What everyone here at Muppet Labs has been waiting for...
The Savvy/Vanco 16" Brake Upgrade Kicks Off...
You've got a Spicy Chicken Sammich and an ice-cold Dr. Pepper...what's the best thing in the world to use for a table?
Any part of Sasha Grey's body.
A pile of boxes from Savvy Offroad.
Suitcases full of money.
The corpses of your fallen enemies.
Correct Answer: A.
However, Sasha doesn't have as much time to hang out with me after having left the adult film business, so I had to go with the second
-best answer, which was B.
implies that you are a man (or woman...no judgment) with taste and decency. If you chose C
you're too greedy and should be ashamed of yourself. If you chose D
, you should be even more
ashamed of yourself: the corpses of your fallen enemies are always to be brutally dismembered and mailed to your non
-fallen enemies to demoralize them and strike fear into their pathetic, quivering hearts. Anyway, here's answer B
Mmmm...boxes from Savvy and a sammich on top...not quite as good as Answer A
but pretty d*** close. Two notes, here: 1) I apologize for the sorry cell-phone pictures. The digital camera I borrow for Greta's updates seems to have migrated beach-wards. Also, 2) you'll note that I've again put a disposable plastic dropcloth on the floor...which does a lot to help contain the inevitable mess. It makes cleanup as easy as pulling the tape up - you do
have clean-removal tape in your garage, don't you? - and tossing the whole pile in the trash. It's a three-dollar investment that's well worth the effort. I suppose we'll see how well it stands up to brake fluid.
And here is what the Cubical Brown Boxes of Happy contained: more boxes, albeit ones with highly desirable logos on them. It's like one of those Russian nesting dolls, but so much better...
...because eventually you start opening up the boxes and there aren't any more boxes inside. Instead, there's an assortment of brake parts...like - for example - a caliper that looks really
surprised to find out that it's a caliper.
I don't blame it...I'd be surprised to find out that I was a brake caliper, too. In all seriousness, though, you can start to see why this setup is such a huge improvement over the stock braking. Here's a better view:
For the slower members of the class: those are twin 48mm pistons, and although they are much smaller than the single piston in the stock caliper they provide a very, very significant improvement. How? They spread and even-out the braking pressure over a larger area.
Let's clarify that a bit further...
The TJ's stock braking system is actually pretty good...until you get to the calipers. From that point onwards it's a compromised assembly, albeit one that works perfectly well for stock tire sizes. If you're going to maintain stock tire sizes you can expect good performance from stock brakes. Likewise, if you increase the size of the tire you have to proportionately increase the braking capacity. This proportionate increase continues to climb with tire sizes until you reach the 35" and 37" world, at which point a reciprocity failure takes over...a failure which is magnified when you begin to crawl around off-road, or pull a trailer, or overload your rig. Simply put: 35" tires are too much for stock brakes.
[Reciprocity Failure: A breakdown in otherwise-linear relationships that occurs when one given value within the relationship begins to diverge from another given value in any non-linear fashion. More simply stated, one variable outstrips another as they both increase, or: as tires get bigger you increasingly require disproportionately larger/stronger brakes in order to stop them.]
Furthermore, 35" tires are usually too much for stock-configuration
upgrades. This is not to say that straight pad and rotor upgrades aren't beneficial, because they are: the pads are better and the rotors are better and together they provide massive increases in braking performance...but pad and rotor composition can only improve your braking to a certain extent. Sooner or later, you have to go to a physically larger rotor, caliper and pad if you want better performance, and at this point the Savvy/Vanco kit begins to pull way from the typical "pad and rotor" answers to marginal braking.
And that's all there is to it: the larger rotor supports a larger caliper, and the larger caliper spreads and evens out the braking pressures over a larger area, i.e. an effectively larger brake pad. Thus, by making this modification you're basically taking advantage of the full abilities of the TJ's master cylinder and applying it in the most efficient way possible. On top of that, you're also effectively expanding
the capabilities of the system through the use of upgraded and upsized parts. Speaking of upsized, here's a somewhat-larger-than-stock rotor:
If you've looked at a lot of stock TJ rotors before you'll see that this one is bigger in all the areas that count. I've included a better size comparison for the those in the class that only wake up during snack time and recess:
It's worth noting that while the 12" rotor only has 5.94 times the surface area of the Spicy Chicken Sammich it has approximately 7,900% more stopping power. The math isn't that hard to comprehend but I like to make things easy on people. To that end, remember: you can always stop for
a sammich, but you cannot stop with
Moving on: for all of you people out there that think you can slap any given 12" rotor onto your front knuckles and have it work, I'd like to you consider the following picture, which roughly translates into "F*** what you think you can do." If you're still in the "oh, I can make that s*** at home with some angle iron" camp after looking at this picture then stop reading my thread, because 1) there's no hope for you, and 2) you're bothering those of us that aren't too proud to give all due credit to those that deserve it. Also, as a rule: don't reproduce.
This is where so much of the time and money gets spent: machined/modified knuckles and caliper saddle brackets. Looking at the knuckle assembly and appreciating the quality of the work is almost
as much fun as making a huge pile of gleefully-tossed-aside packing paper and torn-open-in-haste boxes. What isn't
fun, however, is losing the envelope that containes the instructions and hardware. After a couple of concerned minutes we found it in the bottom of the pile.
So, what do we do after we finish fondling the parts and eating the sammich? The centerfold spread, of course...with Black Magic Pads included.
Valuable Information: The members of the class with functional eyes will realize that the surprised calipers are still in their boxes while everything else has been taken out. Why? Because there are both right-hand and left-hand calipers, and - unless you know which is which - they're easy to mix up. The steering knuckles are side-specific as well but can only be bolted on in one configuration and thus cannot be mixed up. A caliper can usually be installed on either side, but if it is on the incorrect side it will be upside down. Thus, remember: calipers are installed with the bleed screws above the pistons...if the bleed screw is not located above the piston you will NOT be able to bleed all of the air out of the brake system.
So that's where we are, now...parts in hand, but decent camera NOT in hand. I'll try and remedy the latter issue. So with that in mind: stay tuned...tomorrow, I'll take a grinder to the unit bearings and start f****** up some metal.