How to Install Brake Pads on a 1997 LeSabre

by Tim Petruccio

    A 3.8-liter, OHV V-6 engine, anti-lock brakes, and front disc-brakes all came as standard equipment on the 1997 Buick LeSabre. Its engine produced 205 horsepower and 250 foot-pounds of torque, and the car came in both Custom and Limited trim levels. Both packages had four struts and a sway bar. You should inspect the brakes at least once a year, including the front brake pad linings and rotors, and the rear drums, shoes and hardware.

    Items you will need

    • Small bottle siphon or turkey baster
    • Jack
    • 2 jack stands
    • Small pry bar
    • Flat-head screwdriver
    • 3/8-inch-drive ratchet
    • 3/8-inch-drive socket set
    • Metal clothes hanger or metal rod
    • Large C-clamp
    • Tube of caliper grease
    • Foot-pounds torque wrench
    Step 1

    Loosen the lug nuts on the front wheels, using a tire iron. Raise the front of the car with a jack, and set jack stands beneath both front subframe rails, on either side of the engine. Lower the car onto the jack stands. Remove the front wheel lug nuts, then remove the front wheels from the car.

    Step 2

    Insert a pry bar against the rear of the spindle, and the rear of the brake caliper. Pry the caliper slightly outward to release the grip between the pads and the rotor. Do not compress the caliper completely at this point, or you could damage the ABS brake system.

    Step 3

    Remove the caliper mounting bolts, using a 3/8-inch-drive ratchet and socket. Remove the caliper from the rotor, and hang the caliper from the front strut coil spring, using a metal clothes hanger. Do not let the caliper hang freely by the attached brake hose.

    Step 4

    Spray the bleeder screw on the caliper with aerosol penetrating oil. Allow the penetrant to set for at least five minutes. Insert a flat-head screwdriver between the caliper body and the outboard brake pad mounting tabs. Pry each tab free from the caliper, and remove the outboard brake pad. Push the caliper slide tubes out of the rubber boots on the caliper. Thoroughly lubricate the slide tubes with caliper grease. Install the tubes back into the rubber boots on the caliper.

    Step 5

    Install a large C-clamp around the inboard side of the caliper body, and set the screw end against the inboard brake pad. Open the brake bleeder screw with a six-point, box-end wrench. Tighten the C-clamp against the inboard brake pad until the caliper piston is completely retracted. Tighten the brake bleeder screw snug before you release the C-clamp. Remove the clamp, then pry the inboard brake pad free of the caliper.

    Step 6

    Visually inspect the brake rotor for pitting or scoring. If the rotor is severely pitted or scored, replace the rotor. Place a tape measure across the upper edge of the rotor and measure the thickness of the brake rotor. If the measurement of the rotor is less than 1 1/3-inches, replace the rotor.

    Step 7

    Install the new inboard brake pad onto the caliper, and press the three mounting prongs into the caliper piston bore. Install the outboard brake pad onto the caliper, using the flat-head screwdriver to assist with the mounting tabs, if needed. Apply a thin layer of caliper grease to the outboard brake pad backing plate. Install the caliper mounting bolts and tighten them to 38 foot-pounds of torque, using a foot-pounds torque wrench and socket.

    Step 8

    Repeat steps 3 through 8 to complete the brake pad replacement on the other side of the LeSabre. Install the front wheels on the car. Tighten the wheel nuts snug with a tire iron. Raise the car off of the jack stands, then remove the stands from beneath the car. Lower the LeSabre to the ground.

    Step 9

    Tighten the front wheel lug nuts to 100 foot-pounds, with the torque wrench and a wheel nut socket. Pump the brake pedal with shallow pumps until the pedal feels firm.

    Step 10

    Check the level in the brake fluid reservoir, and top off the brake fluid if needed.