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Bring Your Ford F150 to a Big Stop: Big Brake Kits

Bring Your Ford F150 to a Big Stop: Big Brake Kits

Additional stopping power is something every Ford F-150 can benefit from. Bigger brakes mean more control, and more control means more safety and more fun. Whether your truck is built for speed, rock climbing, or just day-to-day commuting, upgrading to a big brake kit has numerous benefits. Let’s explore this topic.

Ford F-150 Big Brake Kits

Stopping your truck is just as important, if not more so, than being able to haul the biggest loads. Your brakes keep you from careening into someone who cuts you off and keep you poised on steep inclines. Make sure you have enough stopping power to handle the extra performance and towing capacity you're aiming for.

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Added Stopping Power To your F150

Moving up to a big brake kit means a few things:

  • Bigger brake rotors
  • Better brake calipers
  • More pistons per caliper 
  • Bigger brake pads

For the average Joe, the OEM brake equipment is excellent on F150s. They bring the normal-duty truck to a stop with no issues. They are meant to perform with factory trucks, though, in day-to-day conditions. It’s when you start upping the performance factor of your F150, and taking these trucks away from the everyman’s way of life that you need to start considering a big brake kit. 

Big Brakes Versus Factory Brakes

For late-model Ford F150s, the factory disc brakes work really well. So why the need for big brake kit? Let’s break down three major components to better understand some major advantages. 

Factory Calipers Versus Big Brake Calipers: The first and possibly the most important differences are within the brake calipers themselves. Brake calipers are what provide the stopping power in the first place. They act by pushing pistons into the brake pads to squeeze the brake rotor. From the factory, regardless of the year of your F150, you’re likely to find a setup that uses two pistons that press from one side. On big brake setups, you’re going to come across much more than two pistons doing the squeezing, which evens out the braking power causing for more optimal braking and consistent wear of pads. Some kits can range up to eight pistons that push in from both sides. These calipers are also much larger in size than the factor, which allows for a much bigger rotor to be used. Which brings us to our next advantage.

Bigger Rotors: The rotor is the next most important part of any brake set up. The rotors sit on the wheel hub, and are what the brake pads bite down on to stop the vehicle. Big brake kits use larger rotors, and the more area the pads come into contact with, the better the stopping power.  Larger rotors also aid in heat dissipation. Heat is also the reason you will find patterns cut into the surface of the rotors. Some are cross drilled, others are slotted, and some are both. These designs are meant to dissipate heat better to prolong the life of your Ford F150’s pads and rotors. They also increase wet-weather power as they are designed to pull water away from the brake pads. These types of rotors do have a longer lifespan than traditional rotors but will eat up brake pads significantly faster. 

Bigger Brake Pads: Bigger brake pads follow the same principles as bigger brake rotors. They offer more surface area for harder braking to be applied. It’s also worth noting that specialty pads are usually found in these kits. The pad material itself can have a major effect on brake performance, and the amount of brake dust produced.  Semi-metallic and ceramic pad types are likely the two types of brake pads you will come across. Ceramic material pads contain exactly that; ceramic materials infused with copper. These pads aren’t as good of performers as most semi-metallic pads, but are easier on the brake system. Semi-metallic pads are made up of a combination of metallic fibers held together with resin. They generally provide more stopping power, but can be hard on the brake system. The key is to find the right balance for you. It should be noted that higher performance brake pads aren’t always the best choice. Race pads do offer the most stopping power, but need to be brought up to temperature for proper performance. This means they are more suited to track use as opposed to day to day driving. 

Bringing Speed to a Stop

A massively popular way to spend money on F150s is to make it faster. Cold-air intakes, computer programmers, high-flow exhaust, bigger throttle bodies, superchargers, etc., are all ways to make this happen. There are tons of ways to make it faster, and you can spend years dreaming up the perfect combination for speed.

The faster you are going, the harder it is on your brakes to bring your truck to a stop. This is a huge problem both on/off the road and on the street, and even for those who bring their F-150s to the race track. Big brake kits are the easy solution. These kits come out of the box with everything you need to get the big brakes on as fast as possible so you can get to daydreaming about more speed. 

Controlling Additional Weight

Speed isn’t the only enemy of the factory brake system. Weight can be just as deadly. If your truck is subject to any of the following conditions or upgrades big brake kits should be considered:

  • Towing
  • Lift kits
  • Bigger wheels and tires
  • Heavy duty bumpers
  • Large speed parts (superchargers)

These scenarios all contributed to your vehicle’s overall weight. It’s likely where one is the others follow. For instance, guys who have bigger wheels and tires likely have a lift kit and maybe even heavy-duty bumpers.

No matter what the combination, overall weight naturally rises. The more weight there is, the harder the brakes need to work to slow things down. So, when you’re jam packing your F150 with big bad parts, you should consider bigger brakes to ensure your safety.

Off-Road Advantages of Bigger Brakes

When in doubt throttle out. We’ve all heard that saying before. Though this adage is true in many off-roading situations, there are some when this is not. Controlled braking has some major advantages. For instance, when climbing you might need to carefully calculate every move.

Being able to bring the vehicle to a dead stop will make the difference when trying to make it to the top at some points, and a big brake kit is exactly what you need to give your F150 the ability to do so.  You also must revisit the concept of added weight. If your F150 is loaded with all the 4-wheelin’ gear you could think of, the big brake kit may be a necessity. 

Fitting Bigger Brakes Under Your Wheels

Big brakes can be expensive. There are different levels of what you can buy. Some kits are larger than others. Before you decide which kit you can afford, or what will work best, you need to remember this upgrade will directly affect the wheel fitment.

The brakes live behind the wheels and are even tucked into them a bit. Making the brake components larger will mean they may no longer fit within your current wheel; especially if it’s the factory wheel. So making this upgrade will require that last bit of homework. But for the added performance and safety, the homework is well worth it.

Fitment includes: 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, XL, XLT, Lariat, Ligtning, KingRanch, HarleyDavidson, STX, FX2, FX4, Limited, SVTRaptor, Platinum, FXTremor