How to Replace a Caliper in a Saturn Ion

Replacing the brake calipers on a Saturn Ion is a bit more complex than some other models. There are extra steps you may have to take depending on the rear and front calipers. In addition, bleeding the brake system afterwards varies on whether or not you have anti-lock brakes.


Prepare Your Ion

  1. Siphon off fluid from the brake master cylinder until it is half full. Use a suction-tube device like a turkey baster.
  2. Release the parking brake lever boot from the floor console by lightly pressing inward on the boot retainer sides and pulling the boot back.
  3. Loosen the tension from the parking brake cables. While the brake lever releases, loosen the adjusting nut to the end of the front cable's threaded rod. Use hand tools to do this.
  4. Take off the tire after securely raising the car on a jack stand. Use the lug nuts on the studs to keep the rotor onto the hub.
  5. Remove the Caliper
  6. Release the end of the parking brake cable from the lever on the caliper. Release the retaining tabs that secure the cable to the bracket on the caliper. This is only needed for removing a rear caliper.
  7. Compress the caliper piston with a C-clamp so the caliper can be removed. Position the clamp ends against the caliper body rear and the outboard pad to do this.
  8. Disconnect the fitting bolt attaching the brake hose to the caliper. Plug the holes with rubber to prevent losing more fluid or contaminating it.
  9. Remove the bolts from the caliper. It should now pivot upward away from the caliper bracket and slide off.

Install the Caliper

  1. Install the new caliper onto the bracket. Hold the guide pins in place while installing the pin bolts.
  2. Reconnect the parking brake components if replacing a rear caliper. Secure the retaining tabs by pressing the park brake cable end fitting into the caliper's bracket, then secure the cable end to the lever on the caliper.
  3. Unplug the brake hose and connect it to the caliper. Use new copper gaskets with the bolt connecting the hose and caliper.
  4. Bleed the brake system to remove air from it. Attach a hose to the open bleeder valve and place the other end in a container half-filled with fluid. Have another person press down on the brake pedal.
  5. Connect the wheel back on and lower the vehicle. Set the brake pads with the pedal, pressing it two-thirds of the way down and slowly releasing it every 15 seconds until it feels firm.
  6. Adjust the parking brake cable tension if you replaced a rear caliper. Position the lever boot to the floor console and then press the boot retainer into place to secure it.