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From Wed Jul 12 11:24:05 2000
Date: Wed, 12 Jul 2000 13:23:34 -0500
From: E36M3 <>
To: E36M3 <>
Subject: [E36M3] E36M3 #336

This digest contains the following messages:

  • Brake pad summary

    by: Jay Sala <>

    Given that the brake pad thread has surfaced again, I thought I'd repost the brake pad summary that I put together in early '99. If you guys are sick of seeing this, just let me know through private email.

    This was compiled from previous digests and my personal experience -- take it as another data point in making your own decision on what is best for you, your car, driving needs, skill, budget, etc. Note that the prices are for the E36 325i/328i. E36 M3 pads tend to be more expensive.

    Also, as has been discussed, there is no brake pad that can possibly combine ideal performance for both street and track. Some pads are better than others, but all pads are compromises in terms of dust, noise, performance when cold, performance at track conditions, etc. However, they trade-off street and track performance in different ways, giving you the chance to find what's best for you.


    PBR/Repco/Axis Deluxe - Nice pad for non-aggressive street driving that has been highly recommended on the digest for that use. Keeps your wheels clean. May squeel/click a bit as they don't fit as well as stock. Completely unsuited for the track, where they are said to vaporize under extreme use. A good pad if you decide to buy a set of track-only pads as well and are willing to swap pads before and after events.

    Sources: Bavarian Autosport

                            Turner Motorsport
                            (978) 388-7769
                            About $35 per axle

    PBR/Repco/Axis MetalMasters - Good for high performance street driving, though they may need to warm up a bit. Use on the track is another matter. Some think they're OK, some feel very strongly that they shouldn't be used at the track as they are not significantly better than the Deluxes. There may be better choices. I'd rather not take chances.

            Source:         Turner Motorsport
                            (978) 388-7769
                            Front set:  $33.95  (part no. D 3215)
                            Rear set:   $33.95  (part no. D 3073)

    MAY BE USED ON THE STREET AND TRACK (listed roughly from less to more suited for track use)

    Stock pads - A good all-around choice. Fine on the street, and work decently well on the track, though they can be overheated by a strong intermediate or advanced driver. Once overheated, they can warp the rotors through prolonged attempts to get some braking. Ask me how I know.

    Sources: Bavarian Autosport

                            Steve D'Gerolamo _at_ The Ultimate Garage
                            (201) 262-0412

    Pagid - These are German sport pads for street use. Very nicely made, fit exactly. They are as dusty as stock pads. Have anti-squeal plate bonded on the back and are completely suitable for street, but also work better than stock on the track. About the same price as stock pads. A good choice for a novice at the track.

            Source:         Steve D'Gerolamo _at_ The Ultimate Garage
                            (201) 262-0412
                            Front set:  $45 (approximate price)
                            Rear set:   $45   (approximate price)
            Note: Pagid was supposed to come out with a new street/track compound in 

    mid 1999 that
    was more aggressive. Pagid also has race compounds, though I don't have information on them.

    Performance Friction Z-rated - a good street/track brake pad. Uses a carbon-metallic compound. Better stopping power and less dust than stock. Quiet - don't rattle. Not as good as the Porterfield R4S when cold (metallic pads have to warm up a bit; carbon-kevlar pads have a wider operating range and are effective even when cold).

    Sources: Porterfield (see below)

                            Front set:  $ ??
                            Rear set:   $107
                            HMS Motorsport
                            (888) 467-3269

    Porterfield R4-S - a carbon kevlar street/track compound with built-in ceramic insulator. Impressive bite, power, and heat resistance. Work fine cold. (I had these on my car and they did not squeel any more than stock pads.) Note that you have to monitor wear towards the end of the pad life since some of the apparent friction material thickness is actually the ceramic lining.

            Source:         Porterfield
                            (949) 548-4470  (ask for Jackie)
                            Front set: $99  (part number AP558)
                            Rear set:  $79  (part number AP396)

    Carbotech Panther - an increasingly popular pad. Seems to work well in autocross and on the track -- good braking, resistance to fade, not hard on rotors. Are also quiet and work well for street use. There are mixed opinions on life span -- one digester used up a set in a day at Moroso in his E36 M3, though his friend in an E30 M3 did not experience excessive wear. It is a popular pad on the 318ti list.

    Source: Carbotech

    TRACK PADS (not suitable for street use, though some people do use them)

    Turner Motorsport Racing Pads (formerly Cool Carbon, now sold only by TMS under their own name). Very popular track pad for those on the BMW digest. While not as long lasting as PF90s or Hawk Blues, they are very kind to the rotors and won't toss hot metal particles onto the wheel and body paint. Less expensive, too. Not suitable for street use as they are noisy
    and dusty, and may not stop your car well when they are cold.

            Source:         Turner Motorsport
                            (978) 388-7769
                            Front set:  $138.95  (part no. TMS 558)
                            Rear set:   $ 99.95  (part no. TMS 396)

    Porterfield R4 (more aggressive than the street/track R4-S above) - Carbon kevlar pad material - Great braking power, fade resistant, easy to modulate. Give similar bite to stock pads even when cold, but they can squeel noisily under light application. I drove this on the street as well as the track, and thought they did better cold than stock pads, though not as good as the R4-S.

    Source: Porterfield (see above)

    Performance Friction 90 - One of several compounds they have available. A very popular racing pad used in IMSA, GT-2 and GT-3 racing. Great braking power and fade resistance, but may not be appropriate for daily street use. Long lasting.

    Sources: Porterfield (see above)

                            Front set:  $195.30
                            Rear set:   $192.50     
                                    - or-
                        HMS Motorsport (see above)

    Hawk Blues - Strong braking, heat resistant, noisy and dusty. Opinions are mixed -- some swear by them, others say they have a reputation for being hard on rotors and, when very hot, giving off hot metallic particles that can stick to your wheels and paint. As is typical with race pads, they need to be warmed up before you try for maximum braking.

            Sources:    TCKline Racing/ProParts
                        614-771-7744 or 818-888-8904
                                    - or -
                        Porterfield (see above)

    <end of summary>

    Jay Sala
    BMW CCA, Golden Gate Chapter

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