Removing a stuck rotor

I have a 2001 Explorer w 4 wheel disc brakes.

I am replacing the rear pads and rotors but cannot get one of the rotors off. I have tried loads of PB Blaster, used Naval Jelly on the axle and the part of the rotor next to it to remove the rust there, tried heating the rotor with a blow torch and am now back to PB Blaster. If I didn’t know better I would think it was all one piece of metal.

Any suggestions?

I am not familiar with your model, but some brake rotors come with two screw holes in which you can tighten bolts to force the rotor off.

Nope - elsewhere on the list people recommended a sawsall, but I see no place to use one as there is a backplate behind the rotor to keep junk out of the parking break. The parking brake consists of a standard drum brake mechanism with smaller pads that use the inside of the rotor as the brake drum.

You do have the parking brake released?


tee hee - yep - That would not cause the axle to move with the rotor. Also I turn the rotor to spread the heat from the torch and the Blaster.

Have you tried a BFH? Big F Hammer. This must be done gently and evenly to the rotor to break the rust you can’t see between the rotor and hub.

I do add, on a vehicle as new as yours a better and safer idea for the bearings/seals etc would be a puller if available to fit.

is there one Phillips head screw on the hub of the rotor? remove it.

the BFH is the way to go. i usually use a 10 lb sledge. works like a charm. not full strength swings, just using the heft of the sledge to knock the rotor off the hub.

you may have to rotate the rotor to hit evenly, have two people to hit on opposite sides simultaneously, or alternately hit off, off, off, on, on. to get it to loosen up. i dont know why, but some manufacturers make the tolerance between the rotor and hub -0- which a little rust siezes up good. need a little force to get it off.

I can hardly bear to hear about hammering directly on a stuck brake rotor. This can Brinell the wheel bearings. Use some penetrating oil and rent a puller.

I have used, on occasion, a gentler form of hammering: Sledge hammer against the end of a 4 x 4 with the other end of the 4 x 4 resting against the tire portion of a stuck wheel, a stuck brake drum or a stuck brake disk.

A: Due to the other parts of the car I only get a 6" swing with my mallet.
B: There is no place to use a puller. Nothing to grab. The only place where you can get behind the rotor is where the caliper was removed.

So far I have used most of a can of PB Blaster and most of a canister of propane.

I’m thinking C-4

Recently, I had a rotor that wouldn’t yeild to ANY of my methods, and even wrecked a puller!

Had to resort to an angle grinder+lots of time. (Oh, and do this outdoors if possible, lest you cover the garage, and your lungs, in a fine coating of rust).

In know you said you used a blow torch but I have always had success with a propane torch. I heat the area of the rotor/drum around the hub to slightly expand the rotor hub hole. It has always worked for me. Obviously, you don’t heat it red hot but it comes loose well before then.

i would go with the bfh and looking for that one small screw

I don’t know much about fords but I find it hard to believe you can’t fit puller arms on the outer edge of the rotor. The dust shields are typically thin gauge metal and can be pushed back enough to make room for the jaw teeth.

There isn’t one single little line a blade width wide for the sawzall blade to run down? Dang.

Forget propane, that’s for cooking burgers. Those rotors probably get hotter under normal braking than with that propane rig. If you must use rookie heat :wink: get a canister of MAPP gas for your torch head. Magnitudes more heat from MAPP and also less tendancy to soak.

Thanks for the BFH idea. I usually save that for the Wind Shield.
I’ve been struggling with the front rotor on a SAAB 97 all day. The 10 lb sledge did the trick.

Hey, why am getting a grinding noise from my wheel bearings now…just kidding (I hope).

Try this method:

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I have seen the bolt method through caliper ear method. Why can’t u use a pry bar between the caliper bracket and rotor? Any way to apply leverage there?

Off the top of my head I’d say it’d work, but if you slip in the wrong spot you’ll do some damage.

I think after six years he probably got it off by now or traded the car.


Ah jeez, I didn’t even look at dates. I hate it when that happens

Hey, for all we know OP is still sitting in his garage staring at that rotor. Hasn’t worked in over half a decade 'cause he can’t get the wheel back on his car until he’s done. We’re his last shot!