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Front brake upgrade

Floordford

Active Member
Joined
February 15, 2016
Messages
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City, State
Nashville
Year, Model & Trim Level
'07 Sport Trac 4.6 4x4
Im running into dead ends in my research. I'm trying to find the size of the 2003 - 2005 Aviator and the size of the 2006 - 2010 Explorer front rotors. I want to make sure that the 06-10 Explorers didn't get the 03-05 Aviator brakes from the factory seeing how they came later. My Explorer brakes have been getting stress and heat fractures on the rotors so I know they have been overheating so I would like to upgrade the diameter if possible. I DD my Explorer in heavy stop and go so its more of a safety upgrade. The stock set up is lacking to say the least.

I realize I may need to swap the entire 4x4 spindle off of the Aviator and get Aviator calipers, its not my first brake swap. I'm just hitting some dead ends in my research.
 



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I can check the part numbers at work on Monday
 






My parts catalog is no help as far as rotor size...but the NAPA PRO-Link site we use shows the 2005 Aviator front rotors at 13" and the 2006 Explorer fronts at 12".
Another plus is that it seems the Aviator knuckle is aluminum as opposed to the Explorer cast iron ones....but they look like they will interchange as long as you use everything from the Aviator.
 






Lincoln knuckle...
image.jpeg


Ford knuckle...
image.jpeg
 


















Aviator knuckles wont rust, bigger brakes and any downside to this? Lighter so maybe the steering will be lighter? Any other perks that I'm missing here? If so, do the Aviators have more to offer in terms of braking and suspension upgrades?
 






Those knuckles look a little short. as it is the stock explorer upper ball joint mount is sketchy, could be about 1.5" taller. Why not look at F150 knuckles?

13" vs 12" dia isn't a HUGE upgrade in my opinion. Going drilled and sloted with carbon ceramic pads made a huge difference on my truck.
now going with a 15" rotor would be an upgrade and going 6 piston calipers. not 1" in overall diameter with the same style/size caliper.

That's just my opinion.
 






Those knuckles look a little short. as it is the stock explorer upper ball joint mount is sketchy, could be about 1.5" taller. Why not look at F150 knuckles?

13" vs 12" dia isn't a HUGE upgrade in my opinion. Going drilled and sloted with carbon ceramic pads made a huge difference on my truck.
now going with a 15" rotor would be an upgrade and going 6 piston calipers. not 1" in overall diameter with the same style/size caliper.

That's just my opinion.

With larger rotors has a 2 fold benefit.
1) the larger diameter requires less clamp force to do the same action. Think of applying 50ft lbs to a bolt with a 3/8" torque wrench vs a1/2" torque wrench. Its easier with the 1/2" because you have more leverage with the longer length.
2) more metal on the rotor acts as a better heat sink. Like having a larger radiator.

So while you technically add unsprung weight the upside is better control within the petal range with less leg force needing to be applied. Plus less likelihood of the rotors overheating. While 1 inch isnt major its really the only reasonable option for our trucks.
And I can do better pads after the Aviator brakes are on.
 






From personally going from stock brakes to aviator brakes there is a huge difference. It is 100% percent worth it. I know the suspension is a tad different on a 4th gen vs 'my 3rd gen I swapped so good luck with the swap as it appears you are blazing new territory.

-Scott
 






From personally going from stock brakes to aviator brakes there is a huge difference. It is 100% percent worth it. I know the suspension is a tad different on a 4th gen vs 'my 3rd gen I swapped so good luck with the swap as it appears you are blazing new territory.

-Scott

I don't think so. There are a few other guys that have done it already. It works just fine.
 






If you are upgrading the brakes due to a real need, do the spindle/rotor etc plans, but end up with buying new top quality rotors and pads.

Most vehicles have cryogenically treated rotors available, listed as cryo rotor option. Avoid drilled rotors, those are more for show and low stress uses. There are high end drilled rotors, done right(better steel and machining finishes etc). But choosing a cryo rotor will help severe duty applications the most. Slotted versions are helpful too and common to find.

