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Brake pad choice

Old 04-19-2016, 04:12 PM
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Brake pad choice

Thinking of trying out a new front pad at my next change. I've been on OE pads and they've been fine, but I really want a firmer pedal. I'd also prefer better bite at low pedal pressures. Heat capacity isn't an issue as long as it's not worse than OE. Let's pretend dust, noise, longevity, rotor wear, and price don't matter.

Any recommendations?
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Old 04-19-2016, 05:28 PM
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Come on man, there are a **** ton of threads about brake pads choices.
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Old 04-19-2016, 05:44 PM
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It sounds like you want a quality semi-metallic from any of the major manufacturers. If you really want to go crazy, check out the Hawk Street/Race (DTC-30) offering. It has tons of bite. Just don't get them too hot, or they will howl like a school bus having an alien love child with a fog horn from then on. IMHO, the OEM pads are better than any of Hawk's other street oriented pads.
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Old 04-19-2016, 07:51 PM
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A firmer pedal is more a function of the hydraulics too. The pads are solid objects, one isn't 'firmer' than another as far as the pedal goes (unlike clutches where the pedal works against a spring).

Maybe flush the brake fluid?
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:03 PM
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strictly street use?

I don't recall what OE felt like, but I run the HPS on the street. That being said, it doesn't provide a ton of bite compared to the DTC-60s or the HP+, but they work great on the street... Dust and longevity seem to be low and high, respectively.
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Old 04-19-2016, 08:04 PM
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Possibly also move to stainless braided brake lines? that may help as well.
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Old 04-19-2016, 09:46 PM
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Thanks, guys!

Yes, this is strictly for street use. I would very much like to start tracking the car this year, but there are plenty of hurdles to get over first -- not least of which is that I don't really fit in my car with a helmet on, lol....

I have no issues with race pads, provided they work when cold -- which, as I understand, they tend not to. I'd like for these pads to be usable in winter, too. But if the DTC-30 fits that bill, then alright.

Regarding the hydraulics, I don't remember the pedal feel changing much when I last changed my fluid at 30k, but I'll be changing the fluid soon anyway, so hopefully that base will be covered. Either way, I have noticed the pedal feels firmer when the brakes are nice and hot, so maybe part of what I'm experiencing as a "soft" pedal is really just a (relative) lack of initial bite.

Stainless steel lines are super tempting. Tough call for me at this point because I'm hesitant to mod a safety-critical part of my car. Would be nice to get at them now, though, before everything rusts. Has anyone in this thread noticed a big difference with SS lines?
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Old 04-20-2016, 08:07 AM
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I agree that pedal feel is related to the hydraulic system rather than the pads themselves.

I have Goodrich stainless lines. I can't say that I noticed any difference in pedal feel when I installed them, but my OEM lines were only 2 years old at the time. If yours are older, they may have started getting soft, and stainless lines may make some difference for you. I have a set of used StopTech stainless lines I would sell cheap if you want them.

As for street pads, I have tried OEM, Hawk PC, Hawk HPS, Hawk Street 5.0, and Carbotech 1521. I did not find any of the aftermarket pads to be substantially better than OEM in terms of initial bite and midrange torque. Here is a quick rundown of what I remember.

OEM - Good initial bite and midrange torque. Quiet. Mild rotor wear. Relatively low dust. Good overall performance.
Hawk PC - No bite and low torque. Very quiet. Very rotor friendly. Very low dust. Smoked during bedding. Will get you killed. Avoid unless you are suicidal.
Hawk HPS - Moderate bite and torque. Quiet. Mild rotor wear. Relatively high dust. Head scratcher. Why bother?
Hawk Street 5.0 - Good bite and linear torque. Quiet. Low rotor wear. Relatively low dust. My current street pad by default on dedicated rotors.
Carbotech 1521 - Good bite and linear torque. Quiet. Very rotor friendly. Relatively low dust. Expensive. Good choice if you use Carbotech track pads and want to share rotors occasionally.

