When a truck leaves the factory, all the specifications are set for that particular model based on the engine size, total weight, and a few other variables. Any change to that formula would require compensation for the alteration. One of the easiest, and most common, upgrades on trucks of any age is adding a wheel and tire setup. It’s easy enough to go down to your neighborhood tire shop and get a new quartet of rolling stock to improve the look of any truck in a very short amount of time. What buyers seldom realize is that with size comes weight. Our ’08 Sierra came with stock tires and wheels before it got an upgrade to what you see below. And that is what necessitated larger brakes. Our 20x10 Black Rhino wheels and 33x12.5x20 Atturo Trail Blade MT tires added approximately 95lbs when added together, which accounts for 190lbs on the truck’s two front contact points.
The added rotating mass has put a strain on our stock brake setup and has increased stopping distance, not to mention causing premature wear of the brake system in terms of pad wear and overheated discs leading to warping. The easiest way to stop all this from happening, not mention give the driver piece of mind, is to upgrade at least one component of the braking system to accommodate the extra weight. That’s where our big brake kit from Baer comes into play. It replaces the factory 13-inch discs with a set of drilled and slotted 14-inch discs, which have an extended bracket to allow the factory caliper to be re-used. The added braking surface and more performance-oriented design will decrease the stopping distance and significantly reduce brake fade due to undersized or overworked components.
| Our ’08 GMC Sierra Crew Cab had just received a new set of 20x10 Black Rhino wheels and these 33x12.5x20 Atturo Trail Blade MT tires. The added rolling weight was just overpowering the stock brakes. The decision to upgrade to a big brake kit was a must for both safety and stopping power.
So, while this is a quick improvement, it will make a vast difference in how our Sierra stops. Here at Truckin we were lucky enough to head our very own state-of-the-art in-house repair center and do this install with the help of the Tech Center Manager Jason Scudellari. Follow along as we spend a couple of quick hours making this ‘08 GMC Sierra safer with a 14-inch Big Brake Kit from Baer.
| We called up Baer and ordered up a set of its 14-inch, one-piece drilled, slotted zinc plated rotors. We would be replacing the front brake discs only.
| The first step was to remove the wheels and tires. As mentioned before, the factory brakes were just not cutting it with our new wheel setup, so the rotor and caliper will be tossed into the scrap pile. And since only the front brakes will be addressed, the rear wheels and tires stayed where they were.
| Using our trusty impact wrench, we quickly buzzed out the top and bottom caliper bolts. The bolts themselves would also be tossed, so no need to clean them up as we normally would have.
| We pulled off the caliper from the bracket and hung it up with a strong piece of wire. It was tucked safely out of the way.
| The brake pads were then removed from the caliper bracket and we went ahead and unbolted it, as well.
| With disassembly almost complete, all that was left to do was to unscrew the retainer screw from the disc and removed the two. We were left with a bare hub.
| The Baer brake kit came with a new set of bolts for the extension bracket and gave them a quick coating of blue Permatex medium-strength threadlocker. It’s just a little insurance for the bolts themselves.
| With the bolts all coated in threadlocker, we went ahead and hand-tightened the supplied 14mmx40mm bolts into the intermediate bracket. It’s recommended to grind down any casting flash on the mounting points, if any. We were lucky no casting flash was present, and no grinding was necessary.
| Baer recommends you tighten down the bracket bolts to 110lb-ft and pull on the bracket as you are bolting it down to properly align it. So we did exactly that, and re-read the instructions after this picture was taken.
| With the bracket installed correctly and torqued down to spec, we were ready to move on to the mounting the disc.
| When compared to the factory disc, the Baer 14-inch disc dwarfs it in both size and performance. Being cross-drilled and slotted it will stop our Sierra like a champ.
| Before we went ahead and re-installed the caliper, we gave it a few quick sprays of a water-based cleaner and degreaser to make it all clean and let it hang for a bit before the disk went back into place.
| We installed the disc back onto the hub. Unlike the factory setup, though, it did not require a retainer screw. We did, however, thread on a lug nut to properly seat the disc and keep it from moving around.
| It was now time to re-install the caliper bracket, and lock it down to the Baer intermediate bracket. We used the caliper mounting bracket bolts that were supplied in the kit to do so.
| Here is shot of how the caliper bracket and the Baer bracket fit together.
| With all the mounting bolts torqued to spec, our new Baer big brake kit was taking shape. It was time to slide in the pads and bolt in the factory caliper.
| You may notice, as we did, a small amount of the caliper extends out beyond the outer diameter of the rotor. This is a purposeful design feature that allows the caliper to clear the larger rotor and has no effect on performance.
| With the new Baer brake kit fully installed, we mounted up the wheels and tires. Our bigger brakes look much more proportionate in the larger wheel space, and more importantly, will stop our truck more efficiently.