Topic: Brake Advice

Greetings.  New rookie team here.  We are looking for advice around brakes.  We acquired a beater VW GTI.  It has stock brakes but the pads and rotors were replaced not too long before we got the car and are practically new.  Since brakes are exempt from the price restrictions, our team is discussing the following options:

1. Roll with the stock brakes but flush lines and put in race brake fluid
2. Upgrade the entire brake system, lines, calipers, rotors, pads, fluid, etc. with a racing brake system

We have no delusions of winning the race, but we'd like to stay safe.  What are other teams doing (not the top dogs) in regards to their braking system?  Any advice is appreciated.

2 (edited by TheEngineer 2021-08-11 02:24 PM)

Re: Brake Advice

Upgrading pads and fluid is a good idea. Street pads will not last under race conditions. Street fluid can be dangerous. You don't need to replace everything though, stock calipers/rotors with better pads will work great to get you going. Then when you've used up the first set of pads you can decide if you want to look for a larger rotor and caliper setup. Do check all your lines and make sure they are in good condition. Old rubber lines should be replaced if they look remotely suspect.

For fluid look at ATE Type200 as a great affordable option.

For pads, the raysbestos ST-43 is the easy button for great endurance pads. They aren't really cheap, but they last a long time. It's not unheard of to get more than 5 races from a set. We've gotten almost 10 out of rears at 5+ from fronts. There are other options that people swear by, but I'll never use another pad after the success we've had with ST pads.

For rotors, you don't need anything special, just plain new rotors are great. Cross drilling/slots won't really help you much and can lead to more failures than advantages. We've always used basic OEM equivalent replacements from rockauto.

Edit: You can roll the dice with the existing street pads for a race and see how far they get you before vanishing, but it's not a bad idea to have a spare set in case they are some autozone special.

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Re: Brake Advice

+27 on the ST-43s and ATE fluid.  The VW is relatively light and the GTI appears to share the same brakes with bigger Audis and such so I'm not sure you need to buy bigger stuff at least to start.  You do want to consider ducting air to the brakes as well.  As it is fairly light Hawk Blue pads may work for you at half the price of the ST-43s although the ST-43s are definitely the easy button.  Porterfield sells both and they give great advice when you tell them what you are doing, your experience and ask for recommendations.  https://www.porterfield-brakes.com/

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Re: Brake Advice

We run a stock C6 corvette system....well fronts anyway. We use a similar pad to the ST43's (Wilwood compond) and all NAPA brand components. No issues. Just stay away from bargain brand pads/rotors. Unless you like changing them every 4 hours.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

5 (edited by OnkelUdo 2021-08-11 07:39 PM)

Re: Brake Advice

ike2010 wrote:

Greetings.  New rookie team here.  We are looking for advice around brakes.  We acquired a beater VW GTI.  It has stock brakes but the pads and rotors were replaced not too long before we got the car and are practically new.  Since brakes are exempt from the price restrictions, our team is discussing the following options:

1. Roll with the stock brakes but flush lines and put in race brake fluid
2. Upgrade the entire brake system, lines, calipers, rotors, pads, fluid, etc. with a racing brake system

We have no delusions of winning the race, but we'd like to stay safe.  What are other teams doing (not the top dogs) in regards to their braking system?  Any advice is appreciated.

Do you plan to do this more than once and do you have at least 3 weeks to your race?  If both are yes:

As others have said, front at least ST43's from Portferfield...rears I would as well but no really important.
ATE Typ200 is (as others said) the budget-friendly option and available on Amazon though many Napa stores stock it
I would replace any rotors getting upgraded pads and keep the originals as spares.  95% of the time ST43's really do not need the brake bed in proceedure you should do but the risk of the rotor be contaminated by the old pad materials is almost not worth it.
We have run cheap Centric blanks (rotors in white box that get a different label for autozone, Napa, etc) from Rock Auto on every car and had 0 problems.

If you just want to go run a car on a race track...run what you have but carry spare pads and check them each night.  Regardless, all old fluid must be replaced by racing DOT4.

6 (edited by majo 2021-08-11 06:09 PM)

Re: Brake Advice

ST43.  These pads and new rotors and higher temp fluid were the only upgrades we did before our first race.  Easy to do.  You won't regret it.

Like Mike said above, save old rotors as spares and bring spare calipers if you can't find them available at typical local parts stores.  You can always return the calipers if you don't use them.

