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550 brakes underdeliver ?

Discussion in '456/550/575' started by ze_shark, Mar 23, 2004.

  1. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    I am back from an otherwise wonderful week-end in southern France (Monaco/Cannes), getting there through northern Italy, as highways are really nice and there is no a hint of political will to enforce speed limits.
    Was my first long trip in the Maranello (about 1000 miles in 3 days), a good opportunity to see how the beast lives up to real world Grand Turismo.

    The drive involved a short stint on swiss highways, the Grand St Bernard pass to Italy (through the tunnel, the pass is still closed in this season), the A5 from Aosta and then the A26 down to Genova, probably one of the most insane cities in the world from an urbanistic point-of-view, and then the A10 coastal highway to France.

    Desert 3 lane northern italian highways allow to drive at fairly high pace (125mph cruise) in relative security, I wandered shortly up to 290km/h (180) on an empty long straight. Above 120mph, the 550 piles up speed amazingly, it is certainly a lot more impressive from 120 to 160 than from 70 to 120, where lots of other cars can easily follow unless you downshift (a Maser' 4200 or a Merc E500 for instance).

    What did not impress me at all is the brakes. Breaking reasonably hard from 125 makes a weeeeeewwwww howling sound which is not reassuring at all, and the relative firmness of the pedal at lower speeds becomes a rather mushy feeling, you just don't know if you're going to get more if you had to squeeze the pedal more. I am still amazed that my discs are not warped after this journey. Since my standard brakes squeak at walking pace anyway, I am wondering if moving to the Fiorano package would be worth it ? Anybody tried this ? Tracking the car on a fast track must be ... hum ... an intersting experience.

    On the endless sweeps of the french-italian coastal highway, the handling of the Maranello is quite commendable, but I had again several instances where one of the rear wheels bottomed against something in the wing (have yet to figure out what), but that was under really severe compressions (an explanation, but not an excuse).

    Overall, the journey was wonderful. I find the Maranello at lot more usable in travel conditions than the 355, with more space for stuff in the cabin and a real trunk. Aside from the ridiculous turning radius, the torquey engine and the manual box make you feel comfy in the worst bumper to bumper trafic jams, an experience which would have been simply dreadful with an F1 (don't want to spark another endless debate, I just like to be in control and feather the clutch on the idle torque).
    Monaco was as out of touch with the real world as usual, Maybachs here and there, a Rolls Phantom, the 188m€ yacht of the brother of King Fahd of Saudi Arabia (Lady Moura, see http://community.webshots.com/photo/76939825/77372643OEjART, this thing is absolutely gigantic), a DB9 with two friendly AM test drivers (see http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12091&highlight=DB9), made two "laps" to show the F1 track to my girlfriend, one can't help being stunned by the speeds F1s reach in such a hostile and inadequate environment.

    On the way back, I followed a Merc 270 CDI for a long while. The guy was driving flat out (as many locals do in Italy), 120 to 150. There is no way I could have reasonably gone faster than him, while he was getting twice the gas mileage, had probably 15db less road noise, and no second thoughts about warping his discs. Travelling in a supercar is a special experience, especially when conditions allow to tap in (some of) the potential, but it gets quite pointless when you try to rationalize it.
     
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  3. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,658
    550 needs air ducts to the front brakes, and better pads along with fresh fluid to avoid boiling.

    1) how fresh is the brake fluid?
    2) you can look around for better pads {ferrodo, EBC,....}
    3) ducts some air to the front rotors and calipers.
     
  4. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    EBC? Yikes. I'd rather pack the calipers with maxi pads then ever use crumble cake EBC pads.
     
  5. EVartanian

    EVartanian Formula 3

    Mar 19, 2002
    1,177
    Sunny SoCal
    Full Name:
    Eric
    The 550 has ducts to vent the brakes.
     
  6. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    The car is barely 3 years old, can it be that the brake fluid is too old ?
    Mounting different pads is a possibility, but do they make enough of a difference ? My hope was that, unlike an adequate exhaust note, proper brakes were not optional on a 550 ...
    German Maranello owners who get a slice of autobahn every day must be either very brave or quite disappointed.

