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Old 05-14-2017, 06:30 PM   #1
Stang70Fastback
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Trying to Pick the Right Pads

Looking for some guidance as I try to select a new set of brake pads. Here's a short summary of what I'm trying to accomplish.

My car is a year-round daily driver here in Chicago. I participate in autocross on the weekends, and won my STX class last year - which I mention just to point out that I do take it seriously enough to compete. I just installed (thanks to @JRitt) an AP Racing front BBK on my car (still working on a full review.) Prior to the BBK, I was running HAWK 5.0 brake pads. I was happy with them in the sense that they didn't make too much dust, only squealed lightly under very specific conditions, and stopped well enough on the road, and during autocross.

I installed this BBK a week ago, and it came with APF404 brake pads. I hadn't looked into the pads too much. Since this was a "Factory" kit, and not one of the competition kits, I mistakenly assumed that the pads provided would be more street-oriented than track-oriented. It turns out, this is not at all the case. Here's the chart for the APF404 pads I now have up front:



I participated in an autocross the day after installing the BBK, and noticed I was having a lot of issues with ABS. Today I pulled my ABS fuses, and confirmed that what's happening is the REAR brakes are locking up before the fronts. So I did some research this afternoon, which is how I came across the chart above, and now I realize the issue is likely that the Hawk 5.0s are much stickier pads when cold. (At 100C, the APF404s have a friction coefficient of 0.25, whereas the Hawk 5.0s are 0.35 - a significant difference.)

I was going to just order new Hawk 5.0 pads for the front brakes, seeing as I had been happy with them up to this point, but I figured I should stop and ask for input before doing so.

I rode with a friend's STX-prepped car last year, and his brake pads were shockingly aggressive, but that is an autocross-only vehicle. I'm not looking for autocross-specific pads, but I wouldn't mind a pad that will work safely as a DD pad (meaning they bite hard on that first stop) while perhaps being a bit more aggressive for autocross. I'm willing to trade a bit of dust since all three sets of my wheels are now black wheels, and I'm even willing to put up with a little squeal so long as my car doesn't sound like a full on #RACECAR all the time.

Are there any pads that might be better for this use case than the HAWK 5.0s? Autocross doesn't really mean a lot of heat, so I guess that might be to my benefit when it comes to a DD/performance pad. I hear sintered pads might be a good solution, but I'm still doing my research. I also don't want a pad that will destroy my pricy J-Hook rotors in 6 months, lol.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Just remember that my car is still 99% a daily driver, that I put almost 20,000 miles on a year, which is why DD use is still very important to me. I'm thinking maybe I should just upgrade to Hawk HP+ pads, as according to their chart, they have quite a bit more grip when cold than the 5.0s, and seem like a general upgrade - though I hear they can be VERY noisy, which I don't really want, and that they might kill my J-Hooked rotors quite quickly. Another option might be StopTech Sport pads, though I can't find a friction coefficient chart for those pads, or even Carbotech 1521, which might be the best option, actually.
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Old 05-14-2017, 08:05 PM   #2
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You are asking for personal preferences so you will get what we each are using, rather than a technically tested response. The plus will start quickly when cold and as you are in Chicago that is the majority of the time. You drove the Ferodo DS 2500 on the street up here. I have found it works well on the street and for short sessions on the track (20 minutes). We did turn the stock rotors cherry red, 85 degrees ambient. I have not had ABS problems so far, but as you know I am also upgrading the brakes next week so stay tuned.
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:55 AM   #3
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All this is on stock calipers and rotors, so grain of salt, but at the end of the day you've got a steel disc and a pad going on it.

I tracked Carbotech XP10's and AutoX'd them for nearly a year, they were great except for the noise, I could not DD them, I'm not aggressive enough to keep them bedded in. I found they had good initial grip in the relatively mild cold we get out here. They made me a big fan of Carbotech after I roasted the stock stuff on track day #2. They're still sitting in a box and they'll get installed the next time I'm headed to the track (but no plans for that right now). Honestly after 3 days on track they barely look used up (maybe 80% life left?) so they're overkill for my skill level at the moment.

I switched to Project Mu NS400, (their street pad) and I've felt a bit of fade on them for big nationals style courses, they're still in for right now because it was just a brief bit of sponginess near the end of a run, I can't rule out bad driving at this point. Great pad on the street (zero noise, reasonable dust, predictable consistent stopping power in 'weather'), no way in hell I would put them on track.

Because I fear fade on the PMu I won't be bothering with another sporty street pad like 1521 or Stoptech, but I think Carbotech AX6's are next on my list once I burn up the PMu. I also thought about DS2500, PMu HC800+ and potentially a Winmax (I think W3-W4 might be in the ballpark, not sure) but I'm going with what would appear to be a known quantity. I couldn't pin down which Winmax would be best and the Ferodo's sound a bit too aggressive for what I'm looking for (particularly in the noise department).

I've read a ton of mixed reviews on Hawk so I haven't done much research on them, most reviews seem to fall into either 'they're perfect' or 'they suck', but I'm sure many many people love them for a reason, I just didn't feel like taking the plunge.

Oh and I've got 59k miles on my OE rotors, that includes 3 track days and over a season of casual autocrossing with the XP10's in (two track days on stock pads). Hopefully those J-hooks are at least as stout as the OE stuff, I'd be surprised if anything DD-able chewed them up too bad.

