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AP Racing Radi-CAL Front Competition Brake Kit Review

MasterC17

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Dec 3, 2015
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I wanted to share my experience running the Essex Designed AP Racing Radi-CAL Competition Brake Kit (Front 9660/372mm) for the Tesla Model 3 using Ferodo DS3.12 Front Brake Pads. First and foremost, they are beautiful pieces of engineering, so I wanted to ensure I snapped some photos and weighed everything prior to installation. I was running stock Calipers, MPP Two-Piece Rotors, and Carbotech Pads in my previous setup, so I think it is worth comparing everything.

IMG_20200220_145002.jpg


The front rotors on the AP Kit measure 372mm x 34mm, whereas the stock rotors are 355mm x 25mm, and the MPP rotors are 355mm x 26mm. Rotor weights are as follows:

AP: 21lbs, 10oz
MPP: 18lbs, 2oz
Stock: 19lbs, 6oz

IMG_20200222_162511.jpg
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The AP rotors are not only two piece and larger, but they have significantly more vanes and are directional. The MPP Rotors are an upgrade over the stock rotors, and are also two-piece, directional, and have improved vanes. Unfortunately, they are limited by the stock Performance Calipers.

The pads on the AP kit measure 150mm x 53.5mm x 18mm, whereas the stock pads measure 130mm x 63mm x 15mm, and the Carbotech pads measure slightly larger than stock in all areas. Pad weights are as follows:

AP: 3lbs, 1oz
Carbotech: 2lbs, 12oz
Stock: 2lbs, 6oz

IMG_20200222_162130.jpg
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The caliper on the AP kit is a six-piston design, compared to the four-piston on the stock calipers. This kit utilizes the AP Racing CP9660 Radi-CAL Pro5000R calipers. Without brake pads, but with the brackets, weights are as follows:

AP: 7lbs, 6oz
Stock: 8lbs, 14oz

IMG_20200222_171450.jpg
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As you can see, the total weight of the stock brake setup and the AP kit are within 1lb of each other. However, with the AP kit you are gaining a considerable increase in braking stiffness, immediacy, feel, thermal capacity, and pad options.

As far as thermals go, I doubt anyone could overheat the AP Kit brakes with expected track use. On average, they ran 23% cooler than the stock caliper setup. The hottest the AP Kit got was about 1050f, compared to about 1,250f on the stock calipers with Carbotech RP2 pads (this was in my wife's car with stock rotors).

The AP kit was certainly more consistent than the stock caliper setup. The stock caliper setup would get squishy/mushy and I had some pretty notable brake fade a few times coming into Turn 1. I did not have any fade with the AP kit at any time. It is also worth mentioning that this kit completely changes the feel of the brakes. It eliminates the “play” in the brake pedal, and the lightest push of the brake pedal engages the pads. I’ve owned several BBK’s, and driven hundreds of cars, and none of them had brakes that felt this good.

One interesting note, the Carbotechs have become incredibly loud on my wife’s car. Any amount of brake force now causes excessive squeaking, while the AP Kit has always been and continues to be silent.

For those who are wondering, I chose to leave the Anti-Knockback Springs in place. After comparing before and after, and against my wife’s car, it appears that leaving these in place reduces range by about 8% on the street under relaxed driving. Fortunately, if you are daily driving the car, they are easily removable. I rarely drive my Model 3 except to go to, on, and from the track, so it isn’t a concern for me.

Overall, they check all the boxes as far as thermals/fade, noise, and immediacy are concerned. I would say without a doubt, this is the most track-focused kit currently available. The customer support from Essex has been superb. From the date I placed the order to the day I received the kit was only 2 business days! It’s nice to know that I won’t get brake fade, that they are always going to be consistent, and that I won’t have to be replacing these pads for many events to come. The fact that they are quiet and pretty are both nice bonus's!

