Stopping a 6k lb 80 on 38's better than our bone stock LX450 with refreshed brakes. F+R "motorsport grade" brake upgrade.

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Apr 8, 2018
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Squamish, BC
Some of you may follow me on IG and know I’ve been working on this in my spare time for the better part of the past year. Idea came way before when I still lived in NZ and having experience with some of the steeper trails there, but even being back here in BC you can be driving through mountain passes for hours. If it’s one thing the 80 series needs giving attention to in order to modernise the vehicle, imho it is the braking system.

Let’s face it, with everyone’s setup these days the factory brakes just don’t cut it. An 80 can easily weigh 2000+ more lbs, and with larger and heavier wheels and tires that demand more out of your braking system, not just through rotational mass, but increased leverage when going to 35”, 37”, and even 40”+ tires for some of you. Something I think we can all agree on that the stock brakes were never designed for. Even if you’re completely stock and enjoying your truck as so, you can’t deny there’s significantly more cars on the road than there was 25-30+ years ago bringing an ever more importance to accident avoidance..

What’s the best way to improve braking performance? Take a look at your tires, you can have $10k put into your brakes and that won’t do s*** if your tires lock up and don’t have any traction with the ground. Tires account for most of your braking performance. Can you go down to stock tire or reduce your current tire size? Can you switch from a MT to an AT, or an AT to a Highway tire? Can you go to a lighter weight tire? These can all improve your brakes on the road, but hey I’m sure many of us aren’t willing to give up on our MT/AT tires. So what’s next?

Brake bias is the second most important factor in a braking system and is very much related to tire traction. Brake bias is the ratio between front and rear braking power, usually calculated from front and rear brake rotor torque. A good brake bias plays a key role because it takes into account the load on your tires, calculating front and rear weight distribution, not just static, but dynamic on a given rate of deceleration, wheelbase, and centre of gravity.

Unfortunately many people think that because the front brakes typically handle most of the braking forces, you only need to upgrade the front brakes to get a noticeable improvement in braking performance. The crowd that might not be as familiar with tuning brake performance will typically find a caliper from another chassis that might have a larger total piston area and maybe increase the front rotor diameter. This is very much a bad mistake. Most OEM’s will typically be slightly more front biased by a few percent as this creates a safer platform. Whereas going a few percent towards a more rear biased system can become a very unstable platform if you’re rear brakes lock up. Considering most of us on here have more added weight to the rear, I truly believe rear brakes need to be addressed in unison with the fronts.

A heavily front biased braking system will create more strain on the front brakes, overwork them and in turn overheat quicker. Heavily front biased will mean the front brakes may start to play a bigger role in slowing down the rear axle’s rotating assembly than it needs to. Meaning you’re not making much use of your rear brakes.

Why I’m not making this kit to fit under 16” wheels. Many people would probably be disappointed in this, but the calculations just don’t add up. There’s three ways to increase brake rotor torque, either through leverage by increasing the rotor diameter, or by clamping force by increasing the total piston area of your calipers, and last but not least by increasing friction of the pad material. We’re very much limited in high friction pad options for OEM calipers. If we’re looking to keep similar to stock brake pedal travel, we’re looking at such a small increase in brake rotor torque unless we go with larger piston area on all 4 corners and then upgrade the brake master cylinder bore diameter. But even then a larger bore brake master cylinder decreases line pressure given the same amount of pedal pressure(yes you’ll reach it earlier in the pedal travel) and counters the increased clamping force of the pistons.

Why not just a front kit? Most front only kit’s from most of the major motorsport manufacturers are designed to mostly do one thing. Give consistent braking performance by addressing heat soak. Only way to significantly increase braking performance is to address both front and rear. Take a look at how Stoptech does their kits as I believe they are one of the best at what they do with no marketing hype. They typically increase rotor size, which does two things, increase thermal capacity and increase leverage of the braking system. But what most don’t know is that a lot of their kits, if not all, they will actually decrease total piston area for the given platform. This gives a firmer pedal, much more desired in motorsports from most vehicle platforms. Some vehicles are already over-servo’d in factory form, so adjusting total piston area to suite is required.

Here’s my current solution that increases both front and rear brake rotor torque and hits the optimal brake bias I’ve calculated for my rig. The front setup consists of a 14” 2pc brake rotor. I designed the fixed rotor hat that implements the design language I’ve used for another platform I built a big brake kit for. Also introducing the world’s first flip flop caliper adapter that allows the end user to have multiple caliper options to choose. Predominantly designed for either Wilwood’s classic Superlite 4/6 or their more modern, more rigid, and larger Aero 4/6 calipers. But with careful implementation of shims/spacers, may fit other options…

I really do think the rear brakes are the weakest link on our platform. Take a look at the size of the brake pads. These have no thermal capacity and feel pretty comfortable saying they overheat way before the fronts ever do.

