Are your T-Bird brakes squealing, grinding or stopping abruptly? If you experience any of these symptoms or if your brakes are not working at all, it is likely time to change your brake pads. Brakes are not that hard to take care of at home. To replace the rear brakes on a 1997 Ford T-Bird can take a savvy do-it-yourselfer less than an hour.
Loosen the lug nuts on the rear tires with the tire iron. Place the wood blocks in front of the front tires and make sure the car is in park and on a level surface.2
Set the jack underneath the support strut along the outer edge of the underside of the car. Raise the T-Bird so the rear tires come off the ground. Set the jack stands underneath the rear axle of the car, and lower the car onto the stands. Remove the loosened lug nuts and take the wheels off the axle hub.3
Unbolt the brake caliper mounting bracket from the rotor using the socket wrench. Once the bracket is unbolted, hang it in the wheel well using twine or wire to prevent any strain on the brake line.4
Slide the brake pads out of the mounting bracket.5
Clamp the C-clamp onto the brake caliper, in the center of the bracket. Compress the caliper until it is flush with the bracket base. If the caliper does not compress and it has a groove running across it, you will need to use a special brake caliper compression tool. In some case, you'll need a special tool to screw the caliper back into the bracket. This tool can be rented from many auto parts stores.6
Install the new brake pads into the slots where the old ones were.7
Bolt the mounting bracket back onto the rotor. Set the wheel back on the wheel hub and finger tighten all of the lugs, making sure that the tire stays straight.8
Change the brake pads on the other side, repeating steps 2 through 7. Lower the car to the ground.