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Ceramic Brake Pads = Better Stopping???

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james singleton
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Ceramic Brake Pads = Better Stopping???

Post #1 by james singleton » Tue Mar 03, 2009 12:51 pm

I was wondering if anyone can tell me whether they switched to "ceramic" brake pads; and whether or not it made much difference in braking/stopping performance?? Also on the same subject, has anyone switched to both "drilled & slotted" rotors inconjunction with ceramic brake pads, and how was the performance with that set-up?? Worth the money spent; or not really?? Curious?? James

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Post #2 by CoupeBoy » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:11 pm

I've done neither and I don't plan on ever doing ceramic

Ceramic pads have to get hot to be effective, I feel these should be reserved for track usage fast stop/go braking. I've also heard that they are 'louder' then organic pads meaning they are more prone to chatter and squeal noises if they are not at operating temperatures.

At some point I may do slotted and drilled rotors, I've heard that both increase brake pad cooling thereby increasing stopping power. I've heard that drilled rotors while looking cool actually act like cheese graters on your brake pads decreasing their usable life. This is less of an issue with slotted rotors as they have a longer arc and less sharp edges. I've read that you can chamfer(counter sink) the drilled rotor holes so they have a smoother ramp, but you have a trade off of less rotor in contact with the pad.

as I said, maybe someday I'll do the drilled/slotted rotors but I highly doubt I'll ever live anywhere that the ceramic pads are worth it to me. Personally I'd go with the largest rotor that will fit inside your rims and some decent (not cheapest, not most expensive) brake pads and call it a day.

and that's my .02
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Post #3 by rbohm » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:20 pm

8) it depends on what level ceramic pads you use. the hard pads are designed for race use, and they work quite well, but as ron indicated they need a lot of temperature in the pads to work properly. there are softer pads designed for street use, and early versions of these pads worked well, until replacement time came around. the second set of pads, though the same design, allowed for a spongy pedal feel. the stopping power remained consistent though. i dont know if they have solved this problem or not.

as for drill and slotted rotors, as long as the holes are properly drilled and the sharp edges of the holes are removed to prevent stress risers from forming, they are fine.
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Post #4 by CobraSix » Tue Mar 03, 2009 2:45 pm

If you are going from drum to normal vented disc, you'll see such an improvement you won't care about the other stuff.

I did some 'real' road tests on a straight, rarely used road by my house. I did 60-0 distance tests. I'm sure there was some error as I was trying to start braking at the same telephone pole each time. I didn't do distance measurements, but I did a comparison to my 1998 Volvo S70 T5 with 4 wheel ABS disc brakes. There is about a 400lb weight difference between the two (volvo being heavier).

With just standard non-power disc brakes up front and drum rear (8" rear end) my 65 mustang stopped within 10 feet of what my volvo could stop in. I ran this test about half a dozen times on each car.

So how does this answer your question? IMHO, unless you are racing, the extra cost really isn't justified. Normal vented disc brakes can handle 95% of stop and go traffic out there with no problems at all.

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Post #5 by The Plankster Prankster » Tue Mar 03, 2009 11:15 pm

i've always heard that the "better" your pads, the more they wear out your rotors.
that said, my knowledge of physics says that any pads you can buy can put your tires to the skidding point, and there is nothing you can do to improve above that point.
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Post #6 by rbohm » Wed Mar 04, 2009 12:52 pm

The Plankster Prankster wrote:i've always heard that the "better" your pads, the more they wear out your rotors.
that said, my knowledge of physics says that any pads you can buy can put your tires to the skidding point, and there is nothing you can do to improve above that point.


8) that was certainly true 30 years ago. today though with better pad and rotor materials that isnt the case these days.

and you are right in that the tires are the limiting factor when it comes to maximum braking performance.

and as cobrasix pointed out, for daily driving, using quality parts designed for the street will handle 95% of any braking duties the car will see, without going to more exotic parts.
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Post #7 by LaGrasta » Thu Mar 05, 2009 11:14 am

i have ceramic pads on my Chevy Astro and they squeak with no improved stopping from what I can tell.

I have slotted rotors on my Falcon with no improved stopping from what I can tell.
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Post #8 by james singleton » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:00 pm

Thanks for all the replies! That was what I was hoping for, some input on whether or not anybody had noticed any appreciable difference in your braking/stopping capabilities. From most of your answers, it sounds like the difference is very minimal in relation to actual "braking/stopping." I know that the dust "factor", or pad longevity, is another subject(s). It sounds like the ceramic pads may have their place as it relates to the heat factor associated with racing; as are drilled and slotted rotors. It sounds like the D & S rotors are as much a "cosmetic" thing and for"show" then anything; unless you are into racing! Thanks again, James

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Post #9 by StrangeRanger » Thu Mar 05, 2009 2:40 pm

I put PFC "Z" compound pads on my truck. They made an unbelievable difference in stopping vs. the stocl pads but they were so dirty that I couldn't stand them. They have since been replaced by Hawk HPS pads which are not anywhere as near as dirty and stop almost as well. For a car driven on the street and/or autocrossed, I really like Hawk HP+ pads they work every bit as well as the PFCs but their dirt isn't nearly as bad.

Slotted rotors are good if you are getting the pads hot enough that outgassing is an issue. On the street you are not even close, in an agressice autocross you may be but it's unlikely. Cross drilled rotors look a lot cooler than they run. Avoid them
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