UPGRADE TO BETTER BRAKE ROTORS
— How to install them yourself & save —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
“All brakes do is slow you down!” is a common hilarity that some of us share with riding buddies who couldn’t keep up with us on the track or trails. In truth, good brakes help you go a lot faster. If you change out those stock rotors and pads with better parts from a company like Galfer USA, you can brake harder with less fade from heat. You can carry your speed longer into a turn, and that cuts precious seconds on the track, and it gives you the confidence to safely outperform your buddy who used to mock you for being slow.
In this series of “How-To” stories, we cover changing out a Polaris RZR’s rotors, lines and brake pads. Galfer provided us with a full set of extended lines for our project RZR, sintered brake pads and disc wave rotors. The rotors are designed to dissipate heat easier with less warping over time. The lines are fully steel braided, and they will expand less under pressure than stock lines. That translates to better brake feel. In this “How-To” installment we cover changing out a set of rotors on a Polaris RZR XP Turbo UTV. We will continue with lines and pads in upcoming issues.
The first step in this process is to put your UTV on a flat surface. Then you will want to put your machine on jack stands with the ability to remove the skid plates. You will want to remove the skid plates to change out some of the brake lines. Then you can remove all four wheels. We performed this change during a race so we could not properly clean all the parts, which we suggest you do every time you repair or upgrade your ride. We also highly suggest you get new parts where it is required, like lug studs. The real fun starts now! Once the wheels are off, remove the brake calipers and get to work.
Gather all of the parts you will need. This job is best suited to someone with mechanical experience and the tools needed to perform the upgrades.
To change out the rotors on this Polaris, you will need to knock the stock lug studs out of the hub. They hold the rotor on. Do not remove the hub off of the spindle to do this step. Screw your lug nuts back onto the studs, but not so much that the stud protrudes from the top of the nut. Then knock the studs out with a hammer. Leaving the lug nuts on the studs protects them from damage if you don’t have new studs at the ready to replace them with.
After a few blows with the hammer, the studs should knock out pretty easily. The rotor will be loose at that point.
Next, you will need to remove the hub to take the rotor off and replace it with a new one. On this machine there is a cotter pin that needs to be removed before you can go to the next step.
Take your impact gun or breaker bar and remove the castle nut that holds the hub onto the spindle and axle.
Next, it is best to thoroughly clean the hub and rotor mating surface. We were in a race setting where we didn’t have the ability to get all the dirt off, but we cleaned the important mating surfaces for use until we could get the vehicle back in the shop at home. Line the new rotor up with the hub.
The countersunk holes on the rotor face away from the front of the hub. The lug studs lock into these slots so the rotor is properly located on the hub.
We suggest you get a stack of washers and a few nuts that fit correctly on the new lug studs for this step, but at the time we had an oversized nut and the stock lug nuts to get this done.
The oversized nut slides over the lug stud so the tapered part of the lug nut could rotate against it. You are basically using the threads to pull the lug studs firmly into the hub without damaging the rim mating surface.
This next step can be performed with the hub reinstalled on the machine as long as the new lug studs are all loosely in the hub. Take your impact gun and tighten the lug studs down evenly around the hub until they are firmly in contact with the rotor. Make sure the lug studs seat perfectly in the countersunk holes of the rotor to ensure the correct fit.
We properly lubricated the hub, spindle and axle end to reassemble them. Make sure to slide this washer onto the axle end facing the correct direction before installing the castle nut.
After you tighten down the castle nut with your impact gun, make sure it is tightened to the proper torque specs that your vehicle’s manual specifies. Insert a new cotter pin, and the first portion of this brake job is complete!
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