Replacing Pads & Rotors, Front & Rear

TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
It's come time for me to replace my front rotors as they are cracking badly. I started noticing a vibration above 80mph a few weeks ago but didn't think much of it. Turns out that my drilled & slotted rotors are cracking at every drilled hole. When I first noticed the cracks I was a bit aggravated as they are Brakemotive's and are a little less than 3 years old ... then I did the mental arithmetic and realized they have over 60,000 miles on them. HARD miles (80mph when I noticed the vibration, remember?). I've run countless emergency calls up and down the mountains here in central PA... and salt, oh my god the salt...

So, I can't really complain about their longevity - the rotors that is. I did have to replace the included pads once as one of them sheared completely off coming off the mountain. I went with some parts store brand before I realized I should contact Brakemotive for a replacement. They were willing to replace them, but by that time I had already done the job. They were the included pads and I really didn't expect much out of them, so no harm no foul as they say.

Now, I'm ready to order new rotors & pads, all around. I'm pulling the trigger tonight on a "Max Brakes" "Supreme" kit, black "elite" coated rotors and their "supreme" pads. The pads look VERY interesting. Once I've got something useful to report, I'll try and add a followup to this thread. I may even do pictures when I do the install depending on how I'm feeling at the time.

In the meantime, if anyone has anything to offer on "Max Brakes", I'm all ears. I hadn't heard of them before today. I'm digging the black coating and the pads look very intriguing. I would've ordered replacement Brakemotives, but this would be my third (or fourth, can't remember) set of fronts from them... I figured I'd try something new.

This car eats brakes almost as bad as my 1982 Chevette with non-vented rotors - one trip up and down the hill and the rotors were warped beyond belief. I used to install rotors, warp them, and have them turned all in the same day. That seemed to give me the best longevity... a few months at least. And what a PITA that was with the bearings residing inside the rotor. If you got the rotor hot enough to warp, you probably cooked the wheel bearing grease, too. I usually ended up repacking the bearings altogether, every time. I'm glad I don't have to do that anymore...
 

Mooseman

Moderator
I'll just point you to @Chickenhawk 's post regarding drilled and slotted rotors.


Reader's digest version: they're BS and make brakes WORSE no matter the pads you're using.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
I'll just point you to @Chickenhawk 's post regarding drilled and slotted rotors.


Reader's digest version: they're BS and make brakes WORSE no matter the pads you're using.
When I put my first set of Brakemotive's on shortly after buying the car (used, of course) I noticed a HUGE difference in braking feel, reduced fade, and reduced brake distance. The biggest surprise was downhill braking. There's a very nasty hill near my house that has a 100 degree turn in it after about a mile of descent. "NO TRACTOR TRAILERS" reads the sign on the other side of the hill... it's that bad. I've "recovered" (we "rescue" the living and "recover" the... uh... no longer living) a truck driver or two that didn't heed that sign. Anyway, with my OEM style rotors and OEM style pads I blew that turn altogether and very nearly ended up in a pond with my very upset 5 yo daughter in the back. Put the Brakemotives on, and never had an issue.

I get the discussion about blank vs slotted/drilled. I've read the articles "debunking" it. I also watch virtually every motor sport run drilled & slotted rotors - with the exception being carbon fiber brake discs used in formula 1 brakes (though some are cross drilled) but I'm not willing to pay thousands per rotor. Even hypercars equipped with carbon fiber rotors have drilled rotors.

I've "glazed" blank rotors & pads many a time... to the point of having virtually zero braking capabilities. I've boiled brake fluid from braking with blank rotors. I've not done either of these with drilled / slotted rotors.

The only way to get a clear idea of slotted vs blank performance differences is to compare the two on the same vehicle - does anyone have a link to a study that's done exactly that?
 

Mektek

Well-Known Member
Your real-world experience with drilled/slotted rotors is interesting. Definitely it reduces brake area - where there is a hole or a slot there is no braking power at all.
The improved performance probably is from slightly better airflow through the holes and slightly lower operating temperatures. The big disadvantage is the increased likelyhood of cracking, especially in the rust belt.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
Your real-world experience with drilled/slotted rotors is interesting. Definitely it reduces brake area - where there is a hole or a slot there is no braking power at all.
The improved performance probably is from slightly better airflow through the holes and slightly lower operating temperatures. The big disadvantage is the increased likelyhood of cracking, especially in the rust belt.
Admittedly, it's also entirely possible that the improvement was simply due to replacing nearly shot components with brand new. Although if memory serves, they had fairly recently been inspected. I've had brakes fail due to heat glazing, so it wouldn't surprise me. But the repeated trips up and down the mountain that I experienced the last failure on, and have not experienced it since, suggest strongly that ~something~ is improved enough to make a huge difference.

As for cracking... YUP... I have cracked rotors, hence the need to replace them. In all fairness, I know that blank rotors rarely exhibit stress/heat cracking. However, I'm comfortable with 60,000 miles of life out of a set of rotors. And if it means replacing pads every 20,000 to 30,000 to prevent heat glazing related failure... I'm ok with that, too.