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7 (edited by jimbbski 2021-08-11 08:17 PM)

Re: Brake Advice

Your stock brakes will be fine if you change the pads and fluids to what has already been suggested. The brake hoses could be upgraded to teflon lined SS lines. I'm sure someone sells a kit for your car. You can duct cool air to the brakes too.  Remember most likely you're going to remove weight from the car when prepping it for racing so it should end up lighter then stock which means less load on the brakes.

Unless you have raced before, and it doesn't sound like any on your team has, you're not going to be fast. Fast can be fun but fast also leads to broken parts that can't take it or mistakes that lead to black flags.  The whole goal of Lemons racing is to do laps! Anything that keeps you from making laps is bad. A slow car that spends more time on track will make more laps than a faster car that makes more pit stops and gets black flags.

8 (edited by OnkelUdo 2021-08-12 04:00 AM)

Re: Brake Advice

majo wrote:

Like Mike said above, save old rotors as spares and bring spare calipers if you can't find them available at typical local parts stores.  You can always return the calipers if you don't use them.

Valid point on the calipers.  When we raced an obscure car (well car with its original brakes that was obscure)  I would commonly buy the left and right calipers on Thursday and return them Monday...same with axles.

Re: Brake Advice

I've always been fine on stock brakes as long as they're not drums. Personally, when it comes to spending money on safety I've always leaned towards spending it on steering over brakes. I've had dozens of occasions of brake failure on track without an accident but I can't think of a single scenario where you'd lose steering and not crash. Stay away from cheap wheels/hubs/quick releases and make sure your inner/outer tie rods and other steering components aren't on the verge of failure if you're worried about crashing due to mechanical failure.

Full Ass Racing
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Re: Brake Advice

Our Saturns have stock rotors and upgraded pads and fluid. For the first few races, we used Hawk HPS pads and it was fine. Eventually we upgraded to EBC yellow (I think) as our driving got better,

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Re: Brake Advice

This recent Garage Heros podcast had Wendy from Porterfield talk about her experience with racing brakes.  I learned a lot from listening to it.

https://garageheroesintraining.com/porterfields/

Re: Brake Advice

I run everthing stock in the Cordoba but run front EBC Yellow pads. I get em from amazon. They stop pretty well and will make it thru both days with room to spare. ( which I find amazing). The rear drum shoes are what ever came with the car two years ago. 4 races and they're still good. I wasnt crazy about the rubber lines to the calipers ( old and cracked) so I did change them proactively. Good Luck!

Re: Brake Advice

Jimmy wrote:

I run everthing stock in the Cordoba but run front EBC Yellow pads. I get em from amazon. They stop pretty well and will make it thru both days with room to spare. ( which I find amazing). The rear drum shoes are what ever came with the car two years ago. 4 races and they're still good. I wasnt crazy about the rubber lines to the calipers ( old and cracked) so I did change them proactively. Good Luck!

not sure if you care but Summit sells a rear disc conversion for pretty cheap, might not help you stop any faster (depending on how fast you are going) BUT it saves a lot of "un-sprung" weight. Plus you don't have to wrry about blowing out those 40 year old wheel cylinders.

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Brake Advice

Sort of related, but I found out that TireRack sells brake rotors and pads, and found a set of HPS Hawk Pads for my Focus that were the same the price as Autozone brand. They had very inexpensive rotors too. Might be a good resource for some of the folks on here.

#22 Gas Relief Team Slowtus Ford Focus

Re: Brake Advice

ike2010 wrote:

Greetings.  New rookie team here.  We are looking for advice around brakes.  We acquired a beater VW GTI.  It has stock brakes but the pads and rotors were replaced not too long before we got the car and are practically new.  Since brakes are exempt from the price restrictions, our team is discussing the following options:

1. Roll with the stock brakes but flush lines and put in race brake fluid
2. Upgrade the entire brake system, lines, calipers, rotors, pads, fluid, etc. with a racing brake system

We have no delusions of winning the race, but we'd like to stay safe.  What are other teams doing (not the top dogs) in regards to their braking system?  Any advice is appreciated.


What generation is your VW?

I highly recommend some cooling ducts.  Your hubs will thank you.

16 (edited by Stan in Bham 2021-08-16 08:20 PM)

Re: Brake Advice

ike2010 wrote:

Greetings.  New rookie team here.  We are looking for advice around brakes.  We acquired a beater VW GTI.  It has stock brakes but the pads and rotors were replaced not too long before we got the car and are practically new.  Since brakes are exempt from the price restrictions, our team is discussing the following options:

1. Roll with the stock brakes but flush lines and put in race brake fluid
2. Upgrade the entire brake system, lines, calipers, rotors, pads, fluid, etc. with a racing brake system

We have no delusions of winning the race, but we'd like to stay safe.  What are other teams doing (not the top dogs) in regards to their braking system?  Any advice is appreciated.

