Modern truck and LUV (lowrider utility vehicle) braking systems leave little to be desired when it comes to stopping power, unless like most custom enthusiasts, you've added larger wheels and tires. It's not uncommon these days to see LUVs rolling on 20s with 22- and even 24-inch wheels also becoming popular. But those big wheels and tires add a lot of rolling mass or "un-sprung weight" so you should consider upgrading your stock brakes.
That's where the experts at Baer Brake Systems (in Phoenix, Arizona) come in. Baer has developed the EradiSpeed Plus-1 upgrade system for the latest generation of GM 1/2-ton trucks and LUVs specifically to compliment larger wheel and tire packages. The simple bolt-on upgrade kit allows you to replace the stock 121/2-inch rotors with massive 14-inch cross-drilled, slotted rotors with zinc-washed surfaces. The kit also includes direct bolt-on replacement caliper brackets to relocate the OE caliper outward to allow the use of the larger diameter rotors. All original mounting hardware is retained.
This increase in rotor diameter increases leverage, braking power and efficiency by 17-percent, much the way that using a fulcrum and longer lever reduces the effort of lifting an object. Thus, EradiSpeed Plus-1 packages offer a return of braking performance, which is otherwise lost with the greater mass of larger wheels and tires (usually more than 30 lbs per corner on 20-inch wheel and tire combinations).
Since the upgrade employs the original factory calipers and pads, there is no increase in noise, harshness or dust, which is often found with aftermarket pads or more elaborate brake system upgrades. The system is fully compatible with the vehicle's original equipment ABS system. Further, the kit installs in less than 21/2 hours without even bleeding the brakes. EradiSpeed Plus-1 upgrades provide powerful aesthetic improvements with dynamic braking improvements and performance you can feel.
For example, in testing with a 2002 Chevrolet Suburban equipped with 20x 81/2-inch wheels and big tires, the full-size LUV needed an average of more than 164 feet to stop from 60 miles per hour. The test was repeated with EradiSpeed Plus-1 rotors and the average stopping distance was reduced to less than 144 feet. Twenty feet may not sound like a much, but consider that a typical family sedan is about 16-feet long and you realize that stopping 20 feet sooner can mean the difference between a close call and a collision.
Ben O'Connor, Baer technical sales and motor sports support engineer, says, "the figures would have been even better had the big Suburban been equipped with a complete 'Baer Claw' braking system that includes Baer's rotors and Alcon or PBR calipers." O'Connor suggests that those truly serious about stopping also consider upgrading their brake pads.
Today, Baer offers more than 150 brake system applications designed so the enthusiast is not required to do any welding or fabrication to successfully perform the installation. "No other company in the performance brake market offers systems featuring the same level of completion," Ben added. "And none offers more variations to meet customers' specific performance requirements."
To see if the EradiSpeed Plus-1 System performs as advertised, we took our editor's 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche to one of Baer's top retail installers, Extreme Automotive (in Canoga Park, California) where Sean Roberts and Sal Gutierrez performed the upgrade. Ralph had just added a set of 24-inch Motiv alloys and BFGoodrich G-Force radials to his LUV--even more rolling mass than the 20s on the test Suburban--so it definitely needed better binders.
The kit installed quickly and easily. Then, we test drove the truck and immediately noticed an improvement in braking. Of course, the rotors had to be "seasoned" before we could perform the panic braking tests. Seasoning burns off the surface of the iron and establishes a wear pattern between the pad and rotor. Of even greater importance, is that seasoning relieves internal stresses with the new rotor.
Baer recommends making several light stops from 30 mph to ensure that the brake system is functioning properly. Then, gradually increase brake temperatures with progressively harder, faster stops through 10-15 stops, until the rotors reach full operational temperature (about 1,100-degrees F). Then, allow the brakes to cool slowly by driving easily for 10 minutes or so. The idea is to cool the brake system to ambient temperature. Ideally, you should let the system cool overnight, which is what we did.
The next day we performed 60 to 0 panic brake tests and found that, like the Suburban, the stopping distance was reduced by more than a full car length. That's a nice safety margin to have in an emergency. And it could make the difference between stopping behind the car in front of you or in its front seat!
1, 2. The factory rotors on the left don't compare to the stopping power of the bigger Baer 14-inch rotors on the right.
3. The simple bolt-on EradiSpeed Plus-1 System includes 14-inch low-inertia thermally efficient (LITE) cross-drilled, slotted rotors with zinc-washed surfaces, direct bolt-on replacement caliper brackets to relocate the OE caliper outward to allow the use of the larger diameter rotors.
4. The factory front brake setup is adequate for most situations unless you've increased the "un-sprung" weight and rolling mass by adding big wheels and tires.
5. The first step is to remove the caliper guide bolts securing the caliper to the factory cast-iron anchor bracket.
6. Remove the caliper with the brake line still connected and carefully rest the caliper on the control arm. Never let it hang by the brake line.
7. Next unbolt and remove the anchor and brake pads.
8. The stock rotor is then removed. Make sure that the hub is thoroughly cleaned before installing the new rotor.
9. Remove the brake pads and spring retention clips from the OE caliper brackets and install them into the new Baer mounting brackets.
10. The new EradiSpeed directional rotor simply slips over the hub assembly. Be sure to check the sticker on the rotor to be certain that you have the rotor on the proper side.
11. & 12. Install the new mounting bracket using the stock bolts torqued to 148 lb. ft.
13. Slip the factory caliper onto the mounting bracket and re-attach it with the factory bolts.
14. The new Baer rotor looks great and provides 17-percent more braking power.
15. The OE rear brakes also have 121/2-inch rotors.
16. The rear installation is similar to the front. Begin by unbolting the caliper.
17. With the caliper supported as before, the mounting bracket and pads are unbolted and removed. Then the rotor is removed.
18. The stock hardware, pads and caliper pins are removed from the stock mounting bracket, and installed in the new bracket. Note: the pins are lubed before installing them.
19. With the surface of the axle flange thoroughly cleaned, the new rotor is slipped over the hub.
20. The new mounting bracket is installed next, using the factory bolts.
21. The finished rear install should look like this.
22. The new EradiSpeed rear rotor looks as good as it does on the front.