I just hope I can get the bleeders opened up to do a brake fluid flush when I install the new rotors & pads. I also have nearly zero faith in the prospect of bleeding them singlehandedly without introducing air. I've seen the videos that detail the DIY "one man bleeder" and while intriguing, I'm not convinced I'll be able to pull it off. Here's hoping...
 

HARDTRAILZ

Moderator
Personally...I always go drilled n slotted and do feel like they work better, but it may be all in my head as I have nothing but my gut and experience to support it. Never had an issue with slots or holes so until then...I will use em.
 

Blckshdw

Moderator
I just hope I can get the bleeders opened up to do a brake fluid flush when I install the new rotors & pads. I also have nearly zero faith in the prospect of bleeding them singlehandedly without introducing air. I've seen the videos that detail the DIY "one man bleeder" and while intriguing, I'm not convinced I'll be able to pull it off. Here's hoping...
A buddy of mine had the Motive 1 person bleeder, and I borrowed it when I replaced all my brake hardware. For some reason, after pressurizing the tank and opening the bleeders, no fluid would move. I ended up getting into the seat, and pumping the brake pedal a few times, then getting out to check the tube and bottle on the caliper. It was a little unconventional, but it worked and I got all 4 corners done by myself. Just had to check the bleeder tank to make sure it didn't run dry and put air into the MC. :twocents:
 

Chickenhawk

Well-Known Member
Yes, the improvement in braking feel and performance is strictly going from old and worn pads and rotors to brand new ones. There is nothing wrong with Brakemotive and nothing wrong with GOOD QUALITY drilled and slotted rotors. Lord knows, we do a lot of things strictly for the look. But that's the bottom line - they are only for looks. (That's also why you find them on many "performance" cars, but rarely on race cars, never on police cars and NEVER on aircraft brakes.)

The science just plain does not support the claims.

As for direct comparisons, no one has done a proper double-blind comparison test with all factors being equal. But science says air cannot suddenly turn 90 degrees and enter small holes while a rotor is spinning at thousands of RPMs. Pilots are familiar with what is called boundary layer air, and what it means is that the air right against a surface isn't moving, no matter how fast the surface is moving. This is why an aircraft - no matter how fast it can travel - is just as dusty on the wings when it lands as when it takes off.

Drilled rotors are prone to cracking. Slotted rotors are prone to delamination in rust belt areas. But it is still better to have good quality drilled or slotted than old and worn out rotors and pads of any kind. My issue with Brakemotive (and similar others) is that the pads are not the best. I would have no issue installing their rotors, understanding they are just for the looks, but I want a better pad and I prefer solid rotors for better braking. (The difference is so slight, however - all other factors being equal - that all those holes only marginally reduce brake effectiveness to the point that it really doesn't matter to most people.)

Good rotors rarely "warp." It is almost unheard of for brand-name rotors to actually warp. What you really feel is a build-up from the pads that is so hardened and polished into the surface, it is almost impossible to remove. Few people cut rotors any more because new ones are comparatively cheap, and cutting rotors below minimum thickness specs can be dangerous.

I am a BIG believer is changing out brake fluid every few years. Brake fluid absorbs water, and the first time you bleed your entire braking system, it will astound you how black the fluid is from water absorption and rust residue. I don't like suction bleeders because they can let air in past the threads of the bleeder screws. I prefer pressure bleeders. I use the Motive bleeder and love it. I also use it dry to lessen my cleanup. You have to make sure that you fill the reservoir for every wheel and that you never let the reservoir run dry, but I can use it every few years and it works great.

The key to the Motive bleeder is to make sure it is pressurized before you start bleeding. Spread some fresh brake fluid around the rubber seal before applying, and test it to be sure the seal holds pressure before you start opening bleeders.
 

Matt

Silver Supporter
I just hope I can get the bleeders opened up to do a brake fluid flush when I install the new rotors & pads. I also have nearly zero faith in the prospect of bleeding them singlehandedly without introducing air. I've seen the videos that detail the DIY "one man bleeder" and while intriguing, I'm not convinced I'll be able to pull it off. Here's hoping...
If you're talking about the half filled gatorade bottle with the tube in the lid, it works great! I had to replace my rear calipers a couple of months ago and used this method for the bleed with no issues at all.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
If you're talking about the half filled gatorade bottle with the tube in the lid, it works great! I had to replace my rear calipers a couple of months ago and used this method for the bleed with no issues at all.
That's the one... I'll likely give it a shot as I don't have any able-bodied help that can pump the brakes.
 

Matt

Silver Supporter
That's the one... I'll likely give it a shot as I don't have any able-bodied help that can pump the brakes.
Cool. I zip tied the hose under the cap so it wouldn't come out and I used a lot larger bottle because the gatorade ones I had looked too small.
 

