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Old 01-11-2008, 12:06 PM   #1
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'04 ZTS Rotors, Pads

Anybody have a favorite slotted rotor that is reasonably priced? How about a good low dusting pad?

I'm looking for personal experiences instead of opinion and advertising.

Thanks.


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Old 01-11-2008, 01:03 PM   #2
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Better and more affordable braking will be achieved with a solid rotor. Slots simply raise the cost and do not improve braking performance for a street driven car. Look at Brembo or Centric solid rotors. Bat Inc. also has a good solid rotor and is sold in a package with Mintex pads for pretty good prices. A real performance brake pad will dust. Some more than others... but all dust. There are some ceramics that minimize dusting but they do not acheive the same performance levels as quality non-ceramic performance pads do. Hawk HPS is the recognized standard for a high performance street pad. If you don't need a true performance street pad than Mintex AF's and Axxis (or PBR ) Metalmasters are very good as well. If you are interested in ceramics, Akebono and Hawk both make a performance ranked one.
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Old 01-12-2008, 01:54 PM   #3
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Geezer.
Thanks for the input. I read your article previously. I have to challenge you in a couple of areas based on personal experience. Virtually every American car, truck or van I have owned has needed periodic rotor turning. Most needed it between 6k and 10k from the time new rotors were installed or from the mileage of the last turn. I got real tired of turning and/or replacing rotors each year on my cars. I only used premium, name brand rotors and parts, no Chinese. The Focus has done well in this regard and has required little attention. A couple of years ago, on two particularly bad warp-generating GM cars, I replaced the solid rotors with Roto-Tech drilled and slotted rotors and had no more warped rotors. I donít think the drilled part is necessary for a street car, but Iím holding fast to the slotted requirement for future rotors. For the pads, I tried ceramic a few years ago and found that while they dusted less, they also took longer to warm up and ďbite.Ē This is OK for stop-and-go driving when you can keep them warm, but not for cold climate distance driving. The titanium pads I tried would warm up much faster, but dusted a lot just like the regular semi-metallics. I have had people over the years tell me how long or great their brakes last only to go for a ride with them and see the steering wheel shake in their hands and feel the vibration in the floorboard when they apply the brakes. Iím a fanatic about smooth braking and I baby, not abuse, them. I donít feel I need the million-dollar Brembo solution in order to have a quality braking system, although it would be nice.

Steve Harris (another geezer)
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Old 01-12-2008, 03:12 PM   #4
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Brembo makes OEM replacement rotors that run about 49.00 each (from Tirerack). The rumor is that A number of NAPA branded rotors are made by Brembo as well. Fifty bucks is not a lot for a quality product in my opinion. And, as you probably know, most "warping" is not warping at all. Its poor metallurgy or inconsistency in the composition of the rotors that is the problem. That inconsistency in the surface materials makes the bedding of the pad material inconsistant as well. The results in the shaking and shimmying that you mentioned.

I was reading an article the other day that as high as 80% of all brake rotors installed by American auto manufacturers are now sourced from China. We're learning very quick that they are having some serious quality control issues (and all to save a few bucks).

I use to be involved in SCCA Pro Rally and still occasionally rallycross the Focus and have my Miata to satisfy my needs for spirited driving. Brakes are everything in rallying and like many I was participating on a Grassroots budget. I spent considerable time researching this one subject just about more than anything else. The rules told me how to build the car. Stopping it I was on my own. I found that you do not have to spend mega bucks to have a good brake system and quality parts do not have to cost an arm and a leg. I ended up with Brembo OEM rotors and Axxis metalmasters on the rally car and currently have them on the Miata. The ones on the Miata have lasted over 60K miles and don't look half worn and dust very little compared to other performance brake pads. But I admit they do still dust.

I do know that cheap slotted rotors are made no better than cheap solid rotors (heck they use the exact same cheap rotors and just machine slots into them in most cases, and then charge you twice as much or more). They end up performing even worse than their solid counterparts as they do a bad job of managing heat due to the loss and uneven spacing of the resulting mass. The intended design of a good slotted rotor is to clean a pad which gunks up under hard braking conditions. It does this by shaving the pad with the sharp edges of the slots. The usual result is increased pad wear and dusting, regardless of the friction material used. I too do not like ceramics for the purposes you stated. What most people aren't aware of is that most do not have much ceramic content and most rely on semi metallic properties anyway, copper strands used instead of ferrite metals. A very high percentage of pads that come on new cars have ceramic content primary to control noise and dusting. They're not stopping the cars faster yet but research seems to be improving that everyday.

After all my rambling, If you do baby your brakes as you say, I'm still convinced that a good quality solid rotor is the way to go. But if you're convinced slotted is the way to go, just get good ones from a reputable company. I doubt you'll find them for any less than the Brembos I recommended.
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Old 01-13-2008, 10:01 AM   #5
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You're right, Geezer. Fifty bucks for a good OEM rotor is a nice price. I may have to try the Metal Masters. I haven't discovered a brand or type of brake pad I feel stands out from the crowd, yet.
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