How to Replace the Brake Rotor on a 2001 Chevy Astro

Written by tim petruccio
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How to Replace the Brake Rotor on a 2001 Chevy Astro
The brake rotor on the 2001 Chevrolet Astro is held in place by the caliper and caliper mounting bracket. (disque de frein image by Christophe Fouquin from Fotolia.com)

The Chevrolet Astro was introduced in 1985 and continued until the 2005 model year. The 2001 Chevrolet Astro was produced with a 4.3-litre, V-6 engine, capable of making 190 horsepower and 225 foot-pounds of torque. The 2001 Astro was available in two-wheel and all-wheel drive formats. The brake system on the 2001 Astro included anti-lock brake control, front disc brakes and rear drum brakes. The front disc brakes use the caliper to squeeze the pads onto the rotors. This squeezing motion creates the friction to stop the Astro.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket
  • 3/8-inch drive Allen drive or hex-head drive set
  • Small pry bar or large flathead screwdriver
  • 2-ton or greater capacity jack
  • 2 jack stands
  • 2 wheel chocks
  • Certified torque wrench
  • Tire iron
  • Tub of caliper grease (must say "safe for use on disc brakes")
  • 9-inch or larger width C-clamp

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheel of the Astro, on the side on which you are replacing the rotor. Set wheel chocks behind the rear two wheels of the Astro. Lift the front of the Astro using a floor jack with 2-ton or greater capacity. Place a jack stand beneath the lower control arm on the side you are working. Remove the lug nuts completely from the wheel, then remove the wheel and tire assembly from the Astro.

  2. 2

    Remove the caliper mounting bolts from the backside of the caliper, using a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and 3/8-inch drive Allen bit. The caliper bolts on the 2001 Astro have a recessed divot in the head that accepts only an Allen key or hex-head bit. Turn the bolts counterclockwise until you can remove them by hand from the brake assembly.

  3. 3

    Remove the caliper by placing a pry bar or large flathead screwdriver between the caliper and the rotor. Pry the caliper off the rotor until it comes completely free of the assembly. Place the removed caliper behind the brake assembly, onto the lower control arm. Do not let the caliper hang freely or you could damage the rubber hose between the caliper and the frame of the Astro.

  4. 4

    Remove the caliper bracket mounting bolts, located behind the rotor, on the rear of the steering knuckle. Use a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Remove the caliper bracket completely from the vehicle. Slide the rotor off the wheel hub by hand.

  5. 5

    Lubricate the outside of the wheel hub using disc brake-certified caliper lube. Install the new rotor onto the wheel hub. Install one wheel lug nut by hand and snug it to the face of the rotor, in order to hold the rotor in place for the rest of the installation process.

  6. 6

    Reinstall the caliper mounting bracket on the steering knuckle. Start the mounting bracket bolts in by hand, then tighten the bolts using a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and socket. Pull the old brake pads out of the mounting bracket if you have not done so already. Lubricate the areas of the caliper bracket with which the pads come into contact. If you have a question what parts to lubricate, set a brake pad next to the caliper bracket. Visually inspect where the pad would touch the bracket and lubricate that area with a light film of grease.

  7. 7

    Install the brake pads onto the caliper mounting bracket and press them inward on both sides, so that they rest against the rotor. Lubricate the backing plate or shim plate on the backside of both pads, using caliper grease. Lubricating the back of the pads will collect excess brake dust so that the brakes do not squeak after installation.

  8. 8

    Reinstall the caliper over the brakes pads and rotor. Thoroughly lubricate the caliper mounting bolts to ensure that the caliper can slide open and closed more easily. The caliper brackets on the 2001 Astro are also the slide pins on which the caliper moves in and out, when it is compressed and expanded. Install the caliper bolts once they are lubricated and tighten them with a 3/8-inch drive ratchet and 3/8-inch drive Allen bit. Remove the lug nut from the face of the rotor and remove it from the vehicle completely.

  9. 9

    Reinstall the front wheel onto the Astro and start the wheel nuts by hand to ensure proper alignment. Snug the lug nuts using a tire iron. Raise the front of the Astro with a jack and remove the jack stand from beneath the van. Lower the Astro and tighten the lug nuts between 90 and 110 foot-pounds, using a certified torque wrench and wheel nut socket.

  10. 10

    Enter the driver's side of the Astro before proceeding any further and pump the brake pedal no less than 10 times. This will reset the brake pads to the proper position and alignment with the brake rotor. Failure to perform this step could cause initial brake failure and possibly an accident, as you will have no brakes if you do not pump them first.

Tips and warnings

  • When replacing brake rotors, do so in pairs. Replacing both rotors simultaneously will ensure a proper balance in the front brake system of the Astro.
  • When replacing brake rotors on any vehicle, it is always a good idea to replace the brake pads as well. New rotors can wear out old brake pads, whereas all new brake pads would stand up better against new brake rotors.
  • Never lift a vehicle on uneven ground or a slope. Raising a vehicle on uneven ground or a slope can cause jacks and jack stands to collapse. Failure to adhere to this warning could cause vehicle damage, personal injury or death if the vehicle collapses onto you.

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