After 170,000 miles on my '07 Jeep JK, the last 25K or so on 37" tires, my factory brakes had finally given up the ghost. Most people (including me) upgrade on a budget and have to prioritize the build list accordingly, so it's common to see upgraded wheels/tires on factory brakes. This combo works for a time, but oversize tires put extra stress on factory components, which leads to reduced performance, more frequent service work, and/or premature failure. So, if (or more likely, when) you decide to fit bigger wheels and tires, you may choose not to upgrade brakes at the same time, but don't forget that doomsday is coming.
As with most things JEEP, you've got options when it comes to JK big brake kits, and after a lot of product research I finally decided on Teraflex. Every rig and driver are different, so you should do your own research in addition to reading this article, but TF hit all the right marks for me. Here's a couple things I considered when mulling over the options.
Price - I am a 'do it right the first time' kind of guy, but I don't like to spend more than I need to. Teraflex is very moderately priced for all you get, especially if you shop around rather than buy directly from them. Something to note, though, is that for reasons unknown TF doesn't package this as one kit. You have to order the front kit and the rear kit separately. Also, for 07-11 JKs, it is highly recommended that also get the master cylinder they offer, which has a larger bore that feeds those big calipers much better than the stock cylinder. And, I should note that you need at least 17" wheels to clear these bad boys.
Reputation - Teraflex has a well deserved and cemented reputation in the aftermarket Jeep and offroad community. I do a lot of product and manufacturer research before making purchases, and this is area is a big one for me. You can't always trust a brand name, because sometimes the company will sit on its laurels and let the quality go downhill while they live off the reputation. However, with TF, that couldn't be further from the truth. Quality and materials were top-notch, fitment was excellent, and performance is on-par with what I'd expect from more expensive brands.
Off-road Application - There are a lot of companies out there that make brakes. Many are reputable in the industry, and many make kits for the JK platform. However, few are off-road specific. I always prefer to use the right tool for the job, and that includes the parts I choose. Brands like Wilwood and EBC may make great racing brakes that would fit your rig, but they're not designed with consideration for the nuances of off-road driving, and often are overkill (and overpriced) for the type of braking we do.
Technical Resources - Teraflex has some of the best and most easily accessible technical resources in the Jeep aftermarket industry. Their installation procedures/videos are thorough (and funny), and their customer service is top-notch. I will say, though, that for this particular install, I needed to read the install instructions, AND watch all the videos for a complete walkthrough, because each one covered slightly different information.
After all that, finally it was PARTS DAY!!! Except for the issue of having to order the front and rear kits separately, the kit is complete with all needed parts and hardware out of the box.
I took advantage of the opportunity to replace my wheel hubs and speed sensors, which you should strongly consider doing as well, because unless you've just replaced them, chances are you will have to soon, and you'll be removing the brakes all over again to do that. Overall, installation is pretty straightforward and took about 5 hours. Tools needed are basic hand tools, and some extras like loctite. See my installation write-up for more details.
The advantages of this kit over the stock brakes are fairly obvious, but just in case you're new to brake systems, here's a quick rundown.
The rotors are a much larger diameter over stock, which gives you more surface area to apply braking force, as well as more surface area to dissipate the friction heat generated during braking. Also helping with cooling are the vents (front), fins (rear), and grooves (both) in the rotors, which increase airflow and clear out brake dust. But the real workhorses of this system are the big dual-piston front calipers
Upgrading from the factory single piston to these suckers doubles your applied surface area, and is responsible for the biggest performance enhancement of this package. The rear adds bigger rotors as well, but reuses the factory calipers with a new bracket that moves the caliper out to clear the new rotors
(shown without caliper below).
That, combined with the oversized bore in the new master cylinder,
which allows a lot more fluid flow to the calipers, results in all the stopping power you could ever want in a JK/JKU.
The seating procedure was pretty simple and took about an hour after finishing the install. So, you should be back to normal driving the same day, unlike some kits I've done that need a 500 mile 'easy driving' break-in period. Although, I will recommend that you bleed them again after 100 miles or so. But can I say, the difference in brake performance is INSANE!! I've been daily driving at least 60 miles a day on these brakes now for about 3 weeks, and have had a couple of emergency stops, all with zero issues. The pedal feel is consistent from stop to stop, I've seen no performance fade as the brakes heat up, and no issues with ABS systems. Also, I took these out trail riding and rock crawling the day after I installed them, and they performed flawlessly. My opinion... you can't do much better than the Teraflex Big Brake Kit.