How to upgrade to EXT/SS Brake Upgrade

BoldAdventure

Well-Known Member
How to upgrade to EXT/SS Brake Upgrade

INTRO

With the new heavier and larger tires, my stopping distance increased. Or, more to the point. When some A*hole pulled right out in front of me, I'd have a HEART ATTACK.

So I decided to do the EXT/SS brake upgrade. You have two options for upgrading your brakes. You can opt to purchase the SSBC Brake upgrade kit. This kit includes 14" rotors and 4 piston brakes, for some seriously hard core breaking. Some might argue that's overkill for an offroad vehicle. I don't think you can ever over do braking personally. The down side is that those 14inch rotors and calipers may not fit in anything smaller than an 18" rim or with a ton of back spacing. Currently only the SS guys seem to be running these, and no one has posted measurements that I can find or tried running it with 17inch rims and backspacing.

Oh yeah, they're expensive. The price tag on the SSBC kit is pretty big, at close to 2 grand, you've got to be committed.

The second option is the SS/EXT Rotor Swap. Both the EXT and SS have a larger 13 inch front rotor compared to the stock rotors on non v8 SWB Trailblazer/Envoy at 12.4 inches. Basically with this mod two things are changing, the size of the rotor and the size of the pads, which equals increased contact area for your pads. Funny enough, the larger pads fit the the original caliper, so you won't need to replace it. We are after all only increasing the contact area by .60 inches.

It should be noted the only difference between the SS & EXT rotor is a few MM in thickness and the SS featured Iron calipers. (Handles heat better)

The cost of this swap is relatively cheap, under $200.00. Just depends on if you get blank OE style rotors, junk yard rotors or decide to bling it out with Cross-drilled and slotted zinc plated rotors from Brakemotive.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

You will be able to reuse your stock calipers. They're the same size.

You can get these from Rock Auto, or any parts dealer.
Caliper mounting brackets: Cardone A-1: Part# 14-1143 Front Right/Left (order 2)
Caliper Guide Pin Kit brackets CARLSON Part # H5093 (order 2)
Caliper Guide Pin boot: CARLSON Part # 16143 (order 2)
Set of front EXT/SS Rotors and a set of brake pads.

It's up to you what you get. I referenced a 2006 Chevy Trailblazer SS and bought a Brakemotive kit.
BE CAREFUL WITH EBAY. A few of the rotor/pad combos on ebay listed as being for the EXT/SS also label themselves as being for the SWB vehicle and in fact may be the wrong size rotor. So do diligence is important.


DOING THE SWAP

This guide makes two assumptions.
#1 You are mechanically inclined and can jack the vehicle on your own and remove the tires.
#2 You know how to change you brakes already and can remove the caliper and replace the pads. (How to Change your brake pads & rotors)

To get started pick a side and remove the wheel and the caliper along with the pads. You can set the caliper aside out of the way.

Then you'll have to remove the two 17mm bolts holding the bracket in place, as shown here:


After the bracket is off, the next step is to remove your rotor. If you end up like me, you'll have these annoying metal tabs which have to be removed first. Then the rotor will pull straight off.



After that, you can put your new rotor on, and then install the new bracket where you removed the old one using the new caliper guide pins and boot kit.



It really is that simple. Next up, replace your old pads, now is a good time if you want to paint your calipers. I decided why not.

Re-install your caliper using the new bolt kit. A little blue loc-tite might be a good idea.



And that's all. Incredibly simple, and an effective upgrade.



You might be thinking, is there really that much improvement in stopping? The answer to that question is a resounding YES. And I am not going to debate the merits of the cross-drilled/slotted rotors.

Good Luck :thumbsup:


*If you are wondering about the rear calipers, well they're the same size on all GMT 360's. So just buy new pads.
 

xtitan1

Well-Known Member
I followed this guide for mine, but the guide pin kit only came with one caliper's worth of bolts, so I reused the old ones on one of the new brackets.
 
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BoldAdventure

BoldAdventure

Well-Known Member
xtitan1 said:
I followed this guide for mine, but the guide pin kit only came with one caliper's worth of bolts, so I reused the old ones on one of the new brackets.
Thanks for reminding me of that fact! I updated the thread to remind folks to buy 2 each. Also, you may find other parts from other manufacturers, those are the ones I used.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Well done. Need some warmer temps so I can put my upgrade on.
 

Darkrider_LS

Well-Known Member
Def gonna copy and paste this to my comp when i get home! I will prob try to do this upgrade this summer but most likely have it done professionally as i do not feel comfortable messing around with the brake system.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Darkrider_LS said:
Def gonna copy and paste this to my comp when i get home! I will prob try to do this upgrade this summer but most likely have it done professionally as i do not feel comfortable messing around with the brake system.
You don't even bleed the brakes. It is no more work than a normal brake change. You just swap in the bracket and a bigger rotor.
 

xtitan1

Well-Known Member
The only hard part is getting the bolts loose if the pads have never been changed before because there seemed to be a whole bunch of loc tite or something on there. Like I said in another thread, ten months ago I didn't even know how to release my hood!
 

