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Brake Fade Question

Discussion in 'Other Racing' started by joker57676, Mar 26, 2008.

  1. joker57676

    joker57676 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 12, 2005
    23,216
    Sin City
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    Deplorie McDeplorableface
    I have begun doing track days here and there; nothing serious just having fun. I don't try to set fast times, but I do like to push the car a bit. Right now I have an 07 Honda Civic Si (completely stock) that is pretty fun but nothing special. I am considering upgrading the brakes, more for safety than lowering lap times. I am looking at a way to reduce the risk of brake fade, not so much reduce stopping distances.

    What would I need to do to accomplish this? Can I simply add hirer performance pads that can handle higher temps, or do I need to change the rotors as well? Or vice versa, can I change rotors and keep the stock pads? Can I keep the stock calipers and add new pads and rotors and achieve the desired results?

    Just as an aside, what do you think cost would be; I'm a law student but do have a good job that keeps some extra cash around although not tons. Any input would be appreciated. Thank you in advance.

    Mark
     
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  3. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    Mark,

    Excellent questions! The least expensive starters would be to use Motul 600 brake fluid, replace any/all soft brake lines with steel braided (like those by Goodridge) and run brake rotor cooling ducts from the front of the car to the CENTER (not outside) of the front brake rotors. Total cost should be relatively minimum.

    As for pads, more grip needs be had on ALL FOUR corners to keep brake bias front to rear at a good balance. NEVER underestimate or overlook proper brake bias. The drawback to using a higher coefficient of grip pads is that some pads like to eat rotors faster than others, and so adds to your costs. Honda rotors should not costs too much i guess so adjust accordingly.
     
  4. bowbells

    bowbells Formula Junior

    Jan 14, 2008
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    Arthur Dent
    Good cooling ducts as mentioned along with a higher boiling point fluid cost very little. Plus, and this always pisses people off, learn how to brake properly! Most everybody is far to aggressive, find a good instructor who will definitely improve the brake problem and considerably lower your times if he/she is worth a salt. I can put different people in same car, some will smoke the brakes, whilst another will use them for a season.

    Lolaman? where are you/
     
  5. futureowner

    futureowner Formula 3

    Mar 24, 2006
    1,469
    Brookfield, WI
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    Thad
    Check out www.kingmotorsports.com. America's only authorized Mugen dealer. I went there and got the Powerslot rotors for my RSX after having too many friends crack aftermarket drilled rotors (I was in college and didn't have a budget to keep replacing rotors). Got the Hawk pads and stainless lines. Really improves the braking and is fairly inexpensive. The pads aren't that dusty either.
     
  6. joker57676

    joker57676 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 12, 2005
    23,216
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    Deplorie McDeplorableface
    Thanks guys, I hadn't even considered ducts but I'll look into applications for my car. As for learning to brake correctly, yeah I figured that much out karting...braking late and turning in hard killed my lap times (strictly momentum course). I haven't had a problem cooking the brakes yet, I just want to avoid that one time I do and end up in a wall. I am going to do some sort of driving school at sometime, but I don't know when yet...right now it's just more of a fun thing I go do with one of my bosses.

    Brake lines were a must, that's the first thing I'm going to do, but I hadn't considered fluid. Does fluid really help prevent brake fade?

    Mark

    PS...hirer = higher, I cannot believe I wrote that.
     
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  8. enjoythemusic

    enjoythemusic F1 World Champ

    Apr 20, 2002
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    Yes, and no i guess... technically (i could be wrong in my thinking, yet the outcome is still really, really bad). Boiling brake fluid due to it achieving too high a temperature can cause vapor lock. That means either no brakes or caliper lock up, which i guess technically is different than 'fade' by overheating the pads and rotors.

    Of course i am kinda guessing here in technicality though will say i have seen what happens on the track (not me, another Ferrari driver) when brake fluid boils. It caused a total 100% caliper lock up. That equals big flat spot on the tire and the rotor to warp due to the caliper/pad being very hot and staying directly on the rotor while the remainder of the rotors finally was able to cool down. Fortunately he was on the front straight when it happened.
     
  9. ProCoach

    ProCoach F1 Veteran
    Owner

    Sep 15, 2004
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    Peter

    Hahaha!

    Seriously, that's absolutely right. Most n00bs are way too seduced with their newfound braking skillz and the feeling of "braking horspower" and go on to glaze the pads (which is what the slots help prevent), overheat and boil the fluid, cause violent thermal shock and crack rotors and otherwise do damage to their car. When Danny Sullivan was a guest instructor at a school where I was present, he spoke to this very problem, just as you have.

    AFA fluid goes, all conventional glycol based fluids are hygoscopic, which means they start absorbing water right away. Most synthetic fluids are more easily compressable than glycol based fluids and have various incompatibilities with some rubber components. The better fluids have higher wet and dry boiling temps, but any DOT 3 or 4 conventional fluid should be sufficient in as small a car as you're talking about. Now if we were talking about a TR, an E39 or a E60 M5, extreme measures would need to be taken!