Don't even think about Hawk Performance Ceramic pads. My set may have been defective, but they smoked substantially during bedding on new rotors (followed Hawk's directions) and then would not stop the car. I experienced a harrowing couple of days until I could ditch those terrible pads.

For street pads, I am currently running Hawk Street 5.0 on a dedicated set of StopTech rotors. These were provided by Hawk to replace the terrible PC pads. They are good pads, but have a feel that is different than what most people expect. They are very linear, which means you have to be comfortable using more pedal pressure. That sounds like the opposite of what you want.

My car is mostly a track toy these days, and I use Carbotech track pads on dedicated rotors. When I have my track rotors on, and I don't feel like swapping them, I use Carbotech 1521s, as they are compatible with Carbotech's other pads and can share the same rotors. They perform almost exactly the same as Hawk Street 5.0.

If you want more bite than those listed, you can try Hawk HP Plus or Hawk Street/Race. Both of these pads have a lot of initial bite. You will really notice the difference. The midrange torque is good too, but not very linear. The trade-offs are noise, rotor wear, and dust. They should be quiet enough if you never "overheat" them. That is to say if you never heat them to more than 600ish degrees, they will stay relatively quiet. Mine were always pleasant until the first trip to the track. Then, they howled like crazy when cold and whistled when hot.

I don't drive my car when it is below 50F outside, so I can't speak to cold weather performance of any of the above.

Having said all of that, my recommendation is still a good quality semi-metallic pad from the local auto parts store. I don't find any of the "performance" street pads to be any better than the better offerings from Raybestos, Bendix, Bosch, Wagner etc. They are mostly just marketing gimmicks to fool the masses.

.

Last edited by Steve Dallas; 04-22-2016 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 04-20-2016, 10:11 AM
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For what it's worth I drove all last summer May-August on DTC-60s daily and track time. They behaved just fine, nothing unusual when cold. Apparently they are a lot harder on the rotor when not at race temp, so don't take this as a recommendation! Less noisy than HP+, but as dusty.
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Old 04-20-2016, 11:53 AM
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^DTC-60 would be crazy for something that is not primarily a track car :P Sure, they work fine, but the dust, noise, rotor wear and cost would not be worth it.

I really like oem on the street. My only reason to look for something else would be cost.

Sounds to me like you need to replace the fluid. Do the clutch at the same time.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:39 PM
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HP+ howls like a BANSHEE. I have them on the car now for the track day this weekend. New pads, haven't even gotten up that high in temp. borderline unbearable already (it's been 2 days).

For the most part, OEM should be fine. The braking system in the car is spot on - if you're strictly street, OEM would work. I am on HPS only because I tried them after my OEMs went and I haven't gone through them yet.
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Old 04-20-2016, 01:51 PM
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^ Do you run shims with grease with your HP Plus pads? Mine were always quiet with shims and grease until they were cooked the first time. I could make them quiet-ish again if I wanted to take the time to burnish them with 60 grit sandpaper, then clean and re-grease everything.

HPS is a solution looking for a problem. The only reason for that pad to exist is for someone to be able to say he runs Hawk pads.
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Old 04-21-2016, 10:11 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Dallas View Post
HPS is a solution looking for a problem. The only reason for that pad to exist is for someone to be able to say he runs Hawk pads.
This really resonates with my memory of Hawk HPS on my first car.

Looking back on my old forum posts, I seemed to love them. At the time, I picked them over Axxis Ultimates because they lasted longer and were more civil in terms of dust and noise, knowing full well they didn't work at most of the temps they actually saw, whereas the Ultimates did. In retrospect, I don't know what I was smoking. What a stupid compromise for brakes...
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:36 AM
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I did in the past, but I usually put them on and then hit the track the next weekend. Grease or no grease, they would howl afterwards, so for the sake of time, I stopped doing it since it didn't matter a week later.

