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FROGBOX

Successful BIG BRAKE upgrade on 2011 Crew

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Well, I said I would do it, so I did. I was going to source all the parts new, but I was able to find a wrecked 2013 Journey and bought the calipers, brackets, rotors & pads for $150 total. That saved me about $350 from buying new and made it much less of a risk if it didn't work.

First, the disclaimer......

PLEASE do not attempt this upgrade unless you know what you are doing. Use common sense when jacking & supporting a vehicle, they are heavy and can move. Always use jack stands. And most of all, be careful.

First, here are some comparison pictures to show the huge difference between the brakes.

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As you can see, the calipers are much bigger. And, they are dual piston calipers too, meaning you get more pressure on the pads for better braking. The rotors are also much larger. The old ones are 302mm and the new ones are over an inch bigger at 330mm:

orig.jpg

I did want to replace the pads & rotors, but since these brakes are so new being available only on 2013 & late 2012 cars, the aftermarket availability is limited for replacement pads & rotors. So if you can wait to do this upgrade till aftermarket parts are available, you can save a few bucks. I will be throwing on a set of new ceramic pads & rotors next year. I hate the brake dust created by the OEM pads.

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Now, on to the procedure....

The first step is to jack up the truck and remove the wheels. If you need instructions for this part, perhaps you should consider getting someone else to help you or pay to have this done :).

Once the wheels are off, remove the calipers. You can remove them as complete unit with the brackets, but I chose to do it seperately as there is more clearance for the bracket bolts with the caliper out of the way. The first thing I did was to remove the brake lines. I used a small pair of needle nose vice grips to clamp the hose so you don't loose too much fluid. Put a bucket under the caliper to catch the fluid that leaks out. You need a 15mm wrench to remove the banjo bolt holding the brake line to the caliper.

Once you have the line off, you need a 15mm and a 13mm wrench to remove the caliper from the slider pins.

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With the 2 x 13mm bolts removed, the caliper should wiggle off. Now, you can easily access the 2 x 21mm bolts holding on the bracket:

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I needed a breaker bar to get enough leverage to brake those bolts loose. If you don't have one in your tool box, they are not expensive at Princess Auto (Canada) or Harbor Freight (US). You could also use a pipe on your ratchet handle too.

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Once it is broken loose, finish with ratchet:

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Next step is to remove the rotor. I had to pound mine off with a rubber mallet. It had rusted to the hub. These brakes were changed 1 year ago and 16,000 km (10,000 miles) by the dealer. I was surprised at how stuck they were. To prevent this from happening again, clean & lube the hub before reinstalling the rotors.

I used a wire wheel on the end of a drill to clean up the rust on the hub:

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I then applied some anti sieze to the hub to prevent the new rotor from rusting to the hub again. You will be glad you did this when you go to change your brakes again. Coat the entire mating surface:

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The next step is to reinstall the new components. Install the rotor first. I like to use a lug nut to hold it in place while I attach everything else so it doesn't wobble around. I use a wrench as a spacer as the stud is too lung and will bottom out in the nut before it gets tight.

orig.jpg

Then, attach the bracket and caliper. It fits the original spindle with no issues at all. You can also change the backing plate as well. They are not expensive, but I didn't in this case as I was just test fitting the parts I had before spending money on new plates. I will replace my plates when I do my next brake job.

Here is the new caliper installed:

orig.jpg

At this point, you will need to bleed the brakes. I don't want to go into too many details on that. I'm sure there are enough tutorials on the web & you tube that you can figure out how that works. Basically, you need one person in the vehicle to pump the brakes to pressurize the line, then, while holding down the brake pedal, you crack the bleed screw to allow the air to escape. the pedal will sink to the floor, then close the bleed screw and repeat till there is no more air coming out of the caliper, only fluid.

The bleed screw is 11mm:

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I use a piece of clear hose to help direct the fluid into a bucket to keep the work area clean. You can also see the fluid passing through it and can tell if there is any air coming out as well:

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Once all the air is bled out, tighten the bleed screw. It does not have to be really tight. Just snug it up. if you make it too tight, it may snap. Cap the screw with the rubber boot, replace the wheel and repeat on the other side.

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Here are some before & after pictures:

Old caliper:

orig.jpg

New caliper:

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Old with wheel (wow, they look tiny inside a 19" wheel :) ):

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New with wheel:

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That's about it. Just a couple of things before I go.....

Be advised that with these bigger brakes, you will need a minimum of 17" wheels to clear. So some Journey owners with smaller wheels will have to budget for new wheels as well as the bigger brakes.

