Power Stop Gives Us the Power to Stop

    Easy Bolt-On Power Stop Brake Upgrade

    Harry WagnerPhotographer, Writer

    Brakes don’t get nearly the attention of 35-spline axleshafts or fancy lockers, but they are one of the most valuable upgrades when you’re swapping 1-ton axles under your vehicle. Bigger brakes intended to stop bigger, heavier trucks translate to better braking power to combat taller, heavier tires. They are arguably the most important system on your vehicle both on-road and off (along with the steering). Fortunately, you don’t have to swap in entirely new axle assemblies to gain increased braking on your vehicle. Power Stop offers a host of products, from performance brake pads to rotors to entire vehicle kits, that you can order under one part number.

    We recently installed Power Stop’s Z36 Truck and Tow Performance Brake Kit on our 2014 Ram 3500 (PN K5458-36). This truck already came with 1-ton brakes, but after 100,000 miles of towing over mountain passes the factory brakes were overdue for replacement. We ordered the kit from Summit Racing Equipment, and it came complete with Z36 brake pads and Evolution rotors for all four corners of our truck.

    We were able to install the quality Power Stop components in our driveway in an afternoon using only handtools. The most time-consuming part of the installation didn’t have to do with the brake install at all—it was addressing the leaking rear wheel seals. In just a few hours we were rewarded with stopping distances that were 30 feet shorter than our worn factory brakes. Now our Ram is ready to reliable tow and hit the trail for another 100,000 miles.

    How to Bed Your Pads (and Why)

    Bedding in new brake pads is critical to maximize performance by creating an even layer of friction material deposited on the rotors from the pads. In order to do this, you should find a clear stretch of straight road and decelerate aggressively from approximately 40 mph to 10 mph. Repeat this five times without coming to a complete stop; the rotor should always be sweeping past the pad, otherwise the pad could create an imprint in the rotor. The goal is to perform these events in close succession without letting the brakes cool. Next decelerate moderately from approximately 35 mph to 5 mph five times. Don’t be alarmed if you smell the brakes at this time since that is normal. Finally drive around for a few minutes while using the brakes as little as possible to allow them to cool evenly.