    Am I the only one whose rear wheels bottom out ?
     
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  8. Hubert

    Hubert F1 Rookie

    Jan 3, 2002
    2,642
    The Left Coast
    Mr. Shark:
    The mushy pedal feel is on account of you boiling your brake fluid. As the fluid ages, it takes on water/moisture. As this happens its chemical properties, and peformance envelope is reduced. Repeated boiling, and excessive intervals of time b/w fluid flushes, exacerbate this problem; the more moisture the fluid has taken, the worse it's performance becomes. You need to bleed your brake system.
    You rear wheels rubbing may just be that you've run out of suspension travel in the rear, or is it possible that you're running oversized rear tires? Have you played with the rear suspension settings at all? How are the shocks? Could the be blown? Etc.
     
  9. Steve Darrah

    Steve Darrah Rookie

    Nov 5, 2003
    35
    Midlothian, Virginia
    Full Name:
    Stephen C. Darrah
    I have the Fiorano package on my '01 550. I track the car often, change the brake fluid and pads before each track event, have run speeds up to 160mph, and have experienced no problems with brake fading, noise etc.The Fiorano package,IMO, is well worth the $.
     
  10. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    47,689
    Texas!

    Wow Shark. I'm insanely jealous. It is hard to imagine a better road trip. Maybe someday, eh?

    About the brakes, my first impression in driving the Maranello was that the car has a better motor than its brakes. The brakes are good, but they are not Porsche "Hitting a Wall" good. Late braking in not a good thing in a Maranello. Indeed, I find that I'm activating the ABS more in this car than any other car that I have driven.

    But I agree with Hubert. Go get the brake fluid changed. It will help quite a bit.

    But keep those postcard coming. Maybe someday I'll be able to join you.

    Thx, DrTax
     
  11. tifosi

    tifosi F1 Veteran
    Lifetime Rossa

    Sep 5, 2001
    5,382
    texas
    Full Name:
    Tom D
    I think its the case that hp and top speed get much more play in the press than braking performance, and those who will go those high speeds and require the braking performance have no problem moddin the brakes. ie it comes down to $$
     
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  13. bjc138

    bjc138 Karting

    Sep 2, 2002
    109
    DC
    Full Name:
    brian
    Hi JC,
    I too found the 550 brakes somewhat lacking, although not for street use here in Switzerland. To remedy this I fit Movit 380mm front brakes and have never looked back. Zero fade on track and very usable for highway/city. Another benefit is that they look soooo cooooool!!
    See: http://ferrarichat.com/forum/showthread.php?t=885

    -- Brian
     
  14. ultgar

    ultgar Karting

    Nov 21, 2003
    123
    New Jersey
    Full Name:
    Steve D'Gerolamo
    Did you have to use wheel spacers with the Movit brakes? What is the current Euro price for the front kit? SD
     
  15. maranelloman

    maranelloman Guest

    Howdy, everyone.

    Since I track the heck out of my 550, please allow me to pipe in here.

    The 550's brakes are superb, providing you use the correct pads & fluid. The stock pads are OK for 2 or 3 hard brakings, but after that, they fade pretty quickly, despite the car's strong air ducting. I have upgraded to Ferodo DS2500's all the way around. They are a hybrid aggressive street/medium track pad. No dust, no squealing, easy on rotors, and no fade whatsoever after lap after lap after lap of HARD driving, even in Texas heat.

    The stock fluid, even brand new, is 100% crap...and yours is 3 years old?? It boils very easily. I replaced mine with Castrol SRF, the best you can buy, IMO (but expensive). Works superbly. I bleed all 4 calipers (but not the whole system) after each track weekend. Never another boil!!

    As for shocks: mine don't bottom, but sometimes there is a clunking over hard bumps. I traced it to the tool kit & flat tire filler bottle in the bottom compartment of the trunk!! If yours still does it after removing this stuff, you probably have shocks that have failed (which happened to one of my fronts after its fluid started leaking).

