First Generation Explorer High Performance Disk Rotor Installation
By Mark Strickland
Disclaimer: The following document outlines
procedures for modifying the braking system on a Ford Explorer. The
author assumes no liability for any direct or indirect damage, injury,
loss of property or life resulting from the use of these instructions.
The author assumes no liability for the contents of this document or its
accuracy. Follow these procedures at your own risk.
Most owners of
First Generation Explorers have at one point or another
have wished they had better front brakes. Whether it is
becuase they don't work well enough in the wet, overheat
to easy, don't last long enough, warp to easily or just
plain don't work well enough, period. There are cross
drilled rotors available to help overcome the problem of
heat or water but they still don't last any longer. The
answer isn't in cutting more and more of the rotor away,
but changing the strength of the rotor. There is a
process called cryogenics that can help strengthen metal.
According to Applied Rotor Technology "The freezing of metal
in an effort to increase its durability and strength has
been practiced for some thirty years within various
industries. The tool and die industry regularly
uses this approach to temper and extend the life of steel
tooling bits. " ... "By cryo-treating a
metal part, the molecular structure is made more uniform,
more durable and much stronger. "
After reading about chryogenics used
in other indusstries and having warped yet another set of
rotors I decided it was worth a shot. A quick call to
Dean at ART (805)583-4624 and just over $300, I received
2 front brake rotors and a set of Brake Pads.
Replacing Brake Rotors on
the Ford Explorer is a relitivly simple procedure. In
addition to basic hand tools you will need a telescoping
pen magnet and a 2 1/8th inch hub socket. These
instructions will assume you are still running stock Ford
automatic hubs. If you are running Warn manual hubs the
basic steps are the same but the removal of the hub willl
To start lift the front end and block the rear tires.
Once the front tires are removed you need to remove the
brake calipers. The calipers ride on slide pins which
must be removed to allow the calipers to be removed.
There is no graceful
method to remove the slide pins. We used a hammer along
with an old screw driver. You must push the slide pins in
by pushing each side of the pin into the caliper. Once
the locks have passed the ridge they will push right
Once the slide pins (both) are removed
hang the caliper out of the way. Make sure the caliper
does not hang by the brake line.
Remove the snap-ring with a screwdriver (hold your finger
over the snap ring to keep it from flying away).
After the snap ring is removed, remove
the axleshaft spacer.
Next remove the cam from the spindle.
After you remove the cam, remove the two plastic thrust
spacer, being careful to not damage them.
Using a pic or pen magnet remove they
locking key. You may have to turn the nut slightly (using
the 2 1/8" socket) to free up the key. Do NOT
attempt to remove the nut before removing the key as this
will destroy the nut.
Using a 2 3/8" hex
locknut wrench, remove the locking nut.
At this point you can remove the rotor and both the inner
and outer bearings.
If you don't have a oil seal remover you can reinstall
the locknut. Once installed you can pull the roter and
the locking nut will pull the bearing against the oil
seal and remove them both.
Inspect the bearings. If you see any maring or blueing
replace the bearing, otherwise repack the old bearings.
You should also inspect the cams and if there is any
damage they should be replaced (if they need replacement
it is cheaper to replace your hubs with the Warn Manual
Hubs). They should be cleaned and soaked in ATF fluid. Do
NOT pack them with bearing grease as this will keep them
from disengaging correctly.
Install one packed bearing into the
inner bearing race on the rotor. Now install an oil seal.
Once installed place the rotor back onto the axle
Install the outer bearing and the locking nut. Spin the
rotor as you tighten the nut to 35 ft pounds. Now loosen
the locking nut 1/4 turn. Retighten the nut to 16 inch
pounds. Install the key into the closest keyway. If
necessary, tighten the nut slightly to allow the key to
Install the two thrust spacers
Install the cam by pushing it over the adjusting nut
making sure the keys align between the cam and the
Install the axleshaft spacer and then the snap-ring on
the end of the axle spindle.
You can now install your
new brake pads into the caliper and install the caliper.
If necessary, compress the caliper pistosn by using a
c-clamp. Be sure to put your old brake shoes over the
caliper piston as you do not want to damage the caliper.
It is recomended that you open the bleeder valve on the
caliper before you attempt to compress the piston.
Be sure to grease the slide pin before you install them.
You need to use "brake caliper grease". Bearing
grease and many other common greases will not work as
they will either wash away, cook away or get gummy with
Once the calipers are installed you can bleed the brakes
and install the tires and be on your way...
Braking performance is greatly improved
over the stock rotors with stock or performance pads. The
braking feel is more controlable and the brakes don't
seem to have the same "fade" problem they used
to have when driving down Mt. Lemon (9000ft to 2000ft) in
Arizona. I was sceptic about the claim of decreased wear
but after almost 30,000 miles the brakes pads have most
of the pads left. The stock rotors with performance pads
or even stock pads would be almost gone at 30,000 miles.
The warping problem also seems to have dispeared. Stock
rotors would warp easily by 30,000 miles with our driving
style. There is still not hint of warping at 30,000 miles
on the ART combination. . In short the ART brake rotor
upgrade is worth every penny for anyone ready for new
pads or brake rotors.