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Supporting Vendor
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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Ok, so I have had it !! I am tired of seeing and hearing of all the people who have money to BLOW trying to get every single tenth of POWER from their cars and yet cant buy some brake pads. Sometimes for reasons of noise, dust, etc. I learned the first day I had my STi that you could fade the brakes with the stock 300 CRANK Hp. WRX's are no different, they are worse, small brakes, mushy pedal, and total suck ABS issues with the WRX. We get customer who spend big dollars on suspension, power, seats, wings, splitters, trick parts, all the interior STi parts, and even STi keys. Some times , I ask.." so have you done anything to the brakes?..."........"NOPE, they are great....cant complain...".So I think to myself....hmmmnnnnnnnnn...340 whp on a mustang dyno and your brakes are.." GREAT??"...WOW.

So here is the general rule of thumb. For every dollar you spend on POWER,...you should spend half that on BRAKES. So if done right, you will get that out the way early, as it doesnt take much. For most people onthe street, the best insurance to prevent fade would be braided lines, decent fluid like super -blue (not that expensive) and some average pads. At least this way, you have covered the basics.

No I am not going to pitch some kinda of package special,..this attitude comes from seeing some of my driving school students show up at the track with 375 whp, Fp green, headers, wastegate, pistons, fuel rail, 3 inch TBE, engine management,....enough gauges to launch a space shuttle, and I ask the golden question............." what have you done to the brakes..."
dude looks at you like you are Michael Jackson in Toys R US..........and says......"..uhhhh,...they are stock....."..........

My next question is......" so do you have a stock map on that UTEC...?"

I watched a fellow instructor DIE a couple of years back at the track and even though there was a recall on his Cobra.....he had also added a Kenny Bell super charger and yes the brakes were stock. I dont care if you have a ENZO, or a CARRERA GT with CARBON BRAKES.....its like ALGEBRA,.what you do to one side, you should do to the other side. Add some POWER...add some BRAKES. Simple.

Ok..I am fine now that I got that off my chest.
 

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Administrator
2004 Forester XT Premium 4EAT
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29,456 Posts
I know... don't you love it when people say "I just can't bring myself to spend money on something that slows me down instead of makes me go faster!" :rolleyes:

I gotta say I love my Brembos & Carbotech pads. :biggrin:
 

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scarred from battle
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730 Posts
There are some of us out there (granted, few) who think the stock power levels are just fine, even with a "measley" 165hp.

The stock forester brakes really left a lot to be desired, though. WRX swap w/ Hawk HPS = great stopping power, makes me feel a lot safer.

I've always felt that anyone can make a car go quickly - getting it to handle and ride well and stop effectively are much more important, and a whole lot more elegant.
 

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No more Foz !
03 Impreza Sti
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1,912 Posts
I agree wholeheartedly and would add that the handling is just as important especially with the Foresters as they are not designed to go around corners in the same way as Impreza's are, surprise surprise..

Decent tyres, poss 17 or 18" wheels, arb, droplinks at the least if going for big power hikes..

My mods have been in this order
Prodrive 330 BBK
18" Prodrive PFF7's with 225/45 Toyo T1r's
Whiteline ARB / Droplinks and FSti take off struts and springs next week
...all before I even get started on power upgrades..
 

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Mr. July 2008
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1,216 Posts
I felt completely naked (so to speak) in the Forester with it's stock brakes. Suspension and a brake upgrades were one of the first things I did on the Foz. Most people don't realize how awesome a vehicle becomes with a really great brake kit. It all starts with being able to stop.

 

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Premium Member
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1,113 Posts
I think what you are saying is sound and grounded in reason and logical thought. Now sinse you have called attension to this deficit, it falls to you, GTWorks, to be the source for not only (1) type of Pad, Fluid, and a couple Big Brake Kits, but a more comprehesive collection of components for differing needs. Some here will just require good pads, others will want to upgrade Rotors/Pads/Fluid while using the stock calipers and still others will want a top of the line set up.

How comprehensive do you envision your product line to be?
 

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04 XT Auto
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298 Posts
I think part of the issue is that people don't actually know 'how' brakes work (and fail), and as a consequence, how to imrove them sensibly within their budget.

If you were reading this board, you may get the impression that the only way to improve brakes is to get 4-pot calipers from a WRX.

What frightens people about that is the cost, the mechanical work, and even that they may have to change wheels to make them fit.

If you have not actually had a situation where your brakes have been inadequate, or have 'gone away' on you, then it's hard to justify a lot of money on a 'what-if'.

Perhaps we should try to put together a brake upgrade strategy with an indication of what upgrade you should aim for depending on your needs.

I'll take a stab at what I think you need to look at.
Feel free to add things, or correct anything I got wrong. :)
It would be nice if we could end up with a brakes FAQ/sticky.


