Brake Upgrades? - Defender Source
Defender Source  

Go Back   Defender Source > Defender & Series Technical Discussions > Defender Technical Discussions


Reply
 
Thread Tools
  #1  
Old November 20th, 2007, 03:51 PM
fleabus's Avatar
fleabus
Status: Offline
Dan
None :(
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 266
Brake Upgrades?

So I am building a house in the mountains and been doing a lot of steep hill driving... using low gear, watching my speed and whatnot when descending. However, the brakes on my defender are just plain scary as they start to fade.

I admit I have a lot of extra weight (armor, gear, etc.) which isn't helping my downhill braking, but wanted to know if there were any available upgrades. I am currently running DBA slotted rotors with Genuine pads.

I have seen so called 'upgrade kits' on AB and RN, but they simply look like slotted/vented rotors and kevlar/ceramic pads combos.

Are there caliper upgrades/swaps available or has anyone found a magical combination of rotors/pads that is a significant improvement over the standard gear?

-Dan
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #2  
Old November 20th, 2007, 04:07 PM
Red90's Avatar
Red90
Status: Offline
John B.
1991 Defender 90, 200TDI
Site Team
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Calgary
Posts: 9,237
Registry
Do you have vented rotors? That is about it for fade.

Otherwise I suggest to stop using the brakes on hills unless stopping. You should always be able to use engine braking.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old November 20th, 2007, 04:21 PM
LRNAD90's Avatar
LRNAD90
Status: Offline
Scott T
1995 Defender 90 ST
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,265
Registry
Have you flushed the brake system and replaced the fluid lately? Since brake fluid tends to absorb moisture over time, and brake fade is often caused by either the brake fluid boiling, or the accumulated water in the fluid boiling, it may be as simple as flushing and getting some fresh fluid. If that doesn't do the trick, consider fluids with higher boiling points, and do some research on pads and find something that can handle/dissipate the heat better.

Otherwise, you could also consider upgrading to thicker vented rotors as used by armored Land Rovers. There is a gentleman on this site who has done this, but I can't remember his name for the life of me, and can't find the e-mails we exchanged about it years ago. Here is a photo he sent to me though (notice the think spacers in the caliper to accommodate the thicker vented rotor).
Attached Images
File Type: bmp 110Military Brakes.bmp (900.1 KB, 177 views)
__________________
~Scott T.
'95 D-90 ST - AA Yellow
"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!"


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
  #4  
Old November 20th, 2007, 04:31 PM
evilfij's Avatar
evilfij
Status: Offline
evilfij
I have never seen a rover in person
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: on the internet
Posts: 14,688
Change fluid (use castrol GT LMA), replace rubber lines with stainless, new master cylinder, new calipers. In that order. Stock D-90 brakes will lock up the tires and stop very well (not quite as good as the lotus though).

edit: that is the front of Slade's 145 crew cab. See the for sale section.
__________________
*not legal advice*
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old November 20th, 2007, 04:44 PM
LRNAD90's Avatar
LRNAD90
Status: Offline
Scott T
1995 Defender 90 ST
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,265
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij
Change fluid (use castrol GT LMA), replace rubber lines with stainless, new master cylinder, new calipers. In that order. Stock D-90 brakes will lock up the tires and stop very well (not quite as good as the lotus though).

edit: that is the front of Slade's 145 crew cab. See the for sale section.

Hey Ron,

Thanks for putting the photo with the owner. All good suggestions for renewing braking performance, but unless I am reading it wrong, I don't think he has an issue with the braking 'power' per say (or as you have put it the brake system's ability to lock up the wheels), but brake fade after prolonged usage on long grades. I think he needs to find a way to dissipate the heat generated (whether it be by using more engine braking and less brake pedal, or actually dealing with the heat produced by braking for long periods of time).

I don't think the stainless lines, a new master cylinder or new calipers will necessarily improve heat dissipation, I really think pads (that will transfer less heat to the caliper's cylinder and therefore the brake fluid) and fresh, or higher boiling point brake fluid are his best bets beyond upgrading to larger components...

On a side note, Car and Driver's test of the Defender 90 back in 1993 noted 'light' fade in three stops from 70 mph, not exactly giving a thumbs up to the trucks ability to dissipate heat from the brake system even at stock weight...
__________________
~Scott T.
'95 D-90 ST - AA Yellow
"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!"


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old November 20th, 2007, 04:59 PM
fleabus's Avatar
fleabus
Status: Offline
Dan
None :(
Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 266
Quote:
Originally Posted by Red90
Do you have vented rotors? That is about it for fade.

