2004 rear brake pad installation - backwards? | Ford Explorer Forums - Serious Explorations

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2004 rear brake pad installation - backwards?


New Member
May 17, 2010
Reaction score
City, State
Fairfax, VA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2004 XLT
Hi all,

This past weekend I replaced the brakes on all 4 wheels of my '04 XLT. I put on EBC Green Stuff pads, with EBC rotors in the front and Brembo in the back. No real problems, although it did take some convincing to free the rear rotors from the hubs.

When I installed the rear pads, I didn't notice at the time that the pads are not symmetrical. One end of the rear pads has 2 little "ears" that fit around the caliper bracket, while the other end has only one, allowing the caliper to swing free from the knuckle. After I was all done and was picking up the old pads, I realized the difference -- and, of course, realized that I had installed the new pads "backwards". The original pads swung free from the bottom (2 ears on top, 1 ear on the bottom), while I installed the new ones 1 ear on the top, 2 on the bottom.

It's not like the pads can really go anyplace, since they're held in place by the caliper bracket, but is there any reason I should be concerned about this? The rear pads are squealing like crazy right now, even though I used CRC anti-squeal compound on the backs, but I'm assuming that's just part of the break-in, and a lot of people have reported it for EBC pads.


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It's your brakes, man. Go back and do it right......

seriously? You've already answered your own question. You did something wrong - you know it and you're having problems. Go back and do it right or pay someone to fix your mistake.

Anyone know where there is a picture of the 4 pads anywhere handy?

I Just did my rotors and pads F & B and I'm wondering what we are talking about here, (didn't save old ones).


Edit: Mine is an 03 XLT

Funny guy.

Actually the brakes appear to be working just fine, and as of today no longer squeal. There's a photo of the rear pads here, and a diagram of the pads here. It certainly appears that the only purpose of the one missing "ear" is to allow the caliper assembly to swing away from the knuckle when one caliper mounting bolt is removed.

Obviously I understand the general principle that they should be mounted the same way they were before. What I was wondering was if anyone knew a specific reason why they were originally mounted to swing free from the bottom instead of the top. Frankly I'd expect that the natural braking torque would tend to rotate the calipers away at the bottom, so that having the 2 "ears" on the bottom would be better in the event of a loose mounting bolt. However, this diagram clearly shows the 2-eared side at the top, so I guess I'll swap them around. Still wondering why, though.


At least you knew it was wrong, LOL...

I made the cardinal sin of taking both sides apart, chucking all the parts into a box, and then wondering how to put it back together. (I was preoccupied with getting to the wheel hubs and bearings, which were the real problem).

Haynes manual didn't seem to show this in the pics.

Good times...


I see it now. I think it is so that one side swings in on the top and the other on the bottom, not a mirror image but something on those grounds.

I can see your point though. It's not right mixing them but realistically shouldn't make any difference once installed. Seems it would only make it harder to to install the caliper onto the bracket, probably a bit more force than normal or just getting lucky so that it will go into place.

My rear left squeaked on at stop from about 5 to 2 MPH. I squirted a "small amount" of Liquid Wrench on the rotor 4 days ago and it hasn't Squeaked as of yet. I think it helped the pads break in quite well. My pads were installed correctly also.


Edit: 2 ears up one side, two ears down the other. if I remember correctly

i don't think it matters, when i pulled my heep brakes they had one side one way and the other was opposite way, for over 40k miles, never even noticed till i was replacing the pads.

I'd like to hear a definitive answer on it too. . .till then i don't think it really matters so long as everything else is correct. . .