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488 Ceramic Brake issue

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by McLarenSLR, Jan 25, 2021.

  1. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi
    Hi guys


    Hope everyone is doing good and keeping healthy during the pandemic. I’m reposting this here as I’m not sure exactly if it should be here or in track forums. I apologize if it should only be in one in advance.


    I have a Ceramic brake issue that I wanted to get feedback from so I have the most knowledge going into this. I own a 2016 488 GTB that I really treat as my pride and joy. I bought it new and have done 10,689km (6636 miles) on clock to date. About a week back I decided to take it on track for the first time ever under super vision and instruction of a track instructor/ professional race car driver.


    We checked the car out to make sure it was good to go and did about 9-10 laps about 4-5 laps a window session with a cool down. On the last lap coming down the straits, the brakes travel felt light and went to the floor with only a minimum amount of stoppage. We cool down the car and afterwards inspected the car with 2 other track instructors and could see nothing visibly wrong. The pads and disk looked fine. We drove the car in the street and the pedal feel began to come back. It felt like there was an air bubble in the brake line and the fluid possibly overheated because it was old or poor quality.


    I drove the car home with the brake pedal feeling like it was normal with just a hint of squeal which to my knowledge and experience is normal for ceramics. I sent it to the dealer before they assed it as “Brake pads are cracked and disk overheated. Brake caliper gaitors deformed”. I found this really odd as the car was not pushed beyond the limits it was kept in a reasonable tolerance. The VDA never gave a warning saying the brakes were over it remained green. For what I was told it felt like the car was going to fall apart at any moment yet I was able to drive the car home and i did not notice anything odd with the brakes other that a slight squeal but I figure that’s normal.


    I’m taking the car to have a second opinion as their recommendation was to replace the disk and pads which I know from the dealer is never cheap. I saw someone who said they were able to get their ceramics for $10,000 outside but not sure for which Ferrari it was. I keep thinking it’s a brake flush and maybe pads but I can’t imagine the brakes are gone.


    Any and all recommendations are greatly appreciated, the more the better. As this is all new territory for me. Thank you in advance.

    PS: I’ve attached some photos that I took with the flash on. Not sure if it helps but showed someone and they said they still need to see it in person to figure out if it’s true or BS.
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  3. JL350

    JL350 Karting

    Jan 20, 2013
    111
    Best to bleed brakes before and after track days to ensure fresh fluid without contamination in the calliper, if they get a real workout regularly then changing fluid is a good idea. There is no worse feeling than the pedal going to the floor.

    Pads if cracked should be replaced, how serious is the cracking, did the brakes get warmed up, has there been heavy braking while they were wet or something?

    The disk being overheated, was it on the front or rear, I can imagine this is more likely on the rear and due to traction control and then heavy braking ie something that causes excessive heating without the cooling down between the corners. Did they say damaged or overheated? Overheated does not mean damaged, after all they are meant to get hot. Did the dealer want to replace it? This is the part where a second opinion would appeal to me if the dealer wants to replace it without saying if the disk has lost too much weight or is damaged.

    Good luck.
     
  4. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi
    Thanks for the reply. I will for sure be bleeding the brakes and replacing the fluid as it was advised by a professional race car driver who was with me in the track, 2 instructors at the track, 2 sales advisors with years of experience of cars and a family member of mine with lots of car knowledge as well as yourself.


    I have not been able to see the cracks my self yet as they put the car back together since I didn’t want them to touch it and charge me for something it might not need. In other words I hauled @$$ out of there ASAP lol. The VDA sensors had the brakes, tires, engine and transmission in the Go (Green) area and I never got them in the Over (Red) zone. The braking was progressive and smooth, consistent with track pace and under the limit. All this was on a dry track.


    With the disk they didn’t say if it was front or rear to be honest. They wrote a general statement as “Discs are overheated”. The professional driver who was with me said it feels like the rear was not getting enough pressure before it came back after allowing the car more time to cool down after the cool down lap. The dealer wanted to replace the disk and pads and said “it will not be cheap”.


