How to Change the Front Brakes on a 1989 Chevrolet Suburban

On a large vehicle, such as the 1989 Suburban, the brake pads typically need replaced every 20,000 to 30,000 miles. Heavy towing, which the Suburban is designed for, can lead to shorter mileage intervals between replacement. Because of the additional damage that can be caused by excessively worn brake pads, it is important that they are inspected at every oil change interval. Replacing the brake pads on the Suburban can be completed in an afternoon with a few tools.

Tools Used: Floor jack, Jack stands, Ratchet, Socket set, C-clamp, Bungee strap, Torque wrench, Flathead screwdriver

Change the Front Brakes

Loosen the front lug nuts, but do not remove then, using the ratchet and socket.

Raise the front of the vehicle off the ground using the floor jack. Secure the vehicle by placing jack stands beneath it.

Remove the lug nuts from the Suburban's front wheels. Place the lug nuts in a safe area, away from your workspace.

Pull the front wheels from the Suburban.

Place the C-clamp over the brake caliper, positioning it so that the fixed part of the clamp contacts the rear of the caliper and the screw part contacts the outer brake pad.

Tighten the C-clamp until its movement stops. This process compresses the caliper's internal piston, making room for the new, thicker pads.

Look at the rear area of the caliper and locate the upper and lower caliper bolts.

Loosen and remove both caliper bolts with the ratchet and socket.

Remove the caliper by pulling it upward and away from the vehicle. Notice the brake pads remain attached to the caliper. Suspend the caliper from a stationary component on the wheel using the bungee strap.

Place the screwdriver's head beneath the metal clip on the rear of the outer brake pad. Pry upward on the clip until it is free from the hole in the caliper's body. Repeat this step on the other side of the clip.

Pull the outer pad up and off the caliper.

Grab the inner pad and pull it up and away from the caliper body. Notice it has metal, finger-like clips that are inserted into the caliper piston.

Place the new brake pad so the metal, finger-like clips are lined up with the piston. Press the pad until it is fully seated against the caliper.

Place the outer pad on the brake caliper and push it downward until the clip sits into the holes in the caliper's body.

Remove the caliper from the bungee strap and place the caliper over the brake pads.

Insert the caliper bolts and tighten them to 28 foot-pounds of torque with the torque wrench and a socket.

Repeat steps 5 through 16 for the brakes on the other side of the vehicle.

Place the front wheels on the Suburban and hand-tighten the lug nuts.

Remove the jack stands from under the vehicle and lower it to the ground slowly.

Tighten the lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds of torque with the torque wrench and a socket.

Pump up the brakes by pressing and releasing the brake pedal until it is firm.

Tips & Warnings

Please note this process is for 1989 Suburbans equipped with GM's Delco brake system.

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