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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
My 2014 Sport has around 45K miles (I bought it at 23Kmiles a couple of years ago) and it was getting close to being time to do the front pads. I’ve driven a Ridge since 2005 and the stock GenI Ridgeline brakes have always disappointed me in terms of overall stopping distances and the feel and amount of pedal pressure required. With this in mind, I decided it was a good time to do a brake upgrade project using Acura MDX components up front and more aggressive pads and rotors on all four corners.

Front: 2007-2013 Acura MDX components.
EBC S5KF1450 Rotor and Pad kit (both sides). This includes EBC's GD Series rotors that are dimpled and slotted with their Yellowstuff street / track brake pads . . .About $380

Cardone 19P3278&19P3279 Rebuilt "Premium" coated front brake calipers, hangers and hardware About $270 for the pair. I think the core charge is about $70 each but I don’t have an MDX core to return . . .

Rear: OEM Honda Ridgeline
EBC GD7331 Dimpled slotted rotors. . . $70 (must have been a price screw up on Amazon prime; lucky me. . .Expect to pay closer to $200)
EBC DP4175R Yellowstuff brake pads. . .$45

Install thoughts:

Tools:
I used cordless impact wrenches to do the work and it REALLY makes it easy with no muscle strains or skinned knuckles. My large (20v) 1/2 Dewalt impact takes off the wheel lugs and breaks the caliper hanger bolts loose in seconds.
I used my smaller (20v) 3/8 Dewalt impact with a #3 Phillips tip to reliably loosen the rotor retainer screws.
For brake bleeding I use a vacuum bleeder that is powered by compressed air. This sure beats hand pumping a bleeder like old school MityVac type. If you own a decent size air compressor then this type of tool is a no brainer . . .
https://www.amazon.com/8milelake-Pneumatic-Brake-Bleeder-Cylinder/dp/B013WKCKW0/ref=sr_1_3?crid=ZGORXUKTSH38&keywords=8milelake+pneumatic+brake+fluid+bleeder&qid=1557682317&s=gateway&sprefix=8mile,aps,120&sr=8-3

Rotors:
Take off the rotor retainer screws with the correct #3 Phillips tip. It might technically be a JIS screw but the #3 Phillips fits it perfectly. Best to use an impact tool to remove them. If you don’t have the powered tool, use the manual type that you whap with a hammer. Basically you want to avoid the PIA of having to chisel or drill out the screws.

It can take some effort to knock loose the rotors, particularly in high mileage / rust zone vehicles. Use a mallet and work your way around. Once the old rotors are off, spend some time cleaning the mounting surface on the hub. You don’t want ANY rust build up to put the rotors out of alignment. Once clean put a small amount of anti seize on the hub surface to make the next rotor removal a piece of cake.

The EBC drilled / slotted rotors are directional. The slots are angled / curved so that in theory gases / water escapes as they spin. They are marked left and right or you can just use common sense thinking about the way they will spin.

Calipers / pads:
As I was completely removing the stock front calipers and hangers (to make way for the MDX parts) I wanted to minimize the brake fluid loss / air infiltration while the calipers were off. Ahead of time I found a solid bolt, nut, and compression washers that was the same size as the banjo bolt. As soon as I disconnected the stock caliper, I sealed off the hose with the solid bolt. I still lost a bit of fluid and a bunch of air got in but at least it was somewhat minimized.

Make sure to pay some attention to the caliper slide pins that fit into the bores in the hangers. First off it is best to use a quality grease made for the purpose like Sil-Glyde silicone based grease. I found that its best to remove the hangers and completely clean out the bores and the pins.

On the OEM rear caliper, the upper and lower pins are different. The upper pin is the one with the flats on it. Don't reverse the order. My pins looked as new but these are relatively cheap parts that are available aftermarket so if yours are corroded or worn at all, replace them.

On the MDX front calipers, the upper and lower pins are also different. One pin has a rubber bushing installed in a groove at the end and it goes in the TOP bore. My Cardone calipers came with the pins in the wrong location (I looked it up both in the Acura parts diagram and in the Acura factory repair manual) It is especially important to use correct grease like Sil-Glyde on pins with the rubber bushings as there are ample reports of issues with the bushings swelling and seizing up due to improper grease. I didn't trust Cardone to do it right so I cleaned the bores and pins and re-greased with the Sil-Glyde

Honda specs a small amount of their M77 assembly paste to be used underneath and on top of the stainless plates (they clip onto the hangers) that the brake pads ride on so that's what I did. The Yellowstuff pads fit easily into place and moved freely. EBC gives you a pair of piston inserts for the rear calipers that are designed to prevent squealing. They push into the open end of the caliper piston. No silencing shims are needed with them. For the fronts they didn’t provide any inserts but the pads came with silencing shims attached.

