Brake upgrade for better stopping power: just pads or full kit? - Mustang Evolution

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Old 08-29-2014, 06:24 PM   #1
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Brake upgrade for better stopping power: just pads or full kit?

Hey there felahs, I'm planning on doing my brake upgrades. Stock ones that came with performance package are absolute shiet. Theyre horrible if you have to do an emergency stop!! I went to the dealership and they're like it's normal.. we tested another mustang and both have similar stopping power.

So now im stuck between 2 options: should I upgrade just the brake pads (power stop z16(street) or z26 (street and strip but are they noisy)) or if should go with complete front and rear pad + slotted rotor kit?

Powerstop has it for $265 (with z16 pads) or $295 (with z26 pads).

I'm on student budget, every $ counts lol

Thanks in advance

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Old 08-29-2014, 06:27 PM   #2
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I did cross drilled and slotted with Autozone Duralast gold pads and I'm happy. I spent around 400.00 and I think it was worth it. A big brake kit is nice though....pricy but nice.
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:18 PM   #3
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How much better would gt brakes be over the v6? Would the price for some take-offs be worth it?
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Old 08-29-2014, 07:29 PM   #4
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I went with the power stop kit of rotors and pads. I'm a happy camper. I might upgrade to Hawk pads on the next go around just for a little more bite. But the kit was a huge help.

Just make sure you burnish/break in the rotors EXACTLY how they say. Done improperly, the drilled holes can form stress cracks and that's no bueno.

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Old 08-29-2014, 07:43 PM   #5
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I don't think the standard GT brakes are any better. You need to upgrade to the Brembos. Then you have to deal with wheel fitment issues....ask me how I learned that lesson.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:45 PM   #6
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Tires are what dictate stopping power, not necessarily what pad / rotor combo you run, think about it... they're your contact patch with the ground.

A larger brake kit's main purpose is its ability to absorb more heat on a road course (more thermal mass in the rotor). Think about this as well, the Brembo GT stops only 4 feet shorter than the standard GT.

Brembo rotor: 14"
GT Rotor: 13.2"

But realize this as well, the Brembo car also has 255 summer tires vs 235 all season on the standard GT.

Well what about extra pistons? The brembo package has 4 pistons vs the GTs 2. Thats true as well, but more pistons does not equate more clamping force, you're still using the same master cylinder and lines arent you? More pistons = more even pad wear and pressure. The GT has 2 large pistons that compress from one side against a fixed opposing side. The Brembo brakes have 4 small pistons on either side that equally clamp the rotor in between them.

Basically, the only time you need larger brakes is when you're over heating them on the road course, and even then you'll likely have a premium DOT4 brake fluid and/or brake cooling ducts first. For just plain better stopping distance, your best bet will be better tires.

The GT and v6 also use the same caliper, the V6 just uses a smaller rotor. I suppose if tires really arent in the budget then a nice set of brake pads on the OEM rotors is your best bet, or a set of centric blanks. Everything else is just for show.
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Old 08-29-2014, 10:47 PM   #7
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You might considered putting on new stainless Steel brake lines also.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:23 AM   #8
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Do you have part number for this kit/rotors? Did you feel huge/noticeable difference in braking power over stock? I know it wouldn't be a brembo replacement, but just curious.

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Originally Posted by Socal Stangman View Post
I did cross drilled and slotted with Autozone Duralast gold pads and I'm happy. I spent around 400.00 and I think it was worth it. A big brake kit is nice though....pricy but nice.
I would suggest using that cash towards an aftermarket brake kit. GT brakes comes standard equipment with Performance package. And let me tell you, they're not that good as some people might think. One panic/emergency stop, and... fingers crossed. I once had to stop at a traffic light from 55mph, ended up in the intersection.

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How much better would gt brakes be over the v6? Would the price for some take-offs be worth it?
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:41 AM   #9
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Thanks Joey, Which kit did you go with? The one with Z16 or Z26 pads? Are you suggesting Hawk pads are more aggressive than the ones that came with your kit?