You didn't say what generation your VW is, but the GTI stock brakes should be pretty good - but with the previously mentioned requirements for  putting better pads and racing fluid on/in. We run new Beetles, and the VW brake rotors and calipers are fine. We run the EBC yellow pads and they are good for a full race and the next race's practice day.  When our current stock of pads runs out we'll upgrade to the Porterfields.  The only VW brake issues we've had were due to old calipers developing sticky pistons, causing premature pad wear.

And add the cooling ducts. We made ours out of 3" dryer ducting, which fit the fog light openings perfectly, routed around the inside of the suspension and blow on the front disks. The corrugated aluminum tubing is sturdy, the cheap mylar covered coiled-wire ducting is less durable but cheap enough to rip off and replace with new during emergency CV boot changes.

Re: Brake Advice

Stan in Bham wrote:

And add the cooling ducts. We made ours out of 3" dryer ducting, which fit the fog light openings perfectly, routed around the inside of the suspension and blow on the front disks. The corrugated aluminum tubing is sturdy, the cheap mylar covered coiled-wire ducting is less durable but cheap enough to rip off and replace with new during emergency CV boot changes.

RV Sewer Hose works well, too.

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Re: Brake Advice

Mr.Yuck wrote:
Jimmy wrote:

I run everthing stock in the Cordoba but run front EBC Yellow pads. I get em from amazon. They stop pretty well and will make it thru both days with room to spare. ( which I find amazing). The rear drum shoes are what ever came with the car two years ago. 4 races and they're still good. I wasnt crazy about the rubber lines to the calipers ( old and cracked) so I did change them proactively. Good Luck!

not sure if you care but Summit sells a rear disc conversion for pretty cheap, might not help you stop any faster (depending on how fast you are going) BUT it saves a lot of "un-sprung" weight. Plus you don't have to wrry about blowing out those 40 year old wheel cylinders.


Mr Yuck - Thanks for the info ...I am always interested and need all the help I can get. I did think about a rear disc conversion and might do it but am concerned that I would need to balance the brakes ( new adjustable proportion valve?) and the project could have some serious mission creep that might challenge my mechanical ability. ( that's a low bar ). It is however one of the next logical steps to increase Cordoba Domination!

Re: Brake Advice

The Duke of NY Cadillac and Our AMC Javelin, both have rear Disc conversions.
Speedway has all the components to do it. If you use Speedways rotors and weld brackets with GM metric front calipers the whole deal can be had for around $300 minus the adjustable prop valve and Pads.
Manny

Re: Brake Advice

Jimmy wrote:
Mr.Yuck wrote:
Jimmy wrote:

I run everthing stock in the Cordoba but run front EBC Yellow pads. I get em from amazon. They stop pretty well and will make it thru both days with room to spare. ( which I find amazing). The rear drum shoes are what ever came with the car two years ago. 4 races and they're still good. I wasnt crazy about the rubber lines to the calipers ( old and cracked) so I did change them proactively. Good Luck!

not sure if you care but Summit sells a rear disc conversion for pretty cheap, might not help you stop any faster (depending on how fast you are going) BUT it saves a lot of "un-sprung" weight. Plus you don't have to wrry about blowing out those 40 year old wheel cylinders.


Mr Yuck - Thanks for the info ...I am always interested and need all the help I can get. I did think about a rear disc conversion and might do it but am concerned that I would need to balance the brakes ( new adjustable proportion valve?) and the project could have some serious mission creep that might challenge my mechanical ability. ( that's a low bar ). It is however one of the next logical steps to increase Cordoba Domination!

Summit sells and adjustable PV. I'm semi-mechanically inclined and managed to do a conversion. Have you put that thing on a diet yet?

"get up and get your grandma outta here"

Re: Brake Advice

I'm 100% in the ST43 camp. IF you want to squeeze in a race on stock pads bring spare pads and calipers, then return calipers after the race if you have to. When you wipe the pads clean you're about 1 lap away from destroying the calipers too.

ST43s are expensive, but more than worth it. Using parts store pads give you a handful of ways to crash, crap your pants and/or stare at your car on jackstands. But due to cost, ST43s are a multi-race commitment for most teams.

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