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Brake options

toobladink

Elite Explorer
Joined
August 29, 2023
Messages
69
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53
City, State
Spokane, WA
Year, Model & Trim Level
2000 4WD XLT
What are my options in terms of getting some better brakes? I know almost nothing about these and with what I have planned for my explorer, I'm going to need brakes that help me stop a heavier car, preferably sooner. Currently looking into replacing everything - pads, calipers, rotors, whatever else to help me stop "on a dime."

I currently have 16 inch rims but plan on buying other rims in the future, should I go to 17 inch for bigger rotors or will the heavier rims offset what I would gain from that? I know nothing about brake systems, so do bigger rotors even help?

Been reading about ceramic pads but the extra wear on rotors isn't something I'm interested in, I'd rather replace pads. But if it's that big of a difference, I'd definitely consider it because I see brakes as the biggest thing I can do to improve the safety of myself and others.
 



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What are my options in terms of getting some better brakes? I know almost nothing about these and with what I have planned for my explorer, I'm going to need brakes that help me stop a heavier car, preferably sooner. Currently looking into replacing everything - pads, calipers, rotors, whatever else to help me stop "on a dime."

I currently have 16 inch rims but plan on buying other rims in the future, should I go to 17 inch for bigger rotors or will the heavier rims offset what I would gain from that? I know nothing about brake systems, so do bigger rotors even help?

Been reading about ceramic pads but the extra wear on rotors isn't something I'm interested in, I'd rather replace pads. But if it's that big of a difference, I'd definitely consider it because I see brakes as the biggest thing I can do to improve the safety of myself and others.
some sport tracs iirc came with different spindles for larger rotors in the front. ford makes some HD pads, and those are the pad options i am aware of.
 






ahh too bad i don't have a sport trac :/ possible to modify or worth doing?
 












The stock 11" brakes are adequate for almost anything but truly serious extra weight added Explorers(much heavier wheels/tires, or lots of off road gear, bumpers and tow loads).

I have been delivering mail with my stock 98 Explorers since 2016, I am way harder on brakes than anyone you have heard of. I use OEM brake pads but they are the severe duty parts, they are a little better than plain stock OEM pads. I have gone through several sets in the last 10 years, and before that I used and liked EBC pads and rotors, and a couple of other top brands.

Prior to 2003ish I learned to avoid almost all aftermarket brands of pads, I tried various parts store brands. Those are the worst, yes they have lifetime guarantees, but they are lesser quality, they don't last as long, plus they are much more prone to squealing.

I have a 99 Explorer that I used to deliver mail before 2012ish when the trans went out; that one I swapped Sport Trac spindles onto, plus new 12" rotors. That has the original calipers, thus it uses the stock 1995-2001 pads on it. I liked that also, and with SS brake lines it did great, but the extra rotor size didn't really show an advantage. But they are better, that extra inch or rotor is better heat capacity and transfer.

So bottom line, find these brake pads, the front pads are critically important, most top brands will be fine in the rear;

Front pads; Motorcraft numbers BRSD652 or 2U2Z2V001AD

Rear pads; Motorcraft numbers BR2 or D667 or XU2Z2V200SA

The front pads have been harder to get since 2021, the rears are still no problem to find. Jeg's lists the front available to ship next week; Motorcraft BRSD652: PAD - JEGS
 






Here's the 12" front Sport Trac rotors on my 99, with the SS lines I had made locally. The drilled rotors I put on first, and the slotted rotors were Cryo treated, the 2nd set, with EBC pads. I later discovered the SD Motorcraft pads were acceptable for my mail truck.

Cryo rotors 2001+ .JPG


SportTracRotor01.JPG
 






AAhh.. i just have a hard time thinking for myself here, is it worth doing? I hate coming down from a mountain pass or after a decent climb on some forest roads and all I can smell is brake dust. I also feel like it lead to my explorer shaking a little bit under braking at speed. I don't plan to drive much soon so I'd like to get a setup that just has more stopping power and is safer than OEM. Honestly, I feel like I use my brakes most to avoid wildlife and I'm lucky I haven't hit a deer and have it come up through my windshield - I want to keep that streak going
The slotted ones seem nice for coming down those passes or after a big climb, maybe not so much for daily driving but I'm not as concerned about that. I feel like my calipers don't look as big, maybe I just need to compare more closely but I see so many sports cars that look like the calipers cover a fifth of the rotor, sometimes it even looks like a quarter and i feel like that's gotta be better than whatever the hell i have rn.
 






