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Dana 44 Front Axle Brake Upgrade

Posted in How To on May 1, 2009
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There are lots of big brake kits available for newer vehicles, but there seems to be quite a shortage of applications for older solid axle front ends. Besides that, most brake kits require upgrading to a larger wheel and a much larger price- neither of which we are very fond of.

After blowing most of our money on other automotive goodies, we didn't have a ton to spend on rotors and calipers. We were also looking for the maximum amount of disc that would fit within our 15-inch wheels. With those concerns in mind, we made a call to Stainless Steel Brake Corporation. They suggested using a single piston, cast iron caliper kit. While it appears nearly identical to a stock caliper, the SSBC caliper's piston diameter has been increased to 80mm (70's Chevy OEM was around 75mm). This allows the brake to have more direct braking force on the rotor. These calipers can use standard brake pads that are available at any auto parts store. This was good, economical replacement for our current setup, and came with Big Bite unidirectional slotted and plated rotors measuring just shy of a 12-inch diameter. These rotors are CNC precision drilled and mill slotted. While both aid in increasing the heat dissipation of the rotors, the slots keep the braking surface nice and clean by collecting and releasing brake dust and dirt as the rotor turns. This also increases its braking abilities in wet weather conditions through improved water dissipation. The rotors are vented, meaning that the vanes between the inner and outer rotor surfaces, force air flow between them and up through the drilled holes. This helps remove superheated gases from the surfaces, which reduces braking temperatures. Lower temperatures and cleaner surfaces increase the amount of friction between the brake pad and rotor surface. This leads to less brake fade, quieter performance, extended life of the pads and rotors, and a decreased possibility of warping those big rotors.

While deadline demands of the magazine did not give us too much time testing the brakes before story submissions, we can tell you that we already noticed a significant difference in braking power on the freeway trip home.

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