    The "fade" occurs in two ways. Either the pedal gets soft because the moisture in the brake fluid boils in or near the caliper and because water and steam are way more compressible than brake fluid or temps rise so quickly that the pad surface crystallizes and becomes hard as glass, eliminating the cF needed to stop the car, at which point both the pads and rotor surfaces are compromised permanently.

    Simple answer, add air to the components that generate the heat. Pull the backing plates off, being aware that without splash guards, the car won't stop in the wet at first.

    Brakes have ONE job, to turn kinetic energy into heat. Don't get worried until you feel fade. Unless you have a catastrophic failure, you'll have plenty of warning that something is amiss... :)
     
  10. Dubai Vol

    Dubai Vol Formula 3

    Aug 12, 2005
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    Scot Danner
    You can fabricate your own brake cooling ducts out of 4 inch dryer vent hose. Don't laugh, it's been used by real racers for years.

    A quick Google revaled this tidbit for the '06 Si:

    http://corporate.honda.com/press/article.aspx?id=2005083039848

    I can't imagine they did away with this feature for '07, so you have a good start. now go get some dryer vent hose and bring some more air to these strakes. From the pics I brought up, the front bumper has what look like cooling duct openings; make them functional.

    The big issue with new brake fluid is making sure that there is no water in the system, so even just flushing with new fluid is a good idea. Serious race teams flush their brake fluid for every race.

    Here's a source for fancy ducting if you are so inclined:

    http://www.racerpartswholesale.com/product/2726/Thermoid_High_Temp_Ducting2
     
  11. bowbells

    bowbells Formula Junior

    Jan 14, 2008
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    Arthur Dent
    Old school, that's me Peter! Stiff springs/soft shocks, eggs on the pedals, fingertips only,smooooth........

    B.
     
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  13. b-mak

    b-mak F1 Veteran

    Mark, you're going to be great on the track. Your approach is pragmatic and truly rare among enthusiasts. Good luck!
     
  14. TopElement

    TopElement Formula 3

    May 14, 2005
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    A Montoya
    Keep the rotors and calipers cool, get better pads, ss braided lines. Keeping the brakes at the right temp makes a huge difference.
     
  15. fatbillybob

    fatbillybob Two Time F1 World Champ
    Consultant Owner

    Aug 10, 2002
    20,351
    socal
    You don't have to worry if 1) you got good feel and can recognize fade 2) know when to alter technique to control brake function as race conditions change 3) be scientific and buy some templiac (sp) paint designed to assist you in figuring out where your brakes are operating at temperature wise vs. their temp range of operation. This is all really cheap. Then if you discover known problems or operate outside design ranges you do things like ducts, pad compounds, fluids etc... otherwise you are just making other compromises like rotor wear, weight of ducting system etc..
     
  16. ProCoach

    ProCoach F1 Veteran
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    Sep 15, 2004
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    Tempilaq: http://www.pegasusautoracing.com/productselection.asp?Product=3161

    My only concern is that you say you "want to reduce the risk (italics mine) of brake fade." Realistically, the '07 Si is pretty good in the brake department and I would suggest just changing the fluid first as a matter of good preparation, and go out and have fun at your first event. Starting out, the risk is low and it's unlikely you're going to run into this problem. If you have a question, do as FBB suggests, gather data[/i] and formulate a strategy based on facts. That's why the pros are the pros.

    What is wonderful is that this activity is addicting and you will want to do it again and again. Air ducts (first), pad material upgrades, slotted rotors and stainless steel brake lines all help improve the efficiency and longevity of the braking system. Have fun!
     
  17. joker57676

    joker57676 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 12, 2005
    23,216
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    Deplorie McDeplorableface
    Thank you everybody for the responses, they are much appreciated. Next time I'm on track won't be my first track day, but it will be with my current car. I have tracked an Acura RSX-S and a Porsche Cayman S without brake issues, but I had heard the Civic Si was prone to fade after a couple laps (that's the cause for concern). And believe me, I know its addicting, there's nothing else like it, but I am under no delusions of setting any records. I am hoping to attend several track days this summer and was a little concerned stock equipment would be up to the challenge repeatedly. Thanks again for all the information, I encourage anyone else with input to share...more info never hurt.

    Mark
     
  18. PDX Tifosi

    PDX Tifosi Karting

    Jun 19, 2007
    109
    Vancouver, WA
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    Dan
    While there's alot of good info posted, here it is in a nut shell. Change your pads and brake fluid. ATE superblue for fluid is good and cheap, and perhaps a set of hawk HP+ street/track pads. Safe, quick, and easy.
     
  19. joker57676

    joker57676 Two Time F1 World Champ

    Apr 12, 2005
    23,216
    Sin City
    Full Name:
    Deplorie McDeplorableface
    My original plan/thought was street/track pads would work, but I didn't know if the higher temp pads would cook the rotors or something....I thought asking people who know a lot more about it than I do would be the best course of action. Thanks.

    Mark
     
  20. PDX Tifosi

    PDX Tifosi Karting

    Jun 19, 2007
    109
    Vancouver, WA
    Full Name:
    Dan
    Nope, the higher temp pads are fine for what you want.
     

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