F-150 brakes

On Top Gear, Jeremy said the F-150 is a POS. One key point was his claim that the brake pads are "the size of bottle caps" and are inadequate for a
vehicle of this weight and power. Is that a real issue or one man's opinion?
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wrote:

im

a
sounds like an opinion..
Also sounds like he might be talking about the rear pads which are smaller than the front ones.
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On 05/28/2011 09:25 PM, Tom Del Rosso wrote:

if you use the vehicle for shopping and commuting, like a lot of people do, they brakes are fine. but if you want to use it for towing or hauling, they're inadequate.
frod play the numbers game. they know who the typical f150 buyers are, and they know that for most people this "truck" doesn't get used at "rated" capacity. so they save money by putting on brakes that are merely "adequate" for common usage, not good for "rated" usage. and if you get killed by brake failure at rated capacity, there's more than enough money in the kitty from the savings to toss a few hundies to your old lady to shut her up.
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On Sun, 29 May 2011 00:25:43 -0400, Tom Del Rosso wrote:

Jeremy doesn't like ANYTHING to do with America.
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Tom Del Rosso wrote:

I don't have an F150, but based on the brake complaints from several friends who do, and their comments on how much better my F350 brakes are, I'd say that the F150 brakes are inadequate.
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I love Top Gear, but as others have noted Clarkson seems to hate most American vehicles (or at least pretends to - not sure when he is catering to the audience and when he is sincere). But then he especially hates the Prius, so he can't be all bad.

I have a 2009 F150. The brakes take some getting used to compared to my old Frontier. In my opinion. it is not the pad size, or rotor size, or the ultimate braking ability that is an issue. It is the boost characteristics and the way the suspension reacts to braking that are generating complaints. The brake boost seems "soft" by comparison with my previous truck (an '06 Frontier). By that I mean the brakes feel soft - unless you really do want to do a hard stop. Plus the truck seems to have a lot of "anti-dive" built into the front suspension. By this I mean when you really stand on the brakes, the front end doesn't dip down like some vehicles. This makes it seem as if the brakes aren't working as well as in some vehicles where the front end drops sharply under braking. I occasionally drive a neighboor Silverado HD and his brakes seem to haul you down sharply with a relatively light touch on the pedals (sort of like some of the old Chrsyler Products that would almost throw you through the windshield if you touched the brakes). This makes them seem a lot more powerful, but without any sort of actual measurements, is it really true? One thing for sure, the anti-lock activation of my F150 is far better than it was in the Frontier. The ABS in my '06 Frontier kicked in often on almost any surface but a paved road. It was pretty un-nerving at times.
For comaprison, I took a look at the Consumer Reports Tests for 1/2 Ton Crew Cab Pick-ups: Braking Distance from 60 (ft) Vehicle Dry Wet 2009 F150 XLT V8 138 150 2009 Chevrolet Silverado 150 163 2007 Toyota Tundra 153 178 2009 Dodge Ram 137 155 2004 Nissan Titan 139 154 2002 F150 XLT 151 --- (older test)
If you trust CR (hard to do I know) it seems that the F150 Brakes are as good as anyones. The 2009 F150 in the CR test had 20 inch wheels with Pirelli Scorpion Tires. I suspect these tires had a lot better braking performance than the 18 inch General Tires that came on my 2009 F150. Too bad they don't have a comparison of the same truck with different tire options installed. My truck seems better on the Bridgestones I installed last year. It might just be in my mind, but I am sure I have better off road traction.
Ed
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"C. E. White" wrote:

I expect those numbers are for empty trucks. At least one of my friends tows trailers that are heavy but within the rated spec for his F150 (with WD hitch), and he reports that the brakes truly are inadequate with a load.
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I don't do a lot of trailering, but I recently had my F150 loaded with a pallet of soybean seeds ~ 2500 lb. Brakes seemed to handle that OK. On the other hand it was flat land, only a few stops and I drove reasonably. A friend with a medium size boat and a 2011 F150 says it tows good. But then his boat is probably less than 5000 lb (just a guess - it is a 23 foot center console something or other).
Ford gives you a lot of BS about trailer brakes for any trailer over X weight (but I suppose everyone does). I can remeber hearing about when the trailer brakes didn't work on my friends cattle trailer - he almost took out a funeral procession when the Silverado wouldn't stop the truck/trailer fast enough. I've used the Silverado to pull a flat bed trailer w/o brakes that was loaded with ~8000 lb of hay + ~2000 lb trailer and it seemed OK, but again, flat land, few stops and reasonable driving.
If I was going to pull heavy trailers regularly I'd definitely go for an F250 or above. But since I mostly ride with the truck lightly loaded and only occasionally tow something heavy (or carry something heavy), I like the F150 better. As it is, my F150 mostly sets in the driveway beacsue I don't want to spend a fortune on gas (17 mpg is a killer with $3.659 gas - almost $0.22 per mile just for gas)! I only pull it out when I actually need to haul something (like planting supplies).
Ed
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I don't really see the point of most current half-ton pickups. For real truck use it seems like you have to go to at least a 3/4 ton. unfortunately shopping used there aren't many cheap 3/4 ton pickups out there, so I have a half-ton Ford (likely a few generations older than the one we're discussing here.) Haven't really tested the limitations of the brakes, but I tend to drive it conservatively, and with only a 300 I-6, it's not like it's easy to get a good haul going.
nate
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"C. E. White" wrote:

