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Bigger Better Jeep JK Wrangler Brakes

Posted in How To: Suspension Brakes on August 2, 2017
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If you’re reading this and thinking that it seems like you’ve seen quite a few brake upgrade articles in your favorite Jeep magazine lately, well, you have. There’s a good reason for that. Brakes are a vitally important part your Jeep’s mechanical system, and in our opinion, just as, if not more important than any other. After all, you can do things to make your Jeep’s suspension, axles, transfer case, transmission, and engine work better, but if you don’t upgrade its brake system along the way, you and your vehicle’s overall performance can suffer. You can create a 4x4 that will climb over anything, but if you can’t stop in time, then you and your Jeep are in big trouble.

This time, we’re going to take you on a deep dive into the Dynatrac ProGrip Brake System. Yep, those same folks that bring you seriously beefy axle upgrades for your Jeep also offer bigger better brakes for your ’07-’17 JK. The Dynatrac ProGrip delivers larger front (13.50-inch pillar-vented) and rear (14.25-inch with integrated parking brake surface) brake rotors, improving braking performance by placing the calipers and brake pads farther away from the centerline of the axle. Imagine that you are swinging a breaker bar on a nut. If you grasp that breaker bar halfway up the handle, you’re not going to get as much force on that nut as you would if you grabbed that breaker bar by the very end of the bar. It’s the same basic principle.

However, that’s not all. The Dynatrac ProGrip kit also delivers new larger and more rigid caliper brackets (you use your stock calipers) to increase caliper stability (less twisting and vibration under hard braking means better pad contact). New front and rear brake pads feature a superior friction material, and unique front and rear pads were selected to better balance the braking system nose-to-tail.

Upon initial upgrade, we experienced a firmer pedal feel, and better brake response and performance over the stock brakes. Things only got better after the brake pad bed-in period recommended by Dynatrac.

We should note that although the Dynatrac ProGrip will work with most 17-inch or larger wheels, a spacer is needed with 17-inch factory Jeep wheels. A template you can use to check your aftermarket wheels for fitment can be downloaded from the Dynatrac website at https://www.dynatrac.com/brake-systems/progriptm-for-the-jeep-jk.html.

One of our favorite aspects of the Dynatrac ProGrip Brake Upgrade system is its ease of installation. The instructions are detailed and full of photographs, and everything fit perfectly, requiring no “alterations” to assemble and install. Follow along as we show you some of the basic installation steps and offer a few tips that will make the job even easier for you.

The first thing you notice when opening up the boxes containing the Dynatrac ProGrip Brake Upgrade system are the differences in rotor sizes. The ProGrip front (top photo) is 13.50 inches in diameter and pillar vented versus the 11.90-inch factory front rotor, and the ProGrip rear (bottom photo) is 14.25 inches in diameter versus the 11.90-inch factory rear rotor.
To match the larger ProGrip rotors are a set of larger and more rigid ProGrip caliper brackets. The top photo shows the difference in size between the ProGrip front caliper bracket, the lower photo reveals the size difference between the ProGrip rear caliper bracket.
The Dynatrac ProGrip system requires a minimum of 17-inch diameter wheels, most 17-inch aftermarket wheels will work, but 17-inch factory Jeep wheels will need a spacer. A paper template to help you find out if your 17-inch aftermarket wheels will clear the new ProGrip brake upgrade is included in the kit. It can be cut out and mounted to cardboard for use.
The first step is to remove the factory brake calipers, caliper brackets, and rotors. When removing the rotors, it’s a good idea to gently pry open the calipers to compress the pistons to make reassembly easier. If necessary, a C-clamp can be used to compress the pistons after the factory calipers have been removed. Because this kit does not require replacement of the factory calipers, they can remain connected to the brake lines and hung out of the way during the initial installation procedure.
Because some factory brake assembly and mounting hardware will be reused during the installation of the Dynatrac ProGrip system and require thread-locking compound when reapplied, we recommend any old tread-lock or other debris be cleared from the hardware’s threads with a wire brush prior to reassembly.
Once the factory calipers, caliper brackets, and rotors have been removed, the new front Dynatrac ProGrip rotors can be slid over the wheel studs and onto the axle ends.
Caliper bracket and pad assembly is critical. The new pad clips are directional and must be assembled as pictured with the flange toward the outside of the caliper bracket. It’s also a good idea to apply a thin swipe of grease or anti-seize where the pad rides in the clip and where the caliper piston will contact the brake pad to reduce squeal.
When completed, this is how the caliper bracket/brake pad assemblies (front pictured here) should look.
After carefully placing the front Dynatrac ProGrip caliper bracket/pad assemblies on the ProGrip rotors, the caliper brackets were fastened to the steering knuckles with the factory bolts. Thread locker was applied to the bolts and they were torqued to 120 lb-ft. The caliper sliding pins from the factory brackets (which were cleaned and regreased after removal) were then installed in the ProGrip caliper brackets.
Next, we reinstalled the factory caliper, applying thread locker to the small caliper mounting bolts just prior to installation so the locking compound would not set before we had tightened the mounting bolts. These bolts are to be torqued to 26 lb-ft.
During the disassembly of the front rear factory brake components, we also disconnected the bottom of the anti-sway bar links from the rear axle. This helped with access to bolts when installing the ProGrip components and the factory caliper. Be sure to reinstall the anti-sway links once the brake upgrade is completed.
The rear Dynatrac ProGrip rotor (with integrated parking brake hat) was slid over the wheel mounting bolts. The front and rear ProGrip rotors came packaged with a thin coating of rust-inhibiting grease on them. We used brake cleaner to completely remove any greasy residue from the rotors prior to installation.
The rear ProGrip caliper bracket/brake pad assemblies were then carefully slid over the rear ProGrip rotors, and then the bracket/pad assemblies were bolted into place with reused factory hardware and torqued to 77 lb-ft.
The rear factory caliper pins (again, that were cleaned and regreased prior to reuse) were placed in the ProGrip caliper brackets. Then the factory calipers were installed in the new caliper brackets using the factory hardware. Thread locker was used on the caliper bolts and they were torqued to 26 pound-feet.
With the rear anti-sway bar links reconnected to the rear axle, the Dynatrac ProGrip brake upgrade was complete. The last thing to do was reinstall the tires and wheels and spin all four by hand to make sure there were no clearance issues. Depending upon where the balance weights have been placed inside the wheels, a 17-inch aftermarket wheel that would normally clear the new Dynatrac ProGrip brake upgrade system may make contact with the weights. A trip to your neighborhood tire store to have the weights moved and wheels rebalanced will fix that up.

TOOLS NEEDED

13mm wrench
15mm wrench
18mm socket
21mm socket
Calibrated torque wrench
Anti-seize compound

Sources

Dynatrac Products
Huntington Beach, CA 92647
714-596-4461
Dynatrac.com

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