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MasterC17

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Dec 3, 2015
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USA
It is worth noting that after measuring the front brake pads, my last 2-day event consumed ~1.5mm of pad material. Given the backing plate on the pad is about 5mm, it should last at least 14 days (total pad thickness is 18mm).

The Carbotech's in the stock calipers are wearing at ~2mm for each 2-day event. They have a 6mm backing plate, and should last about 8 days (total pad thickness is 16mm).

Not too bad when you consider the cost of replacement pads are fairly equal! I think I will try the Raybestos ST43's or 45's next.
 

MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
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USA
Great write up. I'm on the fence between these and the MPP kit coming out soon.

I think they will both be great options. It may come down to something as simple as pad availability, aesthetics, intended use (e.g. AP does not have dust boots, looks like MPP will), ease of changing pads, etc. And of course, price. I've had great experiences with both MPP and Essex.
 

Lucky13

Member
Apr 19, 2018
332
208
San Mateo, CA
@MasterC17 do you think dust boots really matter? The Essex website sure makes it seem like dust boots are irrelevant, but they are biased for sure..lol
Talking to MPP made it sound like it's good to have them. I daily my car, commute a ton and track hopefully once a month. It might be in my best interest to have dust boots for all the driving I do and street scenarios.
 

MasterC17

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Dec 3, 2015
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@MasterC17 do you think dust boots really matter? The Essex website sure makes it seem like dust boots are irrelevant, but they are biased for sure..lol
Talking to MPP made it sound like it's good to have them. I daily my car, commute a ton and track hopefully once a month. It might be in my best interest to have dust boots for all the driving I do and street scenarios.

I can tell you that I completely destroyed the dust boots on both the Model S Calipers and the Model 3 Calipers after one track day. So, after being destroyed, they aren't serving any useful function anyway. I assume that the dust boots in the StopTech Calipers would hold up better (maybe a different material) but I also cannot say that with confidence as I don't have experience with the ST60R's. The dust boots in the 2015 BMW M3 I used to track were completely destroyed as well. FWIW, I know the Tesla calipers are made by Brembo, and I think the BMW ones were as well.

In my case, I really only drive the car maybe once every 2 weeks or so unless I am going to, from, or on the track. I've only put 6,000 miles on it in the last 1.5 years. Basically, I don't drive it much.

All that being said, my understanding is that the bottom line comes down to what material the pistons are made out of. If they are made of aluminum or steel, then dust boots are necessary to prevent corrosion and damage to the pistons from brake dust. On the other hand, the AP Calipers use stainless steel pistons which should not corrode or score. I think the only precaution you really need to take is cleaning the pistons when changing out to new pads.

Ultimately, being that you are in California, where you aren't seeing snow (and therefore no roads covered in sand and salt) I think you would be perfectly fine with the AP setup.
 

Mash

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Let me chime in. I had st60 on Evo X. They are heavy - no fancy organic cuts, but they are quite stout and generally done well. At the time I bought front and rear kits together for $2500. Rotors are regular vented design.

Dust boots are important if most of use is on the street - it's cheaper to change boots rather than polishing port walls and buying new piston seals. It has nothing to do with piston corrosion. And the only reason for stainless pistons is that stainless is much slower transferring heat than aluminium. Ideal would be titan, but none of the Tesla kits provide it unless you order from AP.

At the same time - Essex made a kit for the street + track. AP Racing by Essex Road Brake Kit (Front 9561/380mm)- Tesla Model 3 | Essex Parts Services, Inc.
It has larger rotor (+2mm thick, +8mm diameter) since you don't have brake ducts on the street, has less dense vanes to ventilate better without pressurized airflow, doesn't have anti-knockback springs since 8% of range is a lot to loose and it has dust boots that you can remove before the track day or change if they cooked. That kit is similar class to st60 or the one from RB that I have.

Yeah, competition kit is anodized instead of paint, internally ported instead of the tube and has recessed pistons like ST60 or RB, but it's just a wrong choice for those who rarely hit a track IMHO.
 