1) Better brake pads.
Braking is about friction, and the only two components involved in this are the brake pads, and the rotors. An upgraded pad can give you a better co-efficent of friction, which means quicker/better stopping.
As a bonus, a better pad will often operate to much higher temperatures. This is important as past a certain temperature, the pad material starts to turn into a gas, which acts as a lubricant between the pad and the disk, reducing the all important friction. This is often called 'brake fade' and is characterised by a firm brake pedel, but a lack of braking effectiveness.
Brake fade will often occur after several hard applications of the brakes in a short period of time. (such as on a race track)

2) Better brake rotors.
Rotors are the second part in the friction equation, and a rotor with a higher co-efficient of friction will improve braking.
As a bonus, you can often get rotors that have better cooling properties. Ths is useful as they will disapate heat more quickly, helping to prevent brake fade as they cool down more between brake applications.
Some slotted and cross-drilled rotors can also help with brake fade as they allow the initial build of of gas from hot pads to dissipate down the slots and holes.

3) Better brake fluid.
Brake fluid is there to transfer pressure from the master brake cylinder, to the brake calipers. The fluid cannot be 'compressed', hence pressure at the master cylinder is transfered to the slave cylinder (calipers) with little loss.
When brakes get hot, a lot of the heat ends up in the brake calipers, and from there is transfered to the brake fluid. Brake fluid will boil when it gets hot enough, causing gas in the calipers of brake lines. This is bad, as the gas easily compresses, meaning that the pressure from the master cylinder is absorbed by the gas with little of no pressure being transfered to the calipers and the brake pads/rotors. This is often also called brake fade, and is characterised by the brake pedel traveling all the way to the floor without producing any noticable braking.
A better brake fluid will have a much higher boiling temperature.
The downside is that they will often have a much shorter life, and/or be much more expensive.

4) Better calipers.
Better calipers generally means more pistons (slave cylinders) in the calipers. These extra cylinders do not really produce more 'squeeze' than less cylinders, but produce more even pressure across the brake pads, so that the brake pads themselves operate more efficently. They can also allow a better 'shape' of brake pad, which increases the swept area of the pads. (see 'Bigger brakes')

5) Better brake lines.
Brake lines are simply tubing that contains the brake fluid. Most of the lines from the master cylinder are in fact metal, but the last bit from the body of the car to the calipers are rubber. This is to allow for the movement of the wheel/caliper in relation to the body.
Being rubber, they 'bulge' when pressure is applied to the brake fluid inside. They only bulge a little, after which the full pressure is still applied to the calipers, so they do not reduce braking effect, however the bulging will 'slow' down the application of full pressue to the caliper. The effect of this is that braking does not happen 'instantly', and also that the pedal has a bit of movement(play) before braking happens.
Better lines are usually wrapped in a stainless steel mesh, which prevents the bulging. This results in less play on the brake pedal. (giving better 'feel' on the pedal)

6) Bigger brakes.
Braking is about friction between the rotors and the brake pads. The bigger the brake pads and rotors, the more braking is available. It's not just about diamater though. What is important is 'swept area'. Put simply, moving a pad further out from the center of the rotor, results in more of the rotor moving past the pad every revolution. In effect, the same size pad, pressing on the rotor at a greater diameter, will have better braking.


Rob.
 

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Registered
1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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To play devils advocate here a bit.....


What does horsepower have to do with braking ability?

If you are stopping a 3400lb car from 100 mph the brakes and tyres could care less if the car has 50hp or 500hp.

Yes I realize that more power can get you into trouble quicker and thus the need for better brakes, but really. How many of your customers are modding their STi's to 400hp and then going out to the racetrack (a real racetrack) and actually need better brakes? Chances are not that many. For the majority of STi owners the stock brakes are more than sufficient (and perhaps overkill).

To go one step further how many of your customers are buying your brakes and actually using them at the track?? Again I think the number is quite small. Most of these owners are using them for the "bling factor" be it for car shows or simply the casual Friday night cruise "OMG that STi has 8pot Project mu brakes!!!!"

What about the drag racing crowd that could care less about the stopping ability (as long as it stops before they hit the end wall, which a freaking a Geo Metro could stop from 100 plus before it hits the wall, and has room to spare, don't ask how I know this). Those are cars that generally have a lot of power and really no need for a brake upgrade. Hell, my XT with stock brakes was able to stop from 100+ with much breathing room to spare when I went to the strip.

Basically what I am trying to say is that it really bugs me when people say things like OMG you have more power you HAVE to upgrade your brakes.

You can overdrive any brake system even with stock power levels.


/Rant.
 

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#8 Post ho
1999 Subaru Forester
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2,441 Posts
Anyone have any knowledge of upgrading SF brakes to rear disk also? (the
S models are the only ones privledged enough to recieve the 4 wheel disk
brakes :sad: )
 

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Registered
1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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2,006 Posts
SenorSubie said:
Anyone have any knowledge of upgrading SF brakes to rear disk also? (the
S models are the only ones privledged enough to recieve the 4 wheel disk
brakes :sad: )
Should be the same as converting an Impreza.

