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Change Front Brake Pads, Rotors on Volvo XC90

Project: Change Front Brake Pads & Rotors

“So I am going to replace the pads/rotors on my XC90, I am pretty excited that they are original and I have 56K on the car. With that success rate I am REALLY leaning towards full OEM this go around, I usually buy from FCP and IPD and found something interesting, FCP seems to sell OEM pads and aftermarket rotors, and IPD sells OEM rotors and aftermarket pads.

XC90 Rotor Front Brake Pads Change-Install Instructions
Rotor, dust shield on an XC90

So I am wondering what you all think and if the aftermarket on each of those sites are actually made by the OEM supplier, is this Volvo‘s way of controlling inventory, only offering parts for a job to be sourced from multiple stores?

Also does anyont have experience with the MOTIVE brake bleeder, and which brake fluid do you recommend?

BTW, for those of you who are going to read this because you are going to do this job and don’t know if you have 316MM or 336MM, you can read the part number on the rotor if it lined up right without removing the wheel. It is stamped on the outside of the rotor (if the rotor was a top hat and and laying flat it would be written around the had not on the “brim” if that makes sense”). 30657301=336mm and 30736406=316mm. Mine happen to be 336, yeah those cost more…

So I got all my supplies and will do the job next week. Does anyone have the PDF procedure for front brakes. It looks pretty straight forward, I pulled the wheels of last week and nothing looked new, but I have learned that you never know until you do it…”

XC90 Brakes Procedure

First off – let me say that I am an amateur (at best) mechanic, and I claim no responsibility for whatever you do to your car. This is simply what I did and hope that it will help you if you are new to the repairs.

Required Tools

  • jack and jack stands
  • lug wrench
  • a couple flat head screwdrivers -7mm hex tool (got mine at IPD)
  • 18mm socket and a LONG ratchet or breaker bar
  • 10mm socket
  • PB Blaster or something like it -Brake Cleaner

The Steps for DIY XC90 Brakes

1 – Obviously the first step is to get the wheels off, block your back tires or do whatever you do for safety, loosen the lug nuts while the wheels are down, jack the front up and set the jack stands. Get the lug nuts off and remove the wheels.

2 – Remove the retaining spring with a flat head screwdriver, be careful not to dam- age it. I used two flat heads in the upper and lower arrows the first time. Doing this broke the bracket off back of the old pad. Once I reassembled I realized what worked best was to put one flat head in the top or bottom and put a second where the middle arrow is. This is zoomed in in the second picture. Put the screwdriver in there and turn in to separate the spring from the pad bracket.

3 – On the back of the caliper pop the cap off the 7mm hex dust covers. The top is harder to get to it’s just above the bleeder screw. Remove the hex screws. They are different lengths so remember which is top and bottom.

4 – This part was a bit tough, the Volvo instructions just say “remove caliper” but the way it was designed I couldn’t get it off without REALLY pulling the caliper hard towards me to depress the piston a bit, then it came off. Remember to open the reser- voir cap to allow the piston to retract.

If you are just changing the pads and don’t need to turn or replace rotor you are done here. Just reinsert the new pads, after you great the backs, and re-assemble in revers order.


5 – Remove the caliper brackets using a breaker bar and an 18mm socket, this takes a good amount of pressure.

6 – Remove the rotor bolt with a 10mm socket. This picture is out of sequence. I forgot to take a picture of this part.

7 – Once the bracket is off you “just” pull the rotor off. If you haven’t done this before it sounds easy enough, but after ap- parently 5 years on one set of rotors, these were very well rusted to the hub. After spraying both wheels with PB blaster and letting sit for 10 minutes, beat the rotor HARD with a hammer at about the 2 or 3 o’clock position. 5-6 good hits and it will pop off.

8 – Spray all the rusted areas with PB blast- er and use a wire brush to clean up the hub as much as possible.

9 – Place the new rotor on the hub and use the 10mm bolt to hold it in place.

10 – Reinstall in reverse order.

A note, my usual caliper pressing wrench did not work well because of the caliper design. I had to use a wedge on the bottom (caliper upside down) of the pad to keep the pad in place and fully depress the piston.

Volvo XC90 Front Brake Job

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1 Comment

Chris merritt says:

Had my front brake pads and master cylinder replaced on 2004 xc 90 and they are super spongy . Do they need to be bled ? Will that throw off abs ?

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