    I had an initial quick look by a secondary party and they said it looks like the pads still have life and the disk visibly seem ok. They noted its most likely going to need cleaning as they could see some fiber bits in the drill holes. They did see a score mark but said it was visual and not to the touch. They noted one of the drill holes had a small chip but it was nothing to the point of changing the brakes any time soon. They said they will keep the car to inspect it fully and let me know.


    Thank you deeply for chiming in. I really appreciate it as the service center made it feel like my car was going to fall apart at the seams at a moments notice and my only chance is to replace everything.
     
    JL350 likes this.
  5. Motob

    Motob Formula 3
    Professional Ferrari Technician

    Nov 11, 2003
    2,182
    Berkeley, CA
    Full Name:
    Brian Brown
    I don't see any cracking in the rotors, but your photos are not close enough/high enough resolution. The CCM rotors do not crack when used very hard. Instead the surface of the rotor goes from smooth and shiny to pitted and rough. From your photos it looks like they are in very good condition and are smooth and shiny.
    When you rub your finger across the rotors, do they all feel smooth and shiny?

    Typically the rear rotors take more of a beating at the track depending on what position the manettino switch is set. The rear brakes are applied as part of the traction control (typically coming out of a corner under acceleration) as part of the vehicle dynamics control under all manettino positions except for CST-off. Even with the manettino set on CST-off, the ABS still functions and the VDC still uses the brakes to control the attitude of the car under braking.

    The brake pads may be cracked, but you would have to remove them in order to inspect them. The wear on the brake rotors is also stored in the instrument cluster, and anyone with a Ferrari specific diagnostic computer can access the parameters stored in the cluster to see how much life is left in the brake rotors.

    The brake pedal going soft bothers me. When was the last time that the brake fluid was changed? I would change the brake fluid with a good high performance fluid and run the bleed program on the brake system using a diagnostic computer in order to get out any air/old fluid trapped in the ABS hydraulic unit.

    Typically when a brake fluid flush is performed, a pressure bleeder is used to push fluid through the brake system, but the ABS hydraulic unit is not cycled during this procedure. Usually the only time a shop/dealership will run the bleed program on the ABS system is when a component has been replaced, trapping air in the system, or when a car with a soft brake pedal cannot be fixed with a regular pressure bleed.

    Brian Brown
    San Francisco Motorsports
     
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  6. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi

    Hi Brian,

    Thank you for the reply. It means a lot. I was honestly worried about the brakes after the first service center representative had a look. They made it seem as if my car was going to fall apart ikea style at the drop of a hat.

    Here is where it gets crazy. I had a second Ferrari authorized dealer look at the car and they said everything looks great. Literally their remakes were “it’s needs a cleaning to remove some carbon bits here and there, brake pads have life in them, you will need to change them later but not now; bleed the brake fluid and your good to go”. All in all it was about a $500 job. It was a worlds difference from the first Ferrari approved service center that said I would need to spend $30,000 to replace it all.

    At this point I really want to file a complaint against them for basically lying to me and misrepresenting the truth.

    Thank you though once again for chiming in with you knowledge and expertise.

    best wishes and stay safe
     
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  8. Il Co-Pilota

    Il Co-Pilota F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 29, 2019
    4,033
    Copenhagen
    Full Name:
    A.B
    Lets start with the discs. There is nothing wrong with your discs. If your discs were worn to the point of not stopping you, you would experience a scouring sound and feel it in the wheel. I have been tracking my 488 for the better part of 15k km. I now run Surface Transform discs and different pads, and I know my way around these brakes. Your symptoms are NOT that of worn discs. Your symptom is 100% a symptom of boiling fluid. The fluid Ferrari uses, can be used on track, but it is not very good. And if it is not compketely fresh, yes you can easily experience what you experience. If you have issues due no worn parts, your pedal does not go to the floor like that. Hate to tell you, but you are experiencing what many owners experience, which is a dealer that tries to sell you brake parts you don't need.

