Brake Replacement

As you read in my 20,000 Mile Check / Inspection blog, my brakes were at the end of their life. I spent the next few weeks trying to figure out what I wanted to do. I had a few options: 1.) Replace with factory brakes, OR 2.) Go one step further and get the same OEM size, but a more performance brake, OR 3.) Go all the way all to a full big brake kit.  Each have pro’s and con’s. Direct factory replacement is fine for a stock Jeep, but I have larger tires and I carry more weight with off road gear and camping gear, running at max weight.  Going to a bigger brake has its advantages as it has better stopping power, but to me a big downside is that to get replacement parts is not easy; you cannot get pads or rotors at a local auto store, you will have to go to an off road shop or mail order. Therefore, if you’re in a remote location (like you should be in a Jeep) which is not near a distribution center for an off road shop, you’re dead in the water or you need to carry a spare set.  Also, these parts are far more expensive.  

I knew that I didn’t want to go with a factory replacement, and not sure what big brake kit to get, I decided to go with Power Stop Brakes.  These are slotted rotors which help with cooling and the pads are made of a better compound.  In the event that I need to replace these, I can go to a local shop and get what they have in stock as I am not changing the caliper or caliper bracket.  When I priced out getting a pad/rotor set from my local auto parts store, the Power Stop were just a few dollars more expensive from Amazon.  

Since we are just replacing pads and rotors, this is a simple day job.  We filmed this for YouTube so the process did take longer than normal, but it was a fun afternoon with Dee and TJ. Because Dee is the Expedition Team Mechanic, he had the honor of leading this install. TJ was the camera man. I was there to assist. The Jeep was the eye candy.

Before we began the replacement, I put the old brakes to the test for comparison by performing a few high speed stops.  I used an iPhone app that uses GPS and “G” force.  I will do the same test once the new brakes are broken in.

First we start out with jacking up the front of the jeep.  We did the fronts first then the rear.  

PRO TIP: Remember, when jacking up any vehicle, make sure you’re on a level spot and chock the the tires that are not getting jacked up. Use a properly weight rated jack stands, and make sure they are in good working order.  Accidents can happen and when they do they can be deadly. Once the vehicle is jacked up, before you get under it, shake it a few times and make sure that it is secure.  Do not leave a vehicle suspended in the air with a jack alone, use the jack stands, you can leave the jack holding some weight as added security.

These rotors are far “beefier” than the factory, and the slotted design adds ventilation to help keep them cool. The pads also look like they have serious stoping power!

The only issues that we had with this (good thing we did this on a Saturday) was the passenger rear caliper brake was seized and we could not get the caliper pins out to inspect and add grease.  My local Jeep dealer had the part in stock and we were able to run over and get a new one.  Also the passenger rear pad was completely falling apart, not sure how much longer that  was going to last, but I am very happy that we are replacing them.

Power Stop has a very specific break-in period for these brakes.  It is hard to find a location where you can meet the exact process, but we did the best in my neighborhood.  The process is a few high speed stops, high speed to slow speed stops, and then driving around with no stops to get cool air over the pads and rotors.  During this process you can smell the pads breaking in, it has a distinct clutch or subway brake smell.  That only lasted while we were doing the break-in, and the next day I did not smell anything.

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