Focus Fanatics - View Single Post - Optimal Braking Performance from Stock Brakes
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Old 11-06-2012, 12:52 PM   #9
Geezer
Focus Fanatic
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Fan#: 1427
Location: Westminster, CO
What I Drive: 99 miata, 05Mazda6, 09GTI, 12Imprez

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To expand on some of wrc's comments:

Stock/rubber brake lines are under very high pressure. Over time they begin to expand and contract. This translates in the need for more pedal pressure to accomplish the same stopping distance. SS braided lines do not expand or contract resulting in full pressure every time and all the time. They take some time to get used to (modulating pedal pressure) but those that do really like them.

Brake fluid by its chemistry (alcohol based) attracts atmospheric moisture. The moisture mixes with the fluid and when submitted to high temps turns to vapor. Vapor compresses very easily (not what you want for braking efficiency) and results in brake fade (aka a very spongy pedal to no pedal pressure at all). Fluid should be changed every two to three years under normal driving conditions (more often if you live in a high humidity area). If you participate in motorsports it should be changed much more often (sometimes as much as every event or multiple times during an event). Racing fluids while they can operate under much higher temps (without fading) are not always good for daily driving. Some have formulations that attract moisture much more quickly than those sold for normal street driving (i.e DOT type 3 and 4 fluids). As such they require bleeding more frequently.

Brake jobs are fairly straight forward but naturally your life depends on doing it correctly. It's best to have proper guidance if its your first time. The most essential thing I can pass on is to keep everything clean. It's critical to keep greasy fingers of of brake linings as they are impossible to clean if contaminated. Finger prints on drums and rotors (as well as grease on calipers and the braking plates of drum brakes) can be cleaned with special aerosol brake cleaners available at any part store. Do not use carb cleaners etc as these often contain petroleum products.

In addition:

Centric is a VERY large brake component manufacturing company. They make just about everything needed for a proper brake job including pads, shoes, rotors, drums, and more. Their premium rotors have proven to be especially good (and come with e-coated hubs and vent edges to even make them look pretty). They have very low run-out (rotationally very true) which is a sign of a well manufactured product and reduces potential brake shudder problems significantly. I'm currently experimenting with a set of their semi metallic Posi Quiet pads on my Mazda6 and so far so good.
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