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Discussion Starter #21 (Edited)
So, a few months ago I got fed up with the crappy brakes and I did some research and decided to chuck those Amazon fronts and bought a pair of Slotted, Cryo treated High-Carbon StopTech rotors and some EBC 7000 brake pads. Purchased from buybrakes.com.

This setup was much more expensive than going with the stuff from Amazon, but I’m hoping that it’s higher quality and I won’t experience the issues. With these new rotors, one thing I’m noticing is there is no more rust that accumulated on the old ones just when the van was left outside overnight after it rained, the old ones must have contained a ton of iron in them.

I have not yet gotten an opportunity to test these new ones out on anything really steep, like I did on the old ones driving around in Wyoming, but driving this around the highway there is no more shaking when coming to a stop after taking an exit which was constant with the old set up. Anyway hope this is a good combo long term. One thing I just read was some negative reviews of the EBC pads with brake dust and noise, hopefully I don’t experience those issues. So far they seem very quiet and I have not noticed excessive brake dust, but I have not really paid much attention.

Edit:
This new set cost me: $356.82. Ordered on March 10th but probably didn’t install them until about 3 weeks or so ago. Prices I was paying for the Amazon garbage was I think less than $100 which included pads and rotors.
 

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If you are doing a lot of mountain driving / braking, then you should really learn how to drive with downshifting. It is much more effective and certainly way easier on the brakes. We tow a 3K lbs pop up camper with our '07 and never have any issue braking, but we use downshifting extensively and it works great. We do have a tranny cooler on the van, so that helps.
 

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If you are doing a lot of mountain driving / braking, then you should really learn how to drive with downshifting. It is much more effective and certainly way easier on the brakes. We tow a 3K lbs pop up camper with our '07 and never have any issue braking, but we use downshifting extensively and it works great. We do have a tranny cooler on the van, so that helps.
Amen to that!!
Buffalo4
PS: Be sure and change the ATF every 30k miles or sooner. Simple drain and fill.
 

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Buffalo4 is using Valvoline MaxLife synthetic ATF (IIRC).

Regarding the OP's frustrations, I've had shuddering-under-braking develop on vehicles I've owned. I followed guidance provided by the engineering staff at Stop-Tech for both of our Odysseys, with OEM rotors and pads (remove transfer layer of pad material from rotors by sanding, perform bedding procedure on the OEM pads).

So far, no grotesque shuddering, ever. We sometimes use our vans for towing heavy (heavy glass-hulled bass boat with a 200-hp Merc V6 on a steel trailer, which is heavy for an Ody). We are averaging 100,000 miles per set of OEM pads between our pair of Gen 2 Odysseys. We are up to 200,000+ miles on our 2002 EX and 2003 EX, and both just recently received their second ever brake pad change. I will say a small, barely detectable amount of shudder did develop as a set of pads reached end-of-life (about 100,000 miles of use), but sanding the OEM rotors and bedding in the new pads halted that problem.

The brakes work great now, and have, throughout the lifespans of both of our Odysseys. I do not remember who recommended using the rotor clean-up and pad bedding procedures from Stop-Tech, but they have made a huge difference in brake feel and performance (stopping power and longevity) on both of our vans.

On that note, if you do not feel like performing the manual labor of using 100 grit sandpaper to remove the transfer layer of adherent brake material from your rotors, decent OEM-quality rotors from Meyle are priced very, very reasonably (i.e., low price, good rotors ... you get more than you pay for). Just buy all four, mount them, and bed in the new OEM pads. John Clark (one of our resident pro mechanics on this forum) regularly uses these, with positive results from his customers, and on his own family vehicles. I replaced a set on my 3.5 Altima (casting defect in one of the stock rotors), and they perform quite well.

OF
 
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Discussion Starter #28
If you are doing a lot of mountain driving / braking, then you should really learn how to drive with downshifting. It is much more effective and certainly way easier on the brakes. We tow a 3K lbs pop up camper with our '07 and never have any issue braking, but we use downshifting extensively and it works great. We do have a tranny cooler on the van, so that helps.
I don’t do it often. First time in this vehicle doing any steep / mountain driving was last year while on a road trip to Yellowstone (2019), and we went From Kansas —> Colorado —> Wyoming —> South Dakota —> Iowa —> Kansas . When we left Kansas it was mostly flat and sort of forgot about our brakes sucking (I had replaced them not too long prior due to previous warping issues) but soon realized they were garbage.

I was not aware of the downshift technique being a good idea. This may be wrong/old fashioned thinking, but isn’t transmission braking bad because couldn’t you risk screwing up your transmission? I would rather tear up some $300 brakes vs $3-5 grand for a transmission.

