The Ford F-150 quickly became not only the best-selling truck in Fords lineup, but the best-selling truck in America, since its 1975 release. The 2001 model year was the first year that Ford offered the F-150 with standard four-wheel antilock brakes. This system uses a hydraulic pump to rapidly engage and disengage the brake to prevent the wheels from locking up. To help protect the hydraulic pump, its best to avoid forcing fluid back through the system when retracting the caliper pistons, so use a special, yet simple, process when retracting the piston.
Loosen the front or rear lug nuts dependent on whether you are performing a front or rear brake job with a ratchet and socket. Raise the front or rear of the F-150 depending if you are working on the front or rear brakes with a floor jack and slide jack stands under the frame rails. Lower the truck onto the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts and pull the wheels off the pickup.2
Remove the two caliper bolts with a ratchet and socket, and pull the caliper up and off the caliper bracket. Hang the caliper from a nearby suspension component with a bungee cord. Pull the front brake pads from the front caliper bracket and remove the front caliper bracket bolts with a ratchet and socket. Pull the front caliper bracket off the F-150s hub. On the rear brake pads, pry one side of the metal retaining clip on the rear of the outer brake pad away from the caliper body with a flat-head screwdriver, then pivot that side of the pad upward. Pry the other side of the clip from the caliper and remove the brake pad.3
Pull the rotor straight off the F-150s hub. If the front rotor is stuck, lightly tap the rear of it with a rubber mallet to free it. If the rear rotor sticks, pull the rubber plug from the rotors backing plate and turn the parking brake shoe adjuster wheel the star-shaped wheel downward with a flat head screwdriver to loosen the parking brake shoes. Inspect the rotor for any visual defects, including deep grooves, signs of grinding, hot spots, cracks or a mirror-like shine. Replace the rotor with a new one if any defects exist.4
Set the rotor back onto the hub. If needed, readjust the parking brake shoes by rotating the rotor clockwise while turning the parking brake adjuster wheel upward with a flat-head screwdriver until the rotor stops moving. Rotate the parking brake adjuster wheel downward just enough until the rotor spins freely again. Press the plug back into the backing plate.5
Place the old inner front brake pad in the front caliper the rear caliper still has the inner pad attached so it contacts the caliper piston and set an 8-inch C-clamp over the caliper, so its fixed part touches the rear of the caliper and the screw part touches the inner brake pad. Set the boxed end of a combination wrench on the bleeder valve the 1/4-inch metal valve on the rear of the caliper.6
Position a drain pan under the brake caliper. Rotate the bleeder valve a quarter-turn counterclockwise to open it and immediately tighten the C-clamp until the caliper piston retracts fully into the caliper. Immediately close the bleeder valve by rotating it clockwise. Remove the combination wrench, C-clamp and front brake pad from the front caliper. On the rear caliper, pry the inner brake pad away from the piston with a flat-head screwdriver until you can grip it by hand, then pull the pad from the piston. Notice small metal fingers that insert into the caliper piston to hold the pad in place.7
Pull the old pad slippers the metal shims that go above and below the brake pads from the caliper bracket and press new slippers, which are included with the new pads, in their place. Position the front caliper bracket on the F-150s hub and hand-thread the retaining bolts. Tighten the retaining bolts to 136 foot-pounds on the front with a torque wrench and socket.8
Slide new front brake pads into the front caliper bracket and reinstall the caliper onto its bracket. Hand-thread the caliper bolts into the bracket, the torque them to between 21 and 26 foot-pounds on the front.
On the rear caliper, line up the metal fingers on the rear of the inner brake pad with the cavity in the caliper piston and press the pad toward the piston until the fingers insert fully into the piston. Position the outer brake pad, so the two fingers on the outside of the caliper line up with the gap between the metal retaining spring on the rear of the pad and the rear of the pad. Press the pad onto the caliper until the metal retaining spring seats in the grooves in the calipers fingers. Set the rear caliper on the bracket and hand-thread its retaining bolts. Tighten the caliper bolts to 20 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.9
Repeat steps 2 through 8 to replace the brakes on the other side of the F-150.10
Reinstall the wheels on the F-150s hub and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Raise the truck off the jack stands with a floor jack and remove the jack stands. Lower the F-150 to the ground, then tighten the lug nuts in a crisscross pattern to 150 foot-pounds with a torque wrench and socket.11
Press and release the brake pedal until it feels firm, then check the fluid level in the master cylinder reservoir. Unscrew the cap from the master cylinder reservoir and fill it to the Max line with fresh DOT 3 brake fluid, if needed.