Grooves in previous brake rotor.
The stock brakes that came with the Ford Explorer Platinum were actually pretty decent. Both the front and rear rotors are bigger compared to my 2008 Xterra. As a result I noticed how much quicker and smoother the Explorer slowed down when it came a red light. Even though the brakes worked well I did have some pre-owned issues once I bought them. The rotors had grooves in them, most likely caused by the winter sand/salt stuck in between the brake pads. If you’re like me and like to work on cars, I look for every small reason to upgrade and replace car parts. For this reason I decided to upgrade my brake pads and rotors to PowerStop K6375-36 Front and Rear Z36 Rotor and Brake Pads. I had good experiences with PowerStop on my Xterra so I decided these would be a good upgrade for my Explorer.
PowerStop K6375-36 Front and Rear Z36 Kit
The PowerStop K6375-36 kit came with majority of the accessories needed to upgrade the brakes. It came with clips, pin boots, pin bushing and lubrication. I say majority because it is missing 2 x pin bushing for the rear. This wasn’t a bummer because my pin bushings were fine, but just a heads up for anyone that want’s to buy this kit. In the past when I purchased other brands, it’s usually a hit or miss if it came with clips or any accessories.
Installation went without a hitch. The most frustrating thing when working on a car is when a part doesn’t fit and you have to pause your project or find a way to buy the part locally. I heard stories of people grinding down brake pad tabs because they don’t fit. Luckily, there were no surprises with PowerStop and the parts provided fit like a puzzle. The rotors even come with labels so they can be installed in the correct location.
Front with PowerStop rotor and brakes installed
Rear with PowerStop rotor and brakes Installed
Did I notice any major improvements? I don’t drive my Explorer aggressively or take it on tracks so I can’t take advantage of these brakes. However I do noticed they feel more robust, this might also be a placebo effect since these are new brakes. The drilled and slotted brakes do add that aggressive look. Also, I’m happy to report I did not notice any increase in sound when braking with the PowerStop.
PowerStop Z36 kit sounds so amazing is there a downside? PowerStop kits are a bit pricier compared to other brands. Back in the day the slots helped evacuate dust and gas while the drilled holes helped cool down the rotors. They still provide some benefits but with improvements in brake pad material, there’s no need to have drilled or slotted rotors. Another downside, is that slotted and drilled rotors decrease the life of the brake pads. I have not experienced any of these downsides yet, but will provide an update in the future.
I’m pretty happy with the new PowerStop Z36 for my 2017 Ford Explorer Platinum. The new brakes feel a lot more robust, no increase in noise and added a aggressive new look. There were minor downsides such as the premium price tag and 2 missing rubber pin boot (super minor). Since these brakes have less than 500 miles I cannot comment on how the rotors and brake pads are wearing but will update this blog in the future. Overall, I do not regret my purchase and pretty happy I upgraded the rotors.