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Lucky13

Member
Apr 19, 2018
332
208
San Mateo, CA
I intend to track at least once a month if not more and my stock calipers (stealth performance) are doing ok but I keep having a recurring issue of pad transfer on to the rotors and definitely some fade(not a ton but enough tomake me second guess the brakes). I also like single handidly stimulating the economy. At this moment I am leaning toward AP but have not yet made up my mind.
 

Mash

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I intend to track at least once a month if not more and my stock calipers (stealth performance) are doing ok but I keep having a recurring issue of pad transfer on to the rotors and definitely some fade(not a ton but enough tomake me second guess the brakes). I also like single handidly stimulating the economy. At this moment I am leaning toward AP but have not yet made up my mind.
Stock calipers doing ok on a track?
 

Lucky13

Member
Apr 19, 2018
332
208
San Mateo, CA
Stock calipers doing ok on a track?
Yeah stock calipers with MPP rotors, track pads Castrol srf and lines. They do the job but I keep having this issue where after a track day I have pad transfer on the rotor! No matter how well I bed them in. I also do experience fade.
 

Mash

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Yeah stock calipers with MPP rotors, track pads Castrol srf and lines. They do the job but I keep having this issue where after a track day I have pad transfer on the rotor! No matter how well I bed them in. I also do experience fade.
Got it. Well, let me guess that transfer is because pads temperature going above melting point. So you hide it somewhat by higher temp pads and fluid, but ultimately you riding rotors beyond what they were made for. So I would not call it OK. Did you try temperature stickers to check caliper temps and paint to check rotors temp? How long is your hot lapping time?
 
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MasterC17

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Dec 3, 2015
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Let me chime in. I had st60 on Evo X. They are heavy - no fancy organic cuts, but they are quite stout and generally done well. At the time I bought front and rear kits together for $2500. Rotors are regular vented design.

Dust boots are important if most of use is on the street - it's cheaper to change boots rather than polishing port walls and buying new piston seals. It has nothing to do with piston corrosion. And the only reason for stainless pistons is that stainless is much slower transferring heat than aluminium. Ideal would be titan, but none of the Tesla kits provide it unless you order from AP.

At the same time - Essex made a kit for the street + track. AP Racing by Essex Road Brake Kit (Front 9561/380mm)- Tesla Model 3 | Essex Parts Services, Inc.
It has larger rotor (+2mm thick, +8mm diameter) since you don't have brake ducts on the street, has less dense vanes to ventilate better without pressurized airflow, doesn't have anti-knockback springs since 8% of range is a lot to loose and it has dust boots that you can remove before the track day or change if they cooked. That kit is similar class to st60 or the one from RB that I have.

Yeah, competition kit is anodized instead of paint, internally ported instead of the tube and has recessed pistons like ST60 or RB, but it's just a wrong choice for those who rarely hit a track IMHO.

The biggest advantage to the kit I have over the AP Road Kit you referenced (and probably most any other options) is weight. The Road kit is almost 10lbs heavier per side. It will be interesting to see where MPP comes in on the weight scale, because that could be a big plus over the AP Road kit. That being said, the Competition Brake kit is incredibly impressive given it weighs basically the same as the stock setup, despite being considerably larger.

I completely agree it is cheaper and easier to replace dust boots than to polish/replace pistons. Again, I don't drive my car often (or at all in inclement weather) so that was not really a concern for me, but certainly may be for others. I suggest people do their own research regarding the necessity of dust boot seals in the context of piston material.

As far as the anti-knockback springs they really aren't difficult to remove pre-installation, and I know @beastmode13 removed them from his kit. That will come down to personal preference.

At the end of the day, I think choosing between the AP Kit and the MPP Kit will ultimately come down to driving habits. The AP Kit I have may not make sense if you are daily driving the car, though it may also depend where you live.
 

