If you've been in the car game for a while, you've most certainly heard about all of the different brake upgrades that are possible. There are a large variety of solutions to improve the braking capabilities of your vehicle, and some of them are very affordable. These upgrades can range anywhere from simple pad and rotor replacements and upgrades to full-blown motorsports braking kits. We are here to help you explore your options and make the best decision for you.
upgrading your factory setup
Not everyone has the desire or the budget for big brake kits. Many companies have solutions for better braking performance while still utilizing the factory calipers and sometimes even the factory rotors. Some models even have the benefit of having factory compatible brake upgrades, like some BMWs and Porsches. For example, the US-spec E46 M3 can be upgraded to the larger European CSL floating rotors and calipers, and the 996 Turbo can utilize a small spacer and factory bolts to utilize the larger 997 Turbo rotors. Certain vehicles, such as the 991 GT3 and C7 Z06, utilize a carbon ceramic rotor from the factory, and you may want to consider swapping to iron rotors and a more aggressive pad to keep down the cost on both the street and the track. These are just a few of the options that we have to offer for aftermarket, OE style braking solutions.
Combined with an aggressive pad like Pagid or PFC and some high-temperature Endless or Motul Brake fluid, you can maximize the abilities of the factory brakes. Companies like Girodisc, Brembo, PFC and Stoptech also offer factory replacement two-piece rotors, which are significantly lighter and generally offer better thermal and wear characteristics in comparison to OE offerings, and these make great upgrades for the driver trying to get the most out of their factory setup.
Sometimes your existing brake setup may be great for you, but it may be a little tired or worn out. Factory painted calipers wear and chip, and sometimes may need piston or boot replacements if they are too old and worn. It is best to do this during the refinishing process as it better allows us to keep dirt and dust out of the calipers when we are restoring them. In order to achieve the best possible finish, we have the calipers media blasted to bare metal which removes all of the accumulated grime and paint layers from any previous possible refinishing procedures. We then utilize PPG epoxy primer and urethane paint to achieve a flawless factory or better-than-factory finish. Some people may also prefer to have their calipers powdercoated. While powdercoating tends to more durable, it does reduce the caliper's ability to transfer heat and material build up may make it a bit harder to access hardware and pads. We also find that the finish of powdercoat does not always replicate that of a factory piece, and may not always be up to some customers' more demanding standards.
Big Brake kits
Big brake kits often utilize larger-than-OE calipers, usually multi-piece or monoblock, as well as two-piece rotors and more aggressive pads. Not only do you gain greater stopping power, but you usually also drastically increase the thermal capacity of your setup, allowing you to stop harder for even longer. This is a great benefit to drivers on the track and in the canyons, where you can easily overstep the boundaries of factory brakes and get into trouble. Typically the cost of entry for these kits starts in the low thousands, spanning all the way into the tens of thousands.
At the low end we have options like 996 or F8X caliper adapter kits, which allow the use of a big brake caliper from other factory vehicles to adapt to your existing rotors. While these kits may be cheap, some calipers may need refinished and you will likely need new pads and possibly even rotors. It is worth considering these things when you decide to make that commitment. It may end up costing you more than you had initially expected. These kits are also not perfectly suited to the brake bias and master cylinder setup of your vehicle, so you may actually not see the same performance increase that you might from doing something like a Stoptech or Brembo GT kit. These kits typically cost a few thousand dollars per axle, but include everything you need to install a high quality multi-piston caliper and two piece floating rotor directly on to your vehicle. These kits are great for street cars, or those that track their car non-competitively. They are considered a massive performance upgrade for vehicles that may feature sliding or floating single piston calipers and heavy iron rotors.
On the higher end, costing 5000+ dollars per axle are the Brembo GT-R and PFC Endurance setups. Unlike their cheaper alternatives, these kits are race derived, not race inspired. These calipers are generally billet monoblock pieces, with carefully calculated weight reduction and fluid flow to get the absolute maximum braking performance out of your vehicle. Some of these kits may require aftermarket brake lines and high performance master cylinders to work at peak effectiveness. These kits may also feature carbon ceramic rotors, which are also no insignificant cost.
As you can see, there are no shortage of ways to modify and improve the braking setup in your street or track vehicle. We have easy access to all of the premium brands and no shortage of experience when it comes to modifying and upgrading brakes. Whether that's wanting the most powerful setup on the track for your endurance racecar, or just making your street car brake and handle like it did when you bought it, we are more than happy to meet and exceed your expectations. And who knows, that brake upgrade may be even more in reach than you expected.
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