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Brake pads for 2016 explorer - ceramic or semi metallic?

Discussion in 'Stock 2011 - 2019 Ford Explorer Discussion' started by ThorChristian, November 3, 2018.

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    1. ThorChristian

      ThorChristian New Member

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      Hello all,

      I am going to replace my brake pads, and was wondering if I should go with ceramic or semi-metallic...

      Info:

      The explorer is used for daily commutes, no off-roading, no towing, no aggressive driving.

      I am pretty sure the current pads (factory originals) are semi-metallic. If the rotors do not need to be replaced also, do I need to stay with semi-metallic, or can I switch to ceramic with the same rotors?

      If I go with ceramic (and originals were semi-metallic) will that change any computer settings, or will I notice any change in performance, stopping distance, etc?

      If I have to replace the rotors... should I upgrade to ceramic, or does it come down to personal preference?

      Any info/advice is appreciated. I don't know much about ceramic brakes, but have heard good things about them. The brakes that came with the vehicle have been fine, and have worn well, so no real complaints on the OEM quality.
       
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    3. 613GT500

      613GT500 Well-Known Member

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      If you're not sticking with the original Motorcraft pads, I suggest ceramics.
       
    4. peterk9

      peterk9 Staff Member Moderator Elite Explorer

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      Welcome to the Forum.:wave:
      There are several threads on 'brakes' on the forum. Here are a couple I found using the 'Search' feature in the upper right;
      OEM Brake Pad Material
      OEM Or Aftermarket Brakes?

      Peter
       
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    5. ThorChristian

      ThorChristian New Member

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      Thanks for the links, Peter.

      Seems this is all over the place. Ceramics, organic, semi-metallic.... All based on personal experience or on-line user reviews. I guess I cannot go wrong with OEM, but ceramics seem to produce less dust.

      I just don't want to reduce stopping performance. If I go with ceramic, do I need to replace the rotors also?
       
    6. bigdude2468

      bigdude2468 Active Member

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      Go to Rock Auto and buy Wagner OEX pads. They are great, shorter stopping distances, less dust, no squeal etc. I don't know if they are ceramic or semi metallic What I do know is I have been using OEX pads on all our vehicles for the past 3 - 4 years and they are the best pads I have ever had. on the Explorer I tow a little but we spend the winter in the mountains where everyday we drive up and down one of the steepest roads in NA. It is not unusual on the way down to smell brakes or occasionally see a vehicle pulled over with the brakes smoking. I checked the fronts pads this fall with 30,000 miles on them and they have another 30,000 left.
       
    7. Biohazrus

      Biohazrus New Member

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      Ceramic or not, changing rotor goes in pair with changing pads, no?

      My rear pads are pretty thin, about to order new kits (pads & rotor) from RockAuto.com, debating on how much I should spend... goes from 73$CAD to 215$CAD
       
    8. 613GT500

      613GT500 Well-Known Member

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      Not necessarily.
      As an example, I changed the rear pads as they wore out due to dragging, but the rotors were in excellent shape.
       
    9. KayGee

      KayGee Active Member

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      If the braking surface is in good shape (no grooves, not warped) and exceeds min thickness, you can usually just put new pads on and you're good to go without resurfacing.

      As far as ceramic vs semi metallic, conventional wisdom is ceramic are quieter and lower dust, but semi metallic provide better cold bite and overall braking performance. There's obviously more to it and all the info you could ever want is out there. You just need to do your homework and decide what matters to you. Higher price doesn't always mean better.
       
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    10. Querys

      Querys Member

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    11. VCFP153

      VCFP153 Elite Explorer

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      Considering how cheap rotors have become, some people just swap everything all at once.
       
    12. domct203

      domct203 Elite Explorer

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      I like ceramic for the reduced brake dust. I’m satisfied with their grip on the rotors as well, no noticeable loss of performance for me with 32” tires, but I’m not zipping around like I’m driving a tuner either.

      With that said, nothing grabs like semi-metallic pads, but they are dirty and will wear the rotors a bit quicker.
       
    13. bigdude2468

      bigdude2468 Active Member

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      IMO this whole discussion about which pad to use is kind of silly. Buy goods ones they don't cost much more and are clearly superior. On Rock Auto Wagner OEX pads are $28.79, front or rear. The cheapy or economy pads that Rock Auto sells are $15. Why would you go through a brake job that takes a couple of hours and then try to save a few pennies?? We drive on one of the steepest roads in the US all winter long where heat is a killer on pads and rotors. The Wagner OEX pads I installed look great after 30,000 miles, I bet I get 60,000 out of them. They stop shorter, generate less heat and I see very little brake dust. Far less dust then the OEM Ford pads. Also, I always spend more money for rotors and do not buy the junky Chinese rotors. With rotors mass / weight is everything. When the rotor weigh less it can't absorb as much heat before it starts to warp. The heavier the rotor the better.
       
    14. domct203

      domct203 Elite Explorer

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      OP never mentioned price as criteria.

      Brake pad material makes a difference regardless of price. Each material has its pros and cons, and the OP is asking for advise. I don’t find that silly at all.

      I agree, you get what you pay for.

      ‘Clearly superior’ is quite objective, and is the entire point of the OP’s question. To me, ceramic pads with heavy cross drilled and slotted rotors works very good for my application and needs.

      Those Wagner OEX pads sound like great brake pads. Hills are the test for sure. How’s the rotor wear with them?
       
