Though we've never greatly disliked the braking system in our 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ, or even had any major failures within the system in the years since its manufacture, we knew of its inherent weaknesses and decided to upgrade rather than simply replace parts when the time came. The pads had been regularly replaced and the rotors turned once or twice in its 14 years of use, but we were still dealing with original 1999 model-year rotors and calipers. On top of that, Jeep made improvements of its own to the Grand Cherokee WJ brake system a couple years after its introduction, upgrading the front brake calipers in 2002-2004 model years.
The Akebono-style caliper used in 2002-and-up WJs is considered to be a better setup than the Teves-style caliper used in early WJ Grand Cherokees. Both calipers are dual-piston, but the Teves caliper is prone to causing rotor warp from overheating. The Akebono-style caliper uses a more rigid bracket with greater surface area, which helps promote cooling better than the Teves unit does. Along with the new Akebono calipers, we opted to install EBC Brakes' slotted rotors at the front and rear in another step toward keeping the brake system cooler so it would operate at peak performance.
You'll typically find the Akebono caliper and caliber bracket sold separately when sourcing parts for this upgrade. You'll also likely need to order caliper hardware kits for each caliper. Salvage yards are great sources for parts for this type of conversion—you could easily locate the calipers and brackets for half the cost of buying new or remanufactured parts. Auto parts stores also usually include a core charge for the calipers and brackets, and you won't have exact cores to exchange since you're replacing the calipers and brackets with different parts. Some Jeep-specific parts vendors have this conversion assembled as a pre-packaged kit with everything you'll need for the conversion. We located the calipers, brackets, and hardware kits at our local auto parts for around $250.
Check out the following photos and captions for a glimpse of how easy it was to upgrade the brake system in our 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee WJ.
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We noticed an immediate improvement in overall braking performance with the EBC slotted rotors and Akebono calipers with EBC Yellow Stuff brake pads in place up front, along with EBC slotted rotors and Green Stuff pads in the rear.
The Teves-style brake caliper is known to cause rotor warp though we hadn’t experienced much issue with this, having had the rotors turned a handful of times over the years but never replaced. Comparing the costs, we decided that we could get improved braking (and less threat of rotor warp) for not that much more money by installing new slotted rotors and upgrading to the later-model Akebono-style caliper.
The EBC Brakes slotted rotors and Yellow Stuff brake pads would be a welcome addition to our WJ. EBC slotted rotors help maintain a cooler braking system by drawing cool air under the brake pad and rotor, and also effectively displace water and brake dust from the pad area for greater stopping performance. Disregard the calipers shown in the picture; they are for a different project and were mistakingly included in the shot.
The new Akebono-style caliper is essentially the same size as the Teves caliper and both are dual piston. The big difference is in the bracket design, with the Akebono unit offering a much stouter mount. The Teves caliper also uses clips to keep the caliper in place, which just doesn’t seem very sturdy. Once the new calipers are in place, we’ll flush and refill the brake system using AmsOil Series 500 DOT 3 High-Performance Synthetic Brake Fluid. The AmsOil fluid features pure base stocks and robust additives that resist boil-off and the effects of water contamination more effectively than conventional brake fluids.
Here are the Teves caliper bracket and Akebono caliper bracket (right) shown side by side. The Akebono caliper bracket is fully enclosed and much more rigid, which will help to eradicate rotor warp. The larger surface area of the bracket also helps promote cooling.
The EBC slotted rotor and Akebono caliper bracket were installed along with the EBC Yellow Stuff brake pads. All EBC rotors are British-made and are precision-machined in the UK. Rotors are made from high-quality gray iron to exacting standards and undergo extensive testing and rigorous quality control. Slotted rotors can significantly improve brake performance and longevity when used with a matching high-friction pad set such as the EBC Yellow Stuff pads. The Yellow Stuff pads are high-friction aramid fiber pads, are totally resistant to brake rotor vibration, and are gentle on rotors compared to conventional pads.
We retained the factory-style rear calipers but added a set of EBC slotted rotors along with EBC’s Green Stuff 7000 brake pads, which are said to offer brake improvement over stock and to deliver up to 15 percent improvement in stopping power.
Installation of the rear EBC slotted rotors and EBC Greenstuff pads was quick and easy and should afford improved braking performance. While most of the stopping power is supplied by the front brakes it’s best to match your system front to rear to avoid any braking deficiencies.