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How to Repair the Front Brakes on a 1989 Nissan Maxima

Repairing the brakes on your 1989 Nissan Maxima is a challenging task. Even if you have never worked on a car before, it is possible to change the brakes on you own. The 1989 Nissan Maxima comes with disc brakes on the front, as opposed to drum brakes. This makes the job much more simple to complete.

Tools Used: 3/8-Inch drive socket set and ratchet, Set of front brake pads, 2 Front brake rotors, C-clamp of 9 inches or larger width, Vehicle lifting jack, Tire iron, 2 jack stands, Wheel chocks, Cup or canister, Tube or bucket of caliper grease, Torque wrench, Medium size pliers, Coat hanger or bungee cord

Repair the Front Brakes

Set the parking brake by lifting the handle located next to your shift lever. Place the wheel chock behind a rear tire of the car, to prevent the car from rolling backwards. Loosen the lug nuts slightly (3/4 turn) while the wheels are still on the ground. Do not remove the lug nuts completely.

Raise the front of the Maxima until the front wheels are off the ground, and support the car on jack stands. Remove both front wheels. This will allow you to always have a visual reference of a complete brake assembly. Work on one side of the car at a time.

The caliper is the top piece that covers the brake pads. Locate and remove the two mounting bolts with a ratchet and socket. Using pliers, remove the caliper slide pins from their housings. Remove the caliper, being careful not to twist the brake line that is attached to it.

Remove the brake pads at this time, and set one old pad on the rear inside of the caliper, facing outward.

Use your C-clamp and the old pad to compress the piston into the caliper. Place the C-clamp end on the rear side of the caliper, while the screw-in end rests against the old pad. Tighten the C-clamp on the caliper until the piston is fully retracted and flush with the caliper.

Set the caliper down on the lower control arm, behind the brake rotor, or hang it from a suspension part with a coat hanger or bungee cord. Do not let the caliper hang freely, or you may damage the attached brake line.

Remove the caliper bracket bolts. They are behind the bracket which held the caliper on.

Remove the rotor from the wheel hub. If the hub is rusty, you may need to use penetrating oil and/or a few blows with a hammer to work it loose.

Use the brake cleaner to thoroughly spray the entire surface of the new rotor, front and back. This removes the oil coating from the manufacturer. Place the new rotor onto the wheel hub.

Use the caliper grease to coat the threads of your caliper bracket bolts. Reinstall the bracket. Tighten the caliper bracket bolts to 80 ft.-lbs., using the torque wrench.

Set the new brake pads in their place, on either side of the brake rotor. Use the grease to sparingly lubricate the back sides of the pads (sides facing away from the rotor with metal shim surface). Do not allow grease to touch the front, or contact surface, of the pads. Replace any shims or clips that came off with the old pads.

Place the caliper back over the new pads and rotor. Lubricate the caliper bolts and caliper slide pins sparingly with grease before re-installing them. Make sure that the caliper slide pins mount correctly into place. You should feel a snap when the metal and the rubber boot are completely seated. Tighten the caliper bolts to 60 ft.-lbs.

Spray the brake rotor lightly with the brake cleaner again. This will remove the grease and dirt from the installation process off the rotors.

Repeat the procedure for the other side. Re-install the wheels, and torque the lug nuts to 90 ft.-lbs.

Lower the vehicle, and sit in the driver's seat. Pump the brake pedal until it gives you a solid feel again.

Tips & Warnings

Driving safely, and reducing your sudden stops, will reduce the wear on your brakes.

Brake smoothly for at least the first 200 miles, in order to avoid warping the new rotors. Do not make sudden stops.

Make sure you pump the brake pedal up before attempting to drive the vehicle. Failure to do so can result in an accident.

Failure to remove the oil coating from the manufacturer on the rotors will cause the new rotors to warp.

Failure to grease the caliper bolts may cause the caliper not to work properly.

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