How to Change Front Rotors on Ford F350 4×4?

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Changing the front rotors on a Ford F350 4×4 can be an intimidating task for a do-it-yourself mechanic. However, with the right tools, materials, and safety precautions, it is a manageable job that can save you money compared to paying a professional mechanic. This comprehensive guide will walk through the complete process of changing the front rotors on a Ford F350 4×4 step-by-step.

How to Change Front Rotors on Ford F350 4x4?

What are the Benefits of Changing Brake Rotors?

Before jumping into the process, it’s helpful to understand why you may need or want to change your brake rotors in the first place. There are a few key reasons that new rotors are necessary:

  • Worn brake pads. As brake pads wear down from friction, they transfer material onto the rotors. This can cause grooves, glazing, and uneven wear on the rotor surface. New rotors are required to pair with new brake pads.
  • Warping. Extreme heat from heavy braking can cause rotors to warp. This leads to pulsing in the brake pedal. Replacing warped rotors is the only remedy.
  • Thinness. Rotors wear down gradually over time and can become too thin. Minimum thickness specifications vary, but often range from 0.90″ to 1.18″. Thin rotors can crack under braking force.
  • Surface rust. Rotors can develop light surface rust if a vehicle sits unused. This rust should be removed with sandpaper or resurfacing for proper braking function.

The benefits of installing new quality rotors include: restored braking power, reduced brake fade, elimination of pedal pulsation, and peace of mind from having thick rotors within specifications. Overall, timely rotor replacements are crucial for safe braking.

What You’ll Need for This Brake Job

Before starting the rotor replacement, you’ll need to gather the proper tools and supplies. Here’s an overview:


  • Floor jack and jack stands – Safely lift and support the front of the truck
  • Lug wrench – For removing lug nuts
  • Socket set and ratchet – For caliper and bracket bolts
  • C-clamp – For compressing caliper piston
  • Brake cleaner – Removing grease from hub
  • Torque wrench – Tightening lug nuts
  • Gloves and eye protection – For safety

Parts and Supplies

  • Replacement rotors – Match OEM diameter, thickness, slots/holes
  • Brake pads – Recommended to replace along with rotors
  • Wheel bearing grease – For hub when re-assembling
  • Shop rags – For cleaning components
  • Penetrating fluid (optional) – For stuck bolts
  • Anti-seize compound (optional) – For bolts/wheel studs

With the necessary tools and parts in hand, you’re ready to tackle the rotor replacement. Always use extreme caution when working under a lifted vehicle. Safety is paramount.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Follow these steps to safely change the front rotors on a Ford F350 Super Duty 4×4:

1. Lift and Support Vehicle

  • Park truck on level ground and apply parking brake
  • Loosen lug nuts on both front wheels with lug wrench (do not remove yet)
  • Position floor jack under front center of truck and lift both front tires slightly off the ground
  • Place jack stands under frame rails, just behind the front wheels
  • Slowly lower truck onto jack stands, ensuring it’s stable
  • Remove lug nuts and pull both front wheels/tires off

2. Remove Calipers

  • Locate the caliper bolts on the backside of the rotor
  • Remove bolts with socket set (may need penetrating fluid if stubborn)
  • Slide caliper off rotor and secure to side, do not hang by brake line!
  • Inspect caliper slider pins for smooth movement, replace if sticking
  • Repeat caliper removal on both driver and passenger sides

3. Compress Pistons and Remove Rotors

  • With caliper removed, spray brake cleaner on caliper pistons
  • Position C-clamp over piston and compress it into caliper bore
  • Check owner’s manual for proper amount of piston compression
  • With pistons compressed, rotors should now slide off the hub assemblies
  • Take note of rotor thickness and compare to specifications
  • Thoroughly clean hub assembly surface with brake cleaner, use shop rags

4. Install New Rotors

  • Always refer to owner’s manual for proper direction of rotor installation
  • Most F350 rotors are “directional” and must be installed correctly
  • Rotors may have an arrow etched on them indicating proper orientation
  • Ensure proper alignment with hub dowel pin
  • Slide new rotor fully onto hub assembly until flush
  • Repeat rotor installation on both driver and passenger sides

5. Remount Calipers

  • Apply a thin layer of brake pad lubricant to caliper contact points
  • Slide caliper back into place over rotor
  • Insert caliper bolts and tighten to OEM torque specs
  • Ensure caliper is centered over rotor as bolts are tightened
  • Attach brake line and flexible hose to caliper (if removed)
  • Repeat caliper mount procedure on driver and passenger sides

6. Reinstall Wheels and Final Steps

  • Give hub surface and studs a thin coating of wheel bearing grease
  • Mount front wheels and hand tighten lug nuts
  • Slowly lower truck fully to the ground with floor jack
  • Use torque wrench to final tighten lug nuts to OEM specs
  • Pump brake pedal repeatedly until firm pressure is achieved
  • Give brakes a test on a low-speed road before high-speed driving

And that covers the complete process for changing the front rotors on a Ford F350 Super Duty 4×4! While may seem complicated at first glance, taking your time and following each step carefully will ensure success. Always refer to your owner’s manual for specific torque values, fluid types, and orientation instructions. With practice, you’ll gain confidence doing your own brake service and save significant money in repair costs.

Helpful Maintenance Tips

Beyond just replacing worn brake rotors, there are some additional maintenance tips to consider for optimal brake system health:

  • Inspect rotors at every pad change or at least once a year. Check minimum thickness specs.
  • Lubricate caliper slider pins, brackets, and pad abutments using high temperature brake lubricant. This allows pads to float freely.
  • Examine brake fluid level and condition. Fluid should be clear, full, and changed every 2-3 years as it absorbs moisture over time.
  • Check brake lines and hoses for cracking or leaks. Rubber hoses should be supple, not cracked. Lines should be free of rust.
  • Adjust parking brake regularly to account for pad and rotor wear. A parking brake that engages too far down is a safety hazard.
  • Learn the warning signs of impending brake problems through sounds, pedal feel, and vehicle handling. Address any issues immediately for safety.

FAQs – Common Brake Rotor Replacement Questions

Changing brake rotors inevitably raises some questions for first-time DIY mechanics. Here are answers to a few of the most frequently asked questions:

Do I need to bleed the brakes when changing rotors?

Bleeding is not necessary if you don’t disconnect any brake lines. Always check fluid level in reservoir after changing rotors. Top off if needed.

Should I replace pads and rotors at the same time?

Yes, it’s highly recommended to change pads and rotors simultaneously. Worn pads transfer material onto new rotors. Replacing both components helps ensure proper break-in.

What torque specification should I use for lug nuts?

Torque specs vary by F350 model year. Always refer to owner’s manual. Use a calibrated torque wrench to properly tighten lug nuts.

Can I just resurface my rotors instead of replacing them?

Sometimes, but thickness limitations apply. Rotors must be above minimum spec – usually 0.90″ to 1.18″. Resurfacing also removes protective coating.

Is it safe to drive with a bad rotor?

No. Rotors that are excessively worn, warped, or cracked are unsafe and should be replaced immediately. Damaged rotors can lead to brake failure.


While intimidating at first, changing the front brake rotors on a Ford F350 4×4 simply takes time, patience, and adherence to the proper steps. This detailed walkthrough explains the complete process with tips for success. Pay close attention to safety precautions including proper jacking, lug nut torque, and caliper handling. With practice, brake rotor replacement can become a regular maintenance item for any home mechanic willing to learn. Not only does it save significant labor costs, it also provides peace of mind knowing the job was done right. Maintain your F350 stopping power by staying on top of routine brake system service.

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