Jump to content

Honda brakes - good suggestions welcome!


Segeltorp
 Share

Recommended Posts

So, this winter I will look into the brakes a bit more. It is nice to be able to stop with some confidence! 

 

(Yes, finding that I had no brakes coming into the hairpin at the end of the back straight at PIRC last weekend did not build more confidence in my brakes, but that was my own fault as it had lost the fluid through the rear caliper...)  But they have never been that great. Slightly mushy pedal, not easy to modulate well. So even when they are good I brake earlier than I have to due to a confidence thing. The Accord Wagon has 4-wheel discs, Acura TL front rotors, Hawk DTC-70 front and DTC-30 rear pads. The easy approach is just to go through everything. Rebuild master cylinder and calipers, making sure everything glides nicely. Try a different fluid than the ATE that I have run this far. 

 

Or, are there any well known tricks in the Honda community for adding more stopping power? Master cylinder, front rotors, calipers? I guess anything that fits within my 16" wheels and fits my measly budget would be of interest...

 

Feel free to share your suggestions.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mushy is generally a maintenance issue.  Make sure your fluid is fresh (sounds like it is now!), all the lines are in good condition, and nothing is worn out. ATE type 200 is a great fluid assuming you're not boiling it.  If the car has ABS, that system can be especially difficult to bleed, leading to a soft pedal.  Not easy to modulate implies something is sticking, either in the MC or a caliper. 

 

Once your're confident all the bits are in perfect shape, you can start adding stiffness to the system.  Swap to SS lines if you haven't already, and maybe replace the stock combo valve with an adjustable proportioning valve in the rear brake line to get some more control over balance.  But make the mushy go away first. 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

23 minutes ago, Hi_Im_Will said:

Mushy is generally a maintenance issue.  Make sure your fluid is fresh (sounds like it is now!), all the lines are in good condition, and nothing is worn out. ATE type 200 is a great fluid assuming you're not boiling it.  If the car has ABS, that system can be especially difficult to bleed, leading to a soft pedal.  Not easy to modulate implies something is sticking, either in the MC or a caliper. 

 

Once your're confident all the bits are in perfect shape, you can start adding stiffness to the system.  Swap to SS lines if you haven't already, and maybe replace the stock combo valve with an adjustable proportioning valve in the rear brake line to get some more control over balance.  But make the mushy go away first. 

^^ what he said.....after that you are a bit limited by your bolt pattern...if you were running 5 bolt you could go crazy for a reasonable $$...even 4x100 might allow more options...tires also can add to driver confidence under braking...what are you running?

 

 

our solution-we did a 4 pot acura rl swap with 13" 350z rotors on our CL (before I rolled it-not the brakes problem)...and built a bracket that allowed us to us honda pilot 12.3" rotors on the back...although we use raybestos pads...brakes are INSANE...took a while to get used to it...still a little problem with the rear end being too light under braking...we eliminated the ABS and run an integra prop valve in its place...whole conversion including pads front and rear cost us around $1000...also require 17" wheels with enough space for the front calipers (2004 up TL wheels)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

1 hour ago, curtwill said:

^^ what he said.....after that you are a bit limited by your bolt pattern...if you were running 5 bolt you could go crazy for a reasonable $$...even 4x100 might allow more options...tires also can add to driver confidence under braking...what are you running?

 

also require 17" wheels with enough space for the front calipers (2004 up TL wheels)

Thanks to both of you for thoughtful and detailed replies!

 

Yes, I agree on the maintenance thing which is why my initial approach would be to just rebuild what's there now. 

 

Sorry that I wasn't clear on what I run (other than saying Acura TL rotors...) I have 5-bolt 114.3 mm hubs. Regular rotors, none of those pressed on things. Calipers appear to be Prelude circa 1999, at least that's what I have bought pads for. 

 

Tires are 225/50-16 Falken RT-615K. 

 

ATE 200 Fluid. SS lines. No ABS. I will remain limited to my 16" wheels, as I have no plans to upgrade those. 

 

But the "could go crazy for reasonable $$" is kind of what I was thinking I should do. I've never been in a car with too good brakes! 😉

Link to comment
Share on other sites

For what it's worth, whenever I have talked with Mark from frozen Rotors, he has always said to treat calipers as a "consumable" of sorts and replace yearly (obviously depending on number of races per year). We are able to turn in our calipers as cores to the local parts store and it only costs us like $30 per caliper (I think, can't remember exact value). 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mushy might be a relative term too. I've never driven any other Honda on track so I have not much to compare to. The brakes are not bad, but I'd like them to be sharper. More aggressive early bite, better communication about where the threshold is. A bit more front bias. 

 

I've maintained that I want the brakes to be the best part of a car's performance but on the Wagon I currently have relatively more engine power than stopping power and that's what will get addressed over the winter!

