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Thread: Lesson Learned: Keep your Brake Rotors Conditioned!

  1. #11
    Head Moderator / Administrator doug's Avatar
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    I thought you were talking about being able to stop faster in an emergency.

  2. #12
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    Okay, I see where you got confused - my last sentence.

    My first point was that by cleaning the brakes you'll get much better initial bite with much less pedal force. I suggested braking repeatedly hard enough to trigger ABS so the rotors got scrubbed "real good". That's why I suggested emulating an "emergency stop".

    My final point was that cleaning your brakes in this fashion could save your butt later, when you really need those brakes to bite fast!

  3. #13
    Senior Member strider's Avatar
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    Yes, this has been my experience. If I haven't used the brakes much when I do go to stomp on them initially they don't slow the car very much. But quickly the crud is rubbed off and they bite harder and even activate the ABS. I assume Doug G's point would be that in bump to bumper traffic if someone jams on their brakes in front of you you may end up traveling a decent distance before the brakes "work" and the car slows quickly. I don't think there's anything wrong w/ the brake system per se - I think the calipers have plenty of gripping power. But I have wondered if different brake pads (and/or different rotors) could help this. I would lean away from "track" or high-performance pads as they are designed to take high heat and may not work very well when cold. We should be looking at softer, more general pads that will work well even when cold. I know it might offend someone to put Camry pads on their sportscar but EVs are different. Obviously if you go and do a track day you should swap the pads for higher temp ones.
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  4. #14
    Senior Member JRP3's Avatar
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    I'll bring up my suggestion of aluminum rotors again. I doubt anyone makes them yet for the Roadster but a good machine shop could do a custom set if someone want's to experiment. Another possibility is stainless steel rotors, which they use on motorcycles.

  5. #15
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    Metallic pads would probably do better, but they'll be noisier than the stock brakes. And of course it's a very quiet car...

  6. #16
    Senior Member JRP3's Avatar
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    The issue is corrosion on the rotors, aluminum or stainless takes care of the issue. I think the softer aluminum would also provide better braking when needed, but since regen will handle the task most of the time you won't have excessive wear on the aluminum that you would with an ICE.

  7. #17
    mod squad TEG's Avatar
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    Not practical on a very regular basis, but you can have a shop remove the rotors and resurface them periodically if you want that "like new" appearance / behavior. They use some kind of abrasive grinding wheel to clean and smooth them flat.

  8. #18
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    These days shops rarely machine rotors. The rotors are cheap enough that it's better to just replace them. Also I suspect a lot of modern rotors don't have the material to spare.

    Tesla recommends replacing the rotors when you change pads. The two wear-in and adopt a complimentary profile, so if you just swap pads the contact area is limited at first, until the pads wear down - and that means the lifetime of the pads is reduced.

  9. #19
    Senior Member JRP3's Avatar
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    Just had an idea for a modified compound brake pad, where a portion of the trailing end of the pad is some sort of abrasive material that dresses the rotor surface when the brakes are applied.

  10. #20
    Senior Member smorgasbord's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRP3 View Post
    Just had an idea for a modified compound brake pad, where a portion of the trailing end of the pad is some sort of abrasive material that dresses the rotor surface when the brakes are applied.
    Who'd have thunk we'd be looking for something to wear down brake rotors faster?

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