WRX brake pad question
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This is a discussion on WRX brake pad question within the Suspension & Wheels forums, part of the Tech & Modifying & General Repairs category; so... i have Stop Tech pads front and rear, braided steel brake lines all around and new-ish rotors. i say ...

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    WRX brake pad question

    so... i have Stop Tech pads front and rear, braided steel brake lines all around and new-ish rotors. i say new-ish because i did purchase everything new (lines, rotors, pads & fluid), but the stopping potential is dismal.

    i might be expecting far too much, this i admit. but, i will be on the brakes really firm (80% of the pedal travel with firm pressure) and my WRX's speed shedding is less than impressive (my 99RS would slow down FAR faster with lesser pads).

    so... given that i have Centric rotors, factory calipers, braided steel brake lines, new brake fluid and Stop Tech pads front and rear... can anyone think of a good solid (logical) reason why my brakes are lackluster?


    i admit, my braking experience is HIGHLY biased. i am a bit too accustomed to my 1986 Toyota Mr2 - where if you THINK of putting your foot on the brakes, they are near lock up. damn i truly miss that brake setup...

    ANYWHO... just curious per logical thoughts and reasons why my brake respone are very 'meh...'

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    MAINEiac 11blackSTi's Avatar
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    Sounds like you took a fairly solid route for a brake upgrade. A lot of people are happy with the stop tech pads. That being said, there are better pads out there, which would probably give you a much better bite. Hawk HPS are one of those pads. Is your pedal still squishy? If so, I might suspect you didn't bleed the lines correctly and should possibly try that again. I don't have experience with the centric rotors, but from heresay, I haven't heard anything horrible about them. Regardless, without a full brake swap (for example prodrives or brembos), the pads will made the biggest difference in stopping power. The lines and fluid will really only make a difference in pedal feel (it is important to get a good bleed though so you don't have air in the lines). It is possible that you might just be too used to really great brakes. One question for you...when you hit the brakes as hard as you are talking about above, are your tires braking out? Or is it the brakes that are not doing the correct stopping? Only reason I ask is that one of the best ways the improve handling/braking is to get a better set of tires (based on your comment about the Mr2 doesn't sound like your tires are locking/breaking out).

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    this is my first WRX (and only 2nd car with ABS - I HATE ABS), so i am willing to put money that i did not bleed the system correctly.

    when i do apply extra force for braking, the tires are not locking up nor is the ABS kicking in. i recall all too well the feel of ABS on my 99RS.

    i already have a full kit of Hawk (HPS fronts, HP Plus rears) for my 1982 Toyota Starlet... so, i'll definitely see what those are like in a few months (long project, full rebuild, etc). but, was already looking into an identical setup on my WRX.

    is there a walk thru for bleeding WRX brakes? do i need to disable anything in order to bleed the system properly?

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    Registered User nsibanez's Avatar
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    It's probably the pads then in all honesty. Possibly just harder material so it doesn't have much stopping power until they get hot.
    Just a guess I've never run any other brand pads other then oem

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    WRX brake pad question

    If you're mashing the pedal and the ABS isn't activating you definitely have air in your lines. I have identical setup to you and when I stop from 60-0 with 100% pressure on pedal ABS kicks. Another thing to consider is did you break in your pads/rotors as recommended? I believe this is call "bedding" your pads. The manufacturer of pads recommends a process to transfer brake pad material to new rotors and If this isn't done the effectiveness of your brake pads won't be up to spec.
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    Moderator   Sasquatch's Avatar
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    Which Stop Techs? Sounds like they are too soft for what you are after.

    I switched from Hawk HPS to HP Plus for a track event a while back. They are somewhat dusty and noisy, but have a great feel with a lot of bite. Took me a few weeks to get used to them. They have been on the WRX ever since.
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    firstly, thanks to everyone for the feedback.

    the pads that i took off seemed to be the factory pads and they were very lack luster.

    i am very familiar with bedding-in my brakes and i did bed them in. they felt fine, but they never really grabbed like the brakes on my Mr2 (EBC Green Stuff fronts and Axxis Ultimates rear, braided steel brake lines, ATE SuperBlue fluid, Centric slotted rotors) - the slightest hint of touching the brakes would nearly cause the brakes to lock.

    i will have to go back through and re-bleed them.

    just to put this out there, i have the factory rims with stock sized Bridgestone Potenza s04's - lots of outside shoulder wear due to the (crap) factory alignment. though, i will be replacing the stock springs with the SPT springs soon enough.

    anywho!

    oh! do i have to do anything with the ABS in order for the ABS control module to flush properly? or does it do everything it needs to on its own?

    just to be clear, i bled the brakes with the car on - as when i tried with the car off, i could not get any fluid out at all, from any caliper.