Mooseman

Moderator
All I can say is stay away from no-name cheap made in China pads and rotors. They warp if you look at them funny.
 

tbyoda

Well-Known Member
mikekey said:
Thanks for reminding me of that fact! I updated the thread to remind folks to buy 2 each. Also, you may find other parts from other manufacturers, those are the ones I used.
Good right up Mike:thumbsup:. Here is the link for the Brakemotive front & rear rotors/pads kits, Could post up top in OP for others. :smile: That is really good a deal for $ 220. :wootwoot: Rockauto has a kit (POWER STOP Part # K1454) but is $342.79.

Chevy Trailblazer SS 06 07 08 09 Brake Rotors Ceramic Pads Front and Rear | eBay
 
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BoldAdventure

BoldAdventure

Well-Known Member

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
I would not add a Ebay ad to your post. Or any for sale links. Plus that is front and rear...I would leave the rear out other than your above statement to not confuse readers.:cool:


We never did figure out if there was a difference in the ext vs ss rotors. :confused:
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
Thanks for the write up.

Something important that needs to be added though....the SS calipers will not fit the EXT brackets, you need SS brackets. The larger casing of the iron caliper just barely doesn't fit in the EXT brackets.
 
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BoldAdventure

BoldAdventure

Well-Known Member
gmcman said:
Thanks for the write up.

Something important that needs to be added though....the SS calipers will not fit the EXT brackets, you need SS brackets. The larger casing of the iron caliper just barely doesn't fit in the EXT brackets.
Does not apply as you shouldn't be replacing your caliper, unless you like wasting money.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
mikekey said:
Does not apply as you shouldn't be replacing your caliper, unless you like wasting money.
Not necessarily....the iron calipers are more rigid, so under heavy braking they provide a more positive feel.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Hahaha...we have rubber lines...you will never feel the caliper material.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
HARDTRAILZ said:
Hahaha...we have rubber lines...you will never feel the caliper material.
I'm with you on that, but if I'm not mistaken, that's the reason GM used the iron caliper on the SS, for improved brake feel.

You have to look at it this way...there's a mechanical advantage for lack of better terms. The brakes are like a bottle jack, small piston for a larger operating chamber, thus a multiplication of force. The pressures seen at the line are far less than at the piston.

Doesn't take much caliper flex to reduce feel, can't imagine there is much at all but they designed it that way. Both pistons are on one side so the rigidity of the caliper comes into play, iron is stiffer than the aluminum.
 
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BoldAdventure

BoldAdventure

Well-Known Member
Even as HardTrailz pointed out, getting yourself stainless steel braided brake lines are going to be a better improvement than just switching calipers. It'd be better option than even worrying about Iron vs Aluminum IMHO.

I actually have two calipers off a 2010 Camaro that are the 4 piston I've been thinking about modifying to put onto the rig. Could be my next write up, I need a few additional tools to make my own brackets first. Obviously there are basic physics that limit just how much improvement can be made, but there is room for improvement.
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
mikekey said:
Even as HardTrailz pointed out, getting yourself stainless steel braided brake lines are going to be a better improvement than just switching calipers. It'd be better option than even worrying about Iron vs Aluminum IMHO.

I actually have two calipers off a 2010 Camaro that are the 4 piston I've been thinking about modifying to put onto the rig. Could be my next write up, I need a few additional tools to make my own brackets first. Obviously there are basic physics that limit just how much improvement can be made, but there is room for improvement.
So the best way to go is iron calipers with stainless lines. :biggrin:

I like the idea of your 4-piston design but be sure to research the capabilities of the ABS system along with the master cylinder. The brake system is somewhat balanced and when you introduce 2 more pistons (per side) then you have more fluid you need to push, resulting possibly in diminished braking unless the master can keep up with the higher volume required.


As far as the iron vs. aluminum, I was merely pointing out to the OP who started the thread on upgrading to EXT/SS, and didn't want anyone to go out and purchase SS parts and try to use them with EXT parts, except for the rotors which are interchangeable.

Here's the write up on the SS and they mention the calipers about 3-4 paragraphs down.

2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS | car review @ Top Speed
 

xtitan1

Well-Known Member
gmcman said:
So the best way to go is iron calipers with stainless lines. :biggrin:

I like the idea of your 4-piston design but be sure to research the capabilities of the ABS system along with the master cylinder. The brake system is somewhat balanced and when you introduce 2 more pistons (per side) then you have more fluid you need to push, resulting possibly in diminished braking unless the master can keep up with the higher volume required.