I can't comment on HPS being THAT bad vs OE pads - it's been too long for me to remember. I don't ask much from my brakes when I'm on the street though. My street driving is old-man status in the 8, brake early, brake lightly. FWIW, they're not bad enough for me to worry about dumping them for an OE set or anything different on the street, haha.
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Old 04-21-2016, 11:45 AM
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Yeah, that's fair. I was too harsh on the HPS in that post. I don't think it was actually worse than OE; it just didn't seem convincingly better until very high temps.

My experience is from a completely different car though, and... let's just say I've learned a lot about cars since then, lol. So, grain of salt etc.
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Old 04-21-2016, 07:17 PM
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it could be worse than OE - I just never pushed the OE pad that hard...

to make my comparison even more skewed, I drove around on HP+ for a year or two before I put the HPS on, so I went from OE to HP+ to HPS, so I don't have a back to back comparison.

All I can say is for my style of street driving, I have no qualms with the HPS.
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Old 04-22-2016, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by pcs View Post
I did in the past, but I usually put them on and then hit the track the next weekend. Grease or no grease, they would howl afterwards, so for the sake of time, I stopped doing it since it didn't matter a week later.
Yeah. It's a lot of work to keep everything clean and lubricated. It is especially a slog when you know you will cook the grease on the next track day, which is more than once a month during the season for me. I was trying to run HP+ as a hybrid pad and leave them on all the time, but I would have to burnish, clean, and grease after every track day to make them civil. From there, I tried swapping to pre greased and shimmed HPS pads after a track day, since the compound is compatible, but I found HP+ to wear the rotors so much, that HPS would not mate with them enough to provide any stopping power. Eventually, I discovered Carbotech pads, which are very easy on rotors, which means I can swap between my track pads and street pads during the season without issue. During the off-season, I change my rotors and run Hawk Street 5.0 pads. But, if I had it to do over again, I would run OEM or a good quality pad from one of the usual major manufacturers. There is no real value in the Hawks.
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Old 04-25-2016, 08:27 PM
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I haven't had any issues with rotor wear, though it may be that I'm not on it hard enough...?

I'm on my stock rotors still, LOL. lots of track days, multiple sets of pads, from OE, HPS, HP+ and DTC-60. They're starting to get a ton of crazing, so I carry spare rotors with me to every track day now, but still within thickness spec, and no cracks going from hub to the edge. I think I'm at 55k miles? I'll probably do the same and go back to OE when the HPS are done (eventually).

Are you referring to rotor wear as in wearing down the material and getting below minimum thickness?

As for a hybrid, I think I'm done looking for one. I've changed the brakes back and forth so many times that I've gotten pretty quick at it (or at least I feel like it). I can get through the front & rear in less than half an hour. If I'm doing just the fronts, it's really not that bad. Not like there's much else to do when you're not on the track during a track day...!
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Old 04-26-2016, 07:47 AM
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I don't mean rotor wear at the macro level, I mean wear at the micro level. Hawk's more aggressive compounds wear small ridges into the rotor. Those ridges match between the rotor and pad, so there is no loss of stopping power. My street pads obviously did not have those ridges, so they would contact only the peaks. That means half of the available friction between the rotor and pad was not utilized. Bedding them again would help some, but I still felt like I had no braking power.

I'm also finished looking for a workable hybrid pad. I swap back and forth between Carbotech XP10/XP8 and Carbotech 1521 during track season, and change rotors and pads to my Stoptech / Hawk combo during the off season.
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Old 05-13-2016, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Dallas View Post
I agree that pedal feel is related to the hydraulic system rather than the pads themselves.

I have Goodrich stainless lines. I can't say that I noticed any difference in pedal feel when I installed them, but my OEM lines were only 2 years old at the time. If yours are older, they may have started getting soft, and stainless lines may make some difference for you. I have a set of used StopTech stainless lines I would sell cheap if you want them.

As for street pads, I have tried OEM, Hawk PC, Hawk HPS, Hawk Street 5.0, and Carbotech 1521. I did not find any of the aftermarket pads to be substantially better than OEM in terms of initial bite and midrange torque. Here is a quick rundown of what I remember.