    Good luck!

    -Dave
     
  16. exiges

    exiges Karting

    Feb 26, 2004
    199
    Midlands
    Full Name:
    David Brown
    Another vote for Castorl SRF here. It's very expensive, but the fluid will no longer be the weakest link in the braking system.. Though it is hy(dg)roscopic and needs changing yearly.
     
  17. Mitch Alsup

    Mitch Alsup F1 Veteran

    Nov 4, 2003
    7,658
    As a track racer, I get a complete fluid flush 3 or 4 times a year. Yes the fluid is too old. I use ATE SuperBlue.

    My F355 pads were easy to fade at the track and would get 'hot' instantly from any speeds over 150 MPH. The new Ferrodo DS2500s have more bite, can take more heat, are easy on the rotors, and create less dust than the stock Ferrari pads. In addition, they only cost half as much as the Ferrari pads.
     
  18. ze_shark

    ze_shark Formula 3

    Jul 13, 2003
    1,273
    Switzerland (NW)
    Thanks very much for all the good advice, looks like my todolist is growing ...

    The "bottoming out" really sounds like a tire touching something. It's not a shock, it's a tzzzzzt, if you can hear what I mean. Tires/wheels are plain vanilla PZeros, 295 wide, nothing special, that could explain. Takes really hard compressions to get there, and it can happen on either side (obviously the exterior one relatively to the bend). Not done much homework to determine if there is anything visible on the tire. Does not seem like it on the outside.

    Dr Tax, there are fortunately still a couple of countries in Europe where road conditions and law enforcement (or laws themselves) allow to give GT its full meaning, but I wonder how long this will still last before tracking our cars is the only way to enjoy our hobbies.
     
  19. bjc138

    bjc138 Karting

    Sep 2, 2002
    109
    DC
    Full Name:
    brian
    Hi Steve, No spacers required. I have no idea how much, in Euro, the Movits are. You can ask the company here: http://www.movit.de/orderform.phtml

    -- Brian
     
  20. EVartanian

    EVartanian Formula 3

    Mar 19, 2002
    1,177
    Sunny SoCal
    Full Name:
    Eric
    Hi Dave! Had a feeling you'd chime in on this one.

    I have another question I'll throw out there for anyone that might know...

    I remember reading once on the board someone mentioning that bleeding the brakes requires the SD2. Is this true? I thought this was a bit odd. Dave mentions bleeding his brakes after track weekends, so I assume not. The manual makes no mention of it and even outlines how to go about performing this, though it does say to have an authorized shop do it. So...fact or fiction?

    Eric
     
  21. Texas Forever

    Texas Forever Four Time F1 World Champ
    Rossa Subscribed

    Apr 28, 2003
    47,689
    Texas!
    Shark, keep on running those roads. I'll be sitting right there on your shoulder. Who knows? Maybe someday, I'll be right behind you. Someday, eh?

    Best, Dale
     
  22. shelbee

    shelbee Guest

    Dave, I am thinking of replacing the 550's brake pads with Ferodo's. Could you please give me some further details info where to get them and what is the pricing??

    Thanks, Shelbee
     
  23. maranelloman

    maranelloman Guest

    I just bought a set for all 4 wheels from www.cobaltfriction.com. I have no connection to them whatsoever. They are the same pads as the Nissan 350 Z Track model uses for its front Brembo calipers...and thus this makes them less expensive. I think I paid less than $300, shipped, for the full 4 wheel set.
     
  24. shelbee

    shelbee Guest

    So which one is the Ferodo??

    I saw Cobalt Racing Brake Pads, Hawk Performance and Axxis Ultimate Brake pads.

    Thanks, Shelbee
     
  25. maranelloman

    maranelloman Guest


    Sorry, I should have been more clear. You need to call them. Their online store leave a lot to be desired... Their phone # is on the web site.
     
  26. shelbee

    shelbee Guest

    Thanks, I will.

    I might go with Ferodo DS 2500
     

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