have them out they should be cleaned with a wire brush or sandpaper to remove any rust or sediment from the slider part of the pin as well as the threads for bot bolts.

Next check the slides on the caliper. This is done by pushing in on the movable receiving port you've just taken the retaining pins from. There should be a smooth movement in towards the caliper and they should spring back out when you let go. If no,t then cleaning or replacement of the caliper may be necessary Once your pins are clean and the caliper slides are free and moving well,  your ready to remove the caliper.

This can sometimes be done with your hand by pulling the unit up from the split at the bottom. Sometimes you may have to pry it up and out of it's position with a large screwdriver or you can use the lever end of a standard lugwrench.

Once your caliper is out you'll need to hang it from the shock or strut mount so the rubber brake line doesn't get stretched or broken. Tie it high up out-of-the-way of the wheel.

If you need to replace the rotors, you may need to remove small retainer screws that enter the wheel hub through the rotor itself. They are usually a Phillips head screwdriver or an Allen wrench and sometimes can be a booger to get out. There is a specialty tool made for this job that's basically a screwdriver that you place into the head of the screw to be removed and hit it with a hammer while turning out the screw. The proper term for this screw if your going to have to go find one would be an impact screwdriver. Handiest little tool you'll ever need, when you need one.

After the retainer screws are removed and of course even before that if your car has none, you'll be able to pull the rotor off the lugnuts it's resting on removing it from the car. Place the new rotor back in its place and spray the entire unit with brake cleaner. This will eliminate most annoying squeaks that can occur when the job's done.

If your model had retainer screws holding the rotors on, then there should be new ones with your new rotors. Install the screws and tighten. Now you can address the pads and caliper.

Untie your caliber from where you've hung it and turn it around to remove the old brake pads, if they haven't fallen out already. Once you have a bare caliper you'll see one or two pistons inside the unit. Use the large C-clamp to press the piston, or pistons if that's the case, into the body of the caliper until it will go no further. This assures you'll have room to get it back on.

New pads may come with new clips and grease for the slide pins. Insert the new pads into the caliper and snap them in with the new clips. Tip; Watch the way you take the old ones out and if all else fails, there's always the other wheel to look at, if you forgot how they go.

Next slide the caliper assembly back onto the rotor and insert the two retainer pins/bolts into their slides. Check to make sure both bolts are positioned right within their respective stops. These are usually molded areas around the bolt holes that lock the slides into one place. tighten the two pins alternately and evenly, until they're both snug and then crank em down with a good wrench.

Next you'll reinstall the wheel and hand tighten the lugnuts as tight as you can get them until the wheel spins. Now Jack the car off the jack stand and then remove it and lower the vehicle until the tire just starts to show its touching the ground. You'll want it to be low enough to stop the wheel from turning while you finish tightening the lugnuts, and yet not low enough to put too much weight on the wheel.

Tighten the lugnuts with the lugwrench and lower the car. Repeat the same procedure on the other wheel making sure to take all the same safety precautions.

When your done you'll need to get into the car and pump the brake pedal several times before starting it and several times after. This will build the line pressure back up the first time. This action also sets the pads back against the rotors.

Test the brakes multiple times in a safe place when your finished and remember to tell all your friends that AAA information, replace your front brakes On A Pontiac Grand Am, plus everything you'll need To Do The Job, is right here waiting to give them a hand as well.

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Comments

Apr 25, 2012 4:05am
Jerky
Brake jobs are incredibly easy, especially disc brakes. Once you've done it once you'll wonder how so many people willing fork over hundreds of dollars to their mechanics.

Great article. This is sure to not only save people money, but give people confidence to do their Grand Am brakes on their own. You laid out all the steps perfectly.
Apr 25, 2012 4:08am
Jerky
Also worth noting: Expect to save lots of money on parts if you do this job yourself. Not only do mechanics charge shop time, but they usually mark up the prices of parts by double or even triple.

I recently changed all my brake pads and rotors on my 90's era BMW. I think the parts rang up to about $150. Just for fun I called a few mechanics (both national franchises and local mom-and-pop businesses), the lost bid I got was well over $600, and the rest were at least $750.
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