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550 Brake fluid, upgrade?

Discussion in 'Technical Q&A' started by speedball, Apr 8, 2004.

  1. speedball

    speedball Formula Junior

    Mar 29, 2004
    268
    Pasadena Area
    Full Name:
    Scot Anderson
    I'm about to change my original brake pads (8,000 miles, dusty, squeaky little bastards) to Porterfield R4-S ... per several recommendations on this forum. I also plan to flush the brake system at the same time ... The manual calls out Shell, Donax UB (Dot-4 ultra) ... but I've read a few threads about using better brake fluid..... I asked the guys at Porterfield ... they weren't sure because they didn't know if the OEM fluid was mineral, syntheic or petro based ....... I know it's important to use the right stuff..... What brand of brake fluid does everybody use/recommend?

    Thanks,

    Scot
     
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  3. stephens

    stephens F1 Rookie
    Lifetime Rossa

    Feb 13, 2004
    4,483
    Australia
    Full Name:
    Stephen S
    Castrol SRF gets my vote for fluid and it may be worth looking at Pagid pads. I have nothing but praise for them, even though they can be a little noisy.
    Does anyone have experience of the Porterfield V Pagid.
     
  4. pma1010

    pma1010 F1 Rookie

    Jul 21, 2002
    2,559
    Chicago
    Full Name:
    Philip
    I have used R-4S and Pagid "intermediate" pads. Both provided an improvement in (high) temp tolerance over stock, but lose some performance when cold. Depending on your use pattern, and what you are seeking to achieve, there are other options. Dusting and rotor wear are other considerations.

    Some on this forum like the R-4S as a more aggressive, or track pad. I found they'd fade under very hot conditions and the inner pad was worn to the backing plate after 2 track days at Road America.

    I believe the 550 pads have a built in wear sensor. If you go to a non-stock pad, you'll need to tie this out the way and just check them more frequenty.

    When you change pad material (carbon kevlar...), you'll need to pull the rotors and roughen up both sides with some 60 grit paper to remove any deposit, otherwise it will feel like it is binding on and off until it "beds".

    "Race" fluids like Motul 600 or Castrol SRF provide a higher wet (with moisture) and dry (out the can) boiling point and therefore will be more temperature resistant than most "stock" fluids. However, they are more hydroscopic (moisture absorbing) so you need to change more often. For me, this equates to every 6 weeks or so, or after 3 or 4 track days. In the interim, the brakes are bled after every track day.

    HTH
    Philip
     
  5. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,083
    Correct, I have my fluid completely changed 4 times a year with ATE superBlue.
     
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  7. maranelloman

    maranelloman Guest

    ATE SuperBlue and Typ 200 (identical except for color), Motul 600, and Castrol SRF are all up to the rigors of use in the 550.

    I use SRF, and I track the car a lot. No problems whatsoever.
     
  8. BigHead

    BigHead Formula Junior

    Oct 31, 2003
    992
    Outside of Boston
    Full Name:
    Dennis
    I won't comment on brake pad choice, but here's my $.02 on fluids. It's fairly easy to change the brake fluid. You can do it yourself in the driveway, either the old fashioned way or with a $50 Motive Power Bleeder and some simple hand tools. Takes about 30 minutes, which includes jacking up and removing wheels as needed. Cost of the fluid? Well, here's where it gets interesting.

    If you're not taking the car to the track, and you plan on changing the fluid every year, ANY DOT 4 fluid will work fine for you. The ultra-high boiling points don't matter if you don't track the car, and/or your change the fluid often. Castrol SRF is the "king" of high performance brake fluid, but it's absolutely ridiculously expensive, even by Ferrari standards. Other DOT 4 fluids, like ATE Super Blue/Gold 2000 (same fluid, different color) costs me US$9 a can, by mail order, or $12 off the shelf locally. A fraction of what SRF costs, but offers about 95% of the same performance. Heck, Ford HD (Heavy Duty) brake fluid can be bought for ~$6 at any local Ford dealer, and though its wet boiling point is low, who cares if you change it every few months?

    The Maranello comes with DOT 4 fluid. All DOT 3, 4 and 5.1 fluids are compatible. DOT 5 fluis is silicone based, and is NOT compatible, nor recommended.

    vty,

    --Dennis
     
  9. 512Professore

    512Professore Karting

    Feb 3, 2004
    145
    USA, GA.
    Full Name:
    Brian Strasburg

    In complete agreement with Dennis. I have used the ATE Superblue fluid in the 512TR for many years, and have never-ever had a problem at track events. I could not justify the high cost of Castrol SRF(about $70 a quart), since track events dictates frequent fluid purging.