Brian K

Member
Chickenhawk - that was a good explanation of D&S rotors versus not - especially the comment about them not used on aircraft - that says alot! I still have the old style rotors and was considering getting the D&S ones but won't now. My rotors do pulse when they get hot from alot of downhill braking - when cold there is no vibration then when heated they shake alot. I assume that isn't a buildup of pad material. They do look nice and shiny with no visible buildup.

I also bleed the brakes regularly - about every 2 years. I use the Lisle 19200 kit and have never had a problem with air going back up inside the caliper. I start out by sucking out the master cylinder and refill with new fluid them do the brakes from farthest to closest. I do them myself without a helper. Local shops seem to think this is a big deal from what they charge!
 

Chickenhawk

Well-Known Member
Yes! Thank you. Legally, aircraft need to be able to reach go/no go speed (V1) and then come to a complete stop using no more than the available runway and without the use of thrust reversers. They use multiple rotors (and none of them are slotted or drilled!) They have HUGE brakes.

I have seen an emergency deadstick landing without thrust reversers or spoilers, resulting in brake temps so hot that the wheels and tires were on fire when they came to a rest.

Interestingly enough, this is also why large aircraft tires are filled with nitrogen and not air. On a balked landing, they need to come from temps approaching minus 60, to temps over 500 degrees in less than two seconds, and then tuck back into a very tight wheel well without expanding enough to jam the landing gear. Nitrogen expands less than pure air. This is also why nitrogen in car tires are an out-and-out scam on consumers. There is no way car tires can possibly reach those temperature extremes, and even if they did, they don't need to tuck into a tight space with half an inch to spare.

LOL. My rant of the day.
 

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
If you're talking about the half filled gatorade bottle with the tube in the lid, it works great! I had to replace my rear calipers a couple of months ago and used this method for the bleed with no issues at all.
+1. I've done this a couple of times now, by myself. It works, although I go through a bit of fluid (but that's the point, and fluid is relatively cheap -- or, *really* cheap, compared to losing braking power & hitting something / someone)

That's the one... I'll likely give it a shot as I don't have any able-bodied help that can pump the brakes.
Here's what I do, and you may find some of it helpful...

(std disclaimers about the below procedures being for experienced mechanics, me not being liable for your actions, etc. -- apply. With that said... )

- Get 1-2 large bottles of brake fluid. Valvoline makes a DOT3 that's got a higher max temp than Prestone's 'yellow bottle', and it's also labeled as 'full synthetic', FWIW. Runs about $7-8 for the quart size container, in my neck of the woods (e.g.; AAP, O'Reilly's, etc.). Since you seem to stand on the brakes when you use them, I'd get a high-temp fluid. Of course, if you want to get spendy, you could get some Super Blue, like competition drivers use... LOL

- Set up your bottle, clear tubing and fluid, per directions you've found elsewhere. (note: it's 'ok' to use the old fluid from 'step 2' below in the bottle, if you're worried about having enough fluid. This fluid won't be introduced back into the system; it's there to ensure no air between hose / bleeder) Best is to put clean brake fluid into the bottle, though.

- Get some smaller zip ties to use - small enough to bind the hose tightly to the bleeder, at the widest end of the 'fluted' part. Plan on needing more than 1 per wheel; they slip off fairly easily & it takes a while to get the hang of it. A pair of pliers can be useful to tighten down the zip tie.

- Something fairly heavy that you can place on the pedal to hold it down. I've even used an extendable snowbrush and wedged it between front of seat cushion & brake pedal (you have to move the seat forward for this to work)

- A suction gun or turkey baster. You can get a baster at the dollar store. Don't borrow the wife's (unless you can get it in the dishwasher before she gets home - and then you have to explain why you were using the turkey baster when she empties the dishwasher). :nono:

1. Spray some PB Blaster on the bleeder screws, and make sure you can move them. IIRC, they're either an 8mm or 10mm. A box / closed end wrench is better for this, and if you have a 6 point, even better.

2. Take your suction gun / baster and remove most (but not 'all') the fluid from the reservoir. You don't want to introduce air at the reservoir end, but the more old stuff you get out of the reservoir... is less you'll be bleeding out of the system.

3. Fill the reservoir with new fluid, up to the 'max' line. Put the cap 'on' the threads, but don't secure it tightly. Use a funnel if needed; brake fluid eats paint. If the 'max' line is hard to see, you can get a highlighter / Sharpee and mark a reference point.

4. Place your wrench on the bleeder hex nut, then the hose over the bleeder screw. Use the zip tie to seal off the bleeder just behind the flute (before the nut). The 'standard' sequence is 'farthest from the booster' to 'closest'. Usually that's pass rear / driver rear / pass front / driver front. (not everyone agrees with this, but that's pretty much standard, and it seems to work well for me.)

5. With hose & wrench in place, and your weighted item ready, pump your brakes a few times until you feel the pedal get firm. While holding it down, put the weight on the brake pedal to hold it down (tip: having your weighted item on the left side of the pedal, pumping with your right foot on that side, then using your left foot to slide the weight over can be helpful.) If the pedal rises, repeat step 5 until you can get the pedal held down without it rising.

