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What brake upgrades are worthwhile?

This is a discussion on What brake upgrades are worthwhile? within the General Help forums, part of the LSx Technical Help Section category; I'm researching brakes as part of my build and have come up with some questions. Would like some input from ...

  1. #1
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    What brake upgrades are worthwhile?

    I'm researching brakes as part of my build and have come up with some questions. Would like some input from anyone with knowledge/experience on their own car.

    Some drilled or slotted rotors look snazzy and stuff, but without increasing the friction surface, do they actually improve stopping distance? It seems like they would make the brakes perform more consistently. But do they improve performance?

    On the flip side if I go with a BBK, if I'm using some Michelin A/S 3s, would a big brake kit be fully useable? I know that tires limit what the brakes or engine or suspension can do. But the A/S 3s seem to be somewhat revolutionary for all season tires (beating other mfr's summer tires in performance).

    I was thinking about putting on some stainless steel hoses to reduce system compliance and then going for some drilled or slotted rotors with stock calipers. But if the brakes are not going to improve the ability to overcome engine horsepower, then I might as well hold off for a big break kit, no?

    For what it's worth, my car is a daily driver/weekend canyon carver, not a drag-strip track star.

  2. #2
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    Guess it depends on your idea of what good brake performance is.

    I find the stock 4th gen brakes to work and stop the car excellent. My only complaint were the ceramic pads creating so much heat that I couldn't keep rotors on it. Warping was my biggest problem, with quite a few warranty claims, and then several blanks from the auto stores tried after that with no success. They would warp within 50 miles of EASY driving, and not even really bedding in the pads yet.

    I ended up with drilled and slotted rotors in an attempt to see if they would dissipate heat well enough to stop the dreaded rotor warping. With ceramic pads and drilled/slotted rotors they have now been perfect for about the last 4 years of daily driving.

    As far as stopping distance, to me it feels just as good as it always has but making it better in that regard was never my goal. I find these 4th gen brakes will put me through the windshield if I stand on them. Compared to the usual classic cars I drive 90% of the time, some with 4 wheel drum, these 4th gens feel like a friggin slot car to me it's all about your own perspective, and mine is vastly different from most folks here.

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    I highly recommend an upgrade to R1 Concepts premium slotted rotors, Hawk HPS pads and braided brake hoses. Very reasonably priced and made a world of difference in how our car stops. Be sure to remove, clean and re-lube the caliper pins with synthetic caliper grease and fully bleed the brake system to remove all the nasty old fluid when you swap on the new parts.

  4. #4
    expensive tires az gt eater's Avatar
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    I have slotted and drilled on mine. I think they make a bit of a difference. I am sure that bleeding and replacing fluid has a lot to do with any improvement as well. I never knew that brakes were supposed to be broken in, and maybe that alone was the difference. I was pretty impressed with them, and put them on my wife's minivan too. If I had the money, I would do a big brake upgrade, but I am happy with the money I spent so far. Def not a waste. Ditto on these cars giving you nose bleeds stopping. I would like to upgrade brake lines as well. Think about the swelling that the factory lines do. Especially considering how old they are now...

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    Moderator 98TransAmWs-6's Avatar
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    If you want to do a "Big brake kit" there is always the CTS-V caliper upgrade which is significantly cheaper than a standard BBK. You will need to either make sure you have 18" wheels or grind down the caliper a small bit if you have 17" wheels currently though. I put the 4 piston CTS-V calipers on my car with c6 z06 r1 concepts rotors and cts-v hawk hp+ pads for the front and standard fbody matching r1 concepts and hawk stuff in the rear and stainless steel lines on both front and rear.

    If you want to stay with Fbody brakes then I would get r1 concepts rotors and hawk pads.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    All these replies are exactly what I was looking for. Thanks, guys.

    I also think that the stock brakes are great. I just know that with the extra go-fast parts coming on my car, I'd like to improve the stopping capability sooner, rather than later.

    I always intended to do the brakes, and will probably go with drilled/slotted replacement rotors and stainless hoses. I've been running Hawk pads for a couple years now, though I didn't notice a difference in braking performance when I switched from stock.

    It's funny because even though I've been driving my wife's SUV for the last couple months, I still have to think about the longer braking distances... I've come to expect a much shorter stopping distance and a much sharper brake response.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    Forgot to mention:
    In my research I've come across the StopTech AeroRotors.