Edited by Segeltorp
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Mushy to me is either air/moisture or excessive compliance in the system (caliper flex, line flex, compressible fluid etc.).  Unfortunately pin sliders are inherently flexy which will result in poor feel, poor release and pad taper.  As mentioned some will also clamshell over time with track use (I had a C5 customer that would replace calipers 2x per season).  If there is any kind of OE opposing-piston caliper (Brembo, etc) that bolts up, it would likely be worth the investment.  Just be sure mfg make racing pads for it (not always the case).  Or now you could go with a Wilwood superlite if you have points available.

 

ATE fluid is marginal at best considering today's brake pad compounds, available grip (even 200tw tires) and typical low thermal mass/efficiency of an OE brake system.  536­­­°F DBP is 100°F lower than the current top tier racing fluids, which is a huge amount when you consider manufacturers are fighting for an extra 10°F of DBP.  ATE200/Blue was a pretty good fluid, in 1998, and there is a reason the really good racing fluids today cost 4x as much per liter.  I would never run less than a 600 fluid and would suggest running even higher for good measure.

 

SS lines are a pretty cheap way to remove compliance from the system and should result in slightly better pedal feel, but I would highly recommend going with a quality manufacturer (Goodridge, etc).

 

Pads can have an effect on pedal feel and some pads do feel softer, but I can't say I've heard that complaint with DTCs.  My guess is your pads aren't a source of your issues, but you might want to try something else just to eliminate them as a variable.

  • Like 1
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Members
13 hours ago, thewheelerZ said:

For what it's worth, whenever I have talked with Mark from frozen Rotors, he has always said to treat calipers as a "consumable" of sorts and replace yearly (obviously depending on number of races per year). We are able to turn in our calipers as cores to the local parts store and it only costs us like $30 per caliper (I think, can't remember exact value). 

You can rebuild calipers yourself also. The kits are super cheap and easy to do. Just replace all rubber items and make sure there are not score marks on the pistons, or you could just buy new pistons. When I buy rebuilt ones I take them apart and polish the pistons and redo it, I do not trust a $5 hourly working slappig it together.

 

On Mushy that can be a few things.

1- fluid boiled and air in the system. I had that and now use Motul 600.

2- Rotors could be a little warped.

3- Wheel bearing just starting to go. I know it sounds odd, but if the wheel bearing is going that little bit it could move or vibrate the rotor and move the pistons in a bit and then when you go to hit the brakes you basically have to pump them up so it can feel like a long pedal or mushy pedal.

4- Heat- brake ducts and ducted well will help most of these issues.

5- Get some really good pads and that solves a ton of issue. G-LOC R18 is what I like.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Acura Legend GS 2 piston calipers are a direct bolt on in the front if you're already 5 lug, reman's are cheap on RockAuto. I'm not sure how the Legend rotor would compare to the TL, but they are a direct bolt on as well. That's the setup I'll be using on my Prelude build, with stock rear hardware + OE prop valve delete and adjustable piece installed. TBD how well it works.  

Link to comment
Share on other sites

On our EF, we use a Mini Cooper 11" rotor, had to make a little spacer to make it hub centric with our EF hub...    then we make a custom "dog bone" to offset mount our calipers out of a piece of 1/4 inch bar...   and mounted some Wilwood Dynalite 4 piston calipers (99$ each)...   Cheap and easy...  all within the 2x for us...  Stock Knuckles, Stock Hubs.

 

We currently have the rear discs but run an auto-zone pad, so almost no rear brakes...   we are considering trying some more aggressive rear pads just to see if we can add just a little rear drag on brakes.59e0dfe2a2243_custombrakes.thumb.jpeg.cdaf0e353d31cb1d2b990bba510bd9a2.jpeg

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Thanks for all good input - one of the things I do love about Chump is all the help available! I'm slowly learning step by step, both about driving and about what to do to the cars. The Lexus we had during our baby years had fabulous brakes - but I had also re-built it all, and it was a rather slow car. The Wagon is a lot faster, so already there we will put a lot higher demands on the brakes. 

  • ross2004 - thanks for the info on the 2 piston calipers. Still sliding caliper, but I will try to avoid too much fabrication so bolt-on is a good thing. PS - Staunton, we're pretty much neighbors... Welcome to swing by if you are passing down I-81 sometime!
  • XPH - very nice indeed! Will look into that option too!
  • Adjustable prop valve - yes, might be easier going that route than experimenting with the bite of the rear pads. 
  • Fluid is of course a cheap investment. I was happy with the ATE Blue when I started running the Lexus back in 2011, but better is better. I will get the best I can.
  • Rotors and Heat... yes, the Wagon seems to run the brakes hot. (But PIRC seems to be quite demanding of the brakes too...) I had got new ATE rotors before this event - I generally like them a lot, but I haven't been able yet to check what they look like after the event. (That said, the slight vagueness of the brakes is there the whole time also before they get hot. And I think the vagueness makes me brake less aggressively, and if I stay longer on the brakes I will just heat them up more..? So, getting to a more distinct brake feel will most likely in itself help with the temps)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...