Brake Work – Stopping the ride


Brakes, this is a modification often overlooked. Countless times we have seen cars boosted and built to crazy levels, only to have the stock pads and rotors left on, like a long forgotten relics. That’s stupid, really stupid, because with great power comes great responsibility. Stopping the car is much more important than getting it to go. So we decided that we would approach the build backwards. Here at CA we started with the brakes, nothing fancy, just new rotors and pads. Simple enough really, just pull a few bolts and your there. Not so fast, what rotors do you buy? Pads? Grease? Do you bleed the lines or not? So on so forth, the point is it’s not as simple as we first thought. So where does one begin? Well start with the build, what are the goals of the project? Our build is not going to be crazy in the HP range. 300 to 450 max, so the regular brakes should hold up. Mind you we don’t plan on tracking the car any time soon. So big brakes are out, now it is time to figure out what rotors and pads to buy. We decided to go with a bigger rotor, matched with the stock caliper. Stop tech rotors were purchased for the front and rear. The rotor itself is a cross drilled and slotted system. The slots are used to clean the pads as well as vent the rotors better. They do this, because as always, heat is the enemy. Heat fade is a problem that occurs when the rotors can’t dump heat from friction fast enough. This leads to subpar braking, warped rotors and in extreme cases rotor and pad failure. All bad things in our opinion. Cross drilling rotors also reduces heat, and moves water away from the pad surface. That’s a good thing, because brakes work on the principle of friction. Now there are some people out there that raise the valid concern of heat cracks around the drilled holes. This can happen to some cheaper rotors, so remember; you get what you pay for. When it comes to brakes, stick to name brand, stopping is not a joke. CA recommends Stoptech, Brembo, Willwood and Zimmerman. ECS also makes a good set, so check them out. When it comes to brake pads, same rules apply, go with the good stuff. We opted for a set of EBC red stuff pads; the compound is a high performance ceramic pad. Its low dust and noise, as well as a harder compound. This means it takes longer for the pads to reach operating temp, but once they do, they stop like crazy. Pads are like underwear, you have to shop around for the set that suits you. Generally stick to name brand sets, and you should be fine. Don’t chose a racing pad set if you don’t race. Your car won’t get them hot enough. CA recommends EBC, Hawk and OEM pads. Semi Metallics are for cheap mofos and that’s all we have to say about that. Seriously, just buy ceramic. When it comes to changing the rotors and pads, the process is straight forward. The biggest problem we had was getting the old bolts off. The only tricky part we found was balancing the brake fluid levels because we did not drain the system. That stuff eats paint, no joke, so don’t let it spill. Towels work well and the fluid rises slowly. It’s also important to note that the caliper pistons will need to be reset for the new pads to fit. This is done with a special tool, or C clamp (fronts only, the backs must use the tool, as they are a screwing motion) which you can rent for the day at your local auto parts store. As always we will include the link we used for the DIY job. Please don’t try this unless you are qualified, stopping is kind of important in traffic. – CA

Brake Rotor and Pad DIY (A4, S4 B5) :


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