    Getting a pressure bleeder and DIY is a good route, especially if you have the means to jack-up the car. Most Ferarri dealers will charge well over $200 for a brake fluid purge/flush. If you decide to perform the flush yourself, start with the RR wheel, then the LR wheel, then the RF, and finally the LF. The whole job takes about 20 minutes, not including the time to jack-up the car and support it.
     
  10. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,083
    Don't forget to flush the clutch at the same time you fulsh the brakes.

    A couple of years ago I had a strange clutch issue at the track. After a few hot laps, the clutch would go all mushy. I would bleed the clutch at the track and it was OK until a few more laps. Turns out that the clutch fluid was old and had absorbed a lot of water vapor. Then the fluid tube runs up the side of the transmission housing to the clutch slave cylinder--RIGHT BESIDE the left header--and was geting cooked, boiling and destryoing the clutch feel. It now has its own little heat shield.
     
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  12. 512Professore

    512Professore Karting

    Feb 3, 2004
    145
    USA, GA.
    Full Name:
    Brian Strasburg
    Yeah Mitch, you are correct, the clutch line should also be flushed, as this would be the ideal situation, having completely new fluid in the system. On the 512TR, bleeding the clutch is a snap, and the car doesn't even need to be jacked-up, however, for the purpose of the original intent of this thread, a 550 Maranello is different. Under body panels must be removed on the 550 to get at the clutch slave cylinder, and the whole process will certainly take more than 20 minutes, when including the clutch bleed process. The clutch bleed step should be the last in the sequence, unless the master cylinder will also be bled.

    Also, some cars have a master cylinder bleed nipple, and to completely bleed the system, the master cylinder can be bled as the very last step, but is usually not necessary. By luck and by design, the ABS system on newer cars defaults to opening the ABS control valves when the iginition is turned off, so don't try to bleed the system with the ignition ON. Not all ABS brake systems default in this manner, such as Jaguar, so the pressure bottle bleed/flush technique is not always the proper method.

    Like you, I have also insulated the clutch line with heat reflective material.
     
  13. TCM

    TCM Formula Junior

    Nov 10, 2003
    552
    Tyngsborough, MA
    I agree with most of the posts on here. I would personally reccommend ATE Super Blue or Gold or Motul 600 as they offer great tempature levels and can be mixed with ordinary DOT4 fluid in an emergency. The Castrol SRF is the best fluid for driving hard, but it cannot be mixed with any other normal DOT4 fluid or it will gel up in the brake lines (giving you no brake pressure)! I spoke to the East Coast Castrol Representative at Lime Rock a few years back and was told that you should only use Castrol in a race car where there is no chance you would mix it with any other fluid. Therefore, I would go with Motul 600 and ATE Super Blue as they can be used in a daily driver/track car. Hope this helps.
     
  14. Sfumato

    Sfumato F1 Veteran
    Rossa Subscribed

    Nov 1, 2003
    9,721
    Llanfairpwllgwyngyll, Anglesey, Wales
    Full Name:
    Angus Podgorney
    ATE Super Blue for me, have used it for ages in stuff. Track and not. SRF needs bleeding frequently, compatibility issues. Old Ford fluid great too if you bleed after every event...same price as SRF buys you 3years worth.
    Lee
     
  15. speedball

    speedball Formula Junior

    Mar 29, 2004
    268
    Pasadena Area
    Full Name:
    Scot Anderson
    Thanks to everyone who replied ....... I'm going with ATE superBlue.
     
  16. Villaconn

    Villaconn Rookie

    Apr 12, 2004
    13
    Horsham, PA
    Full Name:
    Ricky Marrero
    Maybe I'm a little late responding but my personal favorite and the fluid I use in all my stuff is the ATE Super Blue. We've gotten excellent results with it in endurance racing (more like a 3 hr sprint race). In the 355 I have Performance Friction PF 90's and cryogenically treated slotted rotors fron and rear.