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Originally Posted by JoeyM91 View Post
I went with the power stop kit of rotors and pads. I'm a happy camper. I might upgrade to Hawk pads on the next go around just for a little more bite. But the kit was a huge help.

Just make sure you burnish/break in the rotors EXACTLY how they say. Done improperly, the drilled holes can form stress cracks and that's no bueno.

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Old 08-30-2014, 03:54 AM   #10
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Thanks Volt, I guess I know where you coming from. I'm currently running 255 summer tires and I should add - my car on 225 winter Michelins stops 'comparatively' better. How big of a difference? Not night and day/significant. I mostly do hwy driving and I live in North America's 2nd worst traffic city- meaning lots of idiot drivers doing funny things infront of your car.

I believe I do having problem with my car, my brakes lose their bite not too long after being on the road. My rotors had glazing problem back when it was still new, dealership replaced brake pads (with oem stuff from ford since I have FMPP) and grinded my rotors down. Didn't really solve the issue.

So as per your advise, aftermarket brake peds would be a better option on current stock rotors (for stopping power) as compared to a full kit with slotted rotors?

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Originally Posted by Voltwings View Post
Tires are what dictate stopping power, not necessarily what pad / rotor combo you run, think about it... they're your contact patch with the ground.

A larger brake kit's main purpose is its ability to absorb more heat on a road course (more thermal mass in the rotor). Think about this as well, the Brembo GT stops only 4 feet shorter than the standard GT.

Brembo rotor: 14"
GT Rotor: 13.2"

But realize this as well, the Brembo car also has 255 summer tires vs 235 all season on the standard GT.

Well what about extra pistons? The brembo package has 4 pistons vs the GTs 2. Thats true as well, but more pistons does not equate more clamping force, you're still using the same master cylinder and lines arent you? More pistons = more even pad wear and pressure. The GT has 2 large pistons that compress from one side against a fixed opposing side. The Brembo brakes have 4 small pistons on either side that equally clamp the rotor in between them.

Basically, the only time you need larger brakes is when you're over heating them on the road course, and even then you'll likely have a premium DOT4 brake fluid and/or brake cooling ducts first. For just plain better stopping distance, your best bet will be better tires.

The GT and v6 also use the same caliper, the V6 just uses a smaller rotor. I suppose if tires really arent in the budget then a nice set of brake pads on the OEM rotors is your best bet, or a set of centric blanks. Everything else is just for show.
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Old 08-30-2014, 03:57 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by NewMtang View Post
You might considered putting on new stainless Steel brake lines also.
Cheers thanks, I will look into it.
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Old 08-30-2014, 08:28 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by bazinga11 View Post
Thanks Volt, I guess I know where you coming from. I'm currently running 255 summer tires and I should add - my car on 225 winter Michelins stops 'comparatively' better. How big of a difference? Not night and day/significant. I mostly do hwy driving and I live in North America's 2nd worst traffic city- meaning lots of idiot drivers doing funny things infront of your car.

I believe I do having problem with my car, my brakes lose their bite not too long after being on the road. My rotors had glazing problem back when it was still new, dealership replaced brake pads (with oem stuff from ford since I have FMPP) and grinded my rotors down. Didn't really solve the issue.

So as per your advise, aftermarket brake peds would be a better option on current stock rotors (for stopping power) as compared to a full kit with slotted rotors?
Yes, skip the flashy slotted or drilled, there's zero performance benefit, you're just paying for looks (don't get me wrong, it looks cool though). Your best bet will be a street performance pad on the stock rotor or a centric blank.