Pads, brackets,rotors,calipers,lines,parking brake assembly,dustshields and parking brake cables.

:Banane29:
 

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Premium Member
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1,113 Posts
Hondaslayer said:
To play devils advocate here a bit.....


What does horsepower have to do with braking ability?

If you are stopping a 3400lb car from 100 mph the brakes and tyres could care less if the car has 50hp or 500hp.

True, but do it 3 or 4 times in succession and you start to pucker your seat!

Yes I realize that more power can get you into trouble quicker and thus the need for better brakes, but really. How many of your customers are modding their STi's to 400hp and then going out to the racetrack (a real racetrack) and actually need better brakes? Chances are not that many. For the majority of STi owners the stock brakes are more than sufficient (and perhaps overkill).

The Forester is far "LESS" braked than an STi/STI. I have overheated them on windy roads, which can be scary!!

To go one step further how many of your customers are buying your brakes and actually using them at the track?? Again I think the number is quite small. Most of these owners are using them for the "bling factor" be it for car shows or simply the casual Friday night cruise "OMG that STi has 8pot Project mu brakes!!!!"

A lot of what we do is image focused. The reason aftermarket brakes are so cool is the functionality of them.

What about the drag racing crowd that could care less about the stopping ability (as long as it stops before they hit the end wall, which a freaking a Geo Metro could stop from 100 plus before it hits the wall, and has room to spare, don't ask how I know this). Those are cars that generally have a lot of power and really no need for a brake upgrade. Hell, my XT with stock brakes was able to stop from 100+ with much breathing room to spare when I went to the strip.

You can never have too much stopping ability...

Basically what I am trying to say is that it really bugs me when people say things like OMG you have more power you HAVE to upgrade your brakes.

It does really depend how you drive, I agree completly. Problem is, like you said, increased power can put you in harms way quicker.

You can overdrive any brake system even with stock power levels.

True

Donald Sutherland played "Oddball" (Thanks Benrock05201) in the movie Kelly's Hero's. His best line was "These tanks are faster than any other tank in the European Theater, forewards or backwards. See, we like to know we can get out of trouble quicker than we got into it." Same goes for good brakes.

My .02$.


/Rant.
:drive:
 

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1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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You can never have too much stopping ability...


So in a drag racing situation where an aftermarket brake setup may not get up to temperature quick enough, if even at all it is still better to use an inferior brake that is going to take an even greater distance to stop?


Don't get me wrong, brake upgrades are very high on the priority list but you have to consider all the variables.

If a car is being used for street use primarily why should you upgrade to an exotic braking system when a set of stainless lines and pads is more than sufficient?

Basically what I am getting at is, you cannot determine how much you need to put into brakes based on power alone.
 

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Premium Member
98 Forester...what else
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5,714 Posts
Well, I do have to chime in here.

1. The brakes don't stop you. The tires stop you. You need to upgrade the tires to something more appropriate for the type of driving/driving conditions that you do in order to minimize the stopping distance.

2. I don't recommend BBK's lightly. Most of you could do quite well simply going with my stage 1 upgrade, and a few of you could do with my stage 2 upgrade.

Stage 1 upgrade - Stainless lines, pads, and fluid

Stage 2 upgrade - above + Legacy rotor brackets and upgraded rotors at all four corners, increasing swept surface area as mentioned above.

Stage 3 upgrade - above with BBK of choice for front, or '06 WRX takeoffs on all four corners.

Stage 4 is only if you're going all out...with a larger brake master cylinder, and you know how to adjust the bias, and pedal pressures on your vehicle. Not to be attempted at home, with the exception of Peaty.
 

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1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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2,006 Posts
Subaru 4 pots with SS lines and a decent pad is probably best for 95% of Subaru owners.
 

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Hondaslayer said:
Subaru 4 pots with SS lines and a decent pad is probably best for 95% of Subaru owners.

What about all of N/A with rear drums?

SS lines, pads, and fluid for Daily driver with ocassional "fun drives"!

And no need to upgrade rear drum to disks?

Thanks
 

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1998 Forester "S" lifted. Bog-o-matic
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2,006 Posts
zee lee said:
What about all of N/A with rear drums?

SS lines, pads, and fluid for Daily driver with ocassional "fun drives"!

And no need to upgrade rear drum to disks?

Thanks
Why bother?

It's not like those drum shoes ever wear out! :lol:

Seriously, we don't even stock rear shoes for any cars anymore, it has been about 3 yrs since sold a set :lol:
 

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formerly known as Benrock05201
2012 GMC 2500 HD Automatic
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2,225 Posts
I have nothing to add to the subject with the exception the Donald Sutherland played "Oddball" in Kelly's Heros. Not that it matters though.

Ben
 
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