Performance Brake Upgrades

Performance Brake Upgrades

It this video I talk about the most common ways to get more braking power, including performance brake pads, rotors, braided steel lines, and brake fluid.

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Video Transcript

Hello everyone again, Matt Covert here from I am fired up, I’m totally on a roll with these videos and I’m just going to keep on going. So I want to talk to you about, this video, in this video about performance brake upgrades.

Now if you know me at all you know that I’m not a huge proponent of throwing a lot of money in your racecar, especially if you’re just getting started. But I want to go over some of the things that people are thinking about when they are upgrading their braking systems. Because there are gains to be made, some smaller gains. So let’s jump right into it.

In a previous video I talk a little bit about autocross versus the track application of different types of braking systems and in autocross you don’t normally need to do any brake upgrades at all because you’re brakes never really heat up. And most street pads will be able to handle that kind of thing.

The track pads, on the other hand, if you’re on a racetrack, you’re braking for long periods of time. There’s often a very short amount of time for the brakes to cool off. And that’s the kind of thing that people are trying to mitigate – not normally a problem in autocross.

But let’s talk about some of the track aspects of some of these upgrades, OK? And there are a couple things that people do and I think one of the more, oops, wrong way here, I think one of the more popular ones is to start with brake pads. And that makes sense because they don’t cost a whole lot of money to get some new stuff in there, OK?

But you’re looking for something that can resist fade, brake fade. When brakes get hot their properties, their abilities to create adequate amounts of friction to stop a vehicle, they just become less and less.

And that’s called brake fade, OK? So you want a pad that can resist that fading as heat increases. And that’s definitely something you’ll want to do. Now keep in mind, usually the better a pad is at resisting fade the worse it performs in cold weather, K? And that’s what people overlook when they’re looking at autocross pads.

OK? Autocross pads never heat up. And people get excited and they go buy performance brake pads and put them on their car but they don’t work very well. So you have to let them heat up first and that’s’ why good drivers will always do a couple warm up laps around the track, just to get everything warmed up and go in like that.

K? A good set of brake pads you can get for a hundred bucks, unless you get crazy and get something that’s probably more brake pad than you would need, OK?

So let’s talk about, I’m going the wrong way again, let’s talk about performance rotors. Because you can drop huge amounts of money on rotors from companies like Brembo, I’m actually sure if Hawk makes rotors but Brembo and Wilwood is another big one. They have awesome rotors and you see them all the time on great performance cars like the Mustang GT Track Pack and a lot of Porsches have Brembos I think, Audis, they’re everywhere. Because they’re awesome. OK?

So there are a couple different types of performance rotors, OK? One of them is a slotted rotor and we’ll talk about that real quick. This is a normal rotor from kind of an end view. It’s solid, all the way around. That makes it strong et cetera but a slotted rotor, let’s see if I can draw this better, has all kinds of gaps. Again from the end view I’ll kind of do this and it allows air to pass through the center of the rotor, these go all the way down through the middle and it allows air to go through the center of the rotor and that creates a huge amount of new surface area.

OK? Any time you add surface area your ability to cool an object becomes much greater so what they’re doing is they’re shedding heat. Plus surface area equals less heat. And that’s the problem that most track cars face in braking is heat build up, and of course that goes back to brake fade again, so you’re reducing the overall temperature by getting slotted rotors. Those are pretty common they don’t cost a whole lot to acquire.

OK the other type is a drilled rotor, and this one’s going to be a little tougher to draw but I’m going to try, OK? So let’s see you have the center and this is say a rotor from the side. OK? We’ll you’ll be able to see all these slits that go around, all the way around, they’re probably an eighth inch deep all the way around like this. OK? And from the side, if we look at it from the side surface view, each one of those little slits does this OK? So this is what they look like on the side and this is what they do OK? But what they’re doing is they’re taking this shape and then doing this it it. And obviously you’re making it a little bit longer and when you make this shape, this little scoop shape, for whatever it is, three of four inches across you’re adding a lot of surface area as well.

So it goes back to this as well. Plus surface area equals less heat. And you can fight the brake fade like that. And there are also rotors that have both of these, drilled and slotted combo and those can get pretty expensive, pretty quickly.

Let’s talk real quickly about a couple littler things that you can do to upgrade your brakes. Steel brake, oops, lines. And you probably hear about these, people talking about steel brake lines. Well I drew a great diagram in the last video, which I will link to. The video is about how brake systems work and there is, I’ll just jump right in. OK there is a solid brake line that connects to some type of rubber brake line that allows the suspension components to move and that goes to a caliper over here OK?

Well this section is normally made out of rubber and it’s very flexible, that’s it’s whole purpose, OK? But the problem with rubber lines is that when you put a huge amount of pressure into the line the rubber can actually expand outward and you can lose some of the braking ability of the car. Well a braided steel line line is just a crosshatch of, it’s a metal sleeve that goes over the rubber and it keeps it from expanding. So you can pick up a little bit of braking power through these braided steel lines. And they’re OK, they’re not normally too expensive. They’re a pain to put on though if you don’t like bleeding systems of whatever.

And I think I want to talk about one more real quick here. And I want to talk about brake fluid itself. And I’ve never done it myself but I know a lot of people, I’ve heard a lot I’ve read a lot about people switching out DOT 3 brake fluid, but they’re going to a synthetic, oops, synthetic brake fluid which apparently has better compression resistance than a normal petroleum based one. So they’re compressing the fluid a little bit less, I guess. And they’re saying it has better brake response, and that’s probably the cheapest upgrade you can do is just change the fluid in your braking system.

You can probably do it for four dollars. It’s a pain, but if you’re getting results, why not? So, and I think I’ve going to end there. Yeah I’m going to end there, I think that’s pretty good. Yeah.

If you haven’t been there, check out the Facebook page, it’s where I give updates about the website and put, you know, motorsport culture stuff on there. It’s a pretty cool place to hang out and I will try to link to that in the notes below the video and I’m still on fire I’m going to go ahead and make another video and I’ll be back in a little bit. Until I do, take care.


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