6. Now go back to your bleeder, and open it up. It doesn't take much - about 1/4 turn will open it, and a 1/2 turn should produce a very good flow of fluid. After a couple of seconds (or the fluid stops moving outward), immediately close it back up. The one thing you don't want to do is get air feeding back into the bleeder.

Repeat steps 5-6 on that wheel until you see clear (new) fluid coming out of the bleeder, and no bubbles. Close off the bleeder & remove the hose. Make sure the pedal feels 'normal' before you move on to the next bleeder.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 as needed, emptying out some of the contents of the bottle as needed. Again, you can totally refill it with fresh, if you prefer -- but once the old fluid intermingles with it, it's sacrificial at that point. (now you see why I said '2' bottles... ) :wink:

(tip: if the hose seems a little worse for wear after you finish with a bleeder, take a pair of scissors and trim off the end of the tubing, so you have a 'fresh' end to put on the next bleeder)

When you're all done, (and before you put the wheels back on), start the truck. Note that the pedal will probably go down a little farther than you're used to at first, especially if you put new pads on. If it repeatedly goes to the floor (and, really, it shouldn't do that even once), shut the engine off and check your work again.

Once you're confident that everything's good, put the wheels back on, start it up, check your pedal again, and then put the truck in gear. Let it idle about 10ft out, and make sure the truck stops (using light to medium modulation - not stomping on the pedal.) If all is well, repeat from 5mph, then 10mph; repeat as you see fit using a little higher speed each time (by 30mph, you should be golden). Then go break in your new pads ( @Chickenhawk has a post with directions on how to do this.)
 
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Mektek

Well-Known Member
Seems like it's more time consuming to do it manually.
I use a vacuum pump and a "oneman" brake bleeder / fluid separator.
First start the pump, insert the inlet hose of the brake bleeder into the reservoir to suck out the fluid and then refill it.
Then open the bleeder screw, connect the bleeder hose and start the pump. Watch the inlet hose and pump until the fluid going through turns clear. Turn off the pump and close the bleeder screw.
Repeat for the rest of the calipers.

One quart should be enough for the whole system.

Leave the turkey baster for thanksgiving :salivate:
 

Mooseman

Moderator
I would inspect them for cracks if they got that hot.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
The rotors appear to be defect free. I am contacting the manufacturer to get their take on it. I took a quick trip around the block after letting everything cool for a few hours and the brakes seem to firm right back up - I damn near lost all brake feel coming off the mountain. After my trip in to work this morning I checked them, and their blued again with the driver front being the worst. I'm doing a full brake flush tomorrow to replace fluid and see if the driver front caliper is hanging up.
 

Maverick6587

Silver Supporter
@TequilaWarrior
I'm actually going to install Detroit Axle rotors and pads this weekend. I was going to buy those ACDelco specialty rotors but I saw that Detroit Axle rotors have a 10-year warranty.

The 8 piece kit comes with front rotors, brake pads, brake hardware, 2 wheel hubs, dot 3 (which I will not be using. I switched to dot 4), and brake cleaner. Both the rotors and the hubs have a 10-year warranty. All for $159.

Link if anyone else is interested:
Detroit Axle - Front Wheel Hub Bearing Assembly, Drilled and Slotted Disc Brake Rotors w/Ceramic Pads
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
I've tried to reach the manufacturer's tech support line for the past 2 weeks and have gotten nowhere. No return calls, nothing. I'm getting close to just chucking the damn pads and go with premium pads from a auto parts place.

I keep turning the rotors blue coming of the mountain. I usually end up parking in front of the house because the damn brakes smell so bad. BTW: this is their "premium" package. What a crock...
 

Mooseman

Moderator
Hate to tell ya but it's the rotors. It's not the pads putting more heat into the rotors, it's the rotors not being able to dissipate that heat. You could put a set of the best pads out there but they will still create heat when being applied. If the rotors can't get rid of that heat quickly enough, the pads will also heat up and give off that smell as well as reducing their effectiveness.

You would be better off to just replace the rotors with blank ones. Even better yet, since the brakes get stressed so much by that mountain, I would definitely switch to quality larger EXT rotors. Even better still, use SS rotors which are even heavier. I used those on the Saab for towing and they don't even break a sweat. ACDelco Professional pads and SS rotors would be your ticket. All you need is a pair of EXT caliper brackets.
 

Maverick6587

Silver Supporter
You might want to just switch to the SS rotors. They are bigger and might be able to handle all that friction a little better. I just changed mine to the SS rotors and only had to swap out the caliper brackets to do so.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
+1. I've done this a couple of times now, by myself. It works, although I go through a bit of fluid (but that's the point, and fluid is relatively cheap -- or, *really* cheap, compared to losing braking power & hitting something / someone)



Here's what I do, and you may find some of it helpful...