    Here's what you do. Seeing that you mostly use the car for street, ask them to replace the fluid with Motul RBF600 fluid. If your pads are down to 3 mm or so, get an Indy shop to install Pagid RSC1 pads if you can't do it. Unfortunately you are at the mercy of your F car dealer for the brake fluid change, but note this. As per Ferrari Maranello you are allowed to use a different brake fluid. Many of us do. I use Castrol SRF, but will be switching to Motul as it compress less. But you need to have the dealer do the first fluid change as they need to cycle the ABS. After that, an indy shop can do the regular fluid maintenance. Just bring 3 one litre bottles to your dealer and tell them that this is the brake fluid that you would like to use.
    If you get grief about the discs, just tell them that you will need to get a second opinion at,a race shop. Trust me, those,CCM rotors,are not so "special" that others can't determine id they are not okay. It's B.S and a big part of why I use ST rotors(apart from the fact that they are cheaper, better, last longer, and can be refurbished). I cannot stand the B.S some dealers try to pull.

    Get the fluid done and then the pads if needed be. Trust me, if they do it right and you don't have any actual problems in your system i.e leaks or defective master cylinders etc. that fluid will cure that soft pedal

    Sent from my SM-G930F using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  9. Il Co-Pilota

    Il Co-Pilota F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 29, 2019
    4,033
    Copenhagen
    Full Name:
    A.B
    Ah so read this after responding first. Great to see that you found a good shop.

    I will still strongly advise that you switch fluid. Sounds like the dealer you found is willing to work with you.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  10. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi
    Hey there,

    Thank you for the response regardless. And you are absolutely right 100%. The authorized service dealer I went to in my local town completely tried to sell me a new brake system. Literally sending my car to the next city 45min away with another Ferrari service center and I saved $29,500 instantly which is nuts. What's even crazier, both service centers are owned by the same dealer. I honestly feel like they just had a quota to meet and said hey this guy came in for brakes, lets up charge him.

    Once again thank you for chiming in as I was worried at first cause they really made it seem as if my car is going to go at a moment's notice.

    Have a great day and all the best.
     
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  11. windsock

    windsock Formula Junior
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 29, 2006
    536
    Arlington, Washington
    First off what is the moisture content of the fluid. There is electronic testers for this and we use them on every service. For years we were receiving brand new cars that pegged our moisture gauges at 5% during the PDI process. Typically we see a 1% moisture absorption per year. It would not surprise me at all if you had high moisture content in the fluid which requires al ot more then a simple basic flush. It requires a full flush including the ABS system which takes 4-6 liters to flush all the moisture out.

    For track use I strongly recommend the Motul 660 not the 600 or Brembo LCF and change it often.
     
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  13. Il Co-Pilota

    Il Co-Pilota F1 Rookie
    Rossa Subscribed

    May 29, 2019
    4,033
    Copenhagen
    Full Name:
    A.B
    Agree on the Motul 660. That is also what I have here. The 600 was a brain fart on my part.

    Sent from my SM-G930F using FerrariChat.com mobile app
     
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  14. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi
    Thank you for the advice I will do it for sure
     
  15. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi
    I will get my self some asap thanks again
     
  16. omulec

    omulec Rookie

    Nov 26, 2008
    26
    Hi Tifosi.

    First of all, using RBF660, make sure that you replace on regular basis. It absorb water really quick. I would take a look on the rubber brake pipes on the wheels. Sometime they tend to separate the layers, and even if you don't see it, they fail to fluently transfer the pressure.

    But my point is, that we had such situation on 458 once. Did all possible with that car, and was still not ok. At the end we found out that the brake pads on front were sitting a little to much to the center of the disc, on the surface not scratched by previous set. In fact there was a little tiny step on the disc surface, and the inner edge of the pad was elevated, resting on this edge once braking. We grinded a little the inner egde of the pads and than it was fine. Check that.

    If you are in UAE, there is a friend of mine in Dubai with the workshop. He is european, with decent italian engineering feeling ;)
    If you would like to get second opinion on site, PM me.
     
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  17. McLarenSLR

    McLarenSLR Rookie

    Oct 17, 2011
    17
    Abu Dhabi
    Full Name:
    Tifosi
    Thank you for the response. I deeply appreciate it. I will keep that in mind for future reference. I ended up taking it to another branch as was told the brakes are fine and they just need a cleaning as well as the pads are ok. They said they would need to be replaced at some point in the future but not anytime soon. They swapped out the brake fluid as well. However, after seeing the comments from most members I will use a better brake fluid.

    thank you once again for your help.
     
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