Your brakes lose bite as in the pedal gets soft and spongy? Have you considered trying to bleed them? Considering the only difference between my car and yours is my rotors are slightly larger, i have been using the stock brakes on road courses (albeit with a good dot4 fluid and cooling ducts) and can stop the car dead from 150, i'm willing to bet you may actually have some sort of mechanical problem... granted, i am running 295 NT05s, so that goes back to my whole tire thing ... i have a feeling there may be more at play here, but its just really hard to tell over the internet.
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Old 08-30-2014, 10:05 AM   #13
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Very good explanation. Makes sense.
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Old 08-30-2014, 11:17 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by bazinga11 View Post
Thanks Joey, Which kit did you go with? The one with Z16 or Z26 pads? Are you suggesting Hawk pads are more aggressive than the ones that came with your kit?
I went with the z16, but for the price of the zips you can get Hawk pads. They tend to give slightly better bite than the other two.

As for slotted and drilled rotors having no benefit, I would HIGHLY disagree. They've made a definite measurable change in my braking and any higher end sports car you see, has them.

The slots are to help wick away the brake dust and heat from the rotor which can cause fade. The drilled holes do the same. Drilled isn't always necessary, but slots help quite a bit with heat management.

The stock rotors might WORK on a road course, that doesn't mean they're the best option.

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Old 08-30-2014, 12:07 PM   #15
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http://www.cjponyparts.com/hawk-perf...-2013/p/BS318/

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Old 08-30-2014, 04:34 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Voltwings View Post
Yes, skip the flashy slotted or drilled, there's zero performance benefit, you're just paying for looks (don't get me wrong, it looks cool though). Your best bet will be a street performance pad on the stock rotor or a centric blank.

Your brakes lose bite as in the pedal gets soft and spongy? Have you considered trying to bleed them? Considering the only difference between my car and yours is my rotors are slightly larger, i have been using the stock brakes on road courses (albeit with a good dot4 fluid and cooling ducts) and can stop the car dead from 150, i'm willing to bet you may actually have some sort of mechanical problem... granted, i am running 295 NT05s, so that goes back to my whole tire thing ... i have a feeling there may be more at play here, but its just really hard to tell over the internet.
I'd say they do feel spongy/soft. I have service appointment in a few weeks, I will see if my manager is willing to bleed em out under warranty. Do our cars come with Dot 3 or Dot 4 brake fluid from factory?

Also, what cooling ducts are we talking about here? Lol I've no clue about em #noobmoment

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Old 08-30-2014, 04:40 PM   #17
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I'd say they do feel spongy/soft. I have service appointment in a few weeks, I will see if my manager is willing to bleed em out under warranty. Do our cars come with Dot 3 or Dot 4 brake fluid from factory?

Also, what cooling ducts are we talking about here? Lol I've no clue about em #noobmoment

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It's labeled on the master cylinder container cap. I believe it's DOT3. Stock, your car doesn't have the ducts, but you can add them in. For example, if you have a GT with the GT/CS / Boss 302 lower fascia, it has holes for fog lights, alternatively, you can buy the brake duct kit to turn those into brake coolers.

It runs some hose from the fog light holes and dumps them over the rotors and brakes. Forcing air over them to help cool them.
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Old 08-30-2014, 04:44 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by JoeyM91 View Post
I went with the z16, but for the price of the zips you can get Hawk pads. They tend to give slightly better bite than the other two.

As for slotted and drilled rotors having no benefit, I would HIGHLY disagree. They've made a definite measurable change in my braking and any higher end sports car you see, has them.

The slots are to help wick away the brake dust and heat from the rotor which can cause fade. The drilled holes do the same. Drilled isn't always necessary, but slots help quite a bit with heat management.

The stock rotors might WORK on a road course, that doesn't mean they're the best option.

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Perfect, thanks! I guess if would go with Z16 kit for now, and maybe upgrade my pads later once they wear out. Z16s are about $48/pair while Hawks are close to $82. Did you find em cheap somewhere?

Plus, these kits come with hybrid rotors (both drill and slotted in 1 right). Theoratically speaking, I'm hoping to get good bite out of it.. together with a dot4 fluid.

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Old 08-30-2014, 04:46 PM   #19
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Perfect, thanks! I guess if would go with Z16 kit for now, and maybe upgrade my pads later once they wear out. Z16s are about $48/pair while Hawks are close to $82. Did you find em cheap somewhere?

