A couple weeks before I left for vacation I felt a grinding sensation from the front end of my F-250 when I'd hit the brakes. I'd been off-roading a little and figured there was a pebble or something jammed in there, but a quick visual check didn't reveal anything. Fast forward a week and the noise was still there, so I took a few minutes to pull the truck into the garage and take a closer look. The driver's side looked fine, but the passenger's side rotor was deeply scored on the outside. :(
Since I was leaving for vacation in a couple of days I fired-off an order for some new brake pads and hoped that that was all that would be needed. Doing some quick research on the available options, it looked like Akebono offered ceramic pads, so I ordered a set so they'd be waiting for me when I returned.
Vacation was great, and shortly after I returned I tackled the job. The driver's side was very straight-forward, but I had to pull the passenger's side rotor and take it to the local O'Reilly parts store to have them turn it. (Riding my motorcycle in 30-degree weather—joy!) The outside pad wasn't quite worn to the little metal fingers that make the cricket noise that's supposed to let you know it's time to replace the pads, and the wear was level across the pad, but there were areas near the center of the pad where the pad material had broken away all the way to the metal backing. I'm not sure why that happened. Was it something I did, or was is premature pad failure?
O'Reilly was were able to remove all the grooves in the rotor before hitting the minimum thickness, but I'll likely need to replace the rotors after this new set of brake pads are used up.
(A neighbor asked why I didn't just go ahead and replace the rotor. Well, since it's only $15 to turn the rotor, but over $100 for a new one, and you always replace rotors in pairs, so turning the scored rotor seemed like the prudent thing to do.)
The OEM set of pads lasted about 50K miles, but I don't know how long the Akebonos will last. I definitely prefer them to the OEM ones—much better initial bite, but still a very nicely progressive pedal feel. It's too early to tell how much dust they'll produce, but so far they're just as quiet as the OEM pads.
Knowing that I'll need new rotors eventually, it looks like StopTech makes slotted and cryo'd ones that'll be a nice upgrade for a little more money than plain rotors. Why slots, especially on a full-size truck? /DRIVE just did a nice video with the StopTech folks that answers that and more: The Thing About Brakes Is THIS -- /ENGINEERED