Errrrmaaahhhhgerrrrrrd, what a ****ing journey this was. I finished in time for my two week vacation of oversand driving and boat pulling, but it was close. Time to post my final impressions. Sorry for being a little off topic in this thread and this post, but I like to try and put everything I can out there for people searching and I don't want to make another post for the breather and studs.
StopTech Big Brake Kit from SOS Performance
SOS - Great company to deal with. Very helpful when I had questions, worked with me to get the parts to me as fast as possible. I wouldn't hesitate for even a second
to deal with them again.
SOS StopTech Brake Kit - Fantastic kit. The brackets that SOS makes are very, very nice. The instructions are good and, honestly, dealing with the installation of the brake kit was BY FAR the easiest part of my two month nightmare. Most of my working on cars has been bolting and unbolting, but the metal-slicing required by this kit was not difficult. The caliper shields are trivial to cut with an angle grinder. Cutting the rear caliper bracket was more difficult but, honestly, with the way everything is situated it's way
easier to cut too little than too much. SOS gives you a template for doing this, which I forgot about and didn't use. When I did the second one I cut a lot more out of the bracket initially but still had some grinding to do to get it all the way there. I've used an angle grinder before but probably not for anything of this magnitude, so I wouldn't be deterred by this if you're not a metalworking expert.
The kit only gives you 4 lines and does not include the frame-to-rear-axle lines. The rear lines were also cut very short and I wound up using one man-a-fre line on one side. The lines seemed to be very well made, though.
StopTech Brakes - The brakes are very good. To be honest - for off roading or driving alone I think the cost may not be worth it. If you are pulling a trailer, especially with 33" tires and above, now you're getting into the zone where this kit starts to make a lot
of sense. This was the furthest I have driven with my boat and stopping is a lot less sketchy than it used to be. With the stock brakes, it just never felt like there was enough power and fade resistance to be confident. Now there definitely is.
The pedal is not as firm as I was expecting, but I believe this is my fault. See recommendations. It has also gotten a lot better as the brakes have gotten some miles on them.
The design of the calipers is beautiful. It was so gratifying not to put the crappy, easily binding rear calipers back in the car...or even the front calipers with their absolutely ridiculous guaranteed-to-rust-in-place pad pins. It's just a way WAY better design.
1.) Do not, under any circumstances
, allow the master cylinder to empty out completely. Obvious to some, but I had just never had a brake job where I needed to have the lines disconnected for more than a couple minutes. I bled the brakes, I did the procedure in the manual (letting the pump run out, pumping the pedal 20+ times, etc.), but I still couldn't get them to firm up. I brought it to the dealer to bleed by unlocking the ABS using the, "intelligent tester" tool, but I'm still not 100% sure all of the air is out of the system. At some point I will probably bleed them again.
2.) I went out and did hard stops to bed the brakes, but I think they are still improving as they break in. It may be that the brakes are so big for the truck that you need to do a more intense bedding process. As we drove around during vacation, the pedal definitely firmed up even more.
3.) I contacted SOS about the bleed procedure for the dual bleed screw calipers and the response was, "I typically do the passenger side outside bleeder first and work my way back to the left side and then repeat two more times"
4.) Since no one has a flare nut torque wrench, I recommend tightening the lines, "a little tighter than you think". I tend to overtighten so I went easy on them, but had a ****load of leaks. Once I went around and gave them another unk! of tightness they were good to go.
5.) It's obvious (please tell me it's obvious to you) that you need good safety glasses when grinding, but I strongly recommend hearing protection and a mask/respirator as well. You're going to be at this for a while and the grinder is loud and metal dust tastes like ****.
ARP Wheel Studs
These are great and I am definitely happy I did them now that I realized how few threads were actually engaged on the stock studs. If I had it to do again, I would strongly consider buying ultra-deep spline nuts and just leaving them the length that they came. Cutting them down and chamfering them was a pain in the ass, not really in my wheelhouse, and you would never notice the super deep lugs in the wheels I have.
Wow, just wow. The dealer called me to tell me the parking brake cable was seized. I wound up going by there because, while I trust this dealer, it just didn't seem seized to me when I took it apart. The cable moved but, as it turns out, it would not extend all the way. Now that it's been replaced, I can definitely feel the difference in the parking brake lever.
I'm trying to use the parking brake a lot more to keep it from seizing again, and I could not be more disappointed in how awful it is. I've driven off with it still engaged several times and barely even noticed. I don't know that I can say I wouldn't have it repaired again, because it just felt sketchy having nothing, but it certainly wasn't even remotely worth the titanic amount of cash that I paid to have it fixed by the dealer. My advice is to leave it alone unless you REALLY REALLY want to do the rear wheel studs. If you do take it apart, I would honestly find the cheapest shop I could to put it back together and then just retorque the bolts on the calipers to make sure that part was done right.
The dealer also discovered my axle seals were leaking, which could have been due to the stock diff breathers and some water I hit last year offroading. I ordered and installed the ARB breather kit in the jack/tools space. I only did the rears, but should probably do the fronts at some point.
Additional stuff I needed or ordered and didn't need:
Lisle 22800 Wheel Stud installer - doesn't fit between stud and hub, not worth it. Just use a bunch of washers but make sure 1.) either the washers fit between the stud and hub, or you cut a notch in them so they fit and don't get jammed in there and 2.) Make sure you use enough washers so you don't ruin your wheel lug, you can easily screw right through the top of the lug.
Legris Composite 3122 Metric 04 53 - This place HopeDirect got me these parts insanely quickly. This is the piece that adapts the 8mm ARB breather kit tube to the 4mm e-locker tube. https://www.hopedirect.com/product/3...RoCMKwQAvD_BwE
Legris Composite 3106 Metric 04 08 - It's not obvious from the picture on the site or the thread I found this in, but this is not just a coupler - it is a reducer from the 8mm ARB tube to the 4mm tube that the elocker uses. You can plug the 3122 above right into this. https://www.hopedirect.com/products?...nect-fittings/
New clips for the rear fender liner - I destroyed these tying to run the ARB tubing a different way. These work perfectly. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0...?ie=UTF8&psc=1
You can see where I pounded the end of the pad retention pin with a punch so that it's now flared instead of tapered. Horrible design for anywhere there is road salt.
Look at the wear on my old passenger rear brake pad. Awful.
I used anti-seize to mark how much of the threads were engaged on the stock studs. Are you comfortable with this? I'm certainly not.
This image speaks for itself.
Sorry for the ****ty phone picture. FJ pulling my boat out of the Pamet River after a long trip with much more confident braking.