    Cheers!
    Ricky
     
  17. riverflyer

    riverflyer F1 Rookie

    Nov 26, 2003
    3,560
    Mendocino, Ca
    Full Name:
    John
    speedball, from my experience with those pads, they stop great (and saved my ass last time I tracked my Viper), but they do squeal like a pig.
    I am searching for new pads for my 550 right now. Does anyone know where to get the Ferodo ds2500 pads? thanks, John



     
  18. speedball

    speedball Formula Junior

    Mar 29, 2004
    268
    Pasadena Area
    Full Name:
    Scot Anderson
    Riverflyer.....

    Don't scare me like that ..ha ha .. but I do very much welcome your inmput..... I'm a week away from replacing my original pads ..... I read a few threads about Porterfield pads and heard good things from several people who used them ..... I live about 50 miles from Porterfield's shop which is in Costa Mesa, CA, and actually went there to buy these two weeks ago. I spoke at length with Tim Gray (Sales Mgr) who represented himself as being very knowledgeable about their products and brake issues in general ... had him look at my old pads on the car ..... talked about dusting and squeal ... he said these would have far less dusting issues ... and very reduced noise...... I asked about putting anti-squeal compound on the back of the pads, lightly sanding the disks, champering the edges of the pads, or anything else he'd recommend ..... his response was none of this really makes much difference ...... This did surprise me a bit ..... I guess we'll see ........ I'll post an updated report when I get these one the car. Will be doing both axles and full brake fluid fush...
     
  19. speedball

    speedball Formula Junior

    Mar 29, 2004
    268
    Pasadena Area
    Full Name:
    Scot Anderson
    One other thing ..... per most of everyone's recommendations....... I decided to go with ATE Super Blue .... found a great local supplier ..... $ 9/liter. \

    Thanks for everyone's opinion and recommendations.
     
  20. maranelloman

    maranelloman Guest

    John, see my response to your other post on this topic:

    www.cobaltfriction.com

    Pads are the same as for the Brembos on the 350Z Track Model's front calipers......
     
  21. speedball

    speedball Formula Junior

    Mar 29, 2004
    268
    Pasadena Area
    Full Name:
    Scot Anderson
    I put the R4S Porterfield pads on yesterday ... only driven the car 30 miles since and haven't worked them very hard because these need wear in slowly ... but so far not a peep out of them ...... I champered the leading and trailing edges and put anti-squeal compound on the back of each pad ..... Also flushed the sytem with new ATE Super Blue ....... It's possible once the pads wear in a bit, get real hot, or have some hard stopping, they may start to squeal ... but so far so good (fingers crossed) ... I hate squealing brakes and it was embarrasing driving a $ 200k car that sounded like a beater 74 Pinto when pulling up at stoplights . Shame on you Ferrari !!!

    As for feel and stopping power ... didn't notice much difference from the oem pads.... but I am aware that the real difference should be when they get warmed up ..... my oem pads were most likely original ... and had very little wear if any .... they were basically the same thickness as the new pads and the old pads were covered with sticky grease (maybe some form of anti squeal compound) and brass shims which the Porterfields don't have. I'd been looking around for a caliper piston retracting tool like ATE makes (same one pictured in the Ferrari workshop manual) e-mailed ATE in Germany but never got a reply .... never could find one and was surprised these were hard to find .... however, found it very easy to just push the pistons back to their fully retracted position with firm but light pressure (with the bleeders opened).

    At this point, I'm very happy with Porterfield pads....... using Super Blue fluid made it easy to tell when the old fluid was fully flushed because of the color change.
     
  22. bobafett

    bobafett F1 Veteran

    Sep 28, 2002
    9,193
    Speedball: i noticed a difference, esp. at high speed braking.

    Also: I managed to fit the wear-sensors on mine when I fitted them. Was a bit tricky, but it all worked out. Did you do the same, or tie them away like Philip suggested?

    --Dan
     
  23. speedball

    speedball Formula Junior

    Mar 29, 2004
    268
    Pasadena Area
    Full Name:
    Scot Anderson
    Bobafett ...... I just unpluged the wear sensors, sealed the connector to protect from dirt and grim, and tie-wraped it back to itself.

    Don't really need these anyway ..... they are only on the fronts.

    What do you make of the thin brass "plate or shim" on the OEM pads...... mine were all the same thickness so these most likely weren't used for adjustment ...... maybe for anti-squeal (which is unlikely because my OEM pads squealed badly) ... or maybe added to protect the surface of the pistons where they contact the pads..... My Porterfield pads didn't have these and I didn't use anything between the pads and pistons except a light coating of red anti-squeal compound ...... wondering if these are a required Ferrari item .... What's your spin .....

    Thanks,
     

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