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Old 05-15-2017, 04:58 AM   #4
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DS2500 imho are not too agressive. Rather easy to bed to not squeel at daily driving too. They squeeked a bit in winter, but that were quiet enough for me to not care & rebed (half worn OEM pads were much louder). Imho they are closer to street, not track compounds, and Mu is not that big even when hot, but then again they work fine for cold stops too. If there is one thing i didn't like about them, they dust a lot.
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This review is if used with stock brakes. No experience with DS2500 @ BBK kits, where there might be harder to get heat in any pads, thus maybe cooler temps/more squeeling/harder to bed in all of them, including these.
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Old 05-15-2017, 05:07 AM   #5
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Also look into brake bias options. Bigger calipers usually need more fluid to move, so the rears are locking up much sooner than the front.
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Old 05-15-2017, 09:26 AM   #6
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@Stang70Fastback for reference I have Carbotech AX-6. And it's not just an autocross car, I also road trip with it. Garage queen otherwise, though, at least while we live in the city. I typically can't keep the brakes quiet. Also it's possible it was the driver that was shockingly aggressive... It's always more startling as a passenger too.

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Old 05-15-2017, 10:15 AM   #7
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Just throwing my two cents in: I haven't been able to keep my PMu HC+800s bedded in after some daily driving and they now make a lot of noise. They also dust heavily and don't have a great initial bite, but they stop. Were fine at autocross yesterday and as a noob on all-seasons, I was hard on the brakes and had no problem locking them up. I think their biggest plus is their broad usable heat range.
Was actually looking at the Hawk HPS 5.0 since my usage is similar to yours. I'll look into the DS2500. Not willing to shell out the cash for W3/W4.

Edit: Aaand the Ferodo is also out of the price range. Also conisdering the HP+ now as I've read that they have a good initial bite which is what I want. More aggressive than the 5.0. Not sure if I want another pad that squeals and dusts hard.
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Old 05-15-2017, 10:35 AM   #8
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From my own experience. HP+ squeals like a dying pig, moderate light brown dust. Street race squeals a lot less, almost nothing, better braking overall, moderate black dust. DTC-60 (for comparison's sake) squeals like a band of dying pigs being run over elephants, and creates a ridiculous amount of black dust. It will bake into your wheels, be careful.

After having tried the Street-race, I would run them over any other option. They hold fine to 20 minutes track sessions, but start to overheat at around 18min mark (so easy first lap + cooldown lap at the end just barely makes it). Should be really good for AX.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:38 AM   #9
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Also look into brake bias options. Bigger calipers usually need more fluid to move, so the rears are locking up much sooner than the front.
The AP sprint kit is explicitly designed to work with the stock rears, that's not the issue in this case.

DS2500's in the sprint kit will actually take a fair amount of track use too, but will be noisy in daily use. I've heard good things about the AX6, but only from people running stock calipers (no feedback on a BBK), I imagine they might be a bit noisier on the sprint kit as well.
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Old 05-15-2017, 11:51 AM   #10
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The AP sprint kit is explicitly designed to work with the stock rears, that's not the issue in this case.
FYI, I'm not running the sprint kit. I'm running their Factory BBK, which is different from both the Sprint and Endurance Competition kits, but your point is still valid; it is designed to be used with the stock rear brakes.

However, I'm running into a bigger issue now, which is that this being a relatively uncommon kit, nobody seems to know what pad size I need to use. I just got off the phone with Carbotech and they hadn't seen my pad size before and could only offer me something "pretty close." I had assumed it would use a relatively common pad size but now I'm wondering if I even have many options.

As far as I can tell, though I may be wrong, the only pads AP Racing offers for these calipers are track pads, which makes no sense to me as this is the kit you buy if you're putting them on a road car that only sees occasional track use.
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Old 05-15-2017, 12:14 PM   #11
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A bit weird. Weren't AP Racing's formula kits marketed as more of daily-driving / fitting stock wheels / dust-boots and such? And yet Essex's Sprint kits with their common pad shapes easier to find street/hybrid compound pads?
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Old 05-15-2017, 01:39 PM   #12
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Alright, so I settled on Ferodo DS2500 pads, if only because they're the only easy to find solution, but they sound like a pretty good fit for my use case, so I guess it's a win-win. Thanks for all the feedback everyone!
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Old 05-15-2017, 02:09 PM   #13
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My favorite thread this year so far, I wouldn't mind hearing others opinions. While the track brake pad thread is pretty great, usually people forget to put all their feedback in there.

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Old 05-15-2017, 02:46 PM   #14
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Imho the BEST would be to to have two pad sets. Specialised for track & specialised for daily driving, swapping them as needed. But as I myself visiting track not very often, once per 2-4 weeks, and just for 2-3 hours total driving consisting of short 15min sessions, hassle of swapping them seemed too much for lazy me. It might be other way around for others though.

Stang70Fastback: But don't expect miracles from them. Everything is compromise. Cold stops / easier to bed when daily driving will also mean not that much more bite vs stock pads and lesser max temp without fade. In my eyes they were a bit of like .. OEM+? Simply compromise slider moved a bit more to track. And when they will worn through, i'm planning to try next opposite choice to yours for experiment sake, to move compromise a bit more to track side, who knows, maybe i'll get used to & be able to live with squeeling track pads . As upside, DS2500 costed less then OEM pads anyway.
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