Parts list:

Part Part number Qty

Pads 68159579AC 1

Rotors 04779712AA 2

Caliper (L) 68144161AA 1

Caliper ® 68144160AA 1

Carrier (bracket) 68159578AA 2

Pin Kit (sliders) 68144165AA 2

Spring kit (pads) 68159523AB 1

Dust shield (L) 04779907AA 1

Dust shield ® 04779906AA 1

As mentioned before, to save some money, you may be able to find the pads & rotors aftermarket. The calipers, brackets, pins and backing plates are probably dealer only items, but can be found cheap on line at the following sites:

www.factorymoparparts.com

www.moparoverstock.com

Tools required:

11mm wrench for the bleeder screw

13mm wrench or socket to remove caliper

15mm wrench to hold slider pin

21mm socket to remove bracket bolts

vice grips or a clamp of some kind to crimp the brake hose.

Edited by FROGBOX

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Or you can do like we did and traded the 2009 for a 2013 Crew. Just a little more expensive. LOL :hyper: All kidding aside; GOOD JOB and very good details about the conversion. I am sure there will be lots of conversions in the next while. :rockon:

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sounds great and great write-up wonder how much room between 17 inch rims and the new rotor and calper. since i have 17 rims really dont want to go to bigger rims and tires because i am cheap. LOL

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Nice write-up.

Do you know if the master cylinders and proportioning blocks are the same from earlier years vs 2013?

Any issues with ABS?

Also this doesn't look like an option for those of us with the 16'' steel wheels.

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That's right, 16 inch rims won't fit anymore. I'm also interested to know, what the ABS, ASR and ESP are doing now. I'm fighting against Fiat due to the brake issues. They always tell me, it's not possible to make the change.

And what about the rear brakes? As I know, they also changed the dimension of the rear rotors.

Edited by Toy4ever

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sounds great and great write-up wonder how much room between 17 inch rims and the new rotor and calper. since i have 17 rims really dont want to go to bigger rims and tires because i am cheap. LOL

As mentioned, 16" wheels will not fit. 17" wheels will fit no problem. I will be running winter wheels and had to look for 17" wheels knowing I was going to do this upgrade. You need to find wheels with a 5 x 127mm bolt pattern and a 71.5mm centre bore.

also , have never had to use 2 wrenches to remove calper bolts. somthing new here?

Calipers float on a slider pin so that they can move with brake pad wear. There are several variations depending on the manufacturer. Some pins bolt to the bracket and the caliper floats on the pin. Some pins bolt to the caliper and the pin floats in the bracket. On the journey, the caliper bolts to the slider with the 13mm bolt and the slider floats in the bracket. The 15mm wrench is there to hold the slider pin so you can unbolt the caliper from the pin. Without it, the pin would just spin as you loosened the 13mm bolt. Here is a diagram from a different car, but the function is identical:

2008-08-31_183015_diag1.gif

Nice write-up.

Do you know if the master cylinders and proportioning blocks are the same from earlier years vs 2013?

Any issues with ABS?

Also this doesn't look like an option for those of us with the 16'' steel wheels.

As mentioned above, 16" wheels will not fit.

As for the ABS, I have driven the Journey for about 50km so far and no issues at all. The ABS light has not come on indicating a problem. I do not know for certain, but I would imagine the ABS controler is adaptive. Meaning, it senses the wheel spin with the sensor at the hub. Once that wheel stops spinning, it reduces the brake pressure to release the brakes slightly, then reapplies it. It is constantly making adjustments every millisecond based on the speed of the sensor. The control module just learns how much pressure to release and/or apply to prevent brake lock up. Different factors determine how much grip you have, such as brake pad or rotor condition, road condition, tire condition, etc. The ABS controller has to adapt to each situation differently. I don't think changing the brakes affect anything.

That's right, 16 inch rims won't fit anymore. I'm also interested to know, what the ABS, ASR and ESP are doing now. I'm fighting against Fiat due to the brake issues. They always tell me, it's not possible to make the change.

And what about the rear brakes? As I know, they also changed the dimension of the rear rotors.

The rear brakes on the newer Journeys are also bigger. The 2008-2012 have 305mm rear rotors and the late 2012-2013's have 328mm rear rotors But I am not too concerned about them at this point. I just installed a fresh set of Powerstop rotors & ceramic pads to reduce the brake dust. But the front brakes do the majority of the braking and are the most prone to warping.

As for ESP & ASR, it would be similar to my ABS explanation above. The computer that controls it should be able to adapt to the conditions and learn how much brake pressure to apply given the circumstances.

Edited by FROGBOX

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Thanks Frogbox for Your reply. I look forward to see the face of the Fiat guys, when I show Your pictures to them. Then they have to explain, why they told me bull all the time.

