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2000 Ford F-350 - Mud Truck Maintenance - Safety Session

Maintance Before Mayham!

Chris HamiltonPhotographer, Writer

The one thing we don’t talk about enough in Mud Life is safety and preventitive mintance on your rig. Having a mud truck with 10-year old tires and three lug nuts per wheel may be fine for the woods, but when you towing that deathtrap down the highway next to families on vacation, you need to some confidence in your truck. There are far to many horrible drivers on the road and eventually one will pull right out in front of you. When you slam on the breaks while carrying a 10,000-lb load, the brakes are put under a tremendous amount of pressure which can easily cause faliure to old or worn out parts. We highly recomend preforming regular maintance checks before and after every road trip you take. Brakes, fluids, tires, and bearings are some of the most frequently replaced parts and companies like EBC Brakes sell factory replacement parts that not only increase the performance of your rig, they look really cool too!

Depensding on your vehicle and driving conditions, EBC Brakes has the exact set-up you need to replace your factory gear. So once we had Fayez Homasi from bigg Boy Auto in West Palm Beach, FL do a quick free inspection on our brakes, we jumped on the EBC website to order some new parts. EBC brake pads and rotors are hand crafted and are designed with a focus on high quality rather than price savings. Research and testing is done in-house at their own facilities for extremly accurate results.

After reading about all the diffrent styes EBC has available, Fayez recomended we run the GD7340 Sport Series roter which is slotted and dimpled which help them keep cool. These annodized parts also help reduce brake fade while under load which is perfect for a tow rig. The dimples also help prevent against stress cracks and corrosion.

For brake pads we chose EBC’s extra duty light-truck and suv pads. Spicifically designed for high tempeture enviroments using a high volumn v-groove carved into t he pad. The noiseless material keeps your stops quite and there will be far less brake dust to clean off our wheels. A steel backing plate with their design gives them 5 times the bond strength of conventinal brake pads.

Now that you know about the parts, lets watch Bigg Boy Auto get to work.

Once Homasi pulled the truck into the bay at Bigg Boy Auto, he quickly jacked up our 2000 F-350 and removed the wheels and 33-inch General Grabber tires. Before any parts came of the truck, he inspected all of the most commons problem areas on this year Ford. A few notorious problems these big trucks have are in the front end including wheel hub bearings, ball joints, tie-rod ends, and steering rod end-links. Our rig is quickly approching 300,000 miles and supprisingly everything is looking pretty good.

Lifting the wheel hub up and down while it is secured on jack stands is a great way to check your joints. There should be no movement in the axle whcih means everything is in good shape. Unfortunatly for some, this wont be the case and you will be stuck buying a few more parts. Just suck it up and get it done because you really wont want to do it later, and you definetly don’t want to regret your decisions when it’s to late.

Fex also measured the roundness of our originaly brake rotors using a brake rotor micrometer. This reletivily inexensive kit can measure the smoothness of your rotor by gliding a calibratr along the face while Fez spins the rotor. The amount of movement should be less then a few thousands of an inch or the rotor fails the test. This will also tell you if the rotor is warped from heat due to years of towing.

As we assumed, our old rotors are out of spec and need to be replaced so the guys at Bigg Boy Auto started breaking out the air tools and big ass hammers. These parts are built to stay together so sometimes a little force is needed to seoerate them.

The first thing to come off is the brake caliper and pads. Removing the cap from the brake fliud resivoure in the engine bay can help eliviate some of the pressure in the lines. This will make it easier to take the pressure off the pistons insode caliper and easier to remove. There is also a small brake fluid bleeder bolt on the back side of the caliper that can be loosened if needed. Don’t remove it all the way though or you will probably be stuck re-bleeding your entire brake system.

Ford designed their front ends to be easily servicable and the holes in the face of the wheel hubs are proof. Fex can simply slide an extension through the access points and use a impact gun to take off the 8 hub mounting nuts. A few wacks with a big ass hammer in pre-determined spots will break the grip without breaking the hub.

Now Homasi can remove the hub adapter and then the rotor will slide right off. There should be no reason to dissamble the locking differiantial to preform a front brake job on this model truck.

Here you can see the diffrence between our factory installed gear and the new high performance parts. EBC Brakes are designed and tested with the highest quality materials they can get their hands on and they are extremly pround of their product. THey understand that their price point is higher than some other brands but they feel that you can’t put a value on safety for your family. Ther extra duty brake pads are all also fully tested under extreme conditions before ever hitting the market.

The new EBC rotor fit over the axle perfectly and after a quick wipe down with some brake cleaner, they are installed and rotated which will check for any clearance issues. A caliper compressor pushes the pistons into the caliper so the new brake pads have room to fit. This is when you will find out if your calipers are shot are siezed up.

A few wipes with some anti-sieze greese on the corners will help the pads seat a little better and a dap of lubricant around the inside of the hub helps it slide on nicely. Now it’s time to slam on the brakes and see if it stops!