Join Date: Oct 2015
Location: Arizona's High Country
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Proverbial F250/F350 "warped rotor" issues solved
With the understanding that the front brakes generate up to 75% of a vehicle’s stopping force, as a result, they generate much more heat, over 500°F in heavy braking. Don't assume your warped rotor issues are solely up front.
Our 2002 diesel crew cab long bed 4x4 F350 SRW was exhibiting the classic and aggravating "rotor warp pulsations" upon braking. To both the driver and front passenger, the vibrations appeared to be coming from the front end so we focused on that first.
We completed a couple of DITY front brake jobs, rotors, pads, sliding pin lubes, and a front wheel bearing assembly replacement (one FWB was sloppy at 93,000 miles). We properly broke in the rotors and pads. We initially tried high performance slotted drilled rotors with ceramic pads, on the 2nd try went back to OEM Motorcraft rotors and semi-metallic pads. These included front and rear two-step torque wrench assisted lug bolt tightening sequences following torque stick controlled impact wrench lug pre-tightening, on the on the forged OEM alloy wheels with 285/75-R16 tires. Disappointing - No dice after two tries - slight reduction in vibration, but problem continued.
Then we focused on the rear axle, putting new rear rotors and semi-metallic pads on and re-torqued the rear lug bolts on the forged OEM alloy wheels, and road tested the truck. Voila! problem solved it was largely the rear rotors that were the problem all along.
Finding - despite the fact that front brakes generate up to 75% of a vehicle’s stopping force, they generate much more heat, over 500°F in heavy braking, it is still possible to develop to develop warped rear rotors.
The Super Duty trucks have robust rotors/brakes. Over the low-mileage life of the truck, we engaged in gentle braking and routinely de-selected Overdrive to assist in braking, didn't do much towing, but occasionally carried heavy in-spec loads in the bed. We neglected to swap out the rear rotors and brakes in the troubleshooting process. The pads has 60% life on them at 93,000 miles mostly highway miles.
Hope this post helps a 99-03 F250/F350 SRW owner with warped brake rotor issues.
Long-time diesel owner and enthusiast