“big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

“big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby WoodButcher [OP] » July 1st 2011, 4:05am

I did the “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD. I have heard both pros and cons on this subject and I’m glad I took the plunge. The brakes feel firmer, there is more travel in the pedal but I think they are better. I have not had a panic stop yet and don’t plan to try it as my tools in the truck are in a state of organized disarray and I’m quite content where they are. I did this upgrade because of the constant overload state I drive in daily, I change the pads as often as my oil and burn rotors all too often. The first pic in the bunch is a pad that came off with my old calipers, you’ll see cracking caused by heat. It is not badly worn but it sure ain’t new. I have a receipt that says it is,,,, three weeks.

Image

First I ordered parts for this from rock auto, with info scoured from a number of different threads on this and the other site. They were wrong for my van, maybe good for an AWD? I sent them back and made the trip to the local auto parts and drove the counter man nuts. Finally found what I needed and went home.
Well I installed the new calipers w/ pads and they worked but there was space, the caliper is meant to be on a thicker rotor, 1 3/8” I think. The rotor on my van is 1”, which leaves a BIG gap. I ran it a day or two like this, at start up you needed to step on the brake a couple of times to extend the cylinder otherwise the first time you used the brake you had none. At rest the cylinder would retract and the master hasn’t enough fluid to run the bigger front calipers in one stroke. The rest of the pics are of the shims I made and installation. I used an old pad with a 1/8” steel welded to that tacked to the ears on back of the new pads. I chose to install the shim pad to the outside for a couple of reasons, easier of course but also I found after a day the banjo bolt had rubbed on the frame and loosened, starting to leak. By putting the shims on the outside of the rotor it moved the cylinder out into the wheel. I may add another 1/8” plate, We’ll see how things work out,,,

Centric Caliper part #- CEN 141.66014


shim and pad
Image

tacked together
Image

ready to install
Image

she fits, still some space
Image

all snugged up
Image
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby T.Neff » July 1st 2011, 5:17pm

WB-any chance you don't have all the air out from bleeding the brakes??.If you don't that would place the pad at rest further away or require you to pump the brakes at first.Sometimes it take alot to get rid of the air in the lines.That is as you pumping the brakes to bleed them,the air trapped and is moving back and forth,and until you get to that section where the air is trapped,you don't have the air totally out of the lines.Sometimes you have to let it gravity bleed just cracking the bleeders alittle never letting the master run out.Then pump or power bleed them.There is a lip in the calipers that allows the piston to go out until contact is made and then draws it back just alittle for the next time you apply the brakes.It is because of that system working that way is the reason why I think you still have air in the lines or you have the wrong parts for it.I don't think you needed to make shims for it.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby smokinjoe » July 2nd 2011, 12:57am

So now you have to weld each old pad back to each new pad? I like the idea of bigger stronger brakes but I dont think I would trust shimmed out pads. Brake parts go through alot & adding more variables is hardly ever a good idea (mechanicly speaking). Any similar upgrade I have done was calipers and rotors to avoid mismatches.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby WoodButcher [OP] » July 2nd 2011, 6:39am

T.Neff wrote:WB-any chance you don't have all the air out from bleeding the brakes??.If you don't that would place the pad at rest further away or require you to pump the brakes at first.Sometimes it take alot to get rid of the air in the lines.That is as you pumping the brakes to bleed them,the air trapped and is moving back and forth,and until you get to that section where the air is trapped,you don't have the air totally out of the lines.Sometimes you have to let it gravity bleed just cracking the bleeders alittle never letting the master run out.Then pump or power bleed them.There is a lip in the calipers that allows the piston to go out until contact is made and then draws it back just alittle for the next time you apply the brakes.It is because of that system working that way is the reason why I think you still have air in the lines or you have the wrong parts for it.I don't think you needed to make shims for it.


No, no air in the line. I use a vacum to bleed. After my first vehicle with ABS I never trusted the old methods.
Didn't know about the "lip" you spoke of but it makes sense, as pads wear the action would become different over time, that would compensate for wear.
The possibility that these are the wrong caliper is one of the reasons I started this thread. The info I was able to find was schetchy to say the least. Using what numbers I could find here and on the other forum, cross referencing and double checking still got me the wrong caliper from Rock auto so I went to the local auto parts myself. That gap was large enough to make me worry I'd overextend the piston when it wore therefore the shim.



smokinjoe wrote:So now you have to weld each old pad back to each new pad? I like the idea of bigger stronger brakes but I dont think I would trust shimmed out pads. Brake parts go through alot & adding more variables is hardly ever a good idea (mechanicly speaking). Any similar upgrade I have done was calipers and rotors to avoid mismatches.


For me to tack the new pads to the shim is quick and easy, making the shim in the first place took a little thought but if the replacement takes more than 10 minutes I better give away my mask.
Brake parts do go through hell, no question about that especially when overloaded and abused like mine. If you could see those pads I took off in person it would blow your mind. They are brand new and cracked through, I have over the years replaced them with every brand and style I could find with no great success. All have failed in some way, shape or form. Once I had a pad separate or delaminate from the plate! The one I photographed was a "middle of the road" pad that I may have gotten 3 months out of. The ceramics seemed to be the longest lasting but I think they are what caused my rotors to warp.
The "big brakes" have a thicker pad and slightly more contact area, I haven't noticed any residual heat yet and they do feel better than they did last month when I did the pads and rotors.

