So you just purchased that new Jeep, truck, FJ, whatever your preference is, off-road vehicle. You have a lift picked out, bigger wheels and tires, bumpers, armor, winch, snorkel, exhaust and who knows what else. Know what you forgot?
You forgot that with all that new weight, height, and the additional rotational mass of larger tires that you still need to stop.
Why does this matter you ask?
If the overall mass of your vehicle is more than the available braking power you will eventually hit an object you should have avoided. Even at lower off-road speeds not having enough stopping power can lead to an accident. Rolling down a hill and you are unable to apply enough force to the wheels to allow you to lock up the tires and create the friction you need on gravel or dirt.
With large enough tires and enough weight, the risk on road is even more magnified. The current JK Unlimited we have for testing suffers from just such a scenario. With 37 inch tires and a high center of gravity, the brakes are not strong enough to engage the ABS on dry pavement.
What can you do?
Seriously I know that’s the dumbest question we could ask. You upgrade the brakes of course. The better question is “What are my options?”
You could do what many hot rodders have done over the years. Cobble together a patchwork of stock components from other vehicles, share that on the forums and watch less mechanically inclined people try to replicate one automotive savant “tried and true” method.
You could also do what the rest of the populace does and purchase an engineered system that integrates with your stock vehicles system for effortless and flawless performance without going to the store and trying to describe to the parts guy that you have a 2015 Jeep with 98 corvette brakes and a master cylinder from an Edsel.
There are a couple of ways the aftermarket upgrades brake systems. The less expensive option is to change to larger rotors and new brackets. This changes the rigidity of the mounts and gives a larger surface area for heat dissipation. Upgraded brake pads with better material compounds are included in some kits.
The other option is a full replacement of the rotors, pads, and calipers. This option is much more labor intensive as it requires bleeding of your brake system. On some newer vehicles, this will sometimes require special tools to bleed the ABS system or to reset the system.
Two of our Featured Partners offer systems for Jeeps. Currently, we have the Dynatrac ProGrip system undergoing testing. Watch this space in the coming weeks to see how it improved our braking and made our Jeep a whole lot safer.