Sometimes, the best upgrades are the ones you don’t see

After replacing my factory rear brake pads and rotors in October, I finally got around to completing the set with Teraflexs  Front Performance Big Rotor kit. The big-rotor kit increases the diameter of the Jeep’s rotor to more than 13 inches, with increases the leverage used by the factory-sized pads to slow the vehicle. (NOTE: Due to the larger size of the rotor, you must be running 17-inch or larger wheels with this kit.) The rotors are available in a traditional smooth or slotted configuration. As with the rears, I again chose Hawk Performance LTS semi-metallic pads.

Materials/tools needed:

  • Teraflex Front Performance Big Rotor Kit  (Part No. 4303480)
  • Hawk Performance LTS (Part No. HB569Y.650)
  • Lug wrench
  • Lug nut adapter, if necessary
  • Vehicle jack
  • Jack stands (2)
  • Wheel chocks (3)
  • Caliper slide grease
  • Ratchet handle
  • Torque wrench
  • 1/2-inch socket
  • 15 mm end wrench (as you’ll see below, I required a 19/32″ end wrench)
  • 21 mm wrench or socket
  • Brake cleaner
  • Breaker bar (optional)
  • Shop towels (recommended)

 

Step 1: Remove caliper & bracket bolts

img_0230Remove the caliper slide bolts using the 1/2-inch  socket while holding a 15 mm on the slide-pin nut. Now, here is where I ran into my only real issue. My Craftsman 15 mm wrench did not fit the slide-pin nut, even though Jeep’s specs say it is a 15 mm. An old 19/32″ (15.08 mm, if you’re mathematically challenged) wrench worked just right! Remove the slide pins by pulling them straight back and set aside for reuse in the Teraflex brackets. Save the retaining clips for transfer to the Teraflex caliper bracket. Lift the caliper out of the way and discard the old brake pads. Suspend or support the caliper to avoid damaging the flexible brake lines. Next, use a 21 mm socket to loosen and remove the caliper bracket. Save all the hardware for reassembly.

Step 2: Remove & replace rotor

Pull the rotor away from the vehicle, and set aside. In my case, the generous ring of rust around the wheel hub kept the rotors from budging, and I had to, er, persuade them with a rubber mallet. Mount the new Teraflex rotor over the studs, rotating it (the rotor is drilled for both 5-on-5 and 5-on-5.5 bolt patterns) to determine the correct holes. Avoid touching the rotor’s flat surface to prevent transfer of grease from your hands to the rotor’s surface. Reinstall one of the lug nuts onto a lower stud to hold the rotor in an upright position to ease caliper re-installation.

 Step 3: Install pads, caliper bracket & slide pins

Step 4: Reinstall wheels & tires

With the new pads and rotors in place and properly torqued to spec, reinstall both wheels and tires, doing a final tighten to 105 to 110 lb.-ft. Turn the ignition to accessory, then gently pump the brakes several times to establish proper pressure.

Step 5: Break-in

After making sure I’d not transferred any grease to my rotors and cleaning up any excess grease I found, I followed Hawk Performance’s suggested break-in procedure for the new pads. It called for six to 10 stops from 30 to 35 mph at moderate pressure, followed by a few stops from 40 to 45 mph at moderate pressure.

That’s it, you’re done; now, go have some pizza and ice cream with your Jeeping friends!

bso-bubbas

First impressions

I wish now I’d done some 60-0 panic-braking tests before doing my rear rotors so I’d have some quantifiable data to share. Suffice it to say the difference having both front and rear rotors larger than stock is instantly noticeable! I didn’t lack confidence in my brake performance before, but the performance of my brakes now puts the stock system to absolute shame. I’d venture to say once you upgrade your rotors, you’ll be wondering why Jeeps don’t come this way from the factory. (Incidentally, I’m told European models do include larger-diameter rotors, though I’ve not researched this to confirm it.)

Total time to complete

About 2 hours, working very slowly. This is easily a 45-minute job with proper tools and in the right environment.

Total project cost

$359 ($282 rotor kit, $77 pads)

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