Replacing Brake pads on a Jeep Cherokee (XJ)

Copyright 2004

*All things shown or advice given in this PDF is to give you ideas of what can be done. They may not be suited to your vehicle, or your level of skill or even legal in your State or country. I do not endorse any modification/repair shown on this site. You assume all responsibility for any modifications/repairs that you make to your vehicle, and must understand the consequences of each modification/repair you make. I cannot be held responsible for your interpretation of these articles, or your implementation of these modifications/repairs. Anyone who does not have the proper training or background in automotive work should not undertake any mechanical project without proper supervision and instruction. I accept no responsibility or liability for incorrect part numbers, torque values, or any other information. It is advised that any information presented should be verified with official or expert sources. It is up to you to make sure anything shown needs engineering approval or advice before using it. You are responsible for your own actions. *


These are the basic steps (detailed steps below the list):

1) Lift front axle and put on jack stands

2) Remove wheel

3) Slightly compress the piston with c-clamp

4) Remove the caliper bolts

5) Remove the caliper

6) Inspect the rotor and caliper

7) Remove outer pad

8) Push piston in the remaining distance while bleeding through bleed nipple

9) Remove inner pad

10) Clean brake caliper with brake cleaner

11) Grease parts or caliper that come in contact with brake pad backing plate

12) Install inner pad

13) Install outer pad

14) Refit caliper

15) Replace caliper bolts (torque to 30 ft-lbs)

16) Check that the pads are seated correctly, the bolts are torque down correctly, that the bleeder valve is fully closed, and that the fluid reservoir it topped up.

17) Install wheel (torque lug nuts to 90 ft-lbs)

18) Press brake pedal several times until it becomes hard

19) Bed in the pads


These are the basic tools you will need (air tools optional):

-Impact gun for lug nuts w/ 19mm socket

-torque wrench

-13mm Socket for brake caliper bolts (varies on some cherokee years)

-Brake pads of your choice (I am trying Akebono ProACT ceramic pads)

-Hydraulic/brake grease

You will also need some tools for bleeding:

-3/8" socket and wrench for bleed nipples (may vary as my calipers have been replaced.)

-Fluid receptacle and some hose


1) Start by lifting the front axle and setting it on jack stands

2) Remove the wheel. If you don't know how to do this I suggest you sell your Jeep and start walking.

3) Open the bleeder valve and attach the tube to the valve. Position the c-clamp on the back side of the caliper and on the outer pad. Compress it just a little bit to easily remove the caliper. Close bleed valve than remove the c-clamp.

Below I have highlighted some of the parts you will be working with. The pink is the dust shield on the bleeder valve. Most likely you don't have these as most people don't bother with them. The green is the bleeder valve, and the purple are the caliper bolts.

4) Remove the caliper bolts with the 13mm socket. They are highlighted in purple above.

5)Remove the caliper and place it on top of the rotor/knuckle

I have highlighted the caliper slide pin boot in red

6) Inspect the rotor and caliper for any damage (cracks, chips, etc). Also check to see is the slide pins move easily. You should be able to push them back and forth with minimum effort. If one is sticking, push it out of the boot, clean the slide pin with brake cleaner and the inside of the boot. Put some hydraulic grease inside of the boot and re insert the pin. It should now slide easily.

7) Remove outer pad. You will need to push the pad in toward the inner pad in order to unseat the locating pins on the backing plate. While pushing in, slide the pad off of the caliper.

8) With the bleed valve open and the tube in place on the valve, position c-clamp on the back of the caliper and the center of the inner pad. Begin to compress the piston in. When it stops moving, close the breeder valve, remove hose and than remove the c-clamp. This is done with the inner pad in place so the piston goes in evenly.

The reason I open the bleed valve is so I can bleed the brakes at the same time as I am changing the pads, and also to prevent dirty fluid from being forced back into the brake system.

9) Remove the inner brake pad

10) Clean the caliper with brake cleaner spray

11) Grease the part of the caliper that come in contact with the brake pads. On the inner side this will be the piston (highlighted in purple), and on the outer it will be the caliper.

12) Install the inner pad first, making sure the face doesn't come in contact with the grease on the outer pad mounting surface. The inner pad just snaps into the piston. The pads are different for each side of the Jeep. There is a cutout in the pad that goes at the bottom of the caliper.

13) Install the outer pad. It is just pushed on to the caliper. Make sure that the locating pins are in their holes on the caliper (pictured) and that there is no gap between the backing plate and the caliper.

14) Refit the caliper. The bottom of the caliper goes on first with the cut out seated on the lower rail. Both the inner and outer pad has this cutout. If the cutout on the pad is at the top of the caliper, you have the wrong pad on the wrong side. The Image below shows the proper mounting of the pads. There is still a gap at the top of the pad because the caliper isn't 100% in position.

15) Reinstall the caliper mounting bolts and torque them down to 30 ft-lbs

16) Check that the pads are seated correctly, the bolts are torque down correctly, that the bleeder valve is fully closed, and that the fluid reservoir is topped up.

17) Refit the wheel and torque the lug nuts down evenly in a crisscross patter to 80-100 ft-lbs

18) Press brake pedal several times until it becomes hard

19) Bed in the pads. The directions to do this should come with your pads, but if not use this procedure: Drive between 35-40 MPH. Apply light brake pedal to slow down to about 10 MPH. Repeat about 10 times, giving 20 seconds cool down period before braking again. Try to avoid any heavy braking for the first 200 miles.