Brake Upgrade / Has Anyone Done This? - Ford Powerstroke Diesel Forum
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post #1 of 31 Old 11-13-2019, 10:59 PM Thread Starter
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Brake Upgrade / Has Anyone Done This?

Sadly, Iím close to the end of the road. There is nothing else left to repair / replace on my 2004 F-350drw truck. Cost really isnít a factor anymore, Iím so far underwater value-wise with the truck that only at death will I finally resurface while on my way to a better place (6.7 Heaven).

The good news is the truck is finally in showroom shape and running the best it has in 15 years! It hauls loads like a Freightliner and carries passengers in a new interior like a Caddie. My g/f was driving my Raptor 6.2 which is tuned with a 5-Star and she wanted to race, so I obliged her. It was bad, felt sorry for my Raptor, but I gotta tell you, my dually smoked that gasser. It wasnít very close. To be real honest, the g/f didnít really know much about dragging, so I probably didnít really beat her all that bad, but I know now that the big truck can take-on that little pretend truck any day of the week! I keep it garaged most of the time because what are you gonna do with a truck that has a 900# payload and a 5í bed? Pick-up some skinny girls maybeÖ

So, I got off subject there, sorry. Iím thinking about a brake upgrade. I donít really want to replicate the 450 or 550, since that probably involves a wheel change and so forth. The stock brakes arenít all that bad but with a 16ó18k load pushing forward, relying on notoriously finicky trailer brakes can leave a person wanting a bit more in the backup department. I see lots of options online and prices all over the board. Will simply adding S/S lines make a significant difference or will I also need to upgrade rotors and pads? Does anyone have some real-life experience with a good, solid brake upgrade?

Thanks for any suggestions.
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post #2 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 03:12 AM
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I might have a little real world.

But it depends on what "upgrade" you are trying to accomplish. Lower the pedal effort, improve thermal resistance for the excessive load of bad trailer brakes, and for that, I would say you need to work on the trailer brakes as it's not until the recent years that a vehicle brake design has to incorporate for poor trailer performance.

There are several ways:

Alter the rotor swept radius to tire radius ratio; bigger rotors or smaller tires.
Increase the clamping force on the brake pads; larger pistons or changes to the actuation side.
Friction material changes; higher friction to lower pedal effort or higher metallic for more thermal resistance.
Rotor changes in vane design to add more cooling; slots added for degrading friction material, holes added for improved cooling (but only if vane design was altered to incorporate the bleeding off of draw from the hat section, usually not done in the aftermarket).

You killed number 1 with not changing to 450/550 axles, by best take on that adaptation.

Adding larger pistons in the calipers requires changes to the master cylinder, brake pedal lever, and often booster. All that typically happens in vehicle design. A lot of work, a lot of expense.

Friction material changes are the easiest, most cost-effective, and changeable if it's not to your taste. There is aftermarket that is higher friction and somewhat higher friction with higher thermal ability, but higher thermal usually is a trade-off with lower cold friction.

Rotors are a bag of worms from an engineering perspective. Slots work well for one revolution of removing water film, and a good choice if the friction material is degrading and outgassing. You are better off having good friction material for the load. But in order to pass over the slots, the friction material had to be stiff, with no compliance. That leads to thermal banding and some loss of performance, situation dependent.

Holes are primarily a weight savings path. If you take a rotor that has it's vanes designed optimally with solid rubbing discs, adding holes can degrade cooling. And it removes mass so the thermal spike of a one-stop event is heightened. Properly designed, they can help during extremes. And then we have the cracking issue.

OE rotors with holes designed in typically have a radius cast in on both the outer surface of the rubbing discs and cast in on the inner vane side of the rubbing discs. Aftermarket rotors are typically solid disc rotors that have been drilled and radiused, on the outside, but not the vane side. So they can still crack. Guys who produce them with a clue will not put both the outer disc and inner disc holes in the same vane but stagger them as to minimize the airflow disruption from the hat, and to not have cold then hot vane channels next to each other.

There are so many options on brake pad manufacturers and one person's improvement is not another's, so brake discussions get a piling on of who likes what. Chaos. And in the USA there is not much by the way of government rules telling consumers about brake pad performance. If you want to use edge code designation, it's OK, but not ideal by any means.

Having designed friction material formulations for 5 years then managed my old company vehicle testing operations for 25 years, I can tell you every friction material is a compromise to something, fade, wear, noise, performance; there is no perfect material.