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    Did you ever get this figured out?
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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    What is yours doing? If you can't get the ABS to kick on you have a problem as even the stock pads will do that.

    It is pretty easy to tell if you have air in your lines - pump your brakes rapidly a couple of times (somewhere you won't be rear ended) and see if the pedal height comes up and the braking increases. The only other real option is them not getting bedded because of the used rotors having a different material bedded on them already. Also, especially for an old rotor, the pad has to mechanically seat itself in the grooves and it takes 100's of miles before you get near full power from them. I always replace all 4 rotors and I get the cheap ones because they are fine and I will throw them out soon enough.
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    Quote Originally Posted by blknylw View Post
    Did you ever get this figured out?
    unfortunately, no. every person that i asked said that they do not have this issue.


    Quote Originally Posted by mycologist View Post
    What is yours doing? If you can't get the ABS to kick on you have a problem as even the stock pads will do that.

    It is pretty easy to tell if you have air in your lines - pump your brakes rapidly a couple of times (somewhere you won't be rear ended) and see if the pedal height comes up and the braking increases. The only other real option is them not getting bedded because of the used rotors having a different material bedded on them already. Also, especially for an old rotor, the pad has to mechanically seat itself in the grooves and it takes 100's of miles before you get near full power from them. I always replace all 4 rotors and I get the cheap ones because they are fine and I will throw them out soon enough.
    firstly, all of the parts were new when i did the upgrade (pads, rotors, lines and fluid).

    secondly, i feel that my braking is lack luster. i will put a lot of pressure on (no one else around) and it feels like my pads are better than stock, but nowhere near what i had anticipated. there are a few times where the it seems like i am more likely to hit the vehicle in front of me VS stopping.

    so, in short, my question was - how to you make certain that the brake lines are completely void of air - especially the ABS pump? i'm not going to open up the ABS pump, as that would introduce a ton of air.

    so, does anyone know of a way to have the ABS pump become active/functional while bleeding the brakes?

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    i just realized that i've negated to put in some specific info.

    my WRX Wagon was up on jack stands, engine off, wheels off - wife in the driver's seat. i opened one of the brake valves - when she stepped on the brake pedal, zero fluid came out. checked the reservoir and it was at the top. i tried opening the brake bleeder valve a bit more - same result.

    so, i had my wife start the engine then press the brakes - and fluid came out!

    and that is why i am asking specifically about the ABS pump, etc.

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    It can be a total PTIA. Some say you can purge the ABS with normal bleeding and others say it may help to skid a bit on gravel so the ABS cycles.

    When I put in my SS lines one of them leaked out all the way before I caught it. If so the air is likely in the master cylinder and although I got it after several attempts, I would never bother with that again.

    Brake bleeding is just one of those things that is so important and so cheap I'd recommend the dealer. They have all the fancy **** to do it right in one go and I think it is only $30. I've decided I'll just use them if I ever have any issues again that I can't resolve in one shot. Jacking up each corner one at a time to do the required diagonal bleeding order (RF, LR, LF, RR) repeatedly is just not worth the time.
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    He simply abides. SD_GR's Avatar
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    I did RF to LR and LF to RR manually. It's possible but boring. If a shop is an option and $ isn't an object go that route. It does sound like you're running with air in there though IFF you cannot find a leak.
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    Registered User D's WRX's Avatar
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    So I just bled my brakes twice after installing new SS lines/rotors/calipers (STi Brembos)/Pads and of course fluid. First attempt was poor and I had almost no bite when pressing the pedal nearly to the floor. That was done in the driveway with my son pushing the pedal (positive air was trapped in the system). I had much better success taking it to a mechanic friend and using a bleeder ball on the reservoir and pressure applied at each bleeder valve to suck the fluid through. Now the pedal is so hard I'm afraid there could be TOO much pressure. Also, the traction control light and hill assist lights turn on each time I start to drive the car.

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    Admiral Ackbar the 1st mycologist's Avatar
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    Yup, easy to spend more on brake fluid and not get it like that.
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