MasterC17

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Dec 3, 2015
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USA
Yeah stock calipers with MPP rotors, track pads Castrol srf and lines. They do the job but I keep having this issue where after a track day I have pad transfer on the rotor! No matter how well I bed them in. I also do experience fade.

I have to be honest, I am impressed the Base brakes are holding up on track, even with the mods you have done. I am getting pad transfer on the front of the Performance brakes, but all is well with the AP kit.

The Performance brakes on the rear are still holding up well (MPP Rotors and XT-970 pads). I've got 8 days on the pads and they still have 7mm of material left (wearing just over half a mm per day). The weak point is definitely the front brakes.
 

Mash

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The biggest advantage to the kit I have over the AP Road Kit you referenced (and probably most any other options) is weight. The Road kit is almost 10lbs heavier per side. It will be interesting to see where MPP comes in on the weight scale, because that could be a big plus over the AP Road kit. That being said, the Competition Brake kit is incredibly impressive given it weighs basically the same as the stock setup, despite being considerably larger.

I completely agree it is cheaper and easier to replace dust boots than to polish/replace pistons. Again, I don't drive my car often (or at all in inclement weather) so that was not really a concern for me, but certainly may be for others. I suggest people do their own research regarding the necessity of dust boot seals in the context of piston material.

As far as the anti-knockback springs they really aren't difficult to remove pre-installation, and I know @beastmode13 removed them from his kit. That will come down to personal preference.

At the end of the day, I think choosing between the AP Kit and the MPP Kit will ultimately come down to driving habits. The AP Kit I have may not make sense if you are daily driving the car, though it may also depend where you live.
I'm not sure that caliper is different significantly by weight. They almost the same design. But I could be wrong.

Main difference is larger rotor, imho. With 2-piece rotors it can be significant rotor ring weight change with just a marginal diameter change. AP, RB, MPP, ST - all of them have smaller ring than Centric ring on stock Performance front brakes (on the same diameter due to how they mount both pieces). Heat capacity drop is significant. It can be only partially compensated by better airflow.

Tesla actually did a good job with Centric in making 2-piece with a very low rotational inertia considering total heat capacity. I didn't check it, but I have a feeling that my 390x32 from RB might be roughly the same heat capacity as stock Performance while significantly higher inertia. RB should ventilate much better, though.

Everything changes if you have functional brake ducts. If you can put decent air pressure at the inlets of rotor vents - AP is going to be miles better - high radiation surface, low pressure leakage on the mount, reasonable inertia, decent capacity, low total weight. And, certainly, for a track akb springs give totally different feel, I remember.

If I had a time, I would use cooling box from Model Y (it's larger) and put active shutters on brake ducts (rotor temp sensor driven) connected to the cooling box + make liquid cooling lines for calipers with independent solenoid from the main distributor (driven by temp sensor drilled into caliper brake fluid). In such setup I would definitely go with AP and small rotors. In the meantime I just hope to stay on passive rotor ventilation + might just look into caliper cooling - aluminum water blocks might fit on RB calipers well.
 

Lucky13

Member
Apr 19, 2018
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208
San Mateo, CA
I'm not sure that caliper is different significantly by weight. They almost the same design. But I could be wrong.

Main difference is larger rotor, imho. With 2-piece rotors it can be significant rotor ring weight change with just a marginal diameter change. AP, RB, MPP, ST - all of them have smaller ring than Centric ring on stock Performance front brakes (on the same diameter due to how they mount both pieces). Heat capacity drop is significant. It can be only partially compensated by better airflow.

Tesla actually did a good job with Centric in making 2-piece with a very low rotational inertia considering total heat capacity. I didn't check it, but I have a feeling that my 390x32 from RB might be roughly the same heat capacity as stock Performance while significantly higher inertia. RB should ventilate much better, though.