One thing that seems a bit odd about the MDX front setup is that the brake pads do not contact the inner most ½” of the flat surface of the rotor. This appears even more strange with the EBC rotors since the rotor is plated black, and the slots and dimples start at the beginning of the flat rotor surface. I was worried that something was wrong initially but after some searching on line, I found a youtube video of someone doing a front brake service on the 07-13 MDX and there were some good shots of the old rotor next to the new one. You could clearly see that the pads never contacted the innermost portion of the rotor flat.

Parking / Emergency Brake:
When you replace the rear brake rotor you need to deal with the parking brake. I followed the manuals specs for doing the major adjustment at the rear parking brake drum. To me this method seems to be pretty imprecise. . .It’s hard to gauge when the parking brake is “locked” up (vs being mostly locked up or just a bit locked up etc). Also, backing of the adjuster “10 clicks” proves to be a challenge because you can’t actually see to confirm that the adjuster has moved on a step or just returned back. Either way you still hear a click. My solution was to:
Initially do the best I could at the rear
Adjust the pedal up front according to manual
Apply just enough pedal for slight resistance on at least one side at the rear
Adjust the other side at the drum until its resistance was exactly the same
This is PIA and requires having both rear wheels removed. It works however . . . I guess most people probably don’t even use their parking brake but my OCD wanted this done right. In an emergency (main brake pedal not working), the drum brakes should apply with roughly the same force.

Brake Bleeding:
I have now removed the calipers on both my 06 and 14 Ridgelines. In both instances I found that I was not able to remove all the air in the system by using the vacuum bleeder alone. Initially I pulled a good pint worth of fluid though the front calipers only to be left with a soft pedal. The solution was to have a helper press the brake pedal while I opened and applied vacuum to the bleeder valves at the front calipers. I did this 5-6 times per side and the pedal became nice and firm.

The vacuum bleeders are still useful tools not only for aiding the pedal method, but also for doing a routine brake fluid exchange. They will also get dry brake lines and calipers full of fluid and ready for a final bleed by the pedal method.

In short, plan on having a helper available to assist with brake bleeding if you have introduced air into the system by changing calipers, brake lines or the master cylinder etc.

Performance:

Here’s some info that Smufguy supplied in another thread:
quote
'10 MDX Caliper: 50.8mm | 2 Piston caliper | 4051.60 sq.mm | 330mm Front rotors
'10 Pilot caliper: 47.5mm | 2 Piston Caliper | 3542.31 sq.mm | 330mm Front rotors
'10 Ody caliper: 45.5mm | 2 Piston Caliper | 3250.29 sq.mm | 296mm Front rotors
'10 Ridgeline Caliper: 44.0mm | 2 Piston Caliper | 3039.52 sq.mm | 320mm
Front rotors.
end quote

MDX front brakes are a similar overall design to the OEM Ridgeline ones. Most importantly, the caliper hangers and the rotors are perfectly compatible with the Ridgeline hub. They MDX setup uses a larger rotor and a larger caliper with larger pistons. The brake pads themselves however are essentially the same size.

For the caliper (in theory). . .The larger pistons will increase pedal travel for a given amount of piston movement. At the same time it will also increase pressure on the pads and brake torque for a given amount of pedal pressure. The pistons also contact a larger portion of the back of the pad so pressure should be applied more evenly.

For the rotor (in theory). . .The larger diameter of the MDX rotor means that for one rotation of the front wheel the brake pads travel a longer distance in contact with the rotor. The pads themselves aren’t any larger so its this extra contact per revolution that will increase brake force. In addition, this extra contact is applied farther away from the axle so the mechanical advantage is also increased with the larger rotors. The EBC rotors are dimpled and slotted which in theory will allow gas, particulates and water to escape during braking.

For the pads (in theory); EBC’s Yellowstuff pads are a higher friction pad than OEM Ridgeline or MDX brake pads. For a given amount of pressure applied to them, they should generate more brake torque than OEM pads.
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Driving impressions:

I am only at 150 miles on the new pads so they are not fully broken in yet. They have now created a perfectly smooth shiny surface on the rotors and in the pad contact zone there is no more trace of the black plating that the rotors came with (you could still see some traces in my last picture taken at only about 20 miles). I (hopefully) wont test the full braking power of this set up until after the final break in at around 200miles of “city driving”. That’s pretty much the only type of driving that I have done so far

The amount of pedal pressure required for braking maneuvers is most definitely less than before. There now seems to be rarely the need to stomp on the brakes like with the OEM setup. Most stopping can be done with a very little effort. To me this is definitely an improvement and what I was looking for in this change over.

The brakes do require more of a controlled touch to the pedal than before. This is easily managed however and your foot learns pretty quickly. The Yellowstuff brake pads are most definitely grippier than OEM ones. They also will in theory be a high level of dust type pad. I would imagine that for others doing this project, a slightly less aggressive / lower dust pad would be more than adequate.