(std disclaimers about the below procedures being for experienced mechanics, me not being liable for your actions, etc. -- apply. With that said... )

- Get 1-2 large bottles of brake fluid. Valvoline makes a DOT3 that's got a higher max temp than Prestone's 'yellow bottle', and it's also labeled as 'full synthetic', FWIW. Runs about $7-8 for the quart size container, in my neck of the woods (e.g.; AAP, O'Reilly's, etc.). Since you seem to stand on the brakes when you use them, I'd get a high-temp fluid. Of course, if you want to get spendy, you could get some Super Blue, like competition drivers use... LOL

- Set up your bottle, clear tubing and fluid, per directions you've found elsewhere. (note: it's 'ok' to use the old fluid from 'step 2' below in the bottle, if you're worried about having enough fluid. This fluid won't be introduced back into the system; it's there to ensure no air between hose / bleeder) Best is to put clean brake fluid into the bottle, though.

- Get some smaller zip ties to use - small enough to bind the hose tightly to the bleeder, at the widest end of the 'fluted' part. Plan on needing more than 1 per wheel; they slip off fairly easily & it takes a while to get the hang of it. A pair of pliers can be useful to tighten down the zip tie.

- Something fairly heavy that you can place on the pedal to hold it down. I've even used an extendable snowbrush and wedged it between front of seat cushion & brake pedal (you have to move the seat forward for this to work)

- A turkey baster. You can get them at the dollar store. Don't borrow the wife's (unless you can get it in the dishwasher before she gets home - and then you have to explain why you were using the turkey baster when she empties the dishwasher). :nono:

1. Spray some PB Blaster on the bleeder screws, and make sure you can move them. IIRC, they're either an 8mm or 10mm. A box / closed end wrench is better for this, and if you have a 6 point, even better.

2. Take your turkey baster and remove most (but not 'all') the fluid from the reservoir. You don't want to introduce air at the reservoir end, but the more old stuff you get out of the reservoir... is less you'll be bleeding out of the system.

3. Fill the reservoir with new fluid, up to the 'max' line. Put the cap 'on' the threads, but don't secure it tightly. Use a funnel if needed; brake fluid eats paint. If the 'max' line is hard to see, you can get a highlighter / Sharpee and mark a reference point.

4. Place your wrench on the bleeder hex nut, then the hose over the bleeder screw. Use the zip tie to seal off the bleeder just behind the flute (before the nut). The 'standard' sequence is 'farthest from the booster' to 'closest'. Usually that's pass rear / driver rear / pass front / driver front. (not everyone agrees with this, but that's pretty much standard, and it seems to work well for me.)

5. With hose & wrench in place, and your weighted item ready, pump your brakes a few times until you feel the pedal get firm. While holding it down, put the weight on the brake pedal to hold it down (tip: having your weighted item on the left side of the pedal, pumping with your right foot on that side, then using your left foot to slide the weight over can be helpful.) If the pedal rises, repeat step 5 until you can get the pedal held down without it rising.

6. Now go back to your bleeder, and open it up. It doesn't take much - about 1/4 turn will open it, and a 1/2 turn should produce a very good flow of fluid. After a couple of seconds (or the fluid stops moving outward), immediately close it back up. The one thing you don't want to do is get air feeding back into the bleeder.

Repeat steps 5-6 on that wheel until you see clear (new) fluid coming out of the bleeder, and no bubbles. Close off the bleeder & remove the hose. Make sure the pedal feels 'normal' before you move on to the next bleeder.

7. Repeat steps 3-6 as needed, emptying out some of the contents of the bottle as needed. Again, you can totally refill it with fresh, if you prefer -- but once the old fluid intermingles with it, it's sacrificial at that point. (now you see why I said '2' bottles... ) :wink:

(tip: if the hose seems a little worse for wear after you finish with a bleeder, take a pair of scissors and trim off the end of the tubing, so you have a 'fresh' end to put on the next bleeder)

When you're all done, (and before you put the wheels back on), start the truck. Note that the pedal will probably go down a little farther than you're used to at first, especially if you put new pads on. If it repeatedly goes to the floor (and, really, it shouldn't do that even once), shut the engine off and check your work again.

Once you're confident that everything's good, put the wheels back on, start it up, check your pedal again, and then put the truck in gear. Let it idle about 10ft out, and make sure the truck stops (using light to medium modulation - not stomping on the pedal.) If all is well, repeat from 5mph, then 10mph; repeat as you see fit using a little higher speed each time (by 30mph, you should be golden). Then go break in your new pads ( @Chickenhawk has a post with directions on how to do this.)
I was making this more complicated than it needed to be. I was able to do this over the weekend and learned a few things. 1: keep the bottle above the bleeder, 2: gravity bleeding WILL occur, 3: when removing old fluid from the reservoir and putting new in - "mix" the fluid in the reservoir before sucking it out. I got a huge amount of black flakes of godknowswhat out this way, 4: buy more brake cleaner - no matter how much you bought, buy more, 5: back bleeder screws will be stuck and galled, when you remove them to clean the threads, put something down to catch the fluid. 6: plastic can tolerate brake fluid. Plastic will not tolerate brake cleaner, at all... time to buy a new baster.