If these hold up, and I'm thinking they will, I might change the way the shim is attatched, possibly weld to the caliper itself rather than floating like it is so that the pads can be changed out normally.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby T.Neff » July 3rd 2011, 12:40am

I agree.I think you have the wrong caliper.You should be able to use the 2500 truck series caliper without any shims.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby WoodButcher [OP] » July 3rd 2011, 1:54am

T.Neff wrote:I agree.I think you have the wrong caliper.You should be able to use the 2500 truck series caliper without any shims.

I can use this one without shims, I've been talking with a guy on the other forum about it. At the LAPS I checked the 2500 series and IIRC it was the same size piston as my stocker, I'm not sure why but I looked at it, without exaggeration I had a dozen calipers on the counter....
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby T.Neff » July 4th 2011, 11:35pm

I am really confused on why you are having these problems.Mine bolted right on and have the larger piston.I'll try to find the part numbers again and post that.I doesn't sound reasonable,but is it possible that your rotors are that far under spec??.You did say your going threw pads......... :shrug:
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby WoodButcher [OP] » July 5th 2011, 12:49am

New rotors, just a caliper meant for a 1 1/2" rotor and a 1" rotor.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby T.Neff » July 5th 2011, 7:31am

The part numbers are from a 1985 C20.

Calipers are Cardone rebuilt units:Part numbers,184122 and 184123

The pads are Wagners part number SX153.

This is are a bolt on with the larger pistons and pads.

I bought it at Advance Auto.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby WoodButcher [OP] » July 5th 2011, 10:58pm

T.Neff wrote:The part numbers are from a 1985 C20.
Calipers are Cardone rebuilt units:Part numbers,184122 and 184123
The pads are Wagners part number SX153.
This is are a bolt on with the larger pistons and pads.
I bought it at Advance Auto.


Thanks for the info T. I appreciate it. I don't recall the vehicle I used for reference but I'm sure it was a 3/4 ton, went to advance auto today with the part numbers you gave,

Image

While I may not have had the pads perfectly flat in the caliper it was close, you can see 1 5/16". The calipers I have open to 1 7/16" w/ the pads installed no shim, so were in the same ball park. As I stated in the first post they do bolt on and they do work. Very well in fact but it does have flaws. The banjo bolt hitting could be something peculiar to my van? maybe, she is old and beat on but I'll keep her running. The space? well, that is to be expected if the part is made for a bigger rotor. In trying to find rotor thickness on the '85 C20 I found this "1.215 in. minimum thickness;" found here http://www.partstrain.com/ShopByDepartm ... URBAN/1985 so that says to me that the piston has a good bit of throw but when the pads wear, I don't know and prefer not to find out. A guy on the other forum is running a caliper from a G3500 and is having PS issues, Is it related? dunno.

Check the next time you have the wheel off see how far the piston is extended when the brake is applied, I might just sell you on this shim-thing yet! :lol:
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby T.Neff » July 6th 2011, 5:53am

WB-I am suggesting the scratch protector would hit the rotor long before the piston pushed out.It's that tang that you would have to include in your measurements.I don't know,but I am thinking a bigger rotor doesn't mean a thicker rotor.The diameter might be bigger.The other thing is the attaching bolts are going to limit how far out the caliper slides out and prevents the piston from coming out.So it is I am thinking the same range of movement as the stock caliper because of the bolts are the same ones.Might you consider new rotors over min specs as far as the thickness?? .I am honestly kind of confused.I thought i was suggesting answers because you where having a problem with the brake upgrade.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby WoodButcher [OP] » July 6th 2011, 11:00pm

LOL, no I'm not having problems with the upgrade, in fact I'm quite pleased with the outcome. Thanks, I appreciate the thought. My concern would be anyone thinking this was straight up, bolt in, no problems. Unless we find the caliper made for this van w/ the bigger pad and piston that they never made we need to post and share this info.

I don't think the piston itself would pop out, one of my concerns was the "self adjustment" feature.
Can't recall who I was talking with this about but as the brake pads wear the piston sleeve hangs on the piston so that it does not retract fully every time it is used only enough to release the rotor. The master cylinder does not move enough fluid to close these calipers from fully open every time. After sitting for a short time unused mine would open completely leaving me without brake the first time I stepped on the pedal.
Another possibility though I think remote would be a long hot trip for the brakes. I don't do it but I see people tailgating or too close on the highway always using the brake to slow down, stupid.... Anyway, the concern would be the piston extended on worn pads and the heat build-up. The piston was not built for any lateral force, a hot day, stop and go driving, maybe warped rotors, (they ain't fun!) bad news. By shimming the outside as I have done I'm bringing that torque back in closer to the bolts, (look where they are threaded) and closing up the piston.

I have done the research and the rotor for the calipers we have are thicker, yours by a minimum of 2/10ths of an inch and I think mine maybe a little more. Thanks again and I apologize if I caused any confusion. Your part numbers are a welcome addition to this thread and I would advise anyone doing this upgrade to use them over mine but to be avare of the possibilities.
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Re: “big brake upgrade” on my ’97 2WD

Postby T.Neff » July 7th 2011, 3:48am

Cool WB.There is rubbers on the calipers too where the bolts go threw.If you where to look at that,they are stepped to help pull back the pads.

I'll take my leave of this thread.Been good talking to you.

Thanks
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