Properly working trailer brakes are certainly important, and I always check the brake operation of any trailer I'm going to tow. Properly adjusted weight distribution hitches are also important when towing with a lighter truck like a F150. I don't generally use a WD hitch on my F350, even though the specs say to use one, since unloaded I have 5,060# on the front axle (6.4 diesel) so I certainly don't need to distribute more weight up there and taking a bit off won't hurt at all. I do use a 2.5" class V ball mount and a similarly rated ball.
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The main lesson I learned from the movie "The Long, Long Trailer" is "TRAILER BRAKES FIRST!" Still resonates in my ears after all this time. (Though I expect modern systems are more automatic than the one used by Desi and Lucy back in the day...)
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wrote:

What's wrong with the trailers brakes???
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Ashton Crusher wrote:

I couldn't tell you, the times I've been around when he's been towing a heavy trailer we haven't had time to experiment with WD hitch settings and whatnot. Putting the same trailer behind my F350 it's not even noticeable.
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On 06/04/2011 08:56 PM, Pete C. wrote:

it was an uninformed/smoke screen question - many trailers don't have brakes at all.
getting back to the point, any vehicle with a cargo bed should be able to stop a load. on a hill. more than once. whether that load is on the bed or following behind is irrelevant.
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Not a problem for relatively light trailers. But if you towing anything close to then maximum tow capacity you need trailer brakes.

Not irrelevant. A load in the bed increases the tire traction available for braking. The same load on a trailer without trialer brakes doesn't load the tow vehicle tires nearly as much (maybe 20% as much if you have the tongue weight right). Therfore, you have less tire traction available to stop the combination. If you don't have anti-lock brakes, then you can easily lock the rear brakes on the tow vehicle when trying to stop the vehicle plus trailer (with the dire consequences that follow). If you do have antilock brakes, then you can't lock the rear wheels, but you also won't have as much braking force available (comparded to having the load in the bed). And then there is the whole problem with jack-knifing a trailer with no trialer brakes. Certainly stopping a vehicle with a trailer without trailer brakes is much different than stopping a vehicle with the load in the bed.
I looked into brakes of the current F150 some more. It seems Ford claims they have a dual diaphram brake booster and electronic brake force distribution. Neither claim is made for the SuperDuties. Not sure of the implications. The biggest difference at the wheel end is that the SuperDuties have dual piston rear calipers, the F150's have single piston rear calipers. Brake disc sizes are similar, total swept area is similar. I really don't see any reason to think that the F150 brakes are inadequate if you tow trailers that don't exceed the rated GCVW.
Ed
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Assuming both rotors have the same swept area, and that the pads are of the same size and material, would you expect the addition of a second piston alone to have a major effect on the stopping power? Pressure applied to the pads should be the same whether you use one or two pistons. You dont double the pressure when you apply pressure to both sides, versus deadheading the same pressure on one side only.
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In this context, the dual pistons are on the same side of the caliper. The brakes are still sliding caliper types, just with two pistons side by side on one side of the caliper. I haven't found the actual piston sizes, but I assume the F250+ brakes can apply significantly more pressure on the rear pads than the F150 single piston calipers
Ed
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On 06/06/2011 08:20 AM, C. E. White wrote:

you, of all people ed, shouldn't "assume" a damned thing.
piston count does not "increase" pressure. it can improve braking because mechanical elasticity becomes less of a concern, and thus you can have a more effective brake for less weight [and money].
and as for "weight improving traction" [this is going to be a classic] - why exactly does increasing weight increase stopping distance ed? go on, give it a shot.
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jim beam wrote:

Increasing the total piston area increases the applied force for a given brake line hydraulic pressure. If for example the F150 calipers had a single 40mm dia piston and the F250+ calipers had dual 40mm dia pistons, the applied clamping force on the rotor would double given the same hydraulic pressure. The displacement and required fluid of course would also double.

The short answer is that increasing weight does not automatically increase stopping distance. There is something of a dip in the stopping distance where the stopping distance decreases as weight is added up to a point before the stopping distance begins to increase again as further weight is added.
What happens is that an axle that is too lightly loaded (such as the rear in an unloaded pickup) is not able to apply the full available braking force without wheel lockup so that the effective braking capacity is limited by the lack of traction. As weight is added, traction improves allowing more brake force to be applied without lockup, resulting in shorter stopping distances. Once there is enough weigh to provide sufficient traction to match the maximum braking force available, that will be the shorted stopping distance in the graph. Additional weight past this point will again increase the stopping distance.
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On 06/06/2011 10:25 AM, Pete C. wrote:

absolutely, but absent ed's "actual piston sizes", we can't say that.

if the master piston diameter stays the same. but because of the leverage ratio, and the limited amount of brake pedal travel available, ratios typically remain close. [given a long enough pedal travel, you could dispense with brake boosters.]

that's a function of two things: tire contact area and control. if tires are over-inflated relative to load, contact area is reduced. that's introducing an additional variable rather than talking braking physics. same for control - if it's too cheap or ineffective to not be proportioning relative to weight, again, the solution is not to load more weight, it's to exercise better control.
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