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Thread: Lesson Learned: Keep your Brake Rotors Conditioned!

  1. #21
    Senior Member hcsharp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JRP3 View Post
    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.
    I don't know much about brakes but this sounds like a great idea. We live on a dirt road in the summer and they salt the paved roads in the winter so I end up washing my car a lot. The result is there is often a thin layer of rust which loads up the pads and I have the problem Doug_G is talking about. The trouble with his solution is I have to do it at least once a month to keep my brakes strong. I suspect that stainless rotors are avoided because they don't dissipate heat as well as steel. But who cares I never generate any heat and I could always switch for track days. Does anybody know where I might find stainless or aluminum rotors?

  2. #22
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    Lots of misconceptions here about how brake pads and rotors interact, but here's the tl;dr; version:

    1. Bedding in brake pads/rotors is critical for maximum braking performance.
    2. Regular driving (in any car) is not sufficient to maintain proper brake rotor conditioning.
    3. If you can brake hard enough to engage ABS, stronger brakes will not result in reduced stopping distances.

    Some much longer descriptions on brake bedding:

    Brake Pad Bed-In

    Stock Brake System Bed-in


    Short version:

    To properly bed your brakes, perform a series of up to 10 60 mph to 10 mph stops where you are braking as hard as possible. Your brakes will be EXTREMELY hot after this and if they've never been bedded in before, they very likely will be smoking when you're done. DO NOT COME TO A COMPLETE STOP AT ANY TIME! If you come to a complete stop this will result in uneven pad deposits which can lead to "warped" rotors. Drive around normally for 10-15 minutes avoiding any complete stops to let the brakes cool off. The dedicated will repeat this another time!

    -Warped- Brake Disc and Other Myths

  3. #23
    Senior Member strider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_G View Post
    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.
    I think every OEM recommends that as it means more $$ for them. If your rotors are still thick enough and you go through a proper bedding procedure you can just swap pads.

    Does anyone know of the Roadster is based on the S1 or S2 Elise? I found this thread:
    Aluminium Brake Discs... - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community

    I assume based on the date of the thread that we would be S2 but curious if anyone knows - would help in the search.
    Last edited by strider; 2012-05-01 at 11:16 PM.
    Twilight Blue Roadster 2.5 - #1098 / Grey Model S Performance - #1459

  4. #24
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by strider View Post
    I think every OEM recommends that as it means more $$ for them. If your rotors are still thick enough and you go through a proper bedding procedure you can just swap pads.
    True... just reporting what they said. I pointed out that the pads wear so little on this car that it probably doesn't matter. It just means poor contact until you bed them in.

  5. #25
    Old but effective Roger Reid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by doug View Post
    My point was that if the ABS is activated, I don't see how more friction at the calipers is helpful.
    I'm not here to bad mouth the Tesla but you have no idea how bad the stock brakes really are. Try it yourself. Stand on the brake peddle. See how much peddle pressure it takes to activate the ABS. Now take out the wife's SUV and stand on those with the same pressure. Upgrade to Carbotech 6 compound pads.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_G View Post
    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!
    Absolutely agree with scrubbing your rotors clean weekly. It could save you and your expensive car.

  6. #26
    Sig 100 - #52 frequencydip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_G View Post
    ABS keeps you in the vicinity of threshold braking, which means you are applying the maximum possible braking force. Maximum force means you're scrubbing the rotors (and the pads) as hard as possible.

    All I can say is that this was what seemed to be needed to really properly clean my brakes.
    If ABS activates you have exceeded threshold breaking. The fastest way to stop is to brake as hard as you can without activating ABS. ABS will lengthen the distance it takes to stop. ABS is designed to maintain steering control of the car not to make it stop faster.

  7. #27
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    On dry pavement ABS will keep you very close to threshold braking, certainly better than 99% of drivers can.

    I'll repeat though... the Roadster brakes are decent if you clean off the brake dust and corrosion. If not then they are terrible, but that is not the fault of the brakes per se. I'm sure the Model S will have the same issue.

    Yes the brakes could benefit from an upgrade, but if you don't keep them clean then even the best brakes available will suck.

  8. #28
    Roadster #1144 + Sig 114 dsm363's Avatar
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    Do you have before and after pictures of the rotors by any chance on what to look for or is it pretty obvious? Thanks.

  9. #29
    Old but effective Roger Reid's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug_G View Post
    ... I'm sure the Model S will have the same issue....
    In the Seattle retail outlet they have a Model S rolling chassis on display. The rotors are much larger diameter. Should not be a problem.

  10. #30
    Roadster 919, S 2006 Doug_G's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dsm363 View Post
    Do you have before and after pictures of the rotors by any chance on what to look for or is it pretty obvious? Thanks.
    Sorry, I didn't get pictures. Before looked dull grey with some rusty tinges. After was shiny as a mirror.

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Reid View Post
    In the Seattle retail outlet they have a Model S rolling chassis on display. The rotors are much larger diameter. Should not be a problem.
    Bigger, definitely. Huge, no. Even if they're bigger, if they're still covered in crap then they're not going to work optimally.

    I was told the regeneration is 70 kW on the Model S, on the high setting. Sounds like you might not be using the brakes a lot.

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