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Discussion Starter #1
I have an '02 WRX wagon with stock calipers, and OEM rotors and pads. I use the optional 17" BBS RK's for the summer, and i'm running the stock double spoke 16" WRX wheels with blizzaks in the winter.

The brakes on this car are awful. They're adequate for daily driving. But any time i'm alone on a winding back road with some room to play, I overheat them. I've had a few scary experiences on the highway where they've faded and smoked up under panic braking. I don't feel safe in the car.

I'd like to know what people recommend to make this situation better.

I want:
-Brakes that don't fade simply because I had to do a panic stop when someone cuts off a tractor trailer in front of me on the highway. I almost rear ended a Camry because he was stopping faster than me. A Camry! My reaction time wasn't a problem, and I have sticker tires than him.
-To feel safe in the car. These are without a doubt, the worst brakes of any car i've owned. They're simply unacceptable. My M3, RSX-S, Integra GS-R...heck my 1990 Integra LS had better brakes on it.

I don't want:
-To spend money on bling that I don't need.
-Overkill for the car, which is mainly street driven (some autoX, but I have another car for that usually).
-To loose my 16" winter wheels, unless I have no other reasonable option.
-Annoying noise. Dust isn't a real big concern, but i'd rather not have brakes that dust like the ones on my M3, where I have to clean the wheels after 10 miles of driving.

Pad upgrades only? Calipers and matching parts from a later model? Throw it at me. Thanks in advance.

-Nick
 

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Start with pads and you may not have to go beyond that.

There are many choices, I classify them in two general categories: (a) Ferodo and (b) everybody else.

The link in my signature has general info; the trick is going to be finding a set of pads you like for your specific use pattern.

If the pads you pick work out OK, just stop there.
 

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^^SD makes a great point. Start with pads (Ferrodos are good...but Hawk HPS are another great pad. I use them on my STI).

It could also be time for a fluid flush and change. Look for ATE Super Blue.

Other sensible upgrades could include some Stainless Steel brake lines (such as Goodrich)and Rotors (DBA streets).

My ideal setup would be (and will be in the next month when I do a brake overhaul since its time for me): DBA Street rotors: drilled/slotted, Hawk HPS pads, Goodrich SS brake lines all around, ATE Super Blue fluid. I can do the labor myself. Total cost will be around $800. For you, a similar setup would be cheaper since you don't have Brembos.

You could get by without replacing rear rotors or lines though considering braking is biased upwards of 85% to the front wheels. I do suggest the pads on all four corners though.
 

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Start with pads and you may not have to go beyond that.

There are many choices, I classify them in two general categories: (a) Ferodo and (b) everybody else.

The link in my signature has general info; the trick is going to be finding a set of pads you like for your specific use pattern.

If the pads you pick work out OK, just stop there.
Yes definitely good advice. It's similar to the analogy of "don't replace your engine because the car is overheating due to a bad thermostat." Try the pads first, but definitely do a brake fluid replacement too. I'm guessing you're maybe still on the original fluid? Some Motul blue could make a big difference. Stainless lines can improve the pedal feel, but in general they're not going to improve your braking performance. Personally I think Hawk HPS pads are very good for street cars, but not everybody agrees. I've used them on Porsches and Subarus and they work great on the street. So start with a good quality set of pads and replace your brake fluid and see what happens before you look at replacing your rotors. I also wouldn't bother with having your rotors turned when you replace the pads unless you have major gouges in them. The pads will bed just fine against the rotors after a few hundred miles at most even without having them turned.
 

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Pads, Fluid, SS Lines (especially at the same time you're doing fluid).

I'm going to agree with SD on the Ferodo thing. I had Ferodo DS2500's on my 4/2pot WRX brakes... and I have Hawk HPS's on my car with Brembos... My 4/2pots were MUCH better at braking than my brembos are currently... and I KNOW it had to do with the pads
 

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You can't compare the DS2500 to Hawk HPS pads there Kevin. Those Ferodo pads are meant for track day applications and even can be used for light racing. They're not street pads..... ;)
 

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All I'm trying to exemplify is that pads have more to do with braking abilities than almost anything else.
 

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I disagree with everything you have to say. Pads don't matter at all. All that matters is how hard you push the brake pedal.
 

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The DS2500 is a street compound. It works well cold, does not require any sort of bedding, dusts only a little compared to the more egregious offenders, and makes little noise. None of these are concerns with a track pad. For a track pad there is the 3K series stuff. I would not hesitate to use the 2500 on a car that is strictly a road car, and in fact I don't think the maker sells these as track pads, I think they're marketed as "mixed use," meaning they are great pads for a road car.
 

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my next pads will again be the ds2500... it's just a matter of deciding on rotors
 

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The DS2500 is a street compound. It works well cold, does not require any sort of bedding, dusts only a little compared to the more egregious offenders, and makes little noise. None of these are concerns with a track pad. For a track pad there is the 3K series stuff. I would not hesitate to use the 2500 on a car that is strictly a road car, and in fact I don't think the maker sells these as track pads, I think they're marketed as "mixed use," meaning they are great pads for a road car.
Sorry but that's wrong. Per the Ferodo website:
Ferodo’s DS2500 racing brake pads represent a new generation of friction material that’s low in compressibility, ensuring a firm pedal while providing great disc and pad life.

These pads were developed with characteristics that make them perfect for track days, including a consistent coefficient of friction (0.50) at any temperature, providing very predictable braking and great pedal modulation.

Combined with low wheel dusting and good noise characteristics, this product is the brake pad for the driver who needs the highest track-day braking performance.
 

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Look at what is in bold though. Ferodo speak of "track days" yet unfailingly mention "low wheel dusting" and "good noise characteristics." None of these are concerns for a race pad.

I would not recommend the OP consider the 3000+ series for a road car, and cannot name a Ferodo pad "below" the 2500 for a street car.

If there is any doubt (for track use; for street use, the DS2500 is the correct choice) I'd recommend the OP to contact Ferodo and ask, since they typically will recommend their "R" or "W" compounds (I think the latter is also called 11.1? or something?) for race applications, not the "H" (that is, not the 2500). If the car is driven on a public road though, the 2500 is the "must" pad; it can stay on for some laps and it will be OK. It's great in that it actually stops the car in the morning yet doesn't change dramatically going down a mountain etc., it deals with temp changes well.

I wonder if the "H" is "hybrid" or something? "R" for race, and then what for "W" (the W is long-distance hard race).
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Excellent, thanks so much for the informative replies everybody. It looks like the consensus is that pads may be able to help me significantly. That's good, as calipers are expensive, haha.

FWIW, the car is on all pretty new OEM stuff, as I mentioned. I run ATE Super blue in it, and the system was completely flushed when I put the new parts in. The bleed (as usual) helped with pedal feel a little, but the overall braking force and the performance under moderate to hard use leaves a lot to be desired.

In comparison to my friend's '04 WRX, my car just doesn't stop that well.

Anyways...Can anyone link me to a place that carries the Ferodo pads for an '02 WRX? I'm having a hard time finding a vendor.
 

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