A starting point for your journey made be to look to Power Stop Z23 for increased effectiveness. While a competitor, a few of the friction material designers I worked with in my old company went there or to their supplier. They have materials in the GG friction range, a place where OEM will not go. Higher temperature resistance I usually go towards Hawk, an offshoot of my old company before I got there. They are high metallic but depending on the level of pad cold performance suffers, LTS version the least, but it's there.

I don't go to drilled rotors until I would really have to, and I never have. I try to not bandaid the friction material choice. But that's me.


The 2004 trucks were the last year for the Akebono calipers with TRW rotors. 2005 took on TRW calipers which weren't a situation of the Akebono designed calipers being an issue, TRW's pride was hurt when Akebono came in and stole what they thought was a shoo-in for the contract. We have an offer you can't refuse for 2005......

The OE 1999-2004 TRW supplied rotors were extremely thermally efficient with their post vane design, but any replacement rotors won't have that. Not even the Motorcraft service replacement rotors made by Federal-Mogul, who in the aftermarket markets as Wagner. The tooling and manufacture are too expensive for the normal aftermarket, so they are straight vane, same as the 2005+ OE TRW.

Anyway, just my viewpoint.......

Jack
Former Vehicle Test Manager, Friction Products.
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post #3 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 04:38 AM
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I did the Power Stop Z23 upgrade mentioned above. It's an improvement over stock for sure. The SS lines are still on my to do list. My understanding is that the rubber degrades with age and allows for more expansion that in turn gives you a softer or spongy type pedal.

k
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post #4 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 05:55 AM
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On the OE side, there are several versions of brake hose, but one characteristic is the expansion rate. And those are not told and certainly not noted in the aftermarket world. Ford usually does a good job of choosing less expansion when hoses are long. Expanding hoses eat up pedal travel, as does caliper spread, friction material compression, and firewall deflection.

My understanding is the stock hoses were the low expansion rate, about the same level as common TFE/SS, but that can decline over time as the internal fabric braid fatigues. And there are versions of TFE/SS that have different expansion rates, some equal to or better than top OE.

My first move is to use AE or Forscan to bleed the brakes with the ABS, then I'll decide if I want to try hoses. On my wife's car hoses were necessary, aluminum calipers that spread, and we supplied the friction material on that car so I knew of the issue.

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post #5 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 05:56 AM
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No limit on budget? Go big:

https://www.dieselworldmag.com/ford/...or-ford-f250s/

throw in a new master while you are at it.

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OK, thanks for the info. To show my ignorance, what is the problem with 3 nipples...
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post #6 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 06:18 AM
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They do not have a kit for the pre 2005's. Of course, if price is not an object, he could swap in '05+ axles too. Then he'd need some 20" wheels and new tires. We're quickly getting to a $10k brake job with that though.
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post #7 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 07:46 AM
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Powerstop Z36 brake kit for me and I rebuilt my calipers. Been very pleased with the performance. The powder coated calipers they sell are really just OE units with some bling.

https://www.powerstroke.org/forum/ge...-overhaul.html
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post #8 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 08:36 AM
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Just like @trife96 , I went with the Z36 on all four wheels. The braking distance was significantly reduced for sure. My next move is to go with SS lines.

Going to a DOT 4 or DOT 5.1 fluid will also make a difference. Do NOT use DOT 5 since it is silicon based and used strictly for racing application. 5.1 has the highest boiling point of them all. I can be difficult to find at some locations and it a bit more expensive. I use DOT 4 in mine right now because I couldn't find 5.1.
If you end up with DOT5.1 just make sure you buy enough to flush all the lines and the calipers.

I wonder what the difference is between Z23 and Z36. I can't find it on their website and they look the same.
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Last edited by zsargent; 11-14-2019 at 08:42 AM.
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post #9 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G8orFord View Post
They do not have a kit for the pre 2005's. Of course, if price is not an object, he could swap in '05+ axles too. Then he'd need some 20" wheels and new tires. We're quickly getting to a $10k brake job with that though.
Quoting OP

Quote:
Cost really isnít a factor anymore
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So says the internet... ...and so it shall be.
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OK, thanks for the info. To show my ignorance, what is the problem with 3 nipples...
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post #10 of 31 Old 11-14-2019, 08:44 AM
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No limit on budget? Go big:

https://www.dieselworldmag.com/ford/...or-ford-f250s/

throw in a new master while you are at it.
We had an F350 in here last week with the wilwoods on it, they're serious looking brakes
Of course it also had a shortened frame and an Excursion body on it with full King coil overs so the owner was obviously used to spending big money

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