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Old 05-11-2004, 06:22   #1 (permalink)
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BA Brake Upgrade

Let me start by saying that I know there are other threads on this site that mention this subject, but I'd like some feedback from anyone who drives a BA XR8 (or any BA for that matter) and specifically those who take their car onto a race track (regular or otherwise).

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of taking my XR8 to a no speed limit / open day at Wakefield Park. I REALLY enjoyed it but the standard brakes in my car let me down (and before you respond with "well why didn't you by the performance brake upgrade on purchase you damn fool?" the answer is that I bought the car second hand (10,000 Km), and that was not an option. Although, I must say knowing what I know now I would have insisted on an aftermarket upgrade, included in the price. But hey - retrospect is a beautiful thing !

So anyway, it was blatantly obvious that the brakes were not up to continued racetrack abuse (and in all fairness I knew that would be the case before starting and my strategy was to reduce the laps so's not to overheat them). I would do 3 to 4 laps per session and not only were the brakes fading but the rotors were warping with the heat. I would then go for a cool down drive and wait for the next session. The car went great and I can recommend heading to a race track for some laps to anyone. Even with mildly frustrating problems like this .

So I want to do the odd race day/hillclimb/ freakishly fast driving where appropriate and safe, and it's obvious I will need to replace my rotors, pads and fluid (I'd love to do the callipers also but no budget for that). After some enquiries DBA have two options for me regarding Rotors.

1. Upgrade to DBA4000 Rotors - Heat treated, will do the biz on the track, no question. $240 each

2. Upgrade to DBA std slotted rotors(Part No DBA504 S I think) - Not heat treated but far better than the standard brakes. $145 each.

DBA and the local Brake specialist reckon that I can get away with fronts only (I would do this initially, and eventually upgrade the rears as well.)

Has anyone given the standard DBA upgrade rotors a punishing on the track, and if so how did they fair ? Same for the DBA 4000's. Anyone out there got em' ?

I'd also like to hear what other mods people have done for weekend racing hillclimbs etc. I've got a fire extinguisher and am setting up a bonnet restraint for CAMS compliance.

Thanks in advance
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Old 05-12-2004, 02:31   #2 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

can't help ya mate, but keen to hear what anyone has to say. i wouldn't mind getting some higher performance rotors (and better looking too.... not that i care about that... much) for my ef.
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Old 05-12-2004, 17:56   #3 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

If I ever get out on a track I'll let you know how the DBA slotted rotors and Ferodo Formula pads hold up.
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Old 05-12-2004, 19:53   #4 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

Well on my EL I have DBA x-drilled & slotted on the front and slotted on the back with Bendix Ultimates all round and on a 35 degree Wakefield day I cooked my gearbox but not my brakes. On my last session I did somewhere between 6 and 8 laps (got a little carried away... as you do). The brakes did soften a little bit but still pulled up well.
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:09   #5 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

Can you fit the Brembo factory brakes as aftermarket? Read an article on the first GTP that went racing in Nations Cup and they said the Brembos were no problem for that style of racing so should be gr8 for your application.
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:52   #6 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

Has anyone put the DBA Gold Series (slotted and drilled) rotters on an AU?

If so how do they stack up? And wot are they worth. Im looking at maybe upgrading my XR6 as my rotters need replacing anyway.

Also do you need to run a different pad with slotted and drilled rotters? and/or is it suggested to?
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Old 05-13-2004, 11:10   #7 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

Have been told the BA brakes are a little worse than AU's (what model/s? not sure) But just happen to ask some quick questions about upgrading my brakes today on my AU Fairmont GHIA, finding them crappy as.

Was recommended DBA Gold's (with Kangaroo Paw Ventilation) and Bendix Advance Pads from Midas. These pads meant to be good on not too much dust too. Sounds like what I will go for this but not until I get the money. Need to get more feed back from other places to make a final decision.

If anyone else has any better/other suggestions, I would love to hear them myself. (Want to know how Brembo would compare to this aswell).
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Old 05-14-2004, 05:28   #8 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

The rotors on all BA XR6s, XR6 turbos and XR8s are getting a bad rep for rotor problems, even through normal use. The number of stories I've heard about guys having to have their rotors machined by ford is increasing. Ford have acknowledged this problem and machine the rotors free of charge and then replace them if it happens again - well thats what happened to a mate on his XR6 turbo and other guys I've spoken to.

The problem you are describing appears to be directly related to HEAT. The effectivness of braking is dramatically reduced if the rotors are unable to dispell the heat effectively. Of course, the pad material and ambient air temp also has an effect.

