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Stock Brakes for Track?

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Okay, I have been taking my 240z to the track more and more and had a brake experience that I wanted to share. Let's start with the setup: The car is a late 1972 240z with a 280 block and a recent rebuild with higher compression, light flywheel, ported head etc. The suspension arms are Apex Engineered front and rear and Stagg/Votgland shocks/springs(hope to upgrade struts soon although the Staggs have been crazy good for the price). All of this on 195 14" rim Falken Azenis. The brakes were stock in front with EBC pads and stock in the rear.

The combo is a ton of fun until I started pushing the car harder and harder and I start getting brake fade. I had brake fade a few times on the track so I built heat shields and bled the brakes with dot 4, I still had brake fade so I used racing fluid. The last time I raced I didn't get brake fade, but the brakes stopped sticking well so I pitted the car - while in the pits I heard something (the pad liner) drop out of the wheels. When I pulled out of the pits there was an awful grinding sound when I pushed the brakes so I now had a decent idea what was happening. The pic below shows what happened to those EBC pads on the track. I don't believe that the pads were the problem, but I might question using EBC in the future.

IMG_4115.JPG

I believe the cause was two fold. One because of all of the brake fade I didn't have a lot of confidence in my brakes so instead of quick jabs I would tap and ease into the brakes on the corners so I had enough time to pump if I had issues. This lead to excess heat - however I didn't see a better option because of the brake issues I had previously. Second problem no venting to the brakes. Potential third problem, not sticky enough rear shoes which led to additional strain on the fronts.

I know many say that stock brakes are good enough for anything that you can throw at them and I know that the stock brakes stop great when in good shape until they get too hot. So for those of you that are tracking your cars with stock brakes what brake setup do you  use? Be specific - front pads? rear shoes? adjustable bias(I don't know for stock classes if this counts as stock, but just for the edification of the group include this)? venting specifics (NACA ducts through the wheel well, front ducts, etc. in addition to where the air enters the backing plate)? 

My intent with this post is to inform those with the intents of going to the track with the z that "stock brakes" don't really work especially while learning and using the brakes sub-optimally. However I would love to see what others are doing to their stock brakes so they are track worthy so those that would like to go down this path have some clues.

Disclaimer: Racing is dangerous, and there are millions of variables included in it, so this post or the questions answered should in no way be taken as solutions that will work with your car. Any modification comes with a certain level of risk especially with brakes.

In case you are wondering what I am doing next on my brakes,  I have upgraded to Toyota brakes with vented calipers and adjustable front/rear bias. 

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1 hour ago, bingo said:

Okay, I have been taking my 240z to the track more and more and had a brake experience that I wanted to share. Let's start with the setup: The car is a late 1972 240z with a 280 block and a recent rebuild with higher compression, light flywheel, ported head etc. The suspension arms are Apex Engineered front and rear and Stagg/Votgland shocks/springs(hope to upgrade struts soon although the Staggs have been crazy good for the price). All of this on 195 14" rim Falken Azenis. The brakes were stock in front with EBC pads and stock in the rear.

The combo is a ton of fun until I started pushing the car harder and harder and I start getting brake fade. I had brake fade a few times on the track so I built heat shields and bled the brakes with dot 4, I still had brake fade so I used racing fluid. The last time I raced I didn't get brake fade, but the brakes stopped sticking well so I pitted the car - while in the pits I heard something (the pad liner) drop out of the wheels. When I pulled out of the pits there was an awful grinding sound when I pushed the brakes so I now had a decent idea what was happening. The pic below shows what happened to those EBC pads on the track. I don't believe that the pads were the problem, but I might question using EBC in the future.

IMG_4115.JPG

I believe the cause was two fold. One because of all of the brake fade I didn't have a lot of confidence in my brakes so instead of quick jabs I would tap and ease into the brakes on the corners so I had enough time to pump if I had issues. This lead to excess heat - however I didn't see a better option because of the brake issues I had previously. Second problem no venting to the brakes. Potential third problem, not sticky enough rear shoes which led to additional strain on the fronts.

I know many say that stock brakes are good enough for anything that you can throw at them and I know that the stock brakes stop great when in good shape until they get too hot. So for those of you that are tracking your cars with stock brakes what brake setup do you  use? Be specific - front pads? rear shoes? adjustable bias(I don't know for stock classes if this counts as stock, but just for the edification of the group include this)? venting specifics (NACA ducts through the wheel well, front ducts, etc. in addition to where the air enters the backing plate)? 

My intent with this post is to inform those with the intents of going to the track with the z that "stock brakes" don't really work especially while learning and using the brakes sub-optimally. However I would love to see what others are doing to their stock brakes so they are track worthy so those that would like to go down this path have some clues.