Plus, these kits come with hybrid rotors (both drill and slotted in 1 right). Theoratically speaking, I'm hoping to get good bite out of it.. together with a dot4 fluid.

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Not a problem. That's what I did, I got the Z16s because I'm not tracking my car and winter is coming up. I'll grab hawk pads next summer or when I need to change them next.

I believe Summit had a sale on them at the time. Just remember, if you do go that route, pay attention to the directions they give you to break in / burnish the rotors so you don't get stress cracks on the holes.
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Old 08-30-2014, 04:50 PM   #20
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Not a problem. That's what I did, I got the Z16s because I'm not tracking my car and winter is coming up. I'll grab hawk pads next summer or when I need to change them next.

I believe Summit had a sale on them at the time. Just remember, if you do go that route, pay attention to the directions they give you to break in / burnish the rotors so you don't get stress cracks on the holes.
Yeah that's what I'm going to get. How different are Z26 pads though? I know theyre meant for street and strip use, so I'm hoping they be slightly more aggressive. But are they going to be noisy n stuff?

I believe you have do a few quick 50-10mph stops to break em? And once you start smelling em pads, do a few gentle stops to cool everything right.

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Old 08-30-2014, 04:54 PM   #21
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Yeah that's what I'm going to get. How different are Z26 pads though? I know theyre meant for street and strip use, so I'm hoping they be slightly more aggressive. But are they going to be noisy n stuff?

I believe you have do a few quick 50-10mph stops to break em? And once you start smelling em pads, do a few gentle stops to cool everything right.

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I can't attest to the Z26s, but they claim 20% more bite. I don't know if I believe THAT much, but I'm sure they more aggressive.

As for noise, the only time I had squeaking was because I was a derp and forget to lubricate the pads and shims correctly. After I fixed that I have next to no noise, very minimal brake dust.

The break in period is 3 50-10 hard stops, 5 minute break to cool, and then 5 30-0 stops if I remember correctly. The kit comes with the instructions on what they recommend though.
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Old 08-30-2014, 05:15 PM   #22
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I can't attest to the Z26s, but they claim 20% more bite. I don't know if I believe THAT much, but I'm sure they more aggressive.
I guess they both claim to have 20% more bite over stock. I will take anything but shiety stock ones lol

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Old 08-30-2014, 05:19 PM   #23
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I guess they both claim to have 20% more bite over stock. I will take anything but shiety stock ones lol

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Agreed. With my stock stuff I was in stop and go traffic a lot and when some jagoff slammed on his brakes on the highway from a 70-30 or so brake, almost instant brake fade and sponginess. Brake pads were fine.

Didn't bleed the brakes, just swapped the parts. Issue is gone. The only time you should really bleed your brakes in a contained system like this is when you change lines or calipers or you're a bit anal and just want to flush the lines and re-circulate new fluid.
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Old 08-31-2014, 02:06 AM   #24
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Agreed. With my stock stuff I was in stop and go traffic a lot and when some jagoff slammed on his brakes on the highway from a 70-30 or so brake, almost instant brake fade and sponginess. Brake pads were fine.

Didn't bleed the brakes, just swapped the parts. Issue is gone. The only time you should really bleed your brakes in a contained system like this is when you change lines or calipers or you're a bit anal and just want to flush the lines and re-circulate new fluid.
You know what, THATS exactly how my breaks are!! I mean they have been like this since I bought my car new. Panic stop and bam - instant break fade, and spongyness (to a degree).. the car just keeps moving! Much like applying on a bicycle in wet weather.. if you know what I am trying to say.

I will try to see if my dealership could bleed em just so that I can have peace of mind lol yep being anal comes gift wrapped with a degree in psych. I am curious if should use a higher DOT brake fluid with new set of brakes to make em more effective? Like for example, DOT 5.1 (less silicone that DOT 5 to avoid water pockets) or DOT4 if our cars come standard with DOT3
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Old 08-31-2014, 08:08 AM   #25
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I stayed with DOT3, you can ask Ford if you want. I'll only upgrade my fluid when I get different calipers and lines. I don't see the viscosity helping all that much on the stock calipers.

