Upgrading the brakes on your ride may seem like a difficult and expensive proposition, leaving many to wonder if it’s even worth the effort. Fact is, it’s more of a necessity than an option. Let us explain. Pickup owners are notoriously fond of upgrading their rides in an effort to improve the looks, performance, or both. The first object many owners change are the tires, usually upping the size and aggressiveness, which also adds weight. Combine this with the second most popular upgrade, a power-adding tuner, and you’ll quickly find how woefully inadequate the factory brakes are while potentially blowing through their useful life at an accelerated rate.
Fortunately, the folks at EBC have developed solutions that improve both brake life and performance without breaking the bank. A direct replacement, EBC pads and rotors can easily be installed in your driveway with basic tools and a bit of patience. The company offers several grades of pads and rotors with our favorite combination being Orange Stuff Extra Duty pads combined with 3GD slotted and dimpled rotors.
Engineered specifically for the rigors of towing, hauling, and off-roading, EBC’s Extra Duty brake pads are constructed of an eco-friendly carbon granule material, which is easy on rotors while also producing minimal dust. The pads carry a GG rating for friction and remain effective past 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit, well beyond what is experienced during typical heavy towing use. Complementing the pads are the 3GD rotors. The rotors’ three grooves create an air channel that helps gases created during braking escape and cools the brakes by up to 200 degrees compared to standard rotors.
EBC claims coverage for nearly 99 percent of the truck and SUV market, so finding a set of binders for your ride should be easy. Follow along as we give a quick run through of just how easy it can be to replace your brakes. Mind you, each vehicle will be slightly different, but the theory remains consistent across the board.
| Stopping power is often overlooked when larger tires or more power are added. Fortunately, there are solutions in the aftermarket to remedy this situation without dropping a ton of coin.
| Our test vehicle for this endeavor was an ’02 Chevrolet Silverado 2500. While the parts are a bit larger, the basic principles can be applied to any vehicle equipped with disc brakes.
| It’s critically important to inspect your brakes regularly to ensure everything is functioning normally. When inspecting a recent purchase, we discovered the previous owner did not heed this advice. The front rotors were extremely worn, with one side being almost paper-thin, indicating a sticking caliper piston condition existed for quite some time. Note the difference in material thickness between the factory rotor and the EBC unit.
| EBC Extra Duty Pad And 3GD Brake Rotor Upgrade
| Most disc-brake pads have a wear indicator that will begin to squeal when the friction material nears the end of its available life. When these warnings are ignored, you can actually run a pad down so far that the friction material is gone and you’re left with metal-on-metal contact. Our new EBC Extra Duty pads come painted orange and have a red break-in surface coating, which helps the new pads seat to the rotors quickly.
| After years of faithful service, brake rotors can oftentimes become stuck on the vehicle. A gentle tap with a dead blow hammer will typically break the bond and free the rotor. Sometimes, though, more extreme, heavier hammers are needed. Pro tip: Ensure the parking brake isn’t set when working on the rear brakes, and look for retaining clips on wheel studs left over from assembly if this is the vehicle’s first brake replacement.
| Before installing the new pads, the brake caliper’s pistons will need to be returned to their fully inserted position. While there are special tools you can buy for this, we’ve had great results using the old pad and a pair of clamps. For two-piston calipers, ensure you compress both evenly. You’ll also need to have the bleeder screw cracked open with a way to capture the expelled fluid handy.
| EBC’s 3GD rotors are directional, so it’s important to pay attention to the applied markings when installing on the axle. The black Geomet coating helps to prevent corrosion during storage and shipping and on the areas of the rotor not in contact with the pads during use.
| For vehicles with floating calipers—which is the vast majority of them—it’s important to adequately lube the caliper slide pin before reinstalling. Not applying an antiseize compound to this part may result in a stuck caliper and uneven wear, as seen previously.
| Included with the Extra Duty brake pads are these piston shims from NUCAP. These shims clip into the brake caliper piston and work to isolate the pad from the piston, resulting in less noise and improved overall performance.
| Before heading out to break in the new grabbers, you’ll need to find a buddy and bleed the brakes to purge all of the air from the system. A full brake job, with no complications on a four-wheel-drive pickup, takes us roughly 2 hours. If it’s your first time or if you need to change wheel bearings, allow a bit longer.