1. Is it just the front calipers that have the issue?
yes but some people do not have akebono calipers in the front and say they are fine
2. Can I keep my rear calipers? (haven't seen any rear akebono calipers online)
yes they are fine to keep the stock ones back their unless they are sized but you should be good. their is no calipers upgrade for the rear
3. Are the akebono replacements a direct fit?
yes they will bolt right on
4. Recommendations on rotor/caliper/pad combos
their is a tone out their and will depend on what you want to spend.
if you talk to Kolak he will tell you to get stillen pads and rotors but you will be spending about $300 on just pads and rotors.
right now still has a deal were you get teh pads free when you buy the rotors and free shipping STILLEN : Truck Specials!
but will be over $200 still
you can go to autozone or napa and get pads and rotors for a good price and they work good. did a quick look and can get basic pads and rotors for the front form autozone for $120. can spend more on pads and have a lifetime warranty were will just give you a new set when they wear.
5. parking brake stories ( mine doesnt seem to do anything )
could be the emergency pads are worn or the cable need to be adjusted. do you hear the a nose when you pull up and down?
also from what i have heard use stock emergency parking pads since aftermarket ones might be thinner.