OEM - Good initial bite and midrange torque. Quiet. Mild rotor wear. Relatively low dust. Good overall performance.
Hawk PC - No bite and low torque. Very quiet. Very rotor friendly. Very low dust. Smoked during bedding. Will get you killed. Avoid unless you are suicidal.
Hawk HPS - Moderate bite and torque. Quiet. Mild rotor wear. Relatively high dust. Head scratcher. Why bother?
Hawk Street 5.0 - Good bite and linear torque. Quiet. Low rotor wear. Relatively low dust. My current street pad by default on dedicated rotors.
Carbotech 1521 - Good bite and linear torque. Quiet. Very rotor friendly. Relatively low dust. Expensive. Good choice if you use Carbotech track pads and want to share rotors occasionally.

For street pads, I am currently running Hawk Street 5.0 on a dedicated set of StopTech rotors. These were provided by Hawk to replace the terrible PC pads. They are good pads, but have a feel that is different than what most people expect. They are very linear, which means you have to be comfortable using more pedal pressure. That sounds like the opposite of what you want.

My car is mostly a track toy these days, and I use Carbotech track pads on dedicated rotors. When I have my track rotors on, and I don't feel like swapping them, I use Carbotech 1521s, as they are compatible with Carbotech's other pads and can share the same rotors. They perform almost exactly the same as Hawk Street 5.0.

If you want more bite than those listed, you can try Hawk HP Plus or Hawk Street/Race. Both of these pads have a lot of initial bite. You will really notice the difference. The midrange torque is good too, but not very linear. The trade-offs are noise, rotor wear, and dust. They should be quiet enough if you never "overheat" them. That is to say if you never heat them to more than 600ish degrees, they will stay relatively quiet. Mine were always pleasant until the first trip to the track. Then, they howled like crazy when cold and whistled when hot.

Having said all of that, my recommendation is still a good quality semi-metallic pad from the local auto parts store. I don't find any of the "performance" street pads to be any better than the better offerings from Raybestos, Bendix, Bosch, Wagner etc. They are mostly just marketing gimmicks to fool the masses.
Should I exchange my stock rotors in new condition for Stoptech ones?
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Old 05-14-2016, 08:13 AM
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Absolutely not. Our OEM rotors are VERY good and last a long time. StopTech rotors are fine, but not an improvement. I only use them, because my OEM rotors are dedicated to Carbotech pads, so I can't use any other pads with them.
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Old 05-19-2016, 02:17 AM
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I like the brake performance of Hawk HPS pads. There's some brake dust but not much.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:49 AM
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Originally Posted by Steve Dallas View Post
I'm also finished looking for a workable hybrid pad. I swap back and forth between Carbotech XP10/XP8 and Carbotech 1521 during track season, and change rotors and pads to my Stoptech / Hawk combo during the off season.

Have you tried the new Hawk Street/Race (DTC-30) as recommended in your earlier post (or even the old HP+, marketed similarly)? They market it specifically as a hybrid / crossover pad. I would be very interested in your results.
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Old 06-01-2016, 04:02 PM
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DTC-30 is pretty hard on rotors and has way too much initial bite for my tires. I thought I liked the stopping power of the pads, but found I was over-braking in most turns compared with a more linear pad after looking at the data. I found them to wear nearly twice as fast as Carbotech, which removes the value proposition. They are also very noisy on the street once they have been on the track once. HP+ can't stand up to track heat, IME, and is more of an autocross pad. They are also insanely loud on the street after one trip to the track.

.

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Old 06-07-2016, 11:56 AM
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DTC-30s are also not the easiest pad to source IIRC. I ran a set of DTC-60s - while they lasted, there was a ton of bite, and I never went past the operating temps when using them with a set of r-comps...

as for the HP+, they have held up fine for me at track days on street tires (200TW) - haven't exceeded the operating temps yet - could be partly based on driving style... They are cheap, they get the job done, but dust and will howl like crazy. I swap them on for the track and off for the street.
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