Otherwise I suggest to stop using the brakes on hills unless stopping. You should always be able to use engine braking.
Yes, slotted/vented fronts and slotted/solid rears.

I should add that the road I am driving is not only very steep, but incredibly twisty. Great motorcycle road, but hair-raising with the Defender... engine braking only helps so much.

Follow-up Post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepeytr
Have you flushed the brake system and replaced the fluid lately? Since brake fluid tends to absorb moisture over time, and brake fade is often caused by either the brake fluid boiling, or the accumulated water in the fluid boiling, it may be as simple as flushing and getting some fresh fluid. If that doesn't do the trick, consider fluids with higher boiling points, and do some research on pads and find something that can handle/dissipate the heat better.

Otherwise, you could also consider upgrading to thicker vented rotors as used by armored Land Rovers. There is a gentleman on this site who has done this, but I can't remember his name for the life of me, and can't find the e-mails we exchanged about it years ago. Here is a photo he sent to me though (notice the think spacers in the caliper to accommodate the thicker vented rotor).
Thanks for the tip... the brake system was flushed when I went to stainless lines and replaced the rotors/pads. It helped a tad, but I am more interested in upgrading to something more heavy duty like the thicker vented rotor you suggested. Would that help with the brake fade? In regards to improved stopping ability, wouldn't the caliper matter more than the rotor itself?

Follow-up Post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepeytr
Hey Ron,

Thanks for putting the photo with the owner. All good suggestions for renewing braking performance, but unless I am reading it wrong, I don't think he has an issue with the braking 'power' per say (or as you have put it the brake system's ability to lock up the wheels), but brake fade after prolonged usage on long grades. I think he needs to find a way to dissipate the heat generated (whether it be by using more engine braking and less brake pedal, or actually dealing with the heat produced by braking for long periods of time).

I don't think the stainless lines, a new master cylinder or new calipers will necessarily improve heat dissipation, I really think pads (that will transfer less heat to the caliper's cylinder and therefore the brake fluid) and fresh, or higher boiling point brake fluid are his best bets beyond upgrading to larger components...

On a side note, Car and Driver's test of the Defender 90 back in 1993 noted 'light' fade in three stops from 70 mph, not exactly giving a thumbs up to the trucks ability to dissipate heat from the brake system even at stock weight...
Correct... driving on city streets, my Defender will stop relatively quickly. The brake fade is what is of concern to me.

Considering that I will be living up there on crazy mountain once the house is done, I need a long term solution as the D90 is a daily driver. Your suggestion to switch to higher boiling point brake fluid is one that crossed my mind. Any specific recommendations?

Would drilled/slotted rotors be something worth considering? I had them years ago on a BMW, but thought they were more for looks than anything.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old November 20th, 2007, 05:06 PM
evilfij's Avatar
evilfij
Status: Offline
evilfij
I have never seen a rover in person
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: on the internet
Posts: 14,688
As far as fade, I would say go down the hill in low range! I would have customers complain of fade, but what they really had was a sticking caliper heating things up or a master cylinder that would not consistently hold pressure. I would eliminate those things first or at least inspect the calipers to see if there is corrosion on them and the pistons move freely.

The really big vented rotors on the crewcab are crazy dollars from what I remember.
__________________
*not legal advice*
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old November 20th, 2007, 05:24 PM
LRNAD90's Avatar
LRNAD90
Status: Offline
Scott T
1995 Defender 90 ST
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,265
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by fleabus
Correct... driving on city streets, my Defender will stop relatively quickly. The brake fade is what is of concern to me.

Considering that I will be living up there on crazy mountain once the house is done, I need a long term solution as the D90 is a daily driver. Your suggestion to switch to higher boiling point brake fluid is one that crossed my mind. Any specific recommendations?

Would drilled/slotted rotors be something worth considering? I had them years ago on a BMW, but thought they were more for looks than anything.
I haven't researched the topic, so I am just speaking in generalities at the moment. Brake fade always comes from heat, so you need to find a way to generate less heat, or dissipate more heat. Slotting and cross drilling of brake rotors is to combat outgassing of the pads (which in extreme situations creates a 'cushion' of gases between the pad and the rotor, reducing effectiveness, the slots or cross drilling allows the gasses to escape, much like tire tread allows water to escape from between the tire and the road), so no, this will not help you.

Since I am sure you don't want to spend more and throw more parts at it than necessary, I'd start with a higher boiling point brake fluid, and better pads. I've heard of good results with Motul racing fluids, but make sure you stay with the correct DOT spec for the brake system, and do some research, there may be better available.

