We are revisiting our ’08 Chevrolet Silverado 3500 HD LTZ 4x4 crew cab dualie, ROQ Crusher, owned by LA radio station KROQ’s Jay “Lightning” Tilles one more time. This go-round, we are asking the age-old question: How to give more positive braking performance driving around in a beefed-up beast. The braking system on our 3500 came from GM ready and willing to stop its already healthy 6,400lbs, given the factory setup. But in its present form, our HD now tips the scale at exactly 10,000 lbs. With the added weight, stopping distance shot up dramatically and has lead to unsafe driving conditions out on the road. Not to mention, an overworked stock system prone to brake fade and pads ground down in no time flat. This truck is somewhat of a daily. Lightning drives the truck to promotional events across SoCal and uses it to tow and haul, so something had to be done.
A top choice to give Lightning a big brake upgrade is Wilwood, a leader in braking systems for all types of vehicles. Upgrading the stock XX-inch system with its four-piston calipers to a set of Wilwood-designed, two-piece, 16-inch disks with six-piston calipers was a must. Especially given all the extra weight that had been added to our Chevy in the form of a 12-inch lift, dual reservoir Bulletproof shocks in front and Atlas leaf springs in the rear with 24x10 American Force wheels shod with 37-inch Toyo tires. Those poor stockers never had a chance and were just getting thoroughly abused. To give our man Lightning some piece of mind and a stopping distance shorter than a container ship, these Wilwood brakes were the answer.
| With all the parts laid out, our Wilwood 16-inch Big Brake Kit seems simple enough, and it is. Within just a few hours time, our HD will have all the stopping power it so desperately needs after gaining a few thousand pounds.
Bud’s Diesel in Stanton, California, was our go-to shop again due to the shop’s long track record of experience with large, diesel-powered trucks. In the crew’s capable hands, we were sure our HD would gain more positive braking feedback, while decreasing stopping distance, giving our buddy Lightning some confidence while towing his boat or dirtbike-laden toy hauler. Follow along as we give this ’08 Silverado 3500 HD a Wilwood Big Brake upgrade.
| Although not part of the kit, we ordered a set of braided steel brake Goodridge lines from Wilwood for a little extra added security. And they look cool.
| We removed the front wheel to expose the brake system. The techs at Bud’s Diesel started to disassemble the two-piece hub and unbolted the previously installed 10-lug adapter to accept the 24x10 American Force Scope wheels.
| Here is what the stock configuration looks like. It’s still a two-piece hub, but the stock setup is for an eight-lug.
| With the outer hub and adapter unbolted, we moved on to unbolting the caliper from its bracket. The caliper and bracket were tossed in the scrap heap because we would be installing new versions of each from the kit.
| Now that the caliper and bracket were removed, we were ready to lift off the disc, which would also be heading for the junk pile. The caliper and brake lines would be removed a little later, so we just hung them out of the way for now.
| These Wilwood discs are two pieces, and we had to assemble its many perimeter button-headed bolts. The process is very tedious, but it is very important to get them all threaded in by hand before attaching the hat and tightening the bolts to 25lb-ft.
| As you can see, there is no comparison. The stock braking surface on these XX discs were no match to the Wilwood 16-inch two-piece vented version. The black surface will also look great next to all the custom parts our HD is wearing.
| With the discs assembled and waiting to be installed, we moved on to the caliper-mounting bracket, which will attach to the stock mounting location using new hardware from the kit. We put thread locker on the new mounting bolts and tightened them down.
| The new disc slipped over the mounting studs with ease, and we pushed it back as far as it could go to seat it. We slid it flush up against the hub surface and threaded on a spare nut to keep it in place.
| When compared to the stock calipers, our new Wilwood setup is visually larger and designed differently. You can see three of the six pistons from this angle. Plus, the bright-red paint scheme is going to add to the visual appeal of our Big Brake Kit.
| We tossed our old calipers in the scrap pile and installed the new Wilwood calipers over the studs on the new bracket. The calipers are designated as driver and passenger side, and we determined that by ensuring the largest pistons are at the rotor exit end in relation to the disc rotation.
| With the caliper properly seated, we threaded on the mounting nuts and made sure our caliper was properly centered. We installed the brake pads and screwed the stainless brake lines to the brass inlet elbow on the inner side of the caliper.
| The new Wilwood caliper was locked in place. We routed the brake line up into the upper mount, screwed it into the hardline, and used the factory clip to lock it into place.
| With the brake line properly installed, we locked it in place using the rubber-coated hub mount. We went an extra step to prevent rubbing and premature wear and zip tied it to the upper control arm.
| In just a few hours in the shop, our Big Brake install was done! All that was left was to bolt up the 10-lug adapter and mount our wheels.
Amazon Affiliate links are our attempt to show you real-world pricing and availability for the products we review and install, and while the Amazon links are separate from editorial and advertising, the Truck Trend Network may receive a commission on purchases made through our posts.