I believe from all I have been seeing in this thread though is that the Oddy is sort of notorious for brake warp issues.
 

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Discussion Starter #29
Buffalo4 is using Valvoline MaxLife synthetic ATF (IIRC).

Regarding the OP's frustrations, I've had shuddering-under-braking develop on vehicles I've owned. I followed guidance provided by the engineering staff at Stop-Tech for both of our Odysseys, with OEM rotors and pads (remove transfer layer of pad material from rotors by sanding, perform bedding procedure on the OEM pads).

So far, no grotesque shuddering, ever. We sometimes use our vans for towing heavy (heavy glass-hulled bass boat with a 200-hp Merc V6 on a steel trailer, which is heavy for an Ody). We are averaging 100,000 miles per set of OEM pads between our pair of Gen 2 Odysseys. We are up to 200,000+ miles on our 2002 EX and 2003 EX, and both just recently received their second ever brake pad change. I will say a small, barely detectable amount of shudder did develop as a set of pads reached end-of-life (about 100,000 miles of use), but sanding the OEM rotors and bedding in the new pads halted that problem.

The brakes work great now, and have, throughout the lifespans of both of our Odysseys. I do not remember who recommended using the rotor clean-up and pad bedding procedures from Stop-Tech, but they have made a huge difference in brake feel and performance (stopping power and longevity) on both of our vans.

On that note, if you do not feel like performing the manual labor of using 100 grit sandpaper to remove the transfer layer of adherent brake material from your rotors, decent OEM-quality rotors from Meyle are priced very, very reasonably (i.e., low price, good rotors ... you get more than you pay for). Just buy all four, mount them, and bed in the new OEM pads. John Clark (one of our resident pro mechanics on this forum) regularly uses these, with positive results from his customers, and on his own family vehicles. I replaced a set on my 3.5 Altima (casting defect in one of the stock rotors), and they perform quite well.

OF
So far these new stop-tech cryogenic frozen and ebc pads have been great. Not sure if/when I’ll get a chance to really test them out, maybe this summer I will go on an extended road trip.
 

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So far these new stop-tech cryogenic frozen and ebc pads have been great. Not sure if/when I’ll get a chance to really test them out, maybe this summer I will go on an extended road trip.
The products from Stop-Tech seem to, universally, receive good to excellent reviews from their many happy customers. Their engineering white papers are pretty educational, too, even if you're a regular Joe who just uses OEM brake components (like me).

OF
 

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I was not aware of the downshift technique being a good idea. This may be wrong/old fashioned thinking, but isn’t transmission braking bad because couldn’t you risk screwing up your transmission? I would rather tear up some $300 brakes vs $3-5 grand for a transmission.
Maybe it was old fashioned when driving a Model A! Truckers downshift without screwing up their transmissions.
The key is that you don't want to use your brakes to maintain your speed when going downhill. That's worse than driving around town with your foot resting on the brake pedal engaging the brakes as you drive.
You only risk damaging the transmission if you downshift at too high a speed. You don't want your engine rpms too high.
Downshift a gear when you're at the crest of a long downhill stretch. Use your brakes to slow down if your speed is getting too fast and release them when your back to a reasonable speed. Also keep your foot off the gas until your at the bottom. Then you can shift back into D and resume your regular flat land driving!
 

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Maybe it was old fashioned when driving a Model A! Truckers downshift without screwing up their transmissions.
The key is that you don't want to use your brakes to maintain your speed when going downhill. That's worse than driving around town with your foot resting on the brake pedal engaging the brakes as you drive.
You only risk damaging the transmission if you downshift at too high a speed. You don't want your engine rpms too high.
Downshift a gear when you're at the crest of a long downhill stretch. Use your brakes to slow down if your speed is getting too fast and release them when your back to a reasonable speed. Also keep your foot off the gas until your at the bottom. Then you can shift back into D and resume your regular flat land driving!
Automatic transmissions and manual transmissions are different animals, and have to be treated differently! One of the reasons with a tractor trailer manual transmission that you do not down shift if your RPMs are to high is the fact the engine RPMs are to high for going into the next lower gear, even when double clutching. Suddenly you find you cannot get into a lower gear and you end up with a runaway rig!! Been there, done that and it wasn't any fun. And by the time you get stopped, your brakes are to hot to even slow you down at all!
If you were taught to drive with a manual gearbox, you may have learned to downshift the transmission to slow the vehicle down while approaching a stop light or descending a hill. This practice is not acceptable in automatic transmissions because a forced downshift at high-engine RPMs can result in excessive transmission wear, specifically to the clutch friction plates and the transmission bands. When you need to come to a stop or slow down in an automatic vehicle, always apply pressure to the brake and leave the gear selector alone. Here is a good example of how to drive a automatic car down a mountain: How to Drive an Automatic Car Down a Mountain
 

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Discussion Starter #33 (Edited)
Very informative post. About 15 years ago I took a motorcycle training course and they instructed us to use transmission/engine braking but did explain that the transmissions in a motorcycle are constantly bathed in oil and are quite different than your automatic transmission in your every day car and I believe they did warn us against this practice on normal automatic cars.