Disclaimer: Racing is dangerous, and there are millions of variables included in it, so this post or the questions answered should in no way be taken as solutions that will work with your car. Any modification comes with a certain level of risk especially with brakes.

In case you are wondering what I am doing next on my brakes,  I have upgraded to Toyota brakes with vented calipers and adjustable front/rear bias. 

I used the Toyota 4 piston calipers and vented rotors on my early '71 for track duty for several years.  The rear brake drums  with cheap parts store shoes worked fine, as long as they were adjusted properly.  I did not even need a bias adjuster.  I would recommend using Motul 600 brake fluid and Hawk pads.  Been using them for years without any brake fade or issues.  Also, if you have not done so already, change to braided lines.  With this set up, you should notice a huge difference in braking power.

Of course if you are racing, you need to be sure this is in compliance with the organization's rule book before you install it..

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3 hours ago, Marty Rogan said:

I used the Toyota 4 piston calipers and vented rotors on my early '71 for track duty for several years.  The rear brake drums  with cheap parts store shoes worked fine, as long as they were adjusted properly.  I did not even need a bias adjuster.  I would recommend using Motul 600 brake fluid and Hawk pads.  Been using them for years without any brake fade or issues.  Also, if you have not done so already, change to braided lines.  With this set up, you should notice a huge difference in braking power.

Of course if you are racing, you need to be sure this is in compliance with the organization's rule book before you install it..

Marty, are you using S12W vented calipers, or the s12+8 vented caliper? Have you upgraded the master cylinder? With your braided brake line do you bypass the S hardline fitting on the caliper? and go directly from the caliper to the steel hardline?

I bring this up because i was just under the car changing out springs and ran into the issue of having to remove the s-hardline from the caliper in order to get the disk out. Kinda annoying, but the rubber lines for the car look like they need to be swapped out, just want to see if i make it more service-friendly. ?

I ordered s12w calipers from autozone, (they have 20% off right now) but was debating on keeping it all OEM and using hawkpads after hearing about ITS 240z's using stock setups......

seems like its really easy to throw cash at this, and not come up with a solution that fits the use-case.

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14 minutes ago, heyitsrama said:

Marty, are you using S12W vented calipers, or the s12+8 vented caliper? Have you upgraded the master cylinder? With your braided brake line do you bypass the S hardline fitting on the caliper? and go directly from the caliper to the steel hardline?

I bring this up because i was just under the car changing out springs and ran into the issue of having to remove the s-hardline from the caliper in order to get the disk out. Kinda annoying, but the rubber lines for the car look like they need to be swapped out, just want to see if i make it more service-friendly. ?

I ordered s12w calipers from autozone, (they have 20% off right now) but was debating on keeping it all OEM and using hawkpads after hearing about ITS 240z's using stock setups......

seems like its really easy to throw cash at this, and not come up with a solution that fits the use-case.

I used the S12W.  I believe they were from a 1988 Forerunner, V6.  I retained the "S" hardline.  If I remember correctly, the rotors were from a 1984 300ZX, but that will depend upon which spacer you use to center it in the caliper.  I did not see that mentioned here.  You WILL need a spacer.  Not sure where to get them these days.

The caring and feeding of any track car is not for the faint of heart, budget wise.  But they sure are fun!!  It is still cheaper than doing a full Wilwood conversion.

 

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Your problem is that you selected the wrong pads.  Pads and fluid are the two most important components in a brake setup.  I have raced my Z for years with no fade using stock front and rear hardware other than the pads, fluid and SS flex hoses.  I use Ate Super Gold fluid and Porterfield R4-E pads (I endurance race and the R4-E is an endurance pads).  I do run brake ducts, but only added them recently.  I also have a 2.8L high compression engine, light flywheel and 195/60R14 Falken RT615K tires.  That said, I am now in the middle of a major upgrade.  I am switching to the vented front setup using Z31 rotors, S12-W calipers and T3 spacers.  In the back, I am going to Mustang GT calipers and vented rotors using the Silvermine caliper brackets.  The hydraulics will be handled by a Wilwood 1" bore MC and an adjustable prop valve.  Pads will be Porterfield R4-E up front and stock GT500 rear pads which are track capable.  I might or might not need to upgrade the rear pads to Porterfield.  The new brakes will be paired with 15" Konig Rewind wheels and 225/45R15 Hankook RS4 tires.  

There are tons of great brake pads out there for track use.  I like Porterfield, but Carbotech, Hawk, and others make good stuff as well.  Spend 10 minutes on either Porterfield's website or Carbotech's website looking at their compound descriptions.  Both go into great detail expailing the temperature ranges of each compound and their intended usage.  If you are upgrading the fronts, you can either stick with the stock drums, or go with a disc swap.  Keep in mind that most disc swaps, while easy to service, provide LESS stopping power than the drums.  Most people stuggle to get enough rear stopping power.  The adjustable prop valve will only reduce rear pressure and is no use with an undersized rear swap.  