I think you also need to find a brake pad that can dissipate heat better, and also isolate the caliper from as much heat as possible. Alot of racing pads and motorcycle pads use ceramic backplates to minimize heat transfer, but you don't want a pad rated for racing because they take too long to reach operating temperatures. I wish I could say try X brand pad, but I haven't done the research, you are going to have to, sorry..

Finally, it may seem hair-brained, and is not really off-road friendly, but you may consider removing and/or modifying the stone shields on th back of the front rotors, and rigging up some brake cooling ducts to supply cool air directly to the rotor, race car style . Here is a photo of a kit for a Porsche to give you an idea what I am talking about..

Here is an article on brake cooling as well. It is for an open wheel car, but gives you an idea what I am talking about..
__________________
~Scott T.
'95 D-90 ST - AA Yellow
"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!"


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old November 20th, 2007, 07:25 PM
talley-ho
Status: Offline
Jim Talley
1970 Series 11A
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 9
Racing Technology for Upgrading Brakes

Newer 4X4 Ford Sportsmobiles and the Ventura County's Paramedic E-350 vans both use the "The Brake Man" upgrades. The paramedic unit's original pads and rotors were wearing brake pads and rotors out quickly. Rears were wearing out every 18,000 miles and the fronts every 14,000 miles. Sportsmobile offers two brake upgrade options both from this company for their heavy rigs that travel the western mountains frequently.

The Brake Man claims that cryogenics only hardens the rotor surface, but doesn't provide stress relief because the treatment is brief. His thermal process is like four days long and he says this eliminates internal stress on the rotor. Warren Gilliand has been designing racing brakes for over 30-years and his company is now adapting his product for the truck and fleet market: www.thebrakeman.com is worth checking out. We own a 2000 Sportsmobile 7.3 Diesel with the Quigley 4X4 system and sent the Quigley adapted rotors to Warren and added his pads. Now no more brake fade and warped rotors after Lost Coast jaunts, Colorado, Utah and Baja trips, too.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old November 20th, 2007, 09:00 PM
NashvilleRedD90's Avatar
NashvilleRedD90
Status: Offline
Will Peters
'97 NAS D90 ST #1704 -4.6
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Franklin, TN
Posts: 231
You could try swapping to a high performance pad, like EBC or something.

I swapped to EBC Greenstuff (7000 series front and 6000's back) pads with DBA slotted and drilled rotors (vented front, solid rear) with SS brake lines on my D2 in the summer (I also bled the brakes and replaced with all new fluid at the same time). I'm not sure if its the pads, rotors, or just new fluid; but I did get improved performance...
__________________
'97 D90 - 4.6
'00 D2

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old November 20th, 2007, 09:38 PM
sflash868's Avatar
sflash868
Status: Offline
Stephan Laputka
1995 D-90 SW
Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: San Francisco, CA
Posts: 972
Scott T is correct in everyting he said. Slottled/ cross-drilled rotors will actualy decrese your brake performance since there is less surface area to absorb heat/ create friction with the pad. As was mentioned... Slotted, cross-drilled only helps with off-gasing of the pads at extremely high temperatures (none you will see on a defender) with a race compound brake pad. It prevents "floating" of the pad on the rotor surface. Don't bother with ducting cooling vents because your not cruising at a cool 160 mph. Unless you are well north 120, they are uselss. Motul is a great fluid but does not respond well to cold temperatures. I don't know why I've just had better luck with ATE super blue and cold temperature..

The pad you use if very important. Most important of any of the suggestions mentioned thus far. I would say there is a trade off with a higher temperature pad but and pad made for a defender is not gonna be high temperature enough to notice a trade off. Pagid make awesome pads. They are realtively low dust too. Stay away from kevlar. Absolutely revove the backing plates on the front rotors.

I would ditch the front rotors for solid ones. Cross-drilled are typically vulnerable to cracking and warping unless they are brembo or porsche... Currently the only two manufacturers that cast them that way as opposed to drilling solid rotors. If I were you.. ditch the back plates, use solid rotors, change fluid for ATE super blue, Use a Pagid pad with the highest operating temp you can and if that doesn't work, use titanium back plates. In extreme cases you can get titanium plates between the pads and the caliper pistons. Titanium has a low heat transfer rate and keeps you fluid temps down and your caliper cooler. Hope this helps. Keep in mind you have a really heavy car that your trying to stop. What some people say worked on their MG midget's brakes IS NOT gonna work on your D.
__________________
Land Rovers are by far the best looking 4x4 on the back of a flatbed...
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old September 17th, 2008, 11:23 PM
ajh
Status: Offline
Andrew J. Hutton
1993 Defender 110 200TDI
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 735
I know this is an old thread but what I did coming down Mt. Washington was use the drum brake on the transmission. An X-Brake conversion would work even better, basically just a pinion brake at the wrong end anyway. Then you've got your fluid nice and cool and a way to shed a few mph when needed anyway.
__________________
--