I could be wrong on that though, I haven't looked into it much.


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Old 08-31-2014, 04:06 PM   #26
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I stayed with DOT3, you can ask Ford if you want. I'll only upgrade my fluid when I get different calipers and lines. I don't see the viscosity helping all that much on the stock calipers.

I could be wrong on that though, I haven't looked into it much.


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I guess it's more to do with boiling point in wet and dry conditions for these different grade of fluids (5.1>4>3). They have a tendency to absorb water, and cause air pockets.. hence the sponginess since youre pressing the paddle against air, and not the fluid. This is where bleeding comes handy.

And where I live, it fcukin rains all winter long.

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Old 09-02-2014, 12:49 AM   #27
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As for slotted and drilled rotors having no benefit, I would HIGHLY disagree. They've made a definite measurable change in my braking and any higher end sports car you see, has them.

The slots are to help wick away the brake dust and heat from the rotor which can cause fade. The drilled holes do the same. Drilled isn't always necessary, but slots help quite a bit with heat management.

The stock rotors might WORK on a road course, that doesn't mean they're the best option.
That's simply not the case. You will not find a cast iron rotor with cross drilling in a professional race environment. They crack. Not a matter of if, but when. Carbon Ceramic setups are a different animal entirely and should not be used as a point of reference.

Cross drilling looks good. Premium car manufacturers have to maintain some level of image. Cross drilled cast iron rotors are simply dangerous on a road course under hard use. They will crack, and should be inspected regularly.

As for slotting, it has nothing to do with heat. All of a rotors heat management is handled by the internal vents. Slotting does not improve cooling ability. In practice it removes material from the rotor, which in turn reduces the mass of the "heatsink" and can in-fact, increase rotor temperatures. Though the amount of material removed is negligible, so it does not have much of an effect.

Slotting in days of old allowed a place for the gasses that built up between the pad and the rotor to escape. Slotting can also aid in removing any debris which happens to somehow contaminate the friction surface by scraping the pads clean. This however is negligible, and modern brake compounds do not out-gas much in use.

Slotting does not decrease stopping distances and does not improve cooling ability. Slotted rotors are ok for racing use, but are not necessary. The cost difference between a centric premium (blank) rotor and something like a power slot rotor is better spent on upgraded pad compounds or better tires.

Anyone looking to reduce stopping distances needs to look at their tires. Brakes do not stop the car, tires do. Brakes simply transfer energy...in the case of the car, forward momentum is changed into heat. Upgraded brakes can handle more heat, which improves repeated brake performance. However if a cars braking system is able to lock up the tires, then the only way to shorten stopping distances is to upgrade the tires.

For anyone looking for a cost effective brake upgrade, do the following.

Use a high performance street pad compound that is properly bed-in.
-Benefits: Increased coefficient of friction (better bite), increased fade resistance due to higher temperature limits, better pedal feel due to less compression of the actual compound.
Use a Dot 4 high temperature fluid and keep it fresh.
-Benefits: Increased fade resistance, specifically less risk of fluid boiling and vapor lock.
Use a high performance low expansion brake line, such as stainless steel lines.
-Benefits: Improved pedal feel via reduced expansion of the brake line. This improves modulation of the brake system and greatly increases the perception of "better brakes."

What are the actual benefits of going with a big brake system?

Increased thermal capacity (reduced fade). The larger rotor has more mass to absorb heat and more surface area to dissipate heat. Additionally a rotor with a larger diameter will offer a mechanical advantage to the caliper, which in turn reduces heat and improves REPEATED braking performance.

Depending on the design of the big brakes caliper, the caliper itself could be stiffer. This improves pedal feel and improves modulation. The brembo 4 piston fixed calipers will offer an advantage in stiffness over the factory 2 piece sliding setup. There are also other advantages of going with a fixed caliper vs a floating caliper with slidpins.