As far as the iron vs. aluminum, I was merely pointing out to the OP who started the thread on upgrading to EXT/SS, and didn't want anyone to go out and purchase SS parts and try to use them with EXT parts, except for the rotors which are interchangeable.

Here's the write up on the SS and they mention the calipers about 3-4 paragraphs down.

2008 Chevrolet TrailBlazer SS | car review @ Top Speed
The SSBC kit he references at the beginning of the article is 4 piston, and at like 2k I assume they've been tested, so that means the concept is at least feasible, right?
 
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BoldAdventure

BoldAdventure

Well-Known Member
xtitan1 said:
The SSBC kit he references at the beginning of the article is 4 piston, and at like 2k I assume they've been tested, so that means the concept is at least feasible, right?
Ok guys, lets not jack the thread to far off course. Yes it will work, it's been tested and done. Someone is just trying to look uber smart and technical.

The heavy-duty iron calipers are stiff and retain their shape under high pressure/high heat braking conditions, providing a more linear feel and reduced pedal travel in high-energy stops.
This is GM marketing, plain and simple.

No where in this thread do I tell anyone to replace a caliper. Just the caliper bracket. Since this is for folks with a SWB TB, then either the EXT or SS caliper bracket will fit your calipers.

If you're replacing calipers, that's on you.

Basically he's just injecting a moot point into the thread and arguing the semantics of said point.
 

xtitan1

Well-Known Member
mikekey said:
Ok guys, lets not jack the thread to far off course. Yes it will work, it's been tested and done. Someone is just trying to look uber smart and technical.



This is GM marketing, plain and simple.

No where in this thread do I tell anyone to replace a caliper. Just the caliper bracket. Since this is for folks with a SWB TB, then either the EXT or SS caliper bracket will fit your calipers.

If you're replacing calipers, that's on you.

Basically he's just injecting a moot point into the thread and arguing the semantics of said point.
Yeah I just read that article that was linked reviewing the TBSS and it was evident that it was basically just copying down what Chevy marketing told them. They make that claim about the calipers, but marketing makes a big deal out of everything. /hijack
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
mikekey said:
No where in this thread do I tell anyone to replace a caliper. Just the caliper bracket.
You are correct, only reason I added that is "just in case".. as a precaution.


mikekey said:
Yes it will work, it's been tested and done. Someone is just trying to look uber smart and technical. Basically he's just injecting a moot point into the thread and arguing the semantics of said point.
Are you referring to me?

I don't know how to design a braking system, never said I did, but I do know that a master can only push so much fluid. If it's been tested (the SBSS) then that's great, obviously it works but you stated that you were going to take a caliper from a Camaro and add it to our platform....is this the SBSS mod or yours? That is what I was referring to. Could also be that the SBSS uses smaller pistons which balances the system, what about the Camaro caliper? What size are the pistons?

"I actually have two calipers off a 2010 Camaro that are the 4 piston I've been thinking about modifying to put onto the rig. Could be my next write up, I need a few additional tools to make my own brackets first. Obviously there are basic physics that limit just how much improvement can be made, but there is room for improvement."

I'm only trying to help, maybe some info I could add that's either usable or not, but at least it was stated and you can do as you wish. Just research the capacity of the master. How is that trying to look smart?

mikekey said:
This is GM marketing, plain and simple.
Why would they add unnecessary unsprung weight to their sport model if it didn't work?
 

gmcman

Well-Known Member
xtitan1 said:
The SSBC kit he references at the beginning of the article is 4 piston, and at like 2k I assume they've been tested, so that means the concept is at least feasible, right?
Absolutely, I was referring to the Camaro caliper swap.
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Ok I've been reading up on this and I am somewhat confused, correct me if I'm wrong but all you need is rotors, pads, and caliper brackets right? Post #3 says he reused the old guide pins so I guess those aren't needed either right?

Also what years can be used is it only 06+
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Anyone?
 

Mounce

Well-Known Member
All years. Caliper is the same, pads are the same.

Need new EXT/v8/XL front rotors (rears are same size on all models) and v8/EXT/XL caliper brackets. That's it.

Caliper bracket, front rotor, and you're good. Just has to be from/for the v8/EXT/XL.
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Mounce said:
All years. Caliper is the same, pads are the same.

Need new EXT/v8/XL front rotors (rears are same size on all models) and v8/EXT/XL caliper brackets. That's it.

Caliper bracket, front rotor, and you're good. Just has to be from/for the v8/EXT/XL.
Ok that's good and thanks alot I need to order soon, but I thought there were year differences especially since the part numbers are different through the years and they look different but do they still all work?
 

Mounce

Well-Known Member
I don't know of any differences... But I haven't done the mod myself, only read about it. Always sounded like a simple ordeal to me.

What particular years are different? 02-05/06-09?
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Mounce said:
I don't know of any differences... But I haven't done the mod myself, only read about it. Always sounded like a simple ordeal to me.