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Parts & Accessories Imported Weekly

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Like us on Facebook for a discount on parts!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Handmade Soap ideal for Mechanics!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old September 18th, 2008, 07:04 AM
JimC's Avatar
JimC
Status: Offline
Jim Cheney
NAS 110 #145
Site Team
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Stuttgart, Germany
Posts: 7,154
Registry
Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but I think the manual specifically warns to never use the trans brake as anything other than a parking or emergency brake. Its only braking one shaft out of the transfer case, so I imagine that using it that way places some internal stress on the case.
__________________
Jim Cheney

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old September 18th, 2008, 09:11 AM
cellulararrest's Avatar
cellulararrest
Status: Offline
Chris Snyder
1994 D90 #614 | '07 L322 SC
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Newburyport, MA
Posts: 1,544
I would also not advise that. Especially coming down Mt. Washington. Just put it in low range and you never need the brakes anyway.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old September 18th, 2008, 09:54 AM
LRNAD90's Avatar
LRNAD90
Status: Offline
Scott T
1995 Defender 90 ST
Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,265
Registry
Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC
Far be it from me to tell you what to do, but I think the manual specifically warns to never use the trans brake as anything other than a parking or emergency brake. Its only braking one shaft out of the transfer case, so I imagine that using it that way places some internal stress on the case.
I would think the warning is more about dangerous handling concerns. If the center diff is open, you are only braking the rear driveshaft, and given that the rear diff is open, I would think, that would mean at the extreme you are really only effectively braking one wheel , which could lead to some really squirrelly handling problems, no?
__________________
~Scott T.
'95 D-90 ST - AA Yellow
"If you're not living on the edge, you're taking up too much space!"


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old September 18th, 2008, 10:00 AM
cellulararrest's Avatar
cellulararrest
Status: Offline
Chris Snyder
1994 D90 #614 | '07 L322 SC
Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Newburyport, MA
Posts: 1,544
if even that. On gravel you just get the back wheels spinning in opposite directions.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old September 18th, 2008, 10:03 AM
Uncle Douglas's Avatar
Uncle Douglas
Status: Offline
Doug Crowther
A defender in every driveway-motto
D-90 Source Vendor
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Gods Country- Central Virginia
Posts: 11,836
Registry
There used to be a company called cool carbon that made carbon fiber based brake pads that didn't fade with heat- they squeaked a lot though. If you are running stock pads and they are fading on grades you are going to burn through them quickly. I agree with everything said above. The cheap out is to try harder pads. The real fix is something like what Ron pictured. Some guys have done some neat brake mods on pirate4x4.com.
__________________
Good judgement comes from experience,experience comes from bad judgement.

Dividing Creek Imports
Worldwide Vehicle Shipment and Importation Service
Restoration & Modification work


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

410.693.1391


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old September 21st, 2008, 12:44 PM
ajh
Status: Offline
Andrew J. Hutton
1993 Defender 110 200TDI
Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 735
Fade is not a matter of pad, it's a matter of fluid boiling. If you're really worried go to DOT 5.1 fluid, (not DOT5 that is silicone and not compatible with Glycol), it has a boiling point of 500F vs 300F for Dot3, but always run at least DOT4.

Follow-up Post:

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeepeytr
I would think the warning is more about dangerous handling concerns. If the center diff is open, you are only braking the rear driveshaft, and given that the rear diff is open, I would think, that would mean at the extreme you are really only effectively braking one wheel , which could lead to some really squirrelly handling problems, no?
Yes, it would... but used gently on a long slope it's fine I wouldn't try to jam it on and stop with it, that would be crazy.
__________________
--

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Parts & Accessories Imported Weekly

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Like us on Facebook for a discount on parts!

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
- Handmade Soap ideal for Mechanics!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Lower Navigation
Go Back   Defender Source > Defender & Series Technical Discussions > Defender Technical Discussions

Tags
brake

Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Brake line upgrades - what/where to buy? pmd Defender Technical Discussions 11 March 30th, 2007 11:58 PM
Brake Line ? RoverChic Defender Technical Discussions 18 March 5th, 2007 05:45 PM
Lucas Girling Brake Fluid chris snell Defender Technical Discussions 5 November 16th, 2005 10:59 AM
Help, brake light problem! Dfndr90 Defender Technical Discussions 5 July 11th, 2005 07:39 PM
Emergency Brake Issues Ragland Defender Technical Discussions 10 April 7th, 2005 07:09 PM


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:49 AM.


Copyright