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To Brake or Not To Brake, That is the Question...

Posted 12-11-2011 at 11:32 PM by DrivinMyHome
Updated 12-12-2011 at 02:43 AM by DrivinMyHome

Over the last few months I have noticed a fading in the brakes of our Suburban. It brakes acceptably, but it has gotten progressively worse. No squealing, pulling or studdering... just taking more pedal and distance to stop. Also, it has been pitching more on brake application which told me the shocks might be bad.

I got underneath it a couple of weeks ago and noticed that the shocks were 'no-name' brand (probably original) and had lost most of their dampening effect. After doing a bit of research online, I decided on some replacement shocks: Monroe Reflex for the front and Monroe Sensatrac Load-Adjusting for the rear. Found a good price and ordered them.

Well, the shocks arrived at our 'parking spot' a few days ago and I had to wait until this weekend to install them. I was amazed at how simple it was to install them: four different sockets, two ratchets, an adjustable wrench, a jack, two jack stands and some elbow grease.

What a difference!! Without even driving it I noticed that the rear was noticeably higher. I jumped up and down on the bumpers and tested the rebound: very quick. Took it for a short drive and noticed less pitching and rolling. I can't wait to hook up the trailer and see if it handles better there as well.

Since I had the jack and stands out anyways, I decided it was time to get it up in the air again and have a look at the brakes. Because I only have two jack stands, I was only able to lift one end at a time, so I started with the fronts. The rotors looked good but the pads were very worn. One looked like it had only 1/8 inch left, though it was still useable.

I went to Autozone and bought their Severe Duty pads with a lifetime warranty (the clerk told me that they are installed on all Peoria, AZ police SUVs and the warranty is honored for them as well). If they don't hold up, at least it won't cost me to replace them! Got the old pads off and installed the new ones, then took it for a short drive. WOW!! It feels more responsive and seems (to the butt-dyno) to stop in half the distance with better pedal feel as well.

By the time I got the rear up in the air, the sun was starting to set. They looked like they had some life left but were a bit cracked and shiny, so probably should be replaced. Also, the drums looked a bit uneven. They will need to be replaced, but I gave up due to the approaching darkness. Atleast I have something to keep me busy next weekend!
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