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Jim Smolka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 1999
Location: Hickory NC USA
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Brake pads

Any thoughts on the type and manufacture of brake pads. My car is basically a stock '75 2.0 The 914 is a daily driver that will be used in a couple of autocrosses... and of course Tom @ Pelican is the best purchasing agent...




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Smoke Daddy
Old 09-01-1999, 06:03 PM
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Hi Jim,
Pelican has a set of pads they recommend for Hot Street and Autocross. However, my experience so far is that a good set of semi-matallic pad will do just fine (ie regulor ole'street pads). I autocross mine every month with the SCCA and have yet to have any brake fade or over heating. I have upgraded my Master Cyl. to the 19mm one and replaced the rubber brake lines with SS ones. If you don't have the 19mm master cyl and ss lines then I would do that first. If you need pads anyway, then what the heck; go for the higher performance ones.
Old 09-02-1999, 03:33 AM
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I disagree. I don't think the 19mm M/C or the stainless lines are necessary in the least. The 19mm M/C can change the effective "gearing" of the pedal, but that's all it does. Well, other than making sure you bleed and bleed AND BLEED the brakes after you install it...

I prefer the stock rubber brake lines to the SS lines, mostly due to the different failure mechanisms. The typical failure of the rubber lines is that, after 20 years or so, they swell up and the brake pads don't let go of the rotor. The typical failure mode of the SS lines is--NO BRAKES! The line bursts, and all your braking at the one end of the car is gone.

Maybe I'm just a bit conservative...

For autoXing, any reasonable brake fluid is fine. AutoXing is short-enough duration that it's really hard to boil the brakes. 20-minute run sessions on the big tracks, however.... Anyway, fresh fluid and good brake pads (stock-type, Jurid, Textar, etc.) will do you just fine. Metal Master pads are something of an upgrade, and the carbon-kevlar ones should really help the stopping power and resist fading. Porterfields are preferred locally by the racers, I've also heard good things about Hawk pads.

But I think that good fresh WELL-BLED brake fluid is the biggest part of it.

--DD
Old 09-02-1999, 09:36 PM
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I'm in difficult territory here; I find myself disagreeing with DD. Yes, catastrophic failures of the SS brake lines can occur. The incidence of failure, however, is not great enough to cause concern. I've been using THE SAME SS lines on the street (well not too much anymore) and on the track for just about 7 (seven) years, with no indication of failure. I was acutally going to replace them this season, but when we pulled them off and pressure tested them, we found they retained their original specs. Well, I guess there's always the chance. . .I could get hit by bus today in downtown DC. Additionally, in my personal experience, I found the 19mm MC to offer a much better brake pedal feel (didn't have that sinking, no brakes feeling after repeated bleedings), and have found it offers better brake application modulation. So, that's my experience. Again, I've found myself in a difference of opinion with DD!
Old 09-03-1999, 03:48 AM
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well, the point of my original reply was that for auotcross, the standard stock brake pads will do just fine. I think DD agreed with that part.
I suggested the 19mm Master Cyl because of the reduced pedal effort required to affect the same braking amount. It is certainly NOT necessary or required. I just prefer the pedal feel.
I suggested the SS lines because of the better pedal feel. There are DOT approved and NON-DOT approved SS lines for sale out there. Get the DOT approved ones. Yes they are more expensive, but the chance of sudden failure is minimal.
Just my Opinion. Your mileage may vary.
Old 09-03-1999, 08:34 AM
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Jim -

If you are only going to autocross a couple of times a year, I would not worry about special brake pads. You could go for some that would give you awesome performance, but they would squeal like a pig on the street and cover your wheels in brake dust. Just go for something fairly stock. Don't worry about brake fade on an autocross. I have been autocrossing with the SCCA and PCA for over 10 years and have not seen a course that would overheat brakes yet.

If you are looking for a bigger project, I would definately replace the master cylinder. Even though I regularly bled my brakes, they were never any good until I upgraded my master cylinder. I would also recomend the SS lines, but I don't think that they would make as much of a difference.

Whatever you do, Dave is right. Regularly bleed the brakes. I do before every autocross or track event.

Bobbitt
Old 09-03-1999, 12:35 PM
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I think DD covered this in a post some time ago, but I'll repeat it, Installing the 19 mm master cylinder decreases pedal travel, but increases pedal effort. A larger diameter M/C will pump more fluid with a given amount of pedal travel (Area of the cylinder bore times the distance of the stroke) This displaces the caliper pistons to move them against the rotors. The actual braking force, the amount of squeeze you put on the caliper with any given pad composition and caliper, is related to the pressure you are placing on the pedal divided by the area of the M/C bore. The larger the bore, the lower the force. With all of this, I'm only a street driver, but I've uprated to the 19mm cylinder, and stayed with the rubber lines. I talked over the SS line conversion with the mechanic I use, and his recommendations were to stay with rubber for street use. In a race car the lines are (should be) thoroughly inspected regularly, and replaced as preventive maintenance. With the SS lines, you can't see any deterioration and the braid will mask any damage or cracking of the hoses.
Harvey

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Old 09-04-1999, 06:17 PM
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