2nd-3rd Gen Tundras and the front brakes

Nov 30, 2005
Senoia, GA
I thought I'd start a new thread to go over my experiences and not garble up the other towing brake thread anymore. I have a 2014 Tundra with 121k miles. I just replaced the front pads/rotors for the 2nd time. I bought the truck new. First OEM set of pads/rotors were replaced about 65k miles. I was experiencing fairly bad shake/shimmy when applying the brakes, especially at highway speeds. I bought the PowerStop Z36 drilled/slotted rotors and Z36 pads, I re-used the OE clips/springs and caliper pins. I did not re-use the OE shims. I did completely wire-brush/wheel the rotor mating surface of the hubs, taking care to really get all the rust off and make the surface smooth again. I put some copper anti-seize on the mating surface on the hub. Being in the Southeast, rust is not a major issue. There was some rust, but nothing crazy. As I said, I re-used the "anti-rattle" clips (springs) that are the only means of spreading the pads back off the rotors when braking is not used. And there's only ONE of these springs/clips on each caliper/pad set. There's not any real service data/instructions anywhere that say to replace these clips. And certainly none of the Youtube videos show anyone replacing them with new. Fast forward 60k miles and I'm suffering the same, maybe worse, shimmy/shake when applying the brakes. I'm even seeing / feeling a rough ride/vibration at certain highway speeds. Road force balancing made most of it go away. I replaced the Powerstop pads/rotors with new Toyota OEM pads, rotors, shims and bought a new anti-rattle/spring kit. It only included two springs. I re-used the original two and put the new springs in, one on each caliper. The new springs are much larger/robust than the OE springs, at least it seems that way. I'm going to buy another set, take the wheels off, and put a new spring on each caliper where I've re-used the old springs. Both calipers will then have 2 new anti-rattle clips (springs), pushing the pads back on both ends when the brake pedal is not applied. I think this lack of a second spring (anti-rattle clip) is the problem with the front rotors warping prematurely on the Tundras. There is no reason the PowerStop products should have had problems. There is no reason the Toyota OEM rotors/pads should have problems. These are STOUT, Made in the USA products. 4-piston calipers, LARGE calipers, rotors and pads. This is on the verge of heavy duty 3/4 ton truck components. I also saw very poor performance from the brakes I put on our 2011 Sequoia. All the same components, same problem except at 35,000 miles, the pads and rotors were SHOT. I replaced the pads, rotors, ALL hardware. We sold that vehicle about 5k miles later, so I don't know how it's doing now, but I bet it's better than it's ever been. So to boil it down, if you are having the warping problem with your Tundra, Sequoia, etc., try putting in 2 sets of springs on the pads. Also....for the love of all that's good - when you are pushing the pistons back in the calipers.... PLEASE get your 10mm wrench out, a 1/4" clear plastic hose, old milk jug and open the bleeder screw up and push the old fluid OUT into the jug and NOT back into the brake lines. It's 100 times easier to push the pistons back in and you're not pushing old fluid back into your system. Refill the master cylinder reservoir, then do the other side. Finally, bleed the system out 5-6 pedal pushes and put some new fluid in the system. I think I'm on to the solution, tho. I re-set my MPG monitor on the dash this morning. Generally, I have been averaging 15.5 MPGs for YEARS. I have a 65 mile commute a couple days a week. This morning it's showing 16.7 MPG after the reset. I'll report back after a week or so and let it settle in.
I service a total of four Tundras including my two and never had any brake problems. Including two of those that tow daily, one near max towing capacity. I only use factory rotors and pads.
FWIW I've had nothing but trouble with the pins that retain the pads. I would say to anyone with this truck in the rustbelt, try to remove on a regular basis. That or turn them down somehow. They seem to always need to be hammered out--the last shop to work on my truck indicated that they sometimes had to replace the caliper due to this problem. Next up, the pads on mine like to seize up. I think the problem is worse than on "conventional" setups due to the much larger pad ears.
Google brake bed in procedures. Do one. Light driving and parking for several days result in uneven wear surface on the rotors. Rod
4-piston calipers, same as my 2005 4Runner, replaced the calipers because I could tell one side was sticking, read many 4Runner complaints about sticking calipers is what persuaded me and that was the right call.
Let me reiterate my points in my OP- 1. Buy new anti-rattle clips and use two per caliper 2. Put some copper anti-seize on the pins (and hub where the rotor mates) 3. Please don't push old fluid back in. Use the bleeder screw and bleed new fluid through the system. I did bed-in the new pads on Tuesday morning. I drove about 10 minutes on unoccupied roads around my house. I ramped up from 40 mph to 15 mph braking to 50 to 15, 65 to 15, etc. I could smell a little grease and such getting hot by the time I headed back home. I tried to not get on the brake the last 3-4 minutes on the way home and gently braked and coasted down the driveway. I've not had a hard brake yet. The pedal feels much better, the truck stops better and there is zero shake/shimmy when braking at any speed. Again, the MPG increase will tell the truth about the second anti-rattle clip. I'll update it Friday.
use EBC brake stuff, a little more $$$ but a LOT better product. rotors cast with better alloy in UK + pads from USA usually!!
Toyota trucks and non-car based SUVs(anything that isn’t a RAV4/Highlander/Venza) use fixed opposed piston calipers not unlike an old Mercedes or Volvo. if you seen the ATE or Girling calipers on those, you know. But, part of the problem is Toyota undersized the brakes on the 4Runner/GX, which can cause weird things to happen once the mods happen and the weight piles on.

On those, keeping the pad pins free of corrosion and fresh brake fluid is even more paramount. I’m eventually going to care for two Tundras soon so my yearly MO is to pull the front wheels and pull the pads to do a visual check.