If you are able to stop adequately in the first two laps then it is a sign that the brakes work just fine. If after a couple more laps they begin to fade then it is a sign that HEAT is a problem. It is therefore NOT a problem with the caliper but more the rotor and probably the pad material. Look at it this way, if you stop well (and are happy with that stopping power) when you first start out then the calipers are doing the job just fine. The calipers are NOT the things that start to fade with heat but the "pad on rotor" effectivness IS. If you were to say that the car doesn't stop well on the first lap even, then I'd say get bigger calipers. Of course, bigger calipers result in bigger pads and therefore a greater area of heat dispersion so it will help in the long run - but thats another discussion. The sort of driving you want to do and the way you described the GRADUAL fading suggests you dont need new calipers.

Ok, that out of the way lets look at your pads and rotors. Yes - look at your front rotors first as they provide approx 70% of your stopping power. Get a new set of rotors that will DISPERSE the heat better, not just be able to HANDLE the heat. There is a big diff in being able to GET RID OF the heat and simply just HANDLE IT. The DBA 4000 series are just another form of slotted rotor, although I can't really comment on their material composition. The other DBA slotted and cross-drilled will also do the job too. The idea with slotted and drilled rotors is that they help reduce galzing and also help disperse heat - JUST WHAT YOU NEED. I reckon the only better product you'll get are AP Racing items - which are about 1K each.

Pads. Pad material has a drastic impact on stopping power. Or more the point, their ability to perform under heat. The best pads for racing are not good for the road as they only start to perform at their optimum when the heat is HIGH enough. You'll find a race pad on the road SUX, and your regular (city driving) stopping power is reduced. You have to find a compromise. Bendix ultimates are probably ok but I'd look at the Ferodo range. Whatever you do don't go for a racing level pad if you still want to drive on the street (speaking from experience here).

So, try the mods for the front and if things feel better on the track then you can look at the rear.

Another thing, brake lines and brake fluid. The hotter your system gets the hotter your fluid gets. The hotter your fluid gets the more likely it is that your lines will start to swell under pressure. Example - you know how your garden hose goes all limp and squishy when left in the summer sun? Same goes for brake lines. If they start to swell under pressure then the FORCE of the brake fluid on the pistons is reduced as it is somewhat reduced by the brake lines increasing in diameter i.e. less fluid to push the pistions. By using braided lines you reinforce the line and stop it swelling.

Standard DOT fluid (dunno what you use but I assume 4) will start to compress more when it gets hot. You don't want brake fluid compressing too much as you then reduce the FORCE you apply on the pistons. A higher DOT fluid will handle higher heat, but as with racing type pads it may not work as well on the road. I suggest braided lines as an "extra" and higher DOT fluid as an "extra" only if you don't get the results you want from that mentioned earlier.

If you were having probs at Wakefield due to heat then look at the rotors and pads. Wakefield isn't a fast track by anyones rules. I reckon you were flat out reaching 170kmh down the straight, so the braking required isn't really that huge. Saying that I MELTED my cermaic composite rotors there once so I know it can take its toll. New rotors and pads fixed my prob perfectly.

Apols for the HUGE blurb but I hope it helps somewhat.
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:37   #9 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

Guys

Thanks all for your Replys. See my comments below:

ClevoKid: I could go out and buy Brembo callipers, but that would cost big $. The Performance brake package for BA XR8s does not include brembo callipers (that's the premium package with the GT & GT-P). That's another story, but in short, the callipers are really expensive and I'm not replacing them on this car, just teh rotors, pads & fluid.

XplodE: I don't think you can get the GOlds for BA's at the moment. The two models that DBA quoted for me were standard slotted, and the DBA4000 (drilled, slotted and heat treated). Both of these have the roo-paw technology

Cossa: Theres a really good article on the various brake options for BA's and AU's at www.ford-tech.com

BushUte: Mate, no appology necessary, have a look at my epic first post. I agree with you that this is definately a heat issue, and that I am not considering replacing callipers. The standard Ford rotors are just not made for high temparatures, and they warp. Luckily they have returned back to normal once cooled.

When I bought the car it had bad brake shudder all the time and I've had the rotors machined once already to fix it. This appears to be a different issue (numerous posts have been made about this so I won't harp on). The brakes are OK average street driving but only just. I'm going to do the rotors, pads, and fluid, (on the front only initially) but not the lines just yet. I'll see how I go.


One thing I did notice is that DBA seem to have a monopoly in most of the brake shops. I did find out today (Thanks Chris) about RDA (Rotors and Drums Australia) rotors which are cheaper the DBA but said to be just as good. I've never heard of them before. Has anyone had any experience with these?

Thanks all again
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:47   #10 (permalink)
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Re: BA Brake Upgrade

Good move. I think that is the best way forward. Try a dot 5 fluid - AP Racing do a good one but check the compatibility with the cylinder. I have heard some alloys don't agree with certain types of fluid. Check it out with your nearest brake expert. No comments on RDA - first I've heard of them too.

All the best. Let all know how you go.
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