I put a pair on the front of my mail truck many years ago, and they came from the Tire Rack then.

Change all of your brake fluid often, more often than never. Order some good stuff on Amazon ATE I think is the brand I prefer(high quality and reasonable). High end pads will help, EBC makes great choices.

Cryo rotors 2001+.JPG
 







I wonder why the 06-10 knuckle and the 05 and older have different part numbers. Explorer to Explorer comparison I mean. Cant be too much difference. But then again it could be one of those minute details that make it look like it fits but then when stuff starts coming together something is 2.5mm different in a bad way.
 






If you are upgrading the brakes due to a real need, do the spindle/rotor etc plans, but end up with buying new top quality rotors and pads.

Most vehicles have cryogenically treated rotors available, listed as cryo rotor option. Avoid drilled rotors, those are more for show and low stress uses. There are high end drilled rotors, done right(better steel and machining finishes etc). But choosing a cryo rotor will help severe duty applications the most. Slotted versions are helpful too and common to find.

I put a pair on the front of my mail truck many years ago, and they came from the Tire Rack then.

Change all of your brake fluid often, more often than never. Order some good stuff on Amazon ATE I think is the brand I prefer(high quality and reasonable). High end pads will help, EBC makes great choices.

View attachment 92054

I plan on it. I really like Hawk HPS pads, hopefully they have that available. Ive never bought into the cross drilled or slotted stuff on street vehicles. Thats mostly for full race cars with air ducts cooling the rotors. Cool as they look it makes weak points in an otherwise perfectly fine rotor. And I did a full brake bleed with Valvoline dot3/4 about 2 months ago to see if that would help.
 






I would be surprised if the 3rd gen knuckle and 4th gen knuckle shared the same geometry. things like the length and angles of the upper part to the upper ball joint, hub location and angle, all would need to be exactly the same. since the suspension was all redesigned for the 4th gen I doubt they are swappable, but that would be a nice suprise.

Im also sick and tired of these crap brakes, only complaint on an otherwise great vehicle. My wife has an Explorer Sport, and every time I drive it I almost put the kids thru the windshield the first time i hit the brakes, they are so much nicer...

I just bought a spare 4th gen knuckle and plan on making some adapter brackets to try and fit the 14" Explorer Sport rotors, using the stock calipers if possible. My wife's Ex Sport may be down a brake rotor for a little bit for some testing. Hub's are a little smaller, planning on enlarging the sport rotors to 70mm, and also the thickness is a little more 1.25" compared to the 4th gen rotors of 1.21".

the offset is a little different but i'll know more once i get all the parts and start test fitting and making some templates....
 






Here are a few very rough measurements from the 06-10 spindle I just got from the junkyard... Can anyone take the same measurements from an Aviator spindle?

overall length ~ 19.5"
B3am0i4cSTWuMNT252ANhL92ospTndCeWGA=w941-h1267-no?.png


Hub face to upper ball joint center offset ~ 8"
eFzhuOe3TyjR3JEdCwIYMkSxtjPnKVgIX_w=w941-h1267-no?.png


Caliper mounting holes center to center ~ 7.5"
QQtfxtDKXDw4ZOJXZj64XlinjO0mjj4jpg=w1707-h1267-no?.png
 






Noticed your Sport Trac has aftermarket wheels. I am curious to know if your brake trouble started after these wheels were added?
 






So you guys are basically thinking that the 03-05 Aviator spindles wont work on a 06-10 Explorer and 07-10 ST?
 






well, i was wrong, and glad i was!

the aviator spindles match up everywhere its' important with the 4th gen explorer spindles. they have the same size upper and lower ball joint holes, same hubs, hub spacing, etc. Only difference i see is the tie rod end is smaller on the aviator. easily fixed by using an aviator tie rod end when doing the swap. I have a set of aviator spindles and all brake hardware is ordered for the swap. I'll probably start a new thread with pictures when i get it all installed.

:thumbsup:
 



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Cool!...looking forward to seeing that thread, thanks!
 






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