2004 Chevrolet Avalanche Brake and Shock Replacement Photo Gallery
Edward A. Sanchez –
Nov 16, 2016
Photo 1/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Lead
Photo 2/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Fluid Removal | When replacing brake pads, compressing the brake pistons to their original position will displace fluid in the system. If the brake fluid has been topped off as the pads wore down, the reservoir could overflow. Remove some of the fluid with an automotive fluid syringe and set aside—or be prepared to clean up the fluid as it comes out of the reservoir.
Photo 3/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Pumpkin | The easiest way to raise the rear axle is to put the jack underneath the rear differential “pumpkin.” Be sure the jack is not putting pressure on the sway bar, if equipped. Also make sure the wheels of the axle you’re not working on are blocked to prevent rollaway. Support the vehicle with jackstands on both sides of the frame.
Photo 4/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Caliper | With the rear wheel removed, use a C-clamp to compress the caliper slightly to ease removal. The Avalanche has 12mm caliper bolts. A pivot-head ratchet comes in handy for this step, if you have one.
Photo 5/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Secure Caliper | Remove the caliper. Make sure you don’t let it hang by the brake line. Secure it with a bent coat hanger, or set it on a convenient surface that won’t put tension on the brake line.
Photo 6/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Guide Shims | The old pads should be easy to remove at this point. It’s recommended that you replace the old guide shims with new ones, which came with our kit.
Photo 7/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 007 | Since we’re replacing the rotor, we’re removing the caliper mounting bracket as well. These bolts may be tight. Once the bracket is removed, the rotor should come off relatively easily.
Photo 8/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 008 | Once we pulled the rotor off, we discovered the adhesive for the friction material on the horseshoe one-piece parking brake had deteriorated, and the shoe material was coming loose. It was a good thing we thought ahead and got replacement shoes from RockAuto.
Photo 9/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 009 | The one-piece parking brake shoe can be tricky to remove with the lug hub in place. Remove the retaining clip with an 8mm socket. You should be able to take it off without removing the lug hub after a few attempts.
Photo 10/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 010 | Before installing the new parking brake shoes, it’s a good idea to lubricate the adjustment screw, especially on an older, high-mileage vehicle. Be sure to use an appropriate lubricant that’s heat- and water-resistant and recommended for use with braking components.
Photo 11/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 011 | Finesse the new shoe assembly around the lug hub and set into place. Replace the retaining clip and use a flathead screwdriver to set the tension on the parking brake. You may have to go back and fine-tune the tension, so don’t put the caliper and bracket back on until you’re happy with the pedal feel.
Photo 12/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 012 | Many new rotors ship with an anti-corrosion coating. Clean the braking surfaces off with a brake cleaner and rag to remove any residue. This will prevent pad glazing from the residue.
Photo 13/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 013 | Before you reinstall the caliper bracket, it’s a good idea to add a little more grease to the caliper pins. Insufficiently lubricated caliper pins can cause uneven pad wear between the inner and outer pads. Clean off caked-on residue with a wire brush before applying new grease.
Photo 14/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 014 | Prep the caliper bracket bolts with Loctite Threadlocker Blue 242 or a similar product to secure the bolts. The caliper bracket bolts for the Avalanche have a torque specification of 148 ft-lb. Be sure to put the new guide shims on the caliper before installing the new pads.
Photo 15/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 015 | The caliper pistons will probably need to be compressed further. One easy method of compressing them is using one of the old brake pads as a flat surface and using a C-clamp to apply pressure. Make sure the new pads are installed correctly, with the wear indicator clip in the specified location. In our case, it’s the top edge of the outer pad.
Photo 16/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 016 | Our replacement pad and rotor kit also came with a new top anti-vibration clip. Check to make sure there’s no fluid leakage from around the caliper pistons. Double-check that the brake line is correctly routed before securing the caliper. The caliper bolts have a torque spec of 31 ft-lb. Check torque specs for your specific model.
Photo 17/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 017 | Moving to the front, we’re also going to take care of the leaking halfshaft boot we mentioned earlier. We have to loosen the center nut in the front hubs. Place an old screwdriver in one of the rotor vents against the caliper to keep the rotor and hub from spinning when loosening the axle shaft nut.
Photo 18/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 018 | Unscrew the six bolts attaching the halfshaft to the front axle. Finish loosening the center halfshaft nut from the wheel hub and remove the old halfshaft.
Photo 19/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 019 | Coat the splines of the new halfshaft with anti-seize compound to help ease installation. Grab the inner flange of the halfshaft to center it on the axle and push the splined end through the wheel hub. Make sure the flange is correctly centered and the bolt holes are aligned.
Photo 20/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Brake Rotor Vents | Put an old screwdriver in the brake rotor vents to prevent the front rotating assembly from spinning when tightening the hub nut. Tighten the inner flange screws to 58 ft-lb.
Photo 21/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement | While we have the wheel off, now’s a good time to replace the shocks. If you are replacing and discarding the front shocks, you can put a vise grip on the shaft. Do not do this if you plan on using the shocks again, as it can compromise the seal between the shaft and shock body. Loosen the top of the shock with a gear wrench.
Photo 22/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Lower Shock | Loosen the lower shock mount and remove the old shock. Hold the bolt with a wrench and loosen the nut with an impact wrench or ratchet. Be sure to retain the lower hardware, as it is typically not included with new shocks.
Photo 23/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Flexible Dust Boot | The new Rancho 5000S X shocks came with a flexible dust boot and zip ties to secure the base of the boot. Tighten the top nut until the bushing is compressed to the same diameter as the washer.
Photo 24/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 024 | The rear shocks have an upper and lower eye mount. For gas-charged shocks, it’s easier to let the suspension fully extend to ease installation. Conventional shocks like these Ranchos can usually be compressed by hand to align the mounting points. Torque specs for the Avalanche are 70 ft-lb. You’ll get a more accurate torque reading by torquing the nut rather than the bolt.
Photo 25/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 025 | The disassembly of the front brakes is fairly similar to the rear, with the exception of no inner parking brake drum and shoe. The wear on our front pads was even but significant. It was definitely time for new pads.
Photo 26/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 026 | The front caliper and caliper bracket came off much the same way the rears did. The front rotors still had the factory retaining clips and the original GM casting numbers on the inside, meaning they were most likely the original rotors—even after 163,000 miles! It appears the Avalanche lived a pretty easy life comprised of a lot of freeway driving.
Photo 27/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 027 | Clean the friction surfaces of the front rotor with brake cleaner to remove any residual anti-corrosion coating. Like the rear, we inspected the caliper pins to make sure they had enough grease and replaced the caliper shims. The torque specs on the front caliper bracket bolts are 129 ft-lb. We applied a small amount of blue Loctite to the bolts before tightening.
Photo 28/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement 028 | The front brake pads differ from the rear with wear indicators on both the inner and outer pads. The inner pad has one wear indicator, and the outer pad has two.
Photo 29/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Fluid Leakage | The caliper had some grease on it from the leaking CV boot. However, if it appears there’s any significant fluid leakage on your caliper apart from an external source, you may need to get a new or rebuilt caliper.
Photo 30/30 | Avalanche Shocks Replacement Test Drive | With significant wear on the pads, the caliper pistons needed to be compressed into the caliper. As noted earlier, keep an eye on the brake fluid level at the reservoir. Promptly clean up any brake fluid that may have overflowed, as it can damage painted surfaces. After everything is reinstalled, take the vehicle for a test drive to make sure there are no unusual noises or vibrations. To properly “bed in” brake pads, it’s recommended you make a series of firm stops from approximately 40 mph. Be aware of traffic and pedestrians.