For the rear I came up with a “lite” version as I am still working on a full rear upgrade. The lite version implements a high carbon rotor and the highest friction pads I could source for the 80 calipers. Benefits of high carbon is that they’re much more durable, have a higher thermal capacity, and they dissipate heat much faster than traditional iron rotors. I’ve found two quality rotor manufacturers that make rotors for the larger rear 80 rotors. Stoptech and DBA. Stoptech ones are side specific as they’re directionally slotted. And DBA has their T3 rotors(T2 are not high carbon). I”ve found DBA to be slightly lower in price.

In my quest to find high friction pads I found that EBC does make Blue Stuff pads for the 80. Blue Stuff pads have a friction coefficient of around .52 mu through a high heat range. While it’s not uncommon that factory pads can be much lower at .35-.38 mu through a small heat range and dropping significantly once you surpass their heat threshold. Sometimes even dropping down to .20 mu! While Blue Stuff is targeted as a high friction track pad, these differ to most others as they still have quite a lot of cold bite. Brake pad technology has improved quite a bit over the past 5-10 years as not too long ago high friction high heat pads could not be used on the street until you heat them up. Hawk also makes a similar pad that is high friction throughout a high temp range from cold to hot in the HP+, but unfortunately these aren’t available for 80 calipers.

End game for the rears is also a 2pc rotor using a Wilwood Superlite 4 piston caliper and ditching the factory e-brake by going to their electronic parking brake. More to come once I have time to develop these.

There's probably lots that I've missed going over that I've went over on IG over the course of the past year, so other valuable information can be in there, and have a highlights section just on the brake development for the past year if people are interested:
Brake Upgrades = @maysis_fzj81 - https://www.instagram.com/s/aGlnaGxpZ2h0OjE3ODk2OTUzMzI5NTMwNzk4?igshid=YmMyMTA2M2Y=

Here's my initial performance review

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Joined
Apr 8, 2018
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Squamish, BC
To preface this caliper adapter is a prototype and during install experienced a slight interference issue with the steering arm which required some machining but new design that clocks the caliper 15 degrees to solve the interference issue is already being designed.

Introducing the world's first flip flop caliper that gives compatibility with multiple caliper options. Intended to be used with the larger and more modern Wilwood Aero caliper or the classic, more budget Wilwood Superlite caliper. With the use of spacers, shims, can be made compatible with other Wilwood offerings that have same radial mount. More options for the people rather than limiting you to one single choice.

The benefit of the Aero caliper is it uses a larger pad, not just in pad surface area, but pad volume. Larger pad has higher thermal capacity, so heatsoak is less of an issue. The caliper body itself is much larger, adding to better thermal capacity, and far more rigid than the Superlite option.

Benefit of the Superlite caliper is a tried and true design for years, while smaller, these are still also forged so still much stiffer than the factory cast calipers. Superlite option will also have much more clearance to fit under 17" wheels. Still not all 17" wheels will be compatible, think some of the big beefy/thick american style wheel brands....

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Mockup for the rear, plan is to do 2pc as well and ditch the drum parking brake for electronic spot caliper. More to come in the future once further development begins:
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All ARP hardware, rotor bolts are drilled for optional safety wire. Radial mount bolts are also ARP.
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Apr 8, 2018
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Something everyone will love about future rotor changes... Never needing to remove the hub sub-assembly from the spindle to do a rotor swap...

Notice the difference between top and bottom?

Original inboard:
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Outboard mounted rotor ring:
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During the design process I took a poll on who would want to have outboard mounted rotors. Mounting the rotor ring outboard of the aluminum hat now allows you to swap rotor rings without ever having to remove the hub subassembly from the axle! Big win, because we all hate having to do this just to change rotors...

Production hats will have a small lip to help mount the rotors onto the hat while you bolt them in.
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Wow!! And I read the whole thing! 😁. Sounds pretty rad and definitely, a lot of work and research went into this. All that being said that's why I try to keep my rig as light as possible because braking is pretty important. 👍
 
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Cool, but thought you were young to say to toss the ABS pump and/or LPV...
 
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All great information and look forward to seeing what the price point for something like this.
 
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Cool, but thought you were young to say to toss the ABS pump and/or LPV...

If you have read posts regarding deleting the LSPV or done it yourself brake bias is not what it should be that maybe why the OP did not delete the LSPV. @jcardona1 installed a Wilwood proportioning valve and it helps equalize brake bias after deleting the LSPV.
 
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Cool, but thought you were young to say to toss the ABS pump and/or LPV...

If maintaining stock calipers, deleting LSPV would make your vehicle too rear biased in my opinion(potentially unsafe). You can maybe increase front rotor brake torque significantly and remove the LSPV and maybe be ok, but would still recommend a manual proportioning valve to fine tune bias.

Many people won't want to do an ABS delete due to whatever concerns, especially in climates that have wet/icy roads regularly. This still allows for your factory ABS to work due to the brake bias implemented. If you throw off brake bias too much, ABS nearly becomes useless.
 
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How much lighter these are over OEM brakes?

Did your HDJ have the smaller 286mm front rotors or the later 311.4mm?
 
