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14-Bolt Stopping Power: Upgrading to Rear Disc Brakes

Rear Disc Brakes
Jerrod Jones | Writer
Posted June 1, 2012

Retrofitting Disc Brakes Onto a 14-Bolt

After driving through my Blazer’s brakes on the last trip out when in 4:1 low range, I decided it was time to upgrade the old stopping hardware with something better than what was offered on my axles when they were produced. The disc-and-drum setup worked adequately, and with some good pads and rotors they might have even felt “good” if the tires on my K5 Blazer weren’t 40 inches tall. But the original drums and factory front discs weren’t doing much against low gearing, lots of engine power, and giant tires. It was time to upgrade.

In the front I have a Dana 60 (’97 F-350 brakes), and in the rear is a drum-brake 14-Bolt axle. There are really no reasonable “big brake” kits for the front axle, so the best mod one could do would be to add stainless braided brake lines (already had ones from Inline Tube) and change out the rotors and pads for EBC Brakes Yellow Stuff performance equipment.

In the rear, I had a couple options: I could find and swap on a newer (used) 14-Bolt axle with disc brakes already on it, or I could retrofit rear disc brakes. Since my axle was four-linked and had a bunch of brackets welded onto it, a disc brake retrofit was the most sensible option. I bought some disc brake brackets from Blackbird Customs and ordered the correct parts to put together my own disc brake kit, using EBC pads and rotors to gain the most effective braking bite.

Not only did I get better brakes, I was also able to drop a total of 40 pounds off the rear axle.

Receipt for Rear Discs

Obviously the rear disc-brake kit could have been done much more cheaply. I could have gone with single-piston calipers and brackets, and I certainly didn’t have to use such nice pads and rotors. In fact, Blackbird Customs sells an entire dual-piston disc brake kit (including brake hoses) for only $455. But I wanted to make sure I had the best rear braking possible so I used EBC rotors and pads and put together a kit myself.

Blackbird Customs Disc Brake Brackets.............. $55

EBC front Dana 44 Eight-Lug
Brakes Rotors.............................................. $333

EBC ’01 Dodge Rear Pads............................... $142

’01 Dodge Rear Dual-Piston
Calipers..................................................... $112

’01 Dodge Disc Brake
Brackets...................................................... $52

Inline Tube Powerbraid
Brake Lines.................................................. $45

Hub Seals..................................................... $22

Backing Plate Bolts......................................... $3

Total...........................................................$764

Sources

EBC Brakes
Sylmar, CA 91342
818-362-5534
www.ebcbrakes.com
Inline Tube
Shelby Township, MI 48315
800-385-9452
www.inlinetube.com
Blackbirds Custom Trucks
Spokane, WA 99220
509-534-5219
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