How To: Replacing the Rear Brakes on Your ATV

Dec. 30, 2013 By Rick Sosebee
We started by jacking the rear of our machine and setting two jack stands under the axle. This will allow the axle to spin freely and gives us some support for the quad. We also lifted the front of the quad and positioned two more stands under the suspension for when we move to the front of the machine. As we spun the rear axle we found that the brake rotor had been bent, which caused the hideous screeching sound and premature wear of our brake pads.

Getting the best out of your ride is crucial, and keeping the ride in tiptop shape is even more beneficial when you ride hard. We took a look into the braking system on our sport quad and noticed a few things were going awry. The rear rotor seemed to have gained a wobble from some unsuspected root or rocky face, and it had worn out the pads prematurely on the machine. It was time for a change, and even though this requires moderate skill and attention we feel you too can do this kind of service to your machine at home with basic hand tools. We also wanted to add some protection to the rotating parts under the machine too keep away future problems.

When planning for a service to your quad, it’s ideal to start with a clean workspace and some jack stands to securely hold the machine in the air. This keeps you safe and gets the quad up in view for easier inspection. Here is a simple process we did to not only add protection to the swing arm and its components but to give new life to the stopping power of our TRX450R.

Starting on the left of the machine, we opted to install a sprocket guard to insure limited damage could occur to our chain or drive sprocket. We removed the left rear wheel and sat it aside. Our next task was to remove the four bolts holding on the rear sprocket and chain.

Once the bolts are removed from the rear sprocket we could then fit our new TCS Motorsports Sprocket Guard into its new home.

Adding the new longer bolts and supplied spacers the entire process may have taken about 30 minutes. This excellent TCS Motorsports Sprocket Guard is made from thick aluminum and will take a beating without quitting!

Our next goal was to get the TCS Motorsports “Shark Fin” into position on the bottom of our TRX450R swinger. Using the three supplied flange head bolts with some blue Loctite, the TCS “Shark Fin” would help us protect our rear rotor from trail damage and debris.

Although we made the change a little too late after our rotor was already bent, it would help protect the new EBC Precision brake rotors we would be installing on our ride.

Starting with the rear brake rotor we removed the two 12mm bolts that hold the brake caliper to the axle housing. Lifting the brake caliper up and off of the rotor wasn’t easy because of the worn pads.

Using a 6mm swivel head Allen wrench on a 3/8ths drive ratchet, we loosened the rear brake rotor bolts. Adding a little heat from a propane torch helped release the stubborn bolts. Holding this axle in place while trying to turn out the bolts was made easier by locking the quad in gear.

Once the rotor bolts were loose, we simply fished the old rotor across the hub and removed the right rear wheel to get the rotor completely off the axle. This can be done without removing the wheel hub. We then just reversed the process with the new EBC rotor and added some Locktite to the bolts before reinstalling them into the rotor hub. For those who need to know, the torque specs for the rotor bolts are 31ft lbs.

Next we spun our attention to the rear brake caliper and pads. Removing the caliper pin bolt allows easy access to the pads. Chances are the caliper piston will be sticking out of the caliper, and you do not want to just shove it back in. Clean this area thoroughly with brake cleaner and be sure there is not any debris that could compromise the seals in the caliper.

Once clean, the piston can be gently pressed back into the caliper using a C-clamp. Remove the rear brake fluid reservoir cap to allow the fluid to flow more easily back into the system. You might lay some shop towels around the reservoir just in case some spills out of the system as the fluid is forced back to the reservoir.

Now it’s time to add the new pads. We chose the EBC SV pads (severe duty line) since they are proven and reliable. These are super thick and should give us months of great service. Our only issue with a thicker pad is that the thermal shield cannot be used with these. They are simply too thick. Be sure the pad spring gets reinstalled as well and slip the new pads in. The process is just about finished as the caliper pin bolt is tightened to the 17 lb.-ft. spec. We then reinstalled the two 12mm bolts removed during the changing of the rear rotor.

After installing the rear wheels we then bled the rear brakes to be sure everything was working correctly. The entire process took us about 2.5 hours from start to finish. We did not disconnect the brake line just so we would have no leaking fluid to deal with. Our next goal was the front brakes but this is a little more of an in depth process. You’ll have to come back for that one!

Thanks to TCS Motorsports ( for the great Sprocket Guard and swing arm Shark Fin to protect our valuable investment, and thank you to EBC braking components ( for keeping us in the safe zone with great pads and rotors! Newsletter
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