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I saw your (great looking) truck at Cruiser Day yesterday - if I'd seen this before hand I'd have asked for a demo!
 
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When do you expect this to come to market?
 
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How much lighter these are over OEM brakes?

Did your HDJ have the smaller 286mm front rotors or the later 311.4mm?
My 92 FZJ81 had 311. Japan had the 1FZ and bigger brakes a year earlier than NA.


Stock caliper:
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WW Superlite caliper:
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I could have sworn I took photos of the WW Aero caliper but expect it to be about 2lbs heavier than WW Superlite, and still significantly lighter than stock. This also does not include the weight of the required caliper adapters, which are aluminum and don't weigh much.

A replacement 311mm rotor from Centric:
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T4R rotor some others have used as an upgrade(along with t4r calipers):
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And the 2pc 14"x1.25" rotors:
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Notice the higher quality cooling vanes that are directionally curved and have internal fins to help dissipate heat. The rotors also have much more meat to them to help increase thermal capacity. Since you replace the 1pc center section with a 2pc hat design, the aluminum helps dissipate heat even further.

While the 2pc 14" rotors do weight slightly more than the Centric 311mm rotor, they still come in under the 13.3" T4R rotor while being noticeably larger in diameter.
 
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3rd post updated with info on outboard rotor ring assembly that allows you to swap replacement rotor rings without having to remove the hub assembly!
311mm >> 13.3" T4R >> 14"x1.25" 2pc

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Design quality of the Wilwood Spec 37 rotors shine. I've personally never seen directional vanes this good on any motorsport brand rotor rings...
 
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I saw your (great looking) truck at Cruiser Day yesterday - if I'd seen this before hand I'd have asked for a demo!
You know I was actually wanting to let others share in the experience, it's really that impressive. Easily the best upgrade I've done. Give people a go at getting a feel of how much more the brakes are responsive to pedal input. During my 2hr drive home I kept testing them on the open highway, how confidently and quickly I can scrub speed from 80/90kmh down to 40kmh without breaking a sweat, even on heavy 38" tires.

But alas I completely forgot to let people try it out. But if anyone's ever in the Squamish area, feel free to give me a ping and we'll take it out for some tests!
 
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3rd post updated with info on outboard rotor ring assembly that allows you to swap replacement rotor rings without having to remove the hub assembly!
311mm >> 13.3" T4R >> 14"x1.25" 2pc

View attachment 3080903

Design quality of the Wilwood Spec 37 rotors shine. I've personally never seen directional vanes this good on any motorsport brand rotor rings...
Nice, for some reason I thought it was an hdj.

Those rotors are way heavier than I expected, they seem like a legitimate truck rotor vs a track car rotor. Awesome.

Any plans to anodize the rotor hub and caliper bracket?

My 80 has great brakes - abs and lspv are gone, wilwood proportioning valve, ATE TYP 200 fluid, braided hoses and a powerstop z36 kit. I bet it stops like crap compared to your truck 🤣
 
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Nice, for some reason I thought it was an hdj.

Those rotors are way heavier than I expected, they seem like a legitimate truck rotor vs a track car rotor. Awesome.

Any plans to anodize the rotor hub and caliper bracket?

My 80 has great brakes - abs and lspv are gone, wilwood proportioning valve, ATE TYP 200 fluid, braided hoses and a powerstop z36 kit. I bet it stops like crap compared to your truck 🤣
Yes the production adapters and hats will be hard anodized. These are "preproduction" and design is already being iterated on so didn't feel the need to on something that will be swapped out soon. Though I did build raw aluminum hats on my other vehicle and they're still going strong after 6-7 years. No signs of pitting even in the road conditions we have in Canada.
 
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Right on, seems like a solid setup!
 
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I am intriged. Is there a target ballpark for this? The go fast parts could use stop fast parts.
 
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Great post and replies. I took Jose (My '95 FZJ 80) out today gaining 5K feet of vertical, reaching above tree-line. Jose was flawless driving over the old mining roads. It was awesome and pushed the rig with some challenging obstacles. At the top I heard a little noise from my brakes. Despite keeping it in 4-low and using the parking brake as much as possible, by the time I made it home the brakes were clearly metal on medal. I bought OE parts to replace the trashed rotors and mid-range replacement pads, some brake cleaner and fluid. I'd love this brake upgrade but Jose is 27 years old with 240K miles, Is it worth it? I'm just happy that I'll have brakes by the end of tomorrow because I'm heading out to the back country the day after. From the words of a gifted friend: Just drive it.
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Close-up of all the machined parts that I've designed for the kit. Dare anyone to name another 80 product with this level of attention to detail, design focus, and willingness to develop a product that far surpasses being good enough for the general consumer.

Always admired some of the ultra high end truck builders like Kibbetech and Morgan Clarke. Their builds are true examples where form follows function. Being in high end VFX it's easy for me to implement a quality design language into functional parts in the 3d design space. So this has been a very fun project.




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