Big Red by Mobil Delvac
Big Bite Dually Brakes
SSBC disc brake upgrade improves stopping power on heavily laden pickups; Dana 80 axle hub seal removal
by Bruce W. Smith
OE braking performance on duallies is really quite good when they are stock.
But that can change as these trucks are integrated into the company.
When the truck is accessorized, up-fitted with larger tires and wheels, and/ or put into a service truck configuration the added weight changes braking dynamics.
As the truck’s weight increases with the addition of equipment, accessories and other upgrades, stopping distances increase.
That’s exactly what has happened on our Mobil Delvac-sponsored Big Red sweepstakes 2008 GMC 3500HD, that now tops the scales around 9,500 pounds.
That’s because the majority of stopping power is done by the front brakes – and the OE rotors and calipers under such heavy-duty use are being taxed to their limit.
A suspension lift, taller, heavier tires and bigger wheels, heavy-duty winches and bumpers, and the slide-in service body with its on-board equipment necessitated a brake upgrade for our 2008 GMC Dually.
SSBC BIG BITE BRAKES
So we turned to Stainless Steel Brake Corporation (SSBC), which has a Big Bite kit designed just for duallies with 20-inch or larger wheels. (Our truck has 22.5s from American Force.)
SSBC’s Big Bit front brake kit features heavy-duty triple-piston aluminum calipers, Hawk brake pads and 14.5-inch (OE are 14”) Turbo Slotted Rotors. It’s a straight bolt-on upgrade with all the parts included.
The rear brake kit consists of the same calipers, pads and slotted 14” rotors.
BRAKE INSTALL TIPS
Both front and rear brake upgrades should be relatively easy for any shop mechanic.
The rear can be a little tricky for a first-timer not used to working on Dana 80 (dually) brakes.
If you’ve never had to pull the brake drum off a full-floater axle, the images in the gallery below show a couple steps that will help get you the job done.
It’s actually much easier than one would think. Although you will need a big breaker bar to get the brake caliper bracket bolts to break free!
Other than typical air ratchets and shop tools, be sure to have the rear axle hub seals and hub bearings (if needed) on hand as the former will be needed.
You’ll also need to have a a KD Tools Spindle Nut Kit or appropriate Dana 80 Axle nut socket for the reinstall because nut has to be torqued to 52 lbs-ft to initially seat the seal and bearing.
When the SSBC Big Bite upgrade is done and the brakes properly broken in, you should find the 3500’s stopping power markedly better and the brakes less prone to overheating on long downgrades or under heavy load.– Bruce W. Smith