Thanks again!
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
A quick update / excerpt from the email I sent to Max Advanced Brakes:

I am attaching photos I was able to take this weekend. In the "edge on" photos of the front rotors and pads you can clearly see heat marks on the shims - indicating an extreme amount of heat being generated - as well as what looks like carbon. There was an extreme amount of brake dust covering the inside of the calipers, inside of the wheels, and on the brake shims themselves. There was a noticeable amount of brake dust in the slots and cross-drilled holes as well, but not to the point of plugging the holes - this was all cleaned before reinstallation. You can also clearly see a "crust" has formed along the outer edges of the pads. What I didn't get photos of was the shims themselves. There was a brittle substance that had accumulated on the shims themselves that was extremely difficult to remove. I was able to dissolve this residue with acetone, leading me to believe it was paint that had been liquified by the heat flowing onto the adjacent shims and rehardening when everything cooled. It was silver/metallic just like the paint on the pads. I was able to remove the "crust" from around the edges of the pads - which also looked like a liquified and cooled deposit, presumably from either the original coating on the rotors or perhaps friction material that had glazed the rotor at some point. I removed it from the pads by burnishing the edge before cleaning the pads with non-chlorinated brake parts cleaner. I also removed the paint from the end-tabs of the pads with acetone to help prevent the redeposition that appeared on the shims as mentioned earlier. They were in a like-new state before reinstallation. I marked every pad with its original location on the vehicle and replaced it in its original location. All pads were perfectly parallel to the rotors and completely smooth across their entire surface. The rotors were smooth, parallel and true as well, indicating no unusual wear patterns or gouging of any kind. I also performed a 100% brake fluid flush - meaning I replaced all the brake fluid in the vehicle with fresh, high temperature rated DOT3. I also verified that there was absolutely no air in any of the brake lines. I also investigated the possibility of caliper hangup and found that all 4 calipers were free to move on their slide pins and all four calipers compressed appropriately. All brake lines were in good condition with no cracking, flexing, or kinks. I also lightly lubricated the brake shims before reinserting the pads to try and prevent any sticking or redeposition of paint from the pads. On my follow-up test drive I performed several panic stops and caused ABS engagement - all of them were flawless. I then proceeded to descend the hill that has been causing issues. I was able to come to a complete stop from speed. When I exited the vehicle several miles later I noticed the rotors were again blue and that an extreme amount of heat was emanating from the rotors, calipers, pads, and even the wheels themselves.
 

Attachments

Reprise

Lifetime VIP Supporter
I was making this more complicated than it needed to be. I was able to do this over the weekend and learned a few things. 1: keep the bottle above the bleeder, 2: gravity bleeding WILL occur, 3: when removing old fluid from the reservoir and putting new in - "mix" the fluid in the reservoir before sucking it out. I got a huge amount of black flakes of godknowswhat out this way, 4: buy more brake cleaner - no matter how much you bought, buy more, 5: back bleeder screws will be stuck and galled, when you remove them to clean the threads, put something down to catch the fluid. 6: plastic can tolerate brake fluid. Plastic will not tolerate brake cleaner, at all... time to buy a new baster.

Thanks again!
Realized after I read your update that the better tool for removing fluid would be a suction gun, instead of the turkey baster (using the gun this weekend on my P/S pump also provided a reminder; for whatever reason, I never think of it when I flush brake fluid. Go figure... ) The flexible tube on the gun can also get to more areas of the fluid reservoir than the baster can.

I've updated my post above to add the suction gun.

Glad you got the fluid flushed / replaced OK! Sorry to hear about your pad / rotor situation :sadcry:
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
Despite my inclusion of any and all information they could ask for, Max Advanced Brakes is till questioning whether these were installed correctly. Specifically whether I followed their break in procedure - which I did, to the letter. They hint at the possibility of receiving replacement pads with me paying for shipping, if they determine the pads to be defective.

Now I'm debating just chucking these f$#&*@ things and doing the SS upgrade with someone else's rotors and pads.
What rotors & pads are everyone buying to do the upgrade?
I know I need brackets - I'll figure that part out. I'm just ticked that I threw $200 out the window on "performance" rotors & pads and may end up having to do it all again so I don't warp my rotors.
 

Mooseman

Moderator
ACDelco Professional pads and SS rotors would be your ticket.
I know that @Chickenhawk loves the Napa Adaptive One pads and rotors but not sure if they have the SS rotors. He also likes the ACDelco Pro stuff. I use ACDelco Pro pads now on everything, even non-GM vehicles, as I can get them at a decent price on Amazon. SS Rotors I had to go with the Certified brand (Canadian Tire) because I needed the brakes done right away and couldn't find ACDelco locally. They had the same specs as the ACDelco as far a thickness, weight and vanes. They have been performing flawlessly, even towing a 5200# RV trailer.
 