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Thanks for all of the feedback. In response to heyitsrama: I bent my own hardline to the braided line, but while I was at it I cut a slot in the brake line bracket on the strut tube so I could unclip from the bracket and then remove the caliper without needing to remove the brake line.

Jeff G: I end using EBC Yellow Stuff which should be good to 900C which is like 1650F so the brakes were getting super hot. Also, just curious why are you going with the 225/45R15 Hankooks? I have a couple of track days left in my tires but after that I plan on replacing the rims and tires but was thinking of going with 16 inch rims since there are more tires available. This size keeps basically the same diameter though which is nice.

After installing the Toyota brakes the car has started to pull to one side, so I am thinking that the root cause is a crimped or damaged line that doesn't let one side pull away from the rotor as much as the other. This wasn't as exaggerated with the original calipers since they flow so much less fluid. Anyways I believe this in conjunction with dot 3 fluid started the problems and the poor confidence in the brakes which led to using them poorly. I think I found the crimp in my hard line so I will fix that and see if the pulling is fixed... Hopefully this can be resolved once and for all. I will check out Hawk, Carbotech, or Porterfied for future pads.

I am using the 7/8 MC with my new setup and using braided stainless lines as well.

Anybody else using stock brakes on the track? If so were just good pads and fluid sufficient or did you need venting also?

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20 minutes ago, bingo said:

I end using EBC Yellow Stuff which should be good to 900C which is like 1650F so the brakes were getting super hot.

Also, just curious why are you going with the 225/45R15 Hankooks? I have a couple of track days left in my tires but after that I plan on replacing the rims and tires but was thinking of going with 16 inch rims since there are more tires available. This size keeps basically the same diameter though which is nice.

EBC Yellowstuff are copper-free linings.  There is a reason that every good brake pad uses copper and it's because it is better.  The reason for copper-free is because the great state of California, as always, is pushing to ban copper in brake linings.  They claim that it is harming some sort of creature as they always do.  Guess what, famers all over California and every other state spray copper on their fields and will continue to do so.  I would ditch the yellowstuff pads and either go with Redstuff, Orangestuff, Bluestuff or RP-1 if you want to stick with EBC, or go with a one of the other pads I recommended.  Go with either Motul 600, SRF, or Ate brake fluid.  They are all good track fluids.  Ate is the least expensive and has worked well for me.

As for tires, I run 225/50R16" tires on my street Z and there are several things I dislike about them.  They are the same diameter as stock, but because of the width and stock diameter, they rub front and rear.  I had to do a lot of work to make them fit.  I can also feel the rotating mass compared to smaller and lighter wheels/tires.  The smaller tires accelerate better, stop better, fit better, and have shorter sidewalls for better handling on the track.  They are too small for street use, but work great on track.  There are tons of tires in that size as most BMW's and Miatas are on the same track tires.

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13 hours ago, Jeff G 78 said:

EBC Yellowstuff are copper-free linings.  There is a reason that every good brake pad uses copper and it's because it is better.  The reason for copper-free is because the great state of California, as always, is pushing to ban copper in brake linings.  They claim that it is harming some sort of creature as they always do.  Guess what, famers all over California and every other state spray copper on their fields and will continue to do so.  I would ditch the yellowstuff pads and either go with Redstuff, Orangestuff, Bluestuff or RP-1 if you want to stick with EBC, or go with a one of the other pads I recommended.  Go with either Motul 600, SRF, or Ate brake fluid.  They are all good track fluids.  Ate is the least expensive and has worked well for me.

As for tires, I run 225/50R16" tires on my street Z and there are several things I dislike about them.  They are the same diameter as stock, but because of the width and stock diameter, they rub front and rear.  I had to do a lot of work to make them fit.  I can also feel the rotating mass compared to smaller and lighter wheels/tires.  The smaller tires accelerate better, stop better, fit better, and have shorter sidewalls for better handling on the track.  They are too small for street use, but work great on track.  There are tons of tires in that size as most BMW's and Miatas are on the same track tires.

This is super helpful info. I think I might shift towards 15" rims for my next set as well after hearing this. Looking at the GForce or Ventus RS4. As a complete tangent I attached an excel doc that I made by getting data from TireRack to help me decide on tires.  

I am not planning on using EBC for my future pads since the last failure was pretty bad, I will likely go with one of your other pad recommendations.

I switched to Maxima 600 plus brake fluid which has been great. Even with the complete pad failure there was no fade just slick feeling pads from the heat (another reason I will not use those pads again - slick when they are needed the most).

