Building an Off-road Rig? – Don’t Forget This

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.

Options

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.

4WAAM-Dynatrac-ProGrip-Brake-System_2

William Connor

As the Editor, William is responsible for all the good, the bad, the ugly and the indifferent that happens at 4WAAM. William brings a wide range of experience to this role having been a cook, a painter, a machinist, part time mechanic, computer programmer, and writer. He also wields a freely shared opinion on just about everything., just ask him.

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Recon Consumer

Shocker. The Jeep community is no different that any other auto communities. They would rather slap a big ass lift and tires and all kinds of other shit on their Jeeps and never address their brakes. Just like the others who want to put the biggest motor in their car and never address their brakes. This is why LCG Offroad set ups are the way to go. I have never seen a set up with 40’s go anywhere my 33’s can’t go. My rim diameter is the same as stock wider and bigger offset, up graded rotors and calipers and… Read more »

I agree with most of your points. I have on the other hand watched 40’s go places 33’s could not. Both vehicles eventually made it to the top of the obstacle but the 40’s were able to take a direct approach and the vehicle on 33’s had to work exceptionally hard and was aided with a winch. LCG builds are great but not perfect for every situation. There are definitely reasons for both.

Recon Consumer

My philosophy of my Jeep build is simple. I drive a 14 year old TJ everyday it is a tool just like a wrench in my tool box. It does not sit in a driveway till I decide to wanna go pay to go “offroading”. I do not beat on my Jeep intentionally for fun. It only run 3.5″ of lift with high offset wheels for stability and 33″ tires instead of over lifting and making the Jeep top heavy. I utilized steel high line fenders on all corners for more tire clearance, I hunt and this is my way… Read more »