Maverick6587

Silver Supporter
I used Detroit Axle's brakes and rotors on my front SS brake upgrade. Only because they stamp a 10-year warranty on them and they weren't too expensive, $75 or so, depending on where you buy them from. I love those brakes so far, I've had no issues with them.

I'm replacing the rears this weekend with DA as well. I tend to warp rotors within a year, so we'll see how these hold up.
 

Maverick6587

Silver Supporter
I honestly couldn't tell you. I think it's because I drive on the highway so frequently and I live in Michigan. Driving on the highway during rush-hour is my theory of why it happens. The frequent braking at both high and low speeds in very low temps... again, just my theory.

I will keep an eye out for that now though! So far, the new rotors are still in great shape and no color changes.
 

WeaponX

Well-Known Member
I have to disagree with the down play on drilled/slotted rotors.
I have them in my truck and it for sure stops quicker and as far as the surface goes and rust in the slots there just like anything else you take care of them they take care of you, that being said when I was my truck not only do I use Maguires chrome rim cleaner on the rims I also do the rotors and they still shine like I put them on yesterday.
So for me I strongly suggest them plus they look awesome 😃
 

Mektek

Well-Known Member
Be careful how you clean rotors - you don't want to use any product that can leave a residue. I just use a fast evaporating solvent like MEK to wipe down the pads and rotors after working on them.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
Be careful how you clean rotors - you don't want to use any product that can leave a residue. I just use a fast evaporating solvent like MEK to wipe down the pads and rotors after working on them.
I only ever use brake cleaner to clean brake parts. I usually go for the chlorinated brake parts cleaner. I know it's nasty stuff, but I also know my parts will be clean after using it.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
Quick update:
It's been several weeks since I installed these. I'm probably over 2,000 miles now. I haven't changed out the pads or rotors. Since I did my brake flush, I haven't lost pedal coming off the mountain. The fluid I got out was awful - jet black at times. Also, I haven't noticed heavy heat staining on the rotors. The back rotors still have some of the finish grind marks on them. The fronts are mirror like and show just a hint of heat staining, nothing like they did at first. I'm actually quite pleased with these pads & rotors. Had the manufacturer informed me that they will heat stain for the first few weeks, I wouldn't have been so concerned - other than losing pedal, which I now attribute to having brake fluid that was shot. The pads still off-gas when I really use the heck out of them, but nothing like when they were new.
If I were to do this over, I might choose the same rotors, but someone else's pads. I don't think these pads are bad, per se. But the break-in time is excessive.
 

MRRSM

Lifetime VIP Supporter
Everything that happens after a Brand New Disc Brake Installation to ensure they wear uniformly and last as long as possible ...Hinges on this:

Courtesy... @Reprise...

"Then go break in your new pads... ( @Chickenhawk has a post with directions on how to do this.)"

All Massive, Freshly Machined Rotating Cast Iron Surfaces need to be 'coaxed' and well conditioned into working evenly in contact with the New Brake Pads. This demands careful attention within the First Hour of Driving for them to be Heated Up...and Cooled Down in the precise timing sequences recommended by the Manufacturer. If done right... the surfaces of all the Platters will then resist Crazing, Cracking and Warping after first performing a Power Bleeding of the System.

As for the steep driving conditions you have to deal with ...and the apparent necessity of having a "Heavy Foot"... these realities will probably cut down on the duration period by as much a one half their ordinary life expectancy.

Making adjustment with Braking Techniques and 'adjusting' Braking Behavior can also make a big difference. This includes lowering vehicle speeds and manual downshifting (without dropping too low in gearing as to risk an Engine Over-Speed or damaging the 4L60E) as needed upon approaching those known, very steep grades.

Using this technique will reduce the urge to "Ride the Brakes" all the way down the hill(s). The
"Blue Hue" on the disks is a Dead Giveaway that the Metal surfaces have been seriously over-heated...and HARDENED as a result...which invites Cracking, Crazing and Warping.

The distribution of the Heat Signature on Brake Discs that are Heavily Slotted AND Cross Drilled are based in Factual Physics:

Less Disc Material = Less Surface Area to Create Contact Friction... "As Area INCREASES... Pressure DECREASES"

As for the Cross Drilled Holes on your latest Set of Discs shown in your images: They don't appear to have 45 degree Chamfers ...which would encourage a better cross-flow of cooling air and reduce the chances of scoring the wasting Brake Pad Material or collecting Disc Detritus in the holes whenever the Brake Pedal gets lifted.


Installing a Brand New Pair of Brake Calipers, or even stepping up in their Quality and Cup Sizes could improve how the Brake Pads and Discs make contact and improve the Heat Dissipation that both must constantly achieve.

Most Parts Stores WILL accept the Old Ones as Donor Cores and the important thing to remember is to OPEN their Boxes and look them over... Re-manned Disc Calipers can have Old Cores that either look Really Good ...or Really Bad, right out of the Boxes. Insist on being able to "Look at Six..." and then Pick the Pair you want from the half-dozen laid out on the Counter Top. You won't regret the time spent in examing them all and finding a Good Matched Set.
 