What particular years are different? 02-05/06-09?
02-05 ext brackets are listed with different part #'s and are listed differently for left & right as compared to 06 which only list one for both sides.

Also I just noticed post #3 has a 06 tb so that may be why his slide pins worked.
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Ok well I'm going to buy 05 ext caliper brackets, slide pins, and boots if the deal goes through, i shure Do hope they work.

The op has a 03 so if he was able to swap over to 06 I'm shure they all do swap over
 

Mounce

Well-Known Member
Gerbil21 said:
The op has a 03 so if he was able to swap over to 06 I'm shure they all do swap over
Yeah they should be interchangeable then. Thank GM for the confusion of part numbers lol.

If they work, post up the part numbers, it'll help someone like yourself later on down the road. :yes:
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Mounce said:
Yeah they should be interchangeable then. Thank GM for the confusion of part numbers lol.

If they work, post up the part numbers, it'll help someone like yourself later on down the road. :yes:
Yea definitely I'll also add a mini write up of what does and doesn't interchange on my build and here
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
Ok so I just finished doing the swap and it went flawlessly, if your doing this just get a caliper bracket from your same year to be super shure. But as far as i know they all interchange especially since the op has a 03 and went to a 06 bracket. I got the same year since there was no 06 brackets to get.

As for slide pins they seem to all interchange, I used my old ones but a quick search on rockauto showed two different designs and they both show they have the same fit so no problem there.

The slide pin boots are a rubber boot that is permanently attached to a metal insert. the insert has to get tapped and pryed out with a screwdriver and a a hammer then they just pop in the new brackets, I put loctite on the lip just to make shure it stays and since another thread said they come from the factory with it.

The brackets use the same mounting bolts aswell, the original ones were hard to remove they took a wrench and a malet to loosen.

The rest of the Install was easy the bracket mounting bolts get torqued to 110ft lbs. And the slide pins to 31st lbs iirc.

So far so good on the Install I just need to breed the brakes now to get rid of air in the system from my last flush (not from the swap), adjust the parking brake And inspect everything else


Pic is of the new brackets

uploadfromtaptalk1432310074885.jpeguploadfromtaptalk1432310092447.jpeguploadfromtaptalk1432310103084.jpeg
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Why do you need to breed/bleed the brakes? I did the swap and there is no reason to open up any lines that would create the need.

Simple rotor swap and the bracket swap does not need the caliper to be removed from lines.
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
HARDTRAILZ said:
Why do you need to breed/bleed the brakes? I did the swap and there is no reason to open up any lines that would create the need.

Simple rotor swap and the bracket swap does not need the caliper to be removed from lines.
It's not because of the swap I just need to do it, my old almost fully worn pads masked the spongy pedal. And Last time I did a flush the hose kept coming loose so I still have air in the system.
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Ahh. Might want to specify that it is not part of the swap to need to bleed the system. it truly is a cheap and simple and effective upgrade if you need rotors anyway.
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
HARDTRAILZ said:
Ahh. Might want to specify that it is not part of the swap to need to bleed the system. it truly is a cheap and simple and effective upgrade if you need rotors anyway.
Yea this was definitely a easy and necessary upgrade. Also I fixed it
 

Gerbil21

Well-Known Member
ok well after having the brake swap done and working for a few weeks, i can say that it is a great upgrade, braking is definitely better, i have been able to skid the tires a few times without even smashing the pedal. but do make shure you get pads from your same year bracket to save you time, i got 06 pads for a 05 bracket and they needed to get trimmed down in length to fit and they still give problems because they are beefier (more pad thickness) so its a tight fit with the caliper but they do stop better probably because they are so close to the rotor :smile:

Overall this is a not so expensive way of upgrading the brakes on any gmt360 (except saab 9-7x since they have them already)

also just in case someone else is wondering the same i was, All pads are the same swb or lwb/v8/ss the only difference is the bracket, the ext/ss/v8 bracket mounts the pad higher on a bigger rotor for more leverage, no pad grabs the whole rotor, and if your wondering why, well its because mounting the pad higher giver the brakes more leverage same as using a breaker bar, the further out you press the more leverage and more torque you can apply. Also if your skeptical just read the article for the Twin-Turbo SS prototype, they used ext brakes on a swb and lost 12ft in stopping distance which is almost a whole trailblazer lenght (16ft.)

one thing i have found out is that amazon prime is super amazing with its free 2 day shipping and its warehouse deals i was able to knock off maybe $25 - $35 off the total price just buying their returned parts under used deals when looking at the part, the rotors were practically brand new and each were $10 less then new and since the postal delivers only packages on sunday someone else package spilled soap over the rotors so they smelled great :biggrin:

also the op says you will need new slide pins and boots but if you stay with the same year bracket you can use your old ones. you just need brackets
 

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