1999 Chevy Suburban Tire and Brake Upgrade
Shedding some weight with a set of Deegan 38s
The right combination of wheels and tires are of utmost importance to your truck and can also be a source of a huge amount of weight. When lifting a truck for either fun or looks, the right wheel and tire package need to be matched to the correct braking system or else the brakes will fade sooner and wear out in no time. Pads and rotors will take a beating based on the total weight exerted on them by not only the weight of the truck, but that of the wheels and tires as well. Our upgrade for this 1999 Suburban 1500 4x2 was to decrease the tire and wheel size to lighten things up a bit by decreasing both the size and width of the tire to directly reduce the total weigh as well as lower the rolling resistance on the road to take a little more stress off of the braking system.
Our Suburban spends an equal amount of time on road as it does playing in the dirt and the decision was made to make a switch to a slightly smaller tire, with less width to make city driving and maneuvering a little more approachable when setting for a U-turn and not have so many near misses in narrow parking lots. The decision to with a smaller tire did not take away from its off road presence as our choice to go with 315/70R17 Deegan 38 tires with Mickey Thompson Sidebiter II 17x9 wheels representing a one-two punch of street performance and off-road capabilities that could not be better. The Deegan 38 tire line was developed in conjunction with off road racing legend Brian Deegan and feature aggressive treads for off-road performance, wide outer voids for self-cleaning ability and tight inner void sections for reduced noise and greater contact area on the streets.
Even though we have reduced the total weight significantly in our tire and wheel choices, it still required a brake upgrade in the form of EBC slotted and dimpled rotors as well as a set of EBC Yellowstuff pads. The dimpled rotor by EBC allows pad degassing" without drilling rotor holes which on occasion will develop rotor cracks. Our rotors also feature wide aperture slots which actually draw cool air under the brake pad and rotor interface and help cool the temperature of the pad contacts which can hit temperatures of 1000 degrees during heavy braking and could cause brake fade or loss of brake effect. The full sweep slots on the rotor helps remove dirt, dust, debris, and water from the braking area and at the same time it maintains a flat parallel pad surface for the life of the brake pad set.
Follow along as we head over to Advantage Auto in Temecula, CA and have our '99 Suburban serviced by their pros.
This 1999 Suburban had a good life rolling around on Mickey Thomson Baja MTZ 325/65R18s with a set of 18x10 RBP 91 wheels and while that is a perfectly capable off road tire and wheel setup, the rubber had little life left and we wanted to switch to a combination street and dirt tire rather that have a dedicated dirt tire. Also we were interested in keeping the rolling mass down as well, as can be seen here in both height and width.
After we pulled the tires, we inspected the rotors for their condition and noticed that they had seen their life expectancy as well. These rotors have been turned twice now and have exceeded the amount of surfacing that is allowable.
We set to work unbolting the caliper brackets and took the bracket and caliper off as one piece and since we were planning on installing new pads, we pulled those out to have a look.
We were planning on doing a complete inspection going all the way down to check the condition of the inner and outer wheel bearings for wear and tear such as pitting or loose roller bearings. We first pulled the cotter pin off of the spindle, and removed the spindle nut to pull the rotor off.
Once the rotor was off we inspected the bearings and noticed that they were pretty worn and decided to put new ones on since we had disassembled the hub down this far. We order a new set from our local auto parts store
The spindle is a critical component as well and you should clean it with a rag and remove all the old grease. Look for heat cracks or any defects that might cause the spindle to fail. Especially when you're running oversized wheels and tires, the added weight can cause heat buildup and abnormal wear.
The pads had also seen better days as they had deep grooves in them from the rotor and were almost down to the metal. The stock brake pads have been doing extra duty for a long time stopping our previous 18x10 wheels and 35-inch tires.
With the new and old wheel bearings next to each other, you can see why the decision was made to replace them. We will be packing them with grease to keep them properly lubricated throughout their life.
We properly lubricated our bearings using this nifty bearing packer contraption that, through compression, inserts copious amounts of grease in every crevice in and around the rollers insuring that everything is well lubed.
With the bearings now installed, it was time to prep the new EBC slotted and dimpled rotors. We blasted a little cleaner to remove the protective coating that came from the factory. This will ensure that these rotors will hook up without having to burn off the coating while driving.
We took the time to liberally coat the inside of the outer hub with grease where the bearing will sit, as this helps in reducing friction and heat buildup.
Since were going all in for this upgrade, new cotter pins were on the list too. Always using a new cotter pin will insure less chances of breaking because of stress or just plain being worn out.
We used synthetic caliper grease on the caliper pins to prevent any squeals. And as always, we inspected the pins before reinstallation, but found no significant wear so the old ones went back on.
Before we could fit the new EBC pads and reinstall the caliper, we had to return the cylinder to its original location with a brake piston compressor tool.
The EBC Yellowstuff pads dropped right in and are a significant improvement over stock brake pads. They have a huge amount of stopping power and don't fade as badly under hard braking conditions. After we installed the pads, we bolted up the caliper back to the rotors.
With the brake pads, rotors and wheel bearings all squared away, the technician at Advantage Automotive suggested we pop open the brake fluid reservoir and have a look. It's a good thing we did, as that fluid was cooked!
The master cylinder was clamped shut and pressurized to flush out the old brake fluid and refilled with clean fluid. No pumping the brake pedal on this job! It made short work of this process and had the brake system bone dry in no time.
To complete the cleanup, we scrubbed the brake reservoir with a rag to get rid of any residue that might contaminate the new clean fluid.
After our brake system was properly bled, it was filled back up with new fluid, and using another vacuum system and we made the necessary adjustments to ensure that our new brakes can do their job.
Our new 315/70R17 Deegan 38 tires with Mickey Thompson Sidebiter II 17x9 wheels look so good mounted up on our Suburban! It will perform in the dirt and be pleasant to ride on in the street. With this new combo were able to shed 14 lbs per wheel, taking a significant amount of weight off the braking system. Along with the new wheels bearings, and EBC brake parts, we'll be confident in our 'Burban's off road abilities once again