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TequilaWarrior

Well-Known Member
Everything that happens after a Brand New Disc Brake Installation to ensure they wear uniformly and last as long as possible ...Hinges on this:

Courtesy... @Reprise...

"Then go break in your new pads... ( @Chickenhawk has a post with directions on how to do this.)"

All Massive, Freshly Machined Rotating Cast Iron Surfaces need to be 'coaxed' and well conditioned into working evenly in contact with the New Brake Pads. This demands careful attention within the First Hour of Driving for them to be Heated Up...and Cooled Down in the precise timing sequences recommended by the Manufacturer. If done right... the surfaces of all the Platters will then resist Crazing, Cracking and Warping after first performing a Power Bleeding of the System.

As for the steep driving conditions you have to deal with ...and the apparent necessity of having a "Heavy Foot"... these realities will probably cut down on the duration period by as much a one half their ordinary life expectancy.

Making adjustment with Braking Techniques and 'adjusting' Braking Behavior can also make a big difference. This includes lowering vehicle speeds and manual downshifting (without dropping too low in gearing as to risk an Engine Over-Speed or dmaging the 4L60E) as needed on approaching those known, very steep grades. Using this technique will reduce the urge to "Ride the Brakes" all the way down the hill(s).

The distribution of the Heat Signature on Brake Discs that are Heavily Slotted AND Cross Drilled are based in Factual Physics:

Less Disc Material = Less Surface Area to Create Contact Friction

As for the Cross Drilled Holes on your latest Set of Discs shown in your images: They don't appear to have 45 degree Chamfers ...which would encourage a better cross-flow of cooling air and reduce the chances of scoring the wasting Brake Pad Material or collecting Disc Detritus in the holes whenever the Brake Pedal gets lifted.


Installing a Brand New Pair of Brake Calipers, or even stepping up in their Quality and Cup Sizes could improve how the Brake Pads and Discs make contact and improve the Heat Dissipation that both must constantly achieve.

Most Parts Stores WILL accept the Old Ones as Donor Cores and the important thing to remember is to OPEN their Boxes and look them over... Re-manned Disc Calipers can have Old Cores that either look Really Good ...or Really Bad, .right out of the Boxes. Insist on being able to Pick the Pair you want from a half-dozen laid out on the Counter. You won't regret the time spent in getting a Good Matched Set.
Thanks for the reply. I resist downshifting on the problem hill since I have ~260k miles on my Bravada. I did do a 100% tranny fluid flush a few months ago. While it improved the transmission's behavior somewhat, I'm under no illusions that it's in the prime of its life. As for riding the brakes, I'm very mindful not to. While I admittedly tend to drive a little more aggressively than most, I have made an effort to reduce the actual speed at which I descend this hill and now find cars behind me catching up on the descent. The first few days with these pads, brake feel and brake performance would go all to heck as I came down the hill. Now, I can make a full panic stop if I need to. As for the rotors, the cross-drilled holes are chamferred very well. The pics don't do them justice. They have a black coating (they call it an e-coating, but it could just be powdercoat for all I know) applied to the entirety of the rotor. So the chamfers sort of disappear in the photo. The slotting on these is some of the best I've seen. Also, in my pics you can see a powdery buildup in the holes and slots. After cleaning everything up when I did my complete brake flush, I have not seen a buildup in the holes or slots. I'm not sure if Brakemotive offers a coated, cross-drilled and slotted rotor, but if they do then these would be comparable. The pads, however... meh. Carbon metallics might've been a better choice. I trashed Brakemotive's included pads within 6 months of installing them with their rotors because the pad material sheered off. I then installed Duralast Gold (I think) pads and had great performance from the whole setup. Now that I've done the brake flush and put some miles on these, I'd say they stop at least as good -~maybe~ a little better - than the brakemotive / duralast combination did, but wouldn't be surprised if the brake flush is where any improvements are from.
I'm presently considering replacing both front calipers. Dealing with customer service at Max Advance Brakes, I looked at the calipers very critically - wondering if they were hanging up. During the brake flush, they seemed to move just fine, but again @ ~260k miles (and I honestly can't remember if I've changed any of them) they can't be performing their best.
 

Chickenhawk

Well-Known Member
For your application, I would suggest you look at pads with the Nucap Retention System (NRS) backing plate. Some EBC pads use this, as well as the NAPA Adaptive One pad. Also, NRS now makes their own line of proprietary pads. Research the NRS system and you can see why I recommend them. They are the same pads as what we put on police cars for maximum stopping power and long life. (You don't want a "heavy-duty" or "severe service" pad like they use on police cars though, because they are made for long life and definitely not good brake feel.

Just as an aside, when I felt my Adaptive One pads were getting a bit thin, I replaced rotors, calipers and pads. I went back to the Akebono ACT pad, which I previously loved, but going from a worn Adaptive One to a new Akebono ACT, I probably should have gone back to the Adaptive One pad.
 

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