I’ll post some more driving impressions later after the pads are fully bedded in. . . .
 

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@eurban Nice Job, and great write up, yes it’s been posted before but no where near as detailed as this.
 

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Good detailed write up. Since I've been using EBC performance ie dimpled and slotted rotors and their yellow stuff pads for the last 200,000 plus miles, I will be interested to hear how yours perform and wear. Keep us advised.
 

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@eurban: Great job in getting this all sorted and posted! The brake setup looks, for the lack of other words, SICK!!

I will echo some of the information that @eurban mentioned.

Brake Bleeding: I had no luck with the self bleeder either. For a perfect brake feel, this is surely a two person job.

Larger Rotor: Larger diameter rotor increases the effective rotor radius thus yields a higher braking torque for the same pedal pressure as OEM. Effective Rotor radius is calculated by finding distance between the center of the brake rotor and the midpoint of the 'brake zone' on the rotor brake surface. (Note: Two 330mm rotors CAN have different effective rotor radius)

Piston area: Increased caliper piston area results in higher piston force on the pads (similar size) and increases the braking torque, for the same pedal pressure. Combined with the larger diameter rotor, the braking torque is greatly magnified.

Pedal Stroke & feedback: Due to the increased torque, there will be a noticeable difference in the pedal stroke and feedback. The initial bite during braking will be very apparent and continues on, as you go through the pedal stroke.

With these effective changes, one would have to adjust their driving/braking habits to match the stopping characteristics of the vehicle. This is a positive thing :)
 

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Wow! That's some write up! Thanks for taking the time to be so detailed. I don't think I've ever seen such a beautiful setup on a Ridgeline, and probably never will!
Well done sir, well done
 

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Yes. The brakes on 06-14 Ridgelines are essentially the same. The MDX rotor and caliper will bolt right up to an 06
Hello Eurban,

I followed your post about doing the Upgrade to GEN1 Front Calipers and really appreciate the precise detail you've added which helped very much.
I bought Calipers 08 MDX from a Pick n Pull place locally to replace my 08's small Ridgeline calipers.
I bought brand new Rotors/Pads that are Slotted/Cross Drilled.
Upon installing Passenger Side Front Caliper everything went together EASILY and rotors spin freely which seemed too good to be true.
Well I went to do the Driver side as I've easily done Passenger side.
This is where my problem started. Initially, I couldn't get the caliper fitted onto the rotor and I thought perhaps the Calipers were not compressed enough so I went ahead and opened the bleeder valve and compressed the calipers more.
Then upon installing the calipers again the caliper bracket seemed to not want to fit properly which caused the brake pads to be pressing against the rotor.
Now here is the weirdest thing... after bleeding the brakes I found the rotors are not able to move at all with brakes not pressed.
If I press on the brakes 1/2 way down on the pedal, it actually allows the brake pads to open up in the caliper and rotor starts to turn. (in Drive or Reverse) truck jacked up of course.
Take my foot off the brake pedal and it's like I'm applying the brakes on the Driver side rotor/caliper. Passenger side continues to work normally as it should.
Passenger side did have Wheel Installed as Driver side No Wheel... Just exposed rotor/caliper.
I ended up installing both wheels as I thought perhaps it could be an issue with traction control as 1 wheel rotating mass was different that Driver side w/o wheel.
Upon attempting to drive just a few feet I again hear a strong grinding sound coming from Driver side.
Do you have any suggestions of what I may have done wrong?
I'm beyond ideas about how to correct this situation and I've taken the Driver side Caliper/Rotor system off twice now.
Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

Sincerely,
Joe Kupiszewski
Cell: 7one7-7two5-2twothree3
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Hello Eurban,

I followed your post about doing the Upgrade to GEN1 Front Calipers and really appreciate the precise detail you've added which helped very much.
I bought Calipers 08 MDX from a Pick n Pull place locally to replace my 08's small Ridgeline calipers.
I bought brand new Rotors/Pads that are Slotted/Cross Drilled.
Upon installing Passenger Side Front Caliper everything went together EASILY and rotors spin freely which seemed too good to be true.
Well I went to do the Driver side as I've easily done Passenger side.
This is where my problem started. Initially, I couldn't get the caliper fitted onto the rotor and I thought perhaps the Calipers were not compressed enough so I went ahead and opened the bleeder valve and compressed the calipers more.
Then upon installing the calipers again the caliper bracket seemed to not want to fit properly which caused the brake pads to be pressing against the rotor.
Now here is the weirdest thing... after bleeding the brakes I found the rotors are not able to move at all with brakes not pressed.
If I press on the brakes 1/2 way down on the pedal, it actually allows the brake pads to open up in the caliper and rotor starts to turn. (in Drive or Reverse) truck jacked up of course.
Take my foot off the brake pedal and it's like I'm applying the brakes on the Driver side rotor/caliper. Passenger side continues to work normally as it should.
Passenger side did have Wheel Installed as Driver side No Wheel... Just exposed rotor/caliper.
I ended up installing both wheels as I thought perhaps it could be an issue with traction control as 1 wheel rotating mass was different that Driver side w/o wheel.
Upon attempting to drive just a few feet I again hear a strong grinding sound coming from Driver side.
Do you have any suggestions of what I may have done wrong?
I'm beyond ideas about how to correct this situation and I've taken the Driver side Caliper/Rotor system off twice now.
Thanks so much for any help you can provide!