Also, good to know the big concern on mountains is burning out your brakes so in that case, for safety, it would probably be wise to downshift and rely on the transmission to assist in slowing you down.
 

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They both use wet clutches. However, whenever I downshift on my baby Ninja, I'll clutch, twist the throttle a little to raise engine revs, and then kick it down into the next lower gear. Even a not-frequent rider like me can get good at this and do it quickly on every downshift from top gear all the way to a near-stop.

That said, can't do this on an automobile's automatic transmission. I've used Honda's grade logic successfully by letting the van speed up a little on a long downgrade, then aggressively apply some braking to force the PCM to employ grade logic and downshift appropriately for me .... and it stays in that gear until I get to the bottom or add throttle in measured amounts to get out of it. It's a great feature for saving brakes.

OF
 

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Whether correct or not, what I do on long downhills in the mountains, is I give it some throttle just as I downshift one gear and it seems to lessen or eliminate any jolt when shifting to that lower gear. Then I quickly take my foot off the throttle after the engine speed is up to snuff for that gear. To me it puts less wear on the clutch plate friction surfaces, or so I figure. Could be wrong, but that is what I do.
Buffalo4
 

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Whether correct or not, what I do on long downhills in the mountains, is I give it some throttle just as I downshift one gear and it seems to lessen or eliminate any jolt when shifting to that lower gear. Then I quickly take my foot off the throttle after the engine speed is up to snuff for that gear. To me it puts less wear on the clutch plate friction surfaces, or so I figure. Could be wrong, but that is what I do.
Buffalo4
Well, it must be working, brother! You're one among a few who drive some really challenging mountains in your Gen 2 Odyssey. Towing may be tough, but I've always seen the highest ever ATF temperatures when driving in mountains without anything on the drawbar (this was when I had thermocouples and my 4-channel datalogger hooked up to the ATF out and return lines on my transmission).

Mountains and steep hills are the hardest work environments for a transmission, is my conclusion based on data .... and you've got over 200,000 miles on original Gen 2 running gear. That's amazing. The 200,000 miles I've got on my 2003 EX does not the same severity of operation as the 200,000 miles (with lots of Colorado Rockies mountain driving) on your 2003 EX.

It's tough on brakes in a big way, too.

OF
 

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...When you need to come to a stop or slow down in an automatic vehicle, always apply pressure to the brake and leave the gear selector alone. Here is a good example of how to drive a automatic car down a mountain: How to Drive an Automatic Car Down a Mountain
The link you provided talks about down-shifting the transmission, which contradicts your statement.
 

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The link you provided talks about down-shifting the transmission, which contradicts your statement.
But you downshift before starting down the mountain!! You can't be driving along at 65 and just down shift - you have to slow way down first. And depending on what generation Ody you have, what gear are you downshifting into? And do you know what the maximum engine RPM before over revving the engine? Do you know how to rev up the engine to safely drop it into a lower gear. You can damage your transmission if you just drop it into a lower gear. Lots of things you have to be aware of and knowledgeable about!
 

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But you downshift before starting down the mountain!!
I'm a fan of that, too. Get into the slow lane on some place like the Grapevine (I-5) or Cajon Pass (I-15) in SoCal, slow down and shift down before driving over the crest.

Grade logic initiated with braking will shift down a gear ... but pulling the gear lever down in any Honda Odyssey (from 2002 to 2010) will cause the transmission to shift down two gears immediately, not just one. It gets your attention. I don't know what the 6-speeds and later 9 and 10-speeds do in this regard.

OF
 
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My new to me 2015 with the 6 speed has a 4th gear switch on the side of the shifter. I have used it a couple of times
just slowing quickly. Doing so only hoped the revs up to about 3,000 to 3,500. Nothing outrageous or overly jerky. I did, like many of you have suggested, give my 2002 a sharp brake on an incline to invoke the grade logic. That more of a sharp downshift than pressing the button on the 6sp.
 
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