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Old 03-24-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
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Brake pads...you get what you pay for

About 55,000 miles ago, I had to replace the front rotors and brake pads on our Quigley 4x4 conversion (too much riding the brakes coming down from Donner Summit). I bought the replacement rotors and pads from Quigley's supplier and had them installed by Custom Alignment in Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area.

A couple years ago, during a routine "oil filter/lube" appointment at our local Ford dealer, the Ford service manager called to inform me that the front pads needed to be replaced and I had them do it. A week later, the brakes started squeaking every time I applied the brakes. I complained to Ford and they applied an "anti-squeak" lubricant to them which worked for a week and then the squeak was back. I gave up and decided to live with it.

Finally, last week, I decided I'd had enough and decided to replace the front pads even though there was plenty of pad left. This time, I went back to Custom Alignment. In calling them about my problem, they explained that they didn't use stock pads but use "fleet" pads (which, I assume are heavy-duty). They also always turn the rotors to match the pads and chamfer the trailing edge of the pads, both to minimize "chatter" or squeaks. Once our van was on the rack and they had inspected the components, they also noticed the need to replace a couple of the steering bushings (not unexpected with the weight of our vans). After installing the replacement pads, they test drove it and found that it was pulling to one side. They swapped the pads from one side to the other but another test drive found that that just moved the problem to the other side, which suggested that the pads on one side were the problem. They ordered another set of pads and installed them...that corrected the problem.

I drove the van down to Fresno for a new house battery this morning and braking was straight without any pulling. And no brake squeak!

So...think before you decide to take advantage of that cheap brake pad replacement deal...no connection with Custom Alignment except for handing them our credit card...I've also used them a couple of times for replacement shocks and other alignment issues.
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Old 05-24-2011, 10:50 PM   #2
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Re: Brake pads...you get what you pay for

I upgraded the front brakes on my stock 2WD E350 V10.

* Hawk LTS pads
* Power slot cryo rotor (slotted, cryo treated)

I got both from Tire Rack. Obviously check the application based on the front rotors you have, but I based this on recos from the FordTrucks forum.

Where I camp each year is at the top of a very steep windy hill, about 2000' elevation change in a couple of miles. 2009 I melted the front brakes, even coming down in 1st or 2nd most of the way, just very steep and hauling too much gear (telescopes, camping gear).

Anyway, after the upgrade, just an amazing difference. There is a more heavier duty pad, but most people say it is just way too aggressive unless you are regularly towing a huge load. The LTSs provide great pedal feel and fade resistance. I've used them towing (~4000-5000lb) no issues. Great combination with the rotors listed above. The rotors are OE Ford that have been slotted and cryo treated.

Anyway, that's the hot setup from the F350 guys.
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Old 05-25-2011, 09:45 AM   #3
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Re: Brake pads...you get what you pay for

+1 on the Hawk pads. They squeek on my sportscar (ceramic) but the van pads are silent.
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