Brake pad summary
by: Jay Sala <jsala_at_mist.com>
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
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
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
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
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
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
(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.
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
and dusty, and may not stop your car well when they are cold.
Source: Turner Motorsport
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
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>
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