I wanted to touch on the proportioning valve comment above. I was under the impression that removing the stock proportioning valve and adding an adjustable valve allows you to increase the proportion to the rear since they generally are 100% max down to a 50-60% reduction depending on model. If you were to add an additional proportioning valve there is no way that you could do anything besides reduce pressure from stock to the rears. Does this sound right?

tire_specs201909.xlsx

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I installed PAGID RSH 29E front brake pads and could't believe what a difference it made. Compared to the MSA "track" brake pads it feels like a complete new braking system. So far I haven't experienced any brake fade issues and the overall stopping efficiency is very high. 

 

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Another thing you can do, if your racing rules allow, is swap the servo with one from a 2+2 S30, these are larger and help with braking (as these were fitted to the 2+2 due to it being a heavier car than the 2 seater).

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@bingo can you take a picture of the slot that you cut?

did you ever get that issue with the pull addressed? I had that on my system it was due to an air bubble on the passenger side, i rebleed the system and it was good.

I'm still on the fence about upgrading the calipers. I dont feel that the brakes are the limiting factor on my setup, id rather push till i start noticing the fade, then look at upgrades...

With that being said, Ido think I could get more performance by changing out the rubber lines (not sure of their age) and upgrading the pad probably hawk.

I contacted Raymond at ApexBrakes (was suggested in another thread) but I'm not sure if the price is justified compared to rubber setup, any opinions @Jeff G 78?

 

Edit** I ordered SS lines, need to find pads.

Edited by heyitsrama

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I personally don't like Hawk pads.  They eat rotors.  Raybestos ST-43 are well-liked for track use.  I prefer Porterfield R4 (or R4-E in my case).  The Porterfields have higher friction than the Raybestos ST-43, but both are good.  I really like my SS hoses.  Mine are Earl's and I might have gotten them from MSA years ago.

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In my build thread, I posted up a link to a company that will make SS hoses for you cheaper than MSA and to a custom length with custom ends based on your needs

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Here is a pic of the slot cut for easy removal of caliper without disconnecting the line. This pic also shows the bend I did for the hardline which was super simple and seems to stay out of the way better than the s-bend, it is further away from the rotor than it looks in this pic.

IMG_4280.JPG

I used Goodridge hoses like these https://zcardepot.com/products/brake-hose-stainless-steel-lines-kit-240z-260z-280z they are high quality and I have had zero issues with them. If cost is a big concern these Russel lines seem to be a pretty reasonable price https://zcardepot.com/products/brake-hose-braided-stainless-steel-240z-260z-280z but I can't speak to their quality.

Yes I got the pull issue fixed, but I am not 100% sure what it was. My theory was that it was a crushed hard brake line, but when I took it off and cut it the line where it was crushed it still had quite a bit of room for flow. My theory was that it was just flowing slower than the other in low pressure situations ie release the brake pedal and after lots of light stops the brake pad was closer to the rotor than the other side was so the pull happened. If I pushed the brakes hard like at a stop light they would "reset" and not pull until I drove on the highway for a while. Anyways they do appear to be fixed now and I did replace the line so it is possible that the line caused it, but just seems weird that such a minor crimp could cause the issue. Pics of the line are below.

IMG_4274.JPGIMG_4273.JPG

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Starting in 2003 we have gone from stock fronts and rear drums (autocrossing) to S8W to S12W and drums (track days) to S12W and Wilwood rears(vintage racing). RockAuto calipers taken apart and Swan coated. Have run Porterfield front pads and shoes until our various engines started to overrun the brakes (current: L28 - NA making 260rwhp). Moved to Carbotech 3 years ago all the way around. Brake ducts for the past two years. Motul 660 or 600. We would bleed before each race weekend and at the end of each day but not anymore. Upgraded to 280 booster and 15/16 MC along with stainless lines. Gutted stock prop valve and installed inline valve. Removed all this after 3 years and installed Wilwood pedals, bias adjuster and 3/4 front MC- 5/8 rear with equal length front brake lines the winter of 2018/19.  Now moving to Wilwood front 4 piston calipers (12 inch dia & 1.25 inch wide rotors). Getting out braked by the SCCA guys running their 240/280s as GT-2s. 

All this on 15 inch wheels with either Toyo RA1s ( 225/45/15) or Hoosier R7s (225/45/15-front and 275/35/15 rear). Love the Toyos, they are great from the start if used as rain tires until you wear them down or have them shaved to 5/32. Under 5/32 they are like slicks. Very predictable. Hoosiers are a blast especially with the 10-inch rear wheels. In the rain 225 Hoosier wets all the way around,

I have a set of Porterfield and Nismo rear shoes available.

 

RITR.jpg

NJrear19.jpg

Edited by gnosez
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