But anyways, big brake setups and fancy rotors also add another advantage. Looks . This is another important variable for a street car.
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:21 AM   #28
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100% This ^^
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Old 09-02-2014, 08:24 AM   #29
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That write up by BadCon could be its own thing and a sticky. Thanks for the edumacation!

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Old 09-02-2014, 09:02 PM   #30
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That's simply not the case. You will not find a cast iron rotor with cross drilling in a professional race environment. They crack. Not a matter of if, but when. Carbon Ceramic setups are a different animal entirely and should not be used as a point of reference.

Cross drilling looks good. Premium car manufacturers have to maintain some level of image. Cross drilled cast iron rotors are simply dangerous on a road course under hard use. They will crack, and should be inspected regularly.

As for slotting, it has nothing to do with heat. All of a rotors heat management is handled by the internal vents. Slotting does not improve cooling ability. In practice it removes material from the rotor, which in turn reduces the mass of the "heatsink" and can in-fact, increase rotor temperatures. Though the amount of material removed is negligible, so it does not have much of an effect.

Slotting in days of old allowed a place for the gasses that built up between the pad and the rotor to escape. Slotting can also aid in removing any debris which happens to somehow contaminate the friction surface by scraping the pads clean. This however is negligible, and modern brake compounds do not out-gas much in use.

Slotting does not decrease stopping distances and does not improve cooling ability. Slotted rotors are ok for racing use, but are not necessary. The cost difference between a centric premium (blank) rotor and something like a power slot rotor is better spent on upgraded pad compounds or better tires.

Anyone looking to reduce stopping distances needs to look at their tires. Brakes do not stop the car, tires do. Brakes simply transfer energy...in the case of the car, forward momentum is changed into heat. Upgraded brakes can handle more heat, which improves repeated brake performance. However if a cars braking system is able to lock up the tires, then the only way to shorten stopping distances is to upgrade the tires.

For anyone looking for a cost effective brake upgrade, do the following.

Use a high performance street pad compound that is properly bed-in.
-Benefits: Increased coefficient of friction (better bite), increased fade resistance due to higher temperature limits, better pedal feel due to less compression of the actual compound.
Use a Dot 4 high temperature fluid and keep it fresh.
-Benefits: Increased fade resistance, specifically less risk of fluid boiling and vapor lock.
Use a high performance low expansion brake line, such as stainless steel lines.
-Benefits: Improved pedal feel via reduced expansion of the brake line. This improves modulation of the brake system and greatly increases the perception of "better brakes."

What are the actual benefits of going with a big brake system?

Increased thermal capacity (reduced fade). The larger rotor has more mass to absorb heat and more surface area to dissipate heat. Additionally a rotor with a larger diameter will offer a mechanical advantage to the caliper, which in turn reduces heat and improves REPEATED braking performance.

Depending on the design of the big brakes caliper, the caliper itself could be stiffer. This improves pedal feel and improves modulation. The brembo 4 piston fixed calipers will offer an advantage in stiffness over the factory 2 piece sliding setup. There are also other advantages of going with a fixed caliper vs a floating caliper with slidpins.

But anyways, big brake setups and fancy rotors also add another advantage. Looks . This is another important variable for a street car.
Oh wow, as Sakib said, this definitely needs to go as a sticky!

A few question:

1) when you mention tires, are we talking about different wheel diameters (17 vs 19), or tire width and tire meant for superior dry traction? My car on 17' Michelin 225 x-ice 3 'seems' just a bit more responsive. Now this could totally be in my head, much like a placebo!

2) I came across Hawk HPS, Red stuff, stop tech, power stop z16 evolution (cheapest out of the rest) break pads. Which one would you recommend for a better bite, giving best value for money spent?

3) Just to top everything you said off, cross drilled and slotted rotors give no performance advantage over stock ones? Minus the looks of course.

4) You said stainless steel brake lines give 'better brake' feel. Is it a performance wise, or just a feel itself without adding any bite to breaking system?

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Old 09-02-2014, 09:11 PM   #31
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I got the Powerstop Drilled / Slotted from AM.

