Brake rotor change on Honda Accord 94 & later

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When my daughter's 97 Accord developed warped front brake rotors, I volunteered to replace them for her and put on new brake pads at the same time.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that changing these rotors was a lot more complicated than it had been on my other daughter's 90 Accord (and most other cars I had worked on). Rather than merely having to remove a couple of retaining screws and slide the rotor off the hub, I found I had to remove the hub from the wheel bearing bracket that connects to the upper and lower A-arms, and then remove the four bolts connecting the rotor to the bracket from the inside. This involved disconnecting the lower ball joint from the bracket as well as removing the big nut at the end of the axle. Oh, and separating the rotor from the bearing required some serious work with a big brass mallet.

This job requires more tools than the typical home mechanic may have. To remove the axle nut, I needed a 36 mm socket, not part of my kit. I also found that I was not able to persuade one of the nuts to loosen, even using a 28" breaker bar with a four-foot pipe as a come-along (broke the breaker bar, instead). I had to beg a neighborhood brake shop owner to loosen it using his air-powered impact wrench, which took him 1.8 seconds.

Disconnecting the ball joint requires a special puller with a leadscrew, a fussy job at best, or using something the front-end guys call a "pickle fork," which separates the joint with the whack of a hammer. Reconnecting the ball joint is a matter of torquing down the nut and installing a new cotter pin.

To reinstall the axle nut, a torque wrench capable of 188 ft-lbs is required, which I happened to have, left over from having once replaced some CV joints. By the book, a new nut should be used, but I noticed that when properly tightened, the old nuts lined up exactly where the stake marks were from the original installation.

Some observations:

The front pads are still an easy job to replace.

The rear rotors are simple to change, just like the front ones were in earlier model Accords.

I was able to borrow the big socket and the puller from AutoZone, where I bought the brake parts.

I suspect that knowing in advance what you are getting into makes the job a lot less frustrating.

My regards to all who take on this job in the shade of the old oak tree.

posted by  gravistar

I applaud you in your endeavor in changing the rotors on your daughter’s 97 Accord. I was just informed my own 97 Accord LX needed new rotors and the dealer quoted $500! A few calls placed around town turned up estimates of $260, $350, and $420 (not firm because they would have to see the car first).

To your credit, though, yours is also one of the few posts I’ve found that has a happy ending. I’ve had the pleasure of changing the driver side half drive shaft and STILL hesitate at changing the rotors. A $500 repair bill is good incentive though.

Thank you for the post and I’ll try to post again with the final outcome. I’m thinking of finding a brake shop that’ll take the A-frame assemblies with rotor and hub, replace the rotor, and give it back to me for a decent price.

posted by  Larry777

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