AAhh.. i just have a hard time thinking for myself here, is it worth doing? I hate coming down from a mountain pass or after a decent climb on some forest roads and all I can smell is brake dust. I also feel like it lead to my explorer shaking a little bit under braking at speed. I don't plan to drive much soon so I'd like to get a setup that just has more stopping power and is safer than OEM. Honestly, I feel like I use my brakes most to avoid wildlife and I'm lucky I haven't hit a deer and have it come up through my windshield - I want to keep that streak going
The slotted ones seem nice for coming down those passes or after a big climb, maybe not so much for daily driving but I'm not as concerned about that. I feel like my calipers don't look as big, maybe I just need to compare more closely but I see so many sports cars that look like the calipers cover a fifth of the rotor, sometimes it even looks like a quarter and i feel like that's gotta be better than whatever the hell i have rn.
You can’t compare a slow brick to a sports car. No matter what you do, it’s going to brake and behave like an SUV. I’d probably just throw a complete Powerstop kit on and be done. You can get them with or without calipers.
 






yes d/s is nice, high carbon keeps it from warping as easily too
 






Buy the Ford brake pads, the severe duty part numbers I Posted for you, in bold. Those are as good as any other pad you can buy for the 2nd gen Explorer. I have tested all kinds of brakes on my prior six Explorers, I told you what is the best given the available parts.

You don't need the larger 2001 12" rotors unless you will be braking more seriously than me, delivering mail. I have the 12" rotors on one 99, they aren't enough of an upgrade for me to do it again for my last two 98's. I will have custom brakes on my 98 project truck, I still have my 2nd version of those on my Mountaineer. Those 12.75" rotors are much better, but the pads were the bigger issue. I used an SSBC caliper and didn't look hard enough at the pads they built them around. A 1998 Mitsubishi 2000 is too small to be adapting pads into a performance caliper. SSBC did that, and I went through about three sets of pads in ten years, 15 months on my mail route. The big rotors survived fine, the pads were eaten up in under a year. The small pads are not good for serious braking, so I'll get rid of those in my last custom brakes. I have Wilwood calipers to use with six pistons, and the pads are about 3/4" thick.

This is a solid caliper, and 7520 pads;

Wilwood GNIII calipers.jpg


7520 brake pads.jpg
 






thanks fellas. gonna see how much money i'm willing to waste then, my rotors don't need to be replaced it looks like quite yet but i might just decide to get ahead of that so i dont have to worry about it in a year. i did have some issues finding those front pads somewhere in stock at what i felt was a reasonable price but they are pretty important - price shouldn't matter so much when it comes to this stuff imo. the red calipers you can get on a powerstop kit looks so over the top and i'm kinda digging it haha. so i really think whatever i get just depends on what rims i choose to get (which is next on my list, after brakes, but might do both at once)
 






Also don't forget brake fluid. Bleed the brakes enough to push all new fluid through from the MC, that and great pads will be noticeable. I like this Bosch brake fluid but it has gone up a ton since I paid $14.50 for it 2-3 years ago.
Amazon product ASIN B07338GQM8
 






I only managed to out drive the brakes on my ‘98 once, and it was driving to a house fire. Lots of backroads, accelerating to 80-90, slowing aggressively for intersections. It did well overall, but the brake fade got pretty bad after 10 mins of such driving.

I think the other guys are spot on. Good rotors and pads, call it a day
 






the advantage aside from being a larger displacement of heat is maybe a slight advantage since the caliper is further so you get a slight leverage advantage there, but i imagine its minimal.


thinking out loud could calliper from a newer gen like 3rd gen work? i remember the calipers looking similiar, just larger, but nto sure how that'd work out.
 












Do you downshift and let the engine help while going down grades? That will help a lot.
^^^ this! however, i find while going down grapevine, the gear i find the middle ground of enough engine braking without skyrocketing revs is 3rd, but taking the 5spd out of OD puts it in 4th, and you can downshift to 1 or 2, too low. so its kinda that untouchable gear 😂
 






Slotted and/or drilled rotors help with dissipating heat. I've become a fan of ceramic pads. They don't leave dust all over the wheels, and increase brake performance. They do wear rotors a little bit quicker, but rotors are a wear item, and are fairly inexpensive on these vehicles. Still a lot cheaper than retrofitting parts off another vehicle.