Sincerely,
Joe Kupiszewski
Cell: 717-725-2233
You could take some pics of the drivers side setup and post them here. You could also double check your assembly technique and any parts differences comparing the working side to the knackered one. One thing that comes tomind is that you may not have the guide pins installed correctly in the bracket. The flat on the guide pin collar needs to line up with "stops" that are part of the bracket casting. If these parts are tightened down out of alignment it torques the angle of the guide pin and the caliper doesn't move freely. The rubber collars on the end of the top pins also can expand with age preventing the calipers from floating on the pins. Do your calipers move freely on the bracket?
Still, I think you would simply be better off ordering a set of remanufactured calipers (including the brackets) and sending your Pick n Pull parts in as a core. That should cost you less than $150 once the core is returned. Double check that the reman units are properly put together and then put everything back together. Hopefully your rotor is still useable.
 

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Looking at my stock 17" wheels on my 2006, it looks like there isn't much room for larger diameter brakes. Has anyone installed these with 17" wheels? What size wheels do you have?
 

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Looking at my stock 17" wheels on my 2006, it looks like there isn't much room for larger diameter brakes. Has anyone installed these with 17" wheels? What size wheels do you have?
My 14 Sport has 18" wheels. I don't know for sure that the larger components would fit with the 17 wheels. The rotors are 10mm larger in diameter so only 5mm larger radius. The caliper components are bigger also so your question is a good one. . .
I know that @Elkhunter did this swap as well. I don't know what year and wheel size he is using. Perhaps he is reading and can chime in?
 

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I’ve got a 2007 RTS with 255/65/17 MS2's. I used the following:

Calipers: Cardone - 19P3278 and 19P3279 (these have a 50mm piston)

Rotors: StopTech - 126.40071SL and 126.40071SR

Pads: StopTech - 30813780

So far, so good!
 

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Looking at my stock 17" wheels on my 2006, it looks like there isn't much room for larger diameter brakes. Has anyone installed these with 17" wheels? What size wheels do you have?
The Pilot came with 17" steel wheels as well and the 330mm brake rotor fit under there with no issues. I say the 17" Steel wheels because the inner barrel diameter of the 17" steel wheel and 17" alloy wheels are different.
 

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Discussion Starter #16 (Edited)
Here's a 3 month / 3000(ish) mile follow up.

Brakes are GREAT!

In all honesty, I never really did EBC's aggresive break in procedure but between 1000-2000 miles of driving with the new setup I really started to notice improved braking performance. Doing their aggressive break in might well have sped up the process but at this point performance is excellent. I drive a lot of stop and go city stuff so the brakes most certainly have been well used.

The pedal isn't magically firm but the new brakes require much less pressure yet are predictable and easy to modulate. Maximum braking power is noticeably stronger than with the stock setup. It really hauls the truck and in particular heavy loads (I use my truck for construction) down to a stop quickly. I would think that it would be nicely suited to towing.

Downsides? . . .
The brakes do hum when you are aggressively stopping from higher speeds. I notice it on the highway in particular when traffic comes to a stop unexpectedly. I really don't notice this much at all just driving around town and its certainly not an annoyance.

The Yellowstuff pads do seem to need just a bit of warm up before they provide maximum braking power. It doesn't take more than a few braking moments to get them performing and they still stop just fine when cold. Basically you notice the brakes having more and more bite for the first few minutes of driving from cold.

Brake dust is siginficant. I don't personally care at all but if this kind of thing bugs you then the Yellowstuff pads aren't for you. The dust may necessitate cleaning up the caliper hangers a bit more frequently to keep the pads and calipers moving freely.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
One more thing to add.
I put new tires on about a month ago and went ahead and had the shop do a flush of the brake fluid to make absolutely sure that all the air was out of the system. They used a BG machine to do the flush.

End result is that the pedal was noticeably firmer after their procedure. I had already used my vacuum bleeder and the manual two person pedal method to exchange the fluid and get any air out. This took a lot of time and a good amount of effort. In spite of that, the shop with the powered BG machine was able to make an improvement. I'm a DIY die hard but after this experience, I may just plan on having this shop flush the brake fluid every couple of years.
 
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