best brake upgrade?
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This is a discussion on best brake upgrade? within the Suspension & Wheels forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; So I have an 02' wrx, a recent purchase, and noticed today after having to stop rather abruptly that the ...

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    best brake upgrade?

    So I have an 02' wrx, a recent purchase, and noticed today after having to stop rather abruptly that the stopping power on this car is horrible. The pedal seemed to pulsate, fade, then the car locked up and the car got a little squirrelly....I wasn't going fast and I barely stopped in time.

    So with that said, aside from a big brake upgrade, what's the best brake upgrade...better pads/cross-drilled/slotted rotors? braided brake lines? brake fluid? a combination of all of those? I'm new to these cars but not cars in general...and I've never really had to worry about brakes on a car to the point where I felt unsafe, so I've never had to upgrade. Any suggestions, experiences, information would be great...thanks in advance.

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    Registered User teflon_jones's Avatar
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    If it was doing all that, makes me wonder if something else might need to be done such as replacing the brake fluid/bleeding the system.

    Some high quality pads will always help. Hawk HPS are my choice. Then some new rotors, but only if the stock ones are really worn.

    I still wonder why it felt so bad under braking.
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    yea i don't know, I have noticed the fade and pulsation before, like if you go over ice or try to stop in a real bumpy area. I've never had a car lock up though and lose control like that in similar situations. I've never had an AWD car...is there a difference in braking in AWD cars vs. FWD cars? I can't imagine there is much if any, but could be wrong. I just don't like it.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Is the pulsing just the ABS system kicking in?
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    yea I'm sure that's what it was, but the car didn't stop. It kept going and going, then locked up, then went some more, then stopped....I was going maybe 30 mph, and didn't slam on them like you would for a deer or something, the car in front me didn't judge the speed of the car slowing down in front of them, so I had time to react and see what was coming, but had to slow down quickly then stop.
    I've had cars that just had crappy brakes...and they had rear drums. My last car...a vw, stopped on a dime, that had 4 disc. Just trying to make sense of it all. I have no problems upgrading if I know that will solve the problem.

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    Master Baiter EJ257's Avatar
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    Tires are the biggest contributing factor in stopping. What tires do you have?
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    About five years ago SOA sent a letter saying their ABS system works great, and all the owners that have been complaining about their cars engaging the ABS prematurely on uneven ground and failing to stop as a result have nothing to worry about, but that SOA is so terrific that they'd be willing to swap anyone's ABS controller on request. Then they said there's nothing wrong with the ABS a few more times.

    I got mine replaced and it made a difference. Just a thought - ask your dealer if your car has had the work done. They'd know by the VIN.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skubee View Post
    So I have an 02' wrx, a recent purchase, and noticed today after having to stop rather abruptly that the stopping power on this car is horrible. The pedal seemed to pulsate, fade, then the car locked up and the car got a little squirrelly....I wasn't going fast and I barely stopped in time.

    So with that said, aside from a big brake upgrade, what's the best brake upgrade...better pads/cross-drilled/slotted rotors? braided brake lines? brake fluid? a combination of all of those? I'm new to these cars but not cars in general...and I've never really had to worry about brakes on a car to the point where I felt unsafe, so I've never had to upgrade. Any suggestions, experiences, information would be great...thanks in advance.
    WOTS is HQ blank OEM rotors, hawk pads, STI calipers (if you can) work wonders. I myself am looking into this too...i got rear rotor grindage (O_*). The pulsating is the ABS...i get it all the time going over this pot-hole/train track crossing followed by a sharp right. If you listen real close (no music on), you can hear the ABS motor making its whine sound.
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    Quote Originally Posted by skubee View Post
    yea I'm sure that's what it was, but the car didn't stop. It kept going and going, then locked up, then went some more, then stopped.
    Call it BS, but Initial D actually provides REALLY good information on cars. One thing I learned...ABS BLOWS in straight-line braking, but rocks your world in the corners/high-speed maneuvering. So it makes sense why it takes you a longer distance/time to slow down in a straight line...the calipers are doing the tap dance routine rather than providing constant force/pressure. Sure you wont lock the tires, but if you didn have ABS and you knew the braking threshold of your tires, you could provide maximum force without locking the tires and stop shorter/sooner. Equipment halps though... :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by SD_GR View Post
    About five years ago SOA sent a letter saying their ABS system works great, and all the owners that have been complaining about their cars engaging the ABS prematurely on uneven ground and failing to stop as a result have nothing to worry about
    Well, thats been my prob...i found that newer tires trigger this response less frequently than tires "worn to racing depth"
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    I'm thinking the pulsating is the ABS, but it shouldn't let the tires lock up if it's working right. The fade probably does mean that you would need some kind of upgrade, personally I wish I didn't have ABS. If I knew how to deactivate it without triggering some kind of light, I would do it in a second.

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    My first WRX would lose all braking ability if I hit a minor crack in the road while my foot was on the brake. My 2nd WRX never had any problem.

    As for upgrades, get blank rotors, good pads (meaning not Hawk HPSs), good fluid, stainless steel lines, and good tires.

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    Quote Originally Posted by brfatal View Post
    As for upgrades, get blank rotors, good pads (meaning not Hawk HPSs), good fluid, stainless steel lines, and good tires.
    What is wrong with Hawk HPS pads? They're used extensively in the Porsche world, including for track cars.
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    well the tires are nothing special, just some entry level tire the dealer threw on there to sell the car, but the tread is almost new. For some reason I never even thought about tires as helping...kinda of a no-brainer now that I think of it. I will look into the ABS thing when I get a chance. What are "blank" rotors? Heard of slotted and cross drilled, never blank rotors.

    Out of curiousity, how are the big brake upgrades for these cars? Anyone have experience with them. Thanks for the input thus far...I'm glad I'm not the only one who notices these issues.

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    nevermind, I just noticed big brake kits are around 2g's....way out of my budget, haha.

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