The stopping is great, Pads were squeaking like crazy for a while, So I bought the Duralast Gold C-Max pads from Autozone, But have yet to swap them out...

After I did a couple of burnouts on the powerstop pads, The squeaking stopped... Guess I hadn't broken them in yet... I will however still swap them out this Friday/Saturday.
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Old 09-02-2014, 10:28 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by bazinga11 View Post
Oh wow, as Sakib said, this definitely needs to go as a sticky!

A few question:

1) when you mention tires, are we talking about different wheel diameters (17 vs 19), or tire width and tire meant for superior dry traction? My car on 17' Michelin 225 x-ice 3 'seems' just a bit more responsive. Now this could totally be in my head, much like a placebo!

2) I came across Hawk HPS, Red stuff, stop tech, power stop z16 evolution (cheapest out of the rest) break pads. Which one would you recommend for a better bite, giving best value for money spent?

3) Just to top everything you said off, cross drilled and slotted rotors give no performance advantage over stock ones? Minus the looks of course.

4) You said stainless steel brake lines give 'better brake' feel. Is it a performance wise, or just a feel itself without adding any bite to breaking system?

|| ~BlackOnBlack~ ||
1. I am talking different levels of grip. All factors such as tire width, tread pattern, compound, and diameter influence this variable. Purely speaking, I'm talking about a tires performance category. A max performance summer tire is going to offer more "grip" in ideal conditions then an all-season tire.

On a car with 225 series all season tires, you are not going to shorten stopping distances by installing a "Big Brake Kit." Your deceleration rate is limited by the traction provided by the tires, and not the clamping force of the calipers on the rotors. So for a single stop from 60mph to 0, your stopping distances will be identical whether you are using the "standard" brakes, or an upgraded big brake kit.

Now, if we reach the thermal limit of the standard brakes by employing multiple stops at high speed, THAT is when a big brake kit is needed. Another alternative is to simply upgrade the thermal capacity of the standard system by using higher performance brake pads, better fluid, etc. However there are limits and eventually you'll need to go with a big brake kit. But for a street driven car, or even one which see's an autocross track, this shouldn't be necessary if cost is a factor. By that I mean, a big brake kit is NEVER a bad thing, but the stock system can also be upgraded and shouldn't be overlooked if budget is a factor.

Not to make this anymore confusing, but if we replace that 225 series all-season tire with something like a 300 series racing slick, you will reach the limits of the stock brake system much sooner simply because the tires offer more traction.
Theoretically, there is a point where you would need a big brake kit even with a single stop from 60mph...that is because the tires offer so much grip that extreme temperatures can be generated on a single stop, which would result in brake fade before the car hits 0mph. That's not going to happen with street tires though.

Bottom line is this. If you want to shorten stopping distances and actually "improve" your brake performance in this particular metric, then you'll need to upgrade your tires. Tires are the single most important factor of a cars handling and braking. They are the only part that actually touches the road. Something to think about.

2. Hawk makes good stuff. I personally don't like EBC brake pads, though there are those that do. Carbotech is another good option. Stoptech street performance pads usually get good reviews as well though the one time I tried them on a previous car, I was not impressed and felt they lacked bite.
If you are sensitive to noise and dust, then the Hawk HPS are ok pads. The Hawk HP Plus are better alternatives and are a pretty aggressive street pad. They will likely make a bit of noise, and they will dust up your wheels. The most important part of any pad install is to properly bed-in the pads. I usually do 3 stops from 30-5mph, 3 stops from 45-5mph, and 3 stops from 60-10mph. Do not come to a complete stop and if possible drive for 10 minutes afterwords without applying the brakes excessively until the system cools. Higher performance pads may need more stops from 60mph due to their higher temperature tolerance. Bedding in the pads applys a layer of pad material on the rotor. Improves the pads bite and reduces noise.