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Great writeup Frogbox. I'm sure a lot of people were just waiting for someone else to try it first. Should be quite a few more conversions soon. I can see you have experience. Board under the wheels of the floor jack on the pavement, poked a few holes have we? Cheers

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I'm still concerned that the brake booster, master cylinder and proprtioning block (underhood components) are mis-matched to the calipers, pads & rotors in your setup. Reason I say that is back in the day I had an old Mustang and people were converting '83-86 Foxbody Mustang discs & drums over to the larger '87-93 parts. Doing that, they had to change the vacuum booster, master cylinder and proportioning block to get the system to work properly. IIRC because of the different position of the underhood components, the brake lines also had to be replaced. Whatever the case it was too much work for me to consider. If you have mismatched parts you're going to have wearing problems and a possible safety issue. I'm not trying to crap on this thread but this is the #1 safety system on your entire vehicle. If we could have a parts guru verify that the '09-12 underhood braking components are indeed the same as the '13+ then this would be an upgrade everyone should consider.

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tstone,

I appreciate your concerns. They are certainly valid points and I did consider them when doing the conversion. While I can wrench with the best of them, I will admit that I am no expert when it comes to the electronics. But I have done many brake upgrades on newer cars with computerized ABS systems with no issues whatsoever.

My other car is a Jetta TDI and it also suffered from the small brake syndrome. Off the shelf parts are readily available for those cars as well since the same car with different motor options had bigger brakes. I was able to convert my 280mm brakes to 312mm brakes for about $300 using parts from another car. The only difference was that in the case of the Jetta, I also had to change the spindle as it had a different mounting system for the calipers.

In both upgrades, the cars were newer with computer controls. So there is a significant difference compared to the older cars you speak of that were all mechanical in their operation. The computer will learn and adapt to the changes and still be able to function properly. I am not concerned at this point. But if an issue does come up, I will certainly post what I find here.

I can confirm that almost all of the components are the same. The brake booster, vacuum pump, master cylinder and HCU (hydraulic control unit aka proportioning block) part numbers are the same between 2011 & 2013.

Source:

2011 brake booster components

2013 brake booster components

2011 master cylinder components

2013 master cylinder components

2011 HCU components

2013 HCU components

I tried to find the part number for the ABS control module, but for some reason, the 2013 only shows an AWD part, even though I selected FWD??? So I could not compare the ABS module part numbers accurately.

2011 ABS module

2013 ABS module

Edited by FROGBOX

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Just a quick update on the brakes. The Journey is my wife's daily driver, so I haven't had much seat time since the upgrade. I asked her if she felt anything different and she did notice the vibrations have disappeared, so I feel good about that. However, she did not notice any difference in the braking performance. So last night, I took it for a spin to run some errands and have to report that I too did not feel much of a difference in the braking performance either.

With the larger rotors, pads & dual piston calipers, I would have thought the braking would be a little better. By better, I mean better grip and less pedal effort to come to a stop. But these brakes feel almost the same as the ones I took off. But this was just scooting around town, so no hard braking was done. These brakes may perform better in hard braking situations than the smaller ones I took off. But for everyday use, there is little difference. Having said that, brake performance was not my reason for doing this upgrade. I did it to extend the brake job intervals. The Journey has 37,000km on it and was ready for its third set of front brakes!!!. The first set was done at 20,000km under warranty because of excessive shudder under braking. Now the second with only 17,000km is starting to do the same under hard braking (highway off ramps especially). I hope to get at least 100k out of the new bigger brakes. My Jetta is due for new front brakes and they have over 200k on them!!!

EDIT:

Drove the DJ a lot this weekend and the in town braking has gotten better. Perhaps the pads just needed to bed to the rotors again? When I got them, they had a coating of rust which I cleaned off with a wire wheel. So the surface was not perfect. Now that the pads & rotors have worn in, they have more grip and I can rwally feel the difference. It just feels so solid. I have so much more confidence when braking now.

Edited by FROGBOX

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Second update. I had a chance to take the DJ on a good highway run this weekend. While I didn't notice a huge difference around town, I can confirm the brakes are MUCH better than the ones I took off when braking hard at highways speeds. I was alone in the car with no kids, so I was able to really push the vehicle. I stopped from 100kph to zero in about 120 feet or so. That was on a downhill highway off ramp, so on a flat surface, it may be shorter. It felt very solid and smooth. No spongy pedal or vibrations at all in the body or steering wheel. My previous brakes would have shook the whole vehicle. I am super happy with the upgrade. Highly recommended if you can get the parts at a decent price.

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The 2009 & 2011 brakes are identical, so this should work for you as well.

This also answered my question i was going to ask lol. awesome write-up. I think i will be doing this upgrade in the spring.

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was out looking at my journey and looks like only about one half inch space between the wheel weights that are guled on and the caliper and i have 17 inch rims. would be afraid the bigger rotor and bigger caliper might hit the weights and if you lived up north with the ice build ups you might have an even bigger problems. still thinking about it tho...

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