Editor on P Plates
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Express Publications, Sydney.
NEW wrinkle in the BA bad brakes saga???
Everyone who's had the dreaded BA brake shudder will know both how bad and how frustrating it can be, and many, like myself, are saying "stuff Ford, I'll just fit the DBA slotted rotors".
There may be an unintended side effect of this. The problem is I’m not sure if the better rotors or the better pads cause it or a combination of both.
At 13,000km, my BA was due to have the front brakes machined for the second time. Instead I chose to replace them with DBA slotted rotors and a new set of standard Ford brake pads, as my original front pads were stuffed.
The shudder was gone and everything seemed fine. At 26,000km, another new set of brake pads was required (it seems 13,000km is all I can get out Ford’s standard soft BA front pads).
At this time, I switched to Bendix Performax pads, as I was told they were better than standard, but didn’t produce as much brake dust as Bendix Ultimates. Performance from the brakes improved noticeably again, and I was happy. Recently though, they’ve been producing an increased amount of dust, and I wondered how long they had left in their life?
Last Saturday, at just over 46,000km on the odometer, we decided to change all 4 pads to a new type that a friend supplied that are supposedly as good as or better than Bendix for half the price (I’ll reserve judgment on the claim till I’ve put a few thousand K’s on them).
At 20,000km between changes, the Performax had lasted 7,000km longer than the standard Ford pads despite being semi-metallic, but the side effects that could have been caused by these pads seemto be quite nasty.
It seems since the Performax pads were fitted, braking temperatures have risen high enough to completely melt the outer rubber boot on the trailing piston in each front caliper. Further, the backing “paper” (for want of a better term) on each of the actual pads has completed burned up and disintegrated (have my brakes actually been on fire at some point without me knowing?), as when we opened the calipers to change the pads all the charred debris from this backing fell out into a pile under the car.
Unfortunately I don’t have pictures as I wasn’t expecting anything as serious and didn’t have it with me at the mechanics.
The end result is I now have to have (at least) the calipers outer piston seals replaced, and we’ve yet to pull them down to look at the inner piston seals.
It seems this is a pad issue and not a disc issue, but I’d be interested to hear from anyone out there running non-standard brake combinations if they’ve had anything similar happen.
Please note that while the calipers’ outer piston seals seem very second hand, I’ve yet to have any deterioration in the braking performance that I can feel, but there is the possibility that the extra brake dust I’ve noticed recently is a result of a gradual loss of performance that has yet to become too large for the pistons to compensate against with extra force.
The other question here though is how sensitive are these calipers (and the associated materials) to braking temperatures and how close to tolerance are Ford running them?
I can’t think that I’m the heaviest or latest braker on these forums, yet I’ve not heard of this on another BA Falcon here on the forums.
Editor: Street Fords Magazine - Issue #1 on sale MARCH 2005
Co Founder: 3FB Inc.
To see my old BA Falcon XR6, click HERE