    They are a replacement rotor that is up to 8 lbs lighter than stock rotors. In my quest for weight reduction (especially of the rotating masses), I'm really interested in finding out more about these. I would have loved to see what kind of differnce 8 lbs at each wheel would have made on stock horsepower.

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    I was going to comment on the weight difference between stock and "big brakes". Not sure what it is, but as you noted reducing unsprung weight is a good thing.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Yes. In theory, I've always been a "weight reduction guy." But I have come to accept that some upgrades are just going to add weight to the car (chassis reinforcement, for example). As I've learned with my SFCs, etc... some weight actually serves a purpose, and the benefits outweigh (pun... haha!) the added mass. I've been assuming that a big break kit is one of those "worthwhile" trade-offs, but with the info given in this thread, and some of the research I've done on the AeroRotors, it seems like a slotted/drilled set up with these will both improve the braking and reduce the mass. Some guys over at the 350Z forums really like these rotors.

    I've sent an email to StopTech to ask some specific questions, but I'm expecting a fairly generic answer.

  10. #10
    Moderator Firebirdjones's Avatar
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    If you are worried about weight (I'm one of those guys, that's one reason why I don't do the big brake kits)

    For what it's worth, the stock sized drilled/slotted rotors are exactly 1.5 lbs. lighter (per rotor) than the stock blanks

  11. #11
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    FBJ, I see you've bothered to weigh them... Haha! A scale is something I'd like to get for my garage, though, I'd probably not use it a whole lot, I've often wondered how much weight I'm adding/saving from one mod to the next.

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    I started out good... but haven't had it on the scales in a while. I did take the time to weigh individual components like the K-member, wheels, bumper support and such as I was changing them out for aftermarket pieces.

    See this thread: On the scales

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    Senior Member kingls1's Avatar
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    My brother in law who just passed has a set of grain scales from his stock car I believe we need to move soon as his shop was sold so I think I will try to get my hands on them for a while to play with. That was interesting wright up looked as your %'s were a lot closer to 50/50 with you in it in the first weigh.
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  14. #14
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    Looks like 55% of my added weight of 189 lbs. went to the back wheels. I really need to re-scale the car in full race regalia.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pajeff02 View Post
    I started out good... but haven't had it on the scales in a while. I did take the time to weigh individual components like the K-member, wheels, bumper support and such as I was changing them out for aftermarket pieces.

    See this thread: On the scales
    Ah, yes. I remember that thread. I'm a little surprised that the SFCs weigh so much. Mine certainly didn't feel nearly as heavy as the weights suggested by others in the thread. I did get the chromemoly ones, 2-point variety. Not sure if the weight difference is that much of a savings (UMI claims 5 pounds savings, but it's not clear if that is per component, or the total savings for the set).

    Makes me want to move the K-member higher on the priority list, but I gotta stay disciplined and work toward the 12-bolt and some brakes.
    Lid, Throttle Body, LS6 Intake, Heads, Cam, Magnaflow, LS7 Clutch, SFCs, STB, Panhard Bar, Strano Springs, Hollow Sway Bars, Poly/Roto LCAs, Konis, MGW Shifter

  16. #16
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    Cayanne
    98 Z28 Vert M6

    So I emailed StopTech and this is what I got back (the"comments" are my initial question):

    Comments: Just looking for clarification: I'm thinking about upgrading the brakes on my daily driver. The aero-rotors are claimed to make an 8 lbs savings over stock. Is this 8 lbs total, or 8 lbs at each wheel? Also, is a drilled/slotted set up appropriate for a dailly driver?

    Mark,

    Thank you for contacting us about a brake upgrade for your vehicle.

    At this time we do not offer any direct fit AeroRotors for your vehicle so the question you have asked cannot be answered. The only option we have for AeroRotors being installed on your vehicle would be as part of our complete big brake kit.

    If you are looking for direct fit rotors with stock calipers, out only option would be our 1-piece Sport Rotors which would have near identical weight to the stock parts as they match factory specifications.

    StopTech Sport Rotors
    Let us know if you have any questions.

  17. #17
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    R1 Concepts.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    98 Z28 Vert M6

    LOL! Yup.

  19. #19
    Smiles for 9.5 Years cammed goat's Avatar
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    I run drilled/slotted on mine. Previous owner had slotted on only the fronts and they were warped when I bought the car. Since I upgraded to all four corners, the car stops great in my opinion.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Naaman's Avatar
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    98 Z28 Vert M6

    Nice subtle change on the avatar, sir

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