3. On a modern brake system using modern brake compounds, there is NO benefit from using cross-drilled rotors. They serve no purpose other then to look good. They remove material from the rotor which reduces its weight and in turn reduces its thermal capacity. They are prone to cracking, and in severe cases downright disintegrating in use. On a street car they are fine if you like the look, but if you take your car to a road course, they are a potential safety hazard. Just Google cross drilled rotor cracking and look at the pictures, no thanks.

As for slotted rotors, they serve little purpose with modern pad compounds. They do not degrade performance necessarily, and you will often see racing teams utilize slotted rotors (though not all). There are a couple marginal advantages that I do not see benefiting a street car and don't justify the price increase vs a solid rotor. Perhaps the biggest of which and most relevant is the ability to clean the pad surface, and for providing an area for debris that may contaminate the rotor surface to go. However cars stop just fine with standard blank rotors, and slots will not shorten stopping distances. They could also potentially introduce noise into the system.

The most important feature of any rotor is its overall construction. Quality iron being used and a vent system that either uses the OE vein structure or improves upon it. The internal vein structure of the rotor will do more to impact cooling performance then any other variable.

If budget isn't a factor, then slotted rotors are fine. They look cool on a street car, and yes...that is an important variable. Slot direction makes no difference...I'm just going to answer this question before it comes up. Rotors are directional based upon the internal vent structure. Which way the slots rotate makes no difference what so ever.

4. Your brake system is a hydraulic system that operates at substantial pressure. Stainless steel brake lines reduce the expansion of the brake line under hard use. Go into your car, and press the brake pedal as hard as you can. It will feel a little squishy on your average road car. That squishy feeling is a result of several factors, which include but not limited to: Brake line expansion, firewall deflection at the master cylinder, the brake pads themselves compressing, and the brake calipers flexing.

The biggest culprit is the brake lines. Standard brake lines are rubber based, and they will expand when you apply the brakes due to the pressure of the brake fluid in the system. This expansion results in a mushy brake pedal, which can make it hard to modulate the brakes during threshold braking and in severe cases can remove driver confidence. There is nothing more inspiring then a firm responsive brake pedal. Stainless steel lines will help firm up the brake pedal, making it easier to modulate the brakes. They will also improve the drivers perception of the brake system, because less pedal will need to be used to achieve the same braking performance.

A higher performance brake pad will also offer reduced compression. If the pad compresses less, then the brake pedal will feel firmer still.

Lastly those who go with a big brake kit will usually enjoy multi-piston fixed calipers which are usually stiffer then floating caliper designs. The factory Brembo package offers a 4 piston fixed caliper. Though this caliper is actually two pieces bolted together. Real racing quality Brembo calipers will be forged from a single piece of metal, which makes them stiffer still then the two piece calipers. However these single piece calipers are $$$. In terms of stiffness it goes two piece, single piece cast, and single piece forged. All of which get progressively more expensive, but at that point you are into the realm of diminishing returns.

Another key component is good ole Dot 4 fluid that is fresh. On a daily driven car, yearly flushes are fine. for a car that is tracked, then flush before each track day (and after each track day if daily driving will continue).
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Old 09-03-2014, 12:18 PM   #33
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I went with the power stop kit of rotors and pads. I'm a happy camper. I might upgrade to Hawk pads on the next go around just for a little more bite. But the kit was a huge help.

Just make sure you burnish/break in the rotors EXACTLY how they say. Done improperly, the drilled holes can form stress cracks and that's no bueno.

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My powerstop kit didn't stop me. I literally rear ended someone with 250 foot away at 35 mph. Wasn't pretty but ever since I installed them, they were less than oem.


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Old 09-03-2014, 01:12 PM   #34
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My powerstop kit didn't stop me. I literally rear ended someone with 250 foot away at 35 mph. Wasn't pretty but ever since I installed them, they were less than oem.


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Don't know what to tell you. Mine worked out great, could be you didn't break them in properly, poor install, etc.

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Old 09-03-2014, 01:26 PM   #35
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Tires, road surface, condition of the fluid ... a lot of factors at play here, least of which is likely the brakes.
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