      Last edited: November 11, 2018 at 4:18 PM
    15. VCFP153

      VCFP153 Elite Explorer

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      Criterion (singular).
       
    16. domct203

      domct203 Elite Explorer

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      Thank you, grammar police.
       
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    17. 1995E

      1995E Well-Known Member

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      To me, I would never sacrifice braking performance for a little more rim cleaning convenience. I'd say stick with the semi-metallic because you never know when you have to make an emergency stop and it would save you.
       
    18. KayGee

      KayGee Active Member

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      A lot of discussion about highly subjective topics is silly as no one knows whether any comments are coming from a supposed expert with knowledge or just another one that has no clue what they are even talking about. I highly doubt anyone here is doing any formal, instrumented testing to back up their claims as to what are the best brake pads. Also, no one knows if someone is a company shill simply pushing their own product. There are a lot of different brake pads out there for the explorer and many are reasonably priced ($30-50/set). If anyone wishes, it isn't that costly to buy a few sets and try them out to see for themselves how they perform and if they work for them. For some vehicles there are more active followings with people that track their cars or otherwise delve further into the performance arena, so there may be more anecdotal evidence from others on some stuff that performs better than others under certain conditions. However, the explorer is a car based CUV/SUV, so the best place for "performance/braking" data is likely to be from ford or fleet/police with regard to the PIUs.


      Same here. I've had a few MBs with some stellar brakes that put off literal shit tons of brake dust, but I'd never trade brake performance for cleaning convenience. There are some really good ceramic (non-ferrous) pads out there, like those from Pagid, but they are not inexpensive and not available for all vehicles.
       
      Last edited by a moderator: November 12, 2018 at 9:37 AM
    19. domct203

      domct203 Elite Explorer

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      That can be applied to hundreds of posts on this forum, and I still don't see how someone should be told their question is silly.

      OP has some valid questions, and this thread is getting derailed quickly with grammar corrections and notions that questions asked are just 'silly'.

      My personal experience is that quality ceramic pads have no problem activating the ABS in a panic stop at 65 MPH with 32" tires (I drive the I-95 corridor in CT daily).
       
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    20. 613GT500

      613GT500 Well-Known Member

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      +1, we're talking about an emergency situation, not constant braking throughout an autoX race.
       
    21. VCFP153

      VCFP153 Elite Explorer

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      And/or by excessive sensitivity. Which, come to think of it, can also be applied to hundreds of posts on this forum.
       
    22. domct203

      domct203 Elite Explorer

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      No need to be sensitive about it, my comment was not meant to be a dig, and I'm sorry if you took it that way.

      I just don't see how correcting grammar is helping answer any of the OP's questions, the hijack has just probably pushed them away from asking any more 'silly' questions.
       
    23. KayGee

      KayGee Active Member

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      Spelling and grammar aside, I never said the question or the OP was silly. I said discussion of highly subjective topics is the silly part as it typically revolves around feelings and thoughts and provides little to no empirical data/evidence to back anything up.

      Your comments illustrate that perfectly:

      To me, ceramic pads with heavy cross drilled and slotted rotors works very good for my application and needs.

      My personal experience is that quality ceramic pads have no problem activating the ABS in a panic stop at 65 MPH with 32" tires (I drive the I-95 corridor in CT daily).


      What does that even mean for the OP? The factory pads should have no problem activating the ABS in a panic stop. What does driving the 1-95 corridor in CT have to do with anything? What about someone that drives the 101 or the 10 or the whatever? What about the guy shilling the Wagner OEX brakes? He drives on one of the steepest roads in the US all winter long.

      Not trying to start anything, just trying to illustrate how "silly" the discussion can be about a topic like this...
       
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    24. domct203

      domct203 Elite Explorer

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      I never said that you did.....
      I never shot down the factory pads, or tried to steer anyone away from semi-metallic pads..... I was simply trying to share my experiences with ceramic brake pads

      The OP was concerned about a loss of performance with ceramic, I simply stated that I have no problem stopping hard enough to activate the ABS using ceramic pads. Maybe the ABS would activate faster with semi-metallic, but once the ABS is running the show, how much will the brake pad material really matter? The I-95 corridor in southern CT is known for it's bumper to bumper, 60MPH to zero traffic, with many instances of being cut-off by people that think it's a slalom course, and part of my personal experience with ceramic pads.
      I thought that Bigdude2468's share of his experience with the OEX brakes on some nasty hills was a great contribution to the discussion (like my experience driving on I-95), well at least I thought is was a discussion before it turned into a bona-fide technical experiment.

      No worries, I'll stay out of this thread, seems like the priority is to argue rather than discuss the OP's questions.
       
    25. Biohazrus

      Biohazrus New Member

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      Here some oil for the fire...:popcorn:
      In emergency situation, brakes are among the last thing you want to lock and sometime even touch...

      But may I suggest simply dropping personal experience / "preference" and avoid poking each other about validity of it or counter expertise? (as I almost done, regarding emergency brake)
      'coz as read so far, we are all having different braking habit and have preference for some reason or another. Unless you track test multiple in a control fashion most will stick to what they think suits best (me first).
      @ThorChristian I think I have similar usage as you, I'm going with Power Stop Ceramic as the price seems good and works as expected on previous installation, no clue on what is on currently (bought second hand!)

      Both are good product, they will get the job done and that is why both are available! So I'd say pick either.
      As everything, price ain't always a warranty of quality
      Let hug each other, release the brake and step on the gas pedal:burnout:
       
      Last edited by a moderator: November 13, 2018 at 9:57 AM

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