As far as brake fluid, you can read data sheets on line. Valvoline synthetic has a higher boiling point than most racing fluids. I've used it exclusively in several vehicles for the past decade. NAPA will usually stock it in the 32oz bottles, or you can get it off Amazon.
 






Slotted and/or drilled rotors help with dissipating heat. I've become a fan of ceramic pads. They don't leave dust all over the wheels, and increase brake performance.
will agree on the no dust, love that! but the ceramics i feel like ive had slightly better performance with semi metal? not doubting your claim, just curious. power stop z36 is the ceramic on this one

ceramics work well for this one because of dust, and good stopping power, but i just feel like ive had slightly better with semi metal, but the no dust keeps me ceramic haha
 






The OEM Ford SD pads are ceramic, they create very minor dusting of the wheels.

The stock calipers have very large pistons, close to 1.75" each, I doubt a later caliper is any bigger. That's where the brake power is coming from to work as well as they do on 11" rotors.

The first calipers I swapped to were 1965-82 Corvette calipers, those with 1.875" pistons were very strong. The ABS kicked on at 80mph if you hit the brakes hard enough. That was with my 12.75" rotors, thus the piston size doesn't need to actually be much larger than 1.75" each. With the calipers I posted above, if it's too much, I'll swap to a Ranger MC that has a larger(weaker) piston size.

The 12" Sport Trac rotors would be enough for almost anyone, bt if you go too heavy with wheels and tires, then things change.

Here's the very first rotor I had made in about 2006, with the EBC 11" rotors I was taking off. That was almost a 2" difference.

Brakeproject005.JPG
 



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What are my options in terms of getting some better brakes? I know almost nothing about these and with what I have planned for my explorer, I'm going to need brakes that help me stop a heavier car, preferably sooner. Currently looking into replacing everything - pads, calipers, rotors, whatever else to help me stop "on a dime."

You can increase the braking system performance some, but to stop on a dime is mostly going to depend on the tires. Locking up the wheels just invokes ABS, unless you delete it.

Have you actually had brake fading problems that you attributed to overheating rather than moisture in the brake fluid?

I currently have 16 inch rims but plan on buying other rims in the future, should I go to 17 inch for bigger rotors or will the heavier rims offset what I would gain from that? I know nothing about brake systems, so do bigger rotors even help?

Yes larger rotors help, but then you use a larger caliper and pad so not really an apples:apples comparison, but they only need enough performance to make the wheels lock up, then the ABS kicks in. Larger rotors will also heat up a little less on long downhill descents, as will slotted rotors, but only you can figure out if you really need them. Performance costs money, and making use of it, requires extra maintenance too, like the rotor replacements and more frequently flushing out the brake system.

Been reading about ceramic pads but the extra wear on rotors isn't something I'm interested in, I'd rather replace pads. But if it's that big of a difference, I'd definitely consider it because I see brakes as the biggest thing I can do to improve the safety of myself and others.

Ceramic are usually easier on rotors, though there are different friction materials used on different models of semi-metallic too. Ceramic perform worse when cold, though it doesn't take long to heat up brakes. Being able to stop on a dime means very high friction, which will eat rotors. Your goals are at odds with each other.

That stated, there's nothing unsafe about the OEM brakes, if kept in good working order. If your vehicle is shaking when braking, then you probably have a brake (or suspension) problem, not necessarily a brake spec issue that calls for an upgrade. However, considering the age of the vehicle, it very easily might have aftermarket rotors or pads by now, corrosion, old fluid (?) so you aren't experiencing new factory part performance.

This generation has been on the roads for over 25 years now and is not known to be particularly prone to brake problems. Remember, these vehicles are designed to be able to tow up to 3000lbs with the stock rotors. Only 3000lbs instead of the full tow package rating, because heavier trailers require their own brakes in many areas.

Lastly keep in mind that while ABS helps, mixing and matching parts may result in an imbalanced front to rear brake system. I mean that deviates from the factory design with a certain % more front braking than rear, so "imbalanced" is not really the right word to use, more like "different balance" which may contribute to worse emergency handling.
 






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