If the custom truck world had tabloids, big power and trick suspensions would get all the headlines. Can’t you just see it now: “You’ll never believe the amount of horsepower from this blown big-block!” Or how about, “Laid out and lookin’ good -- tricked-out suspensions for your fullsize.” Brakes, however, are not so glamorous. We see it all the time -- a big truck with big wheels, big tires, and puny little stock brakes. If you fall into this category, we’re happy to tell you a solution is available for most fullsize trucks. Baer Brakes has been developing and manufacturing high-performance brakes for stock and high-performance applications for many years, and we’ve successfully used them on minis, SUVs, and lifted and lowered trucks.
For our performance-oriented 2013 Ford F-150 -- GT-150 project, big brakes were an absolute must, considering we’d be adding 22-inch wheels, pushing the truck to its limits, and beating on it around a track. To meet our list of requirements, we ordered Baer’s 15-inch Extreme+ setup for the front and drilled and slotted rotors for the rear. The Extreme+ incorporates a billet-aluminum six-piston monoblock design, with 15-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors, brackets to mount the calipers onto the spindles, and adapters to allow the factory brake hoses to work with the new Baer calipers. With the Big Brake kit in hand, we pulled our 2013 ford F-150 into our Eastwood Tech Center and quickly got to work making the Ford safer, better looking, and track-ready. If you’re truck is cruising around with big wheels and tires but you haven’t upgraded your brakes yet, give Baer a call today.
1. Our factory brake rotors and calipers were barely adequate at stopping the original 18-inch wheels and tires, but once we bolted on the larger 22s, we desperately needed to make an upgrade. Step one of the disassembly required the use of a ½-inch ratchet to bust loose the caliper mounting bolts. We did not fully remove them yet, however.
2. The reason for not removing the bolts yet was so we could pinch the rubber brake hose and then bust loose and remove the brake hose fitting. The caliper mounting bolts were then removed.
3. A big tug was required to remove the caliper and caliper bracket assembly from the spindle.
4. The stock brake disc was designed to be a wear-and-tear replacement part. This is not a high-performance brake item and shouldn’t be trusted to stop your big-wheel-equipped pickup.
5. The Bear Extreme+ kit includes new billet-aluminum monoblock six-piston calipers, 15-inch cross-drilled and slotted rotors, caliper-mounting brackets, and the required banjo fittings to work with the factory brake hoses. It’s not cheap at $3,895.00, but you can’t put a price on safety.
6. We began the installation of the Baer Extreme+ kit by bolting on the caliper-mounting bracket.
7. To make room for the larger brake rotor, the factory dust shield was removed.
8. The 15-inch rotor was then slid onto the wheel-bearing hub. The cross-drilled holes help offer brake pad de-gasing, and the slotted vents draw cool air under the brake pad and rotor face and help cool the temperatures of the brake pad contact area.
9. Next up, the six-piston Baer caliper was positioned in place. As you can see in this photo, it helps to line up the caliper by using a few lug nuts to hold the brake rotor flush against the hub.
10. Using a torque wrench, the caliper-mounting nuts were torqued to 75 ft-lb.
11. On the backside of the caliper, the factory brake hose was attached to the Baer-supplied banjo fitting. It was vital at this point to use copper crush washers (also supplied in the kit) on each side of the bolt and fitting.
12. It was now time to bleed the new brakes. Do not forget to do this or else you’ll start scratching your head as to why you have a spongy brake pedal.
13. And there you have it, one Baer Extreme+ Big Brake kit ready for street, track, and show duty. In case you’re wondering, we did upgrade the rear brakes with drilled and slotted rotors from Baer, but it was such a straightforward install we skipped showing the photos.
In addition to impressive stopping distances that are repeatable without brake fade, the new Baer brakes look ready to rock sitting behind our open-faced DUB.1 wheels.