Everything changes if you have functional brake ducts. If you can put decent air pressure at the inlets of rotor vents - AP is going to be miles better - high radiation surface, low pressure leakage on the mount, reasonable inertia, decent capacity, low total weight. And, certainly, for a track akb springs give totally different feel, I remember.

If I had a time, I would use cooling box from Model Y (it's larger) and put active shutters on brake ducts (rotor temp sensor driven) connected to the cooling box + make liquid cooling lines for calipers with independent solenoid from the main distributor (driven by temp sensor drilled into caliper brake fluid). In such setup I would definitely go with AP and small rotors. In the meantime I just hope to stay on passive rotor ventilation + might just look into caliper cooling - aluminum water blocks might fit on RB calipers well.

Damn seems like someone has done their homework. I have a slight suspicion that I could probably add cooling and different/better brake pads and get good enough results out of the base calipers.

When I use to time attack in my evo ix I turned the calipers into brownbos and melted all the dust boots within the first session(had two piece rotors, titanium sheilds, race pads and fluid/lines).

But the base Tesla calipers so far after maybe 15 track days have yet to change color or cook the dust boots, hence my suspicion why I believe I could get them to cut the cheese.

I am not going to lie partially the reason I want the BBK is am total whore for shiny cool new mechanical bits.

As it stands now I could keep throwing money at the stock setup and hope for the best or just go all in and cut my losses with a BBK...sounds like an oxymoron "cut my losses by buying a BBK setup". Lol
 

Mash

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Damn seems like someone has done their homework. I have a slight suspicion that I could probably add cooling and different/better brake pads and get good enough results out of the base calipers.

When I use to time attack in my evo ix I turned the calipers into brownbos and melted all the dust boots within the first session(had two piece rotors, titanium sheilds, race pads and fluid/lines).

But the base Tesla calipers so far after maybe 15 track days have yet to change color or cook the dust boots, hence my suspicion why I believe I could get them to cut the cheese.

I am not going to lie partially the reason I want the BBK is am total whore for shiny cool new mechanical bits.

As it stands now I could keep throwing money at the stock setup and hope for the best or just go all in and cut my losses with a BBK...sounds like an oxymoron "cut my losses by buying a BBK setup". Lol
Base Tesla calipers and pads are too small, rotor is not a 2-piece. I wouldn't consider it scalable at all. Same as Evo 9 brembos - just not up to the task.

And Model 3 is much heavier and much faster than Evo, especially with stickier tires - you need to extract a lot of kinetic energy, so you need to have large enough heat capacity to stay within fluid max temps, pad max temps and rotor max temps + you need to exhaust and radiate ~10-20 times more heat than average household at cold winter...
 
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MasterC17

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Dec 3, 2015
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Damn seems like someone has done their homework. I have a slight suspicion that I could probably add cooling and different/better brake pads and get good enough results out of the base calipers.

When I use to time attack in my evo ix I turned the calipers into brownbos and melted all the dust boots within the first session(had two piece rotors, titanium sheilds, race pads and fluid/lines).

But the base Tesla calipers so far after maybe 15 track days have yet to change color or cook the dust boots, hence my suspicion why I believe I could get them to cut the cheese.

I am not going to lie partially the reason I want the BBK is am total whore for shiny cool new mechanical bits.

As it stands now I could keep throwing money at the stock setup and hope for the best or just go all in and cut my losses with a BBK...sounds like an oxymoron "cut my losses by buying a BBK setup". Lol

I didn't have any color changing effects with the Performance brakes (which I am thankful for, not the case with the BMW). But I am glad to hear your dust boots have held up. That is pretty interesting, as both Base and Performance use the same dust boots. What pads are you running? If is entirely possible that given your driving style and the tracks you are on the Performance brakes would do just fine for you. The stock rotors are cheap ($165 each), so that would be a big benefit over a BBK, and as Mash mentioned they are actually a decent design. You can pick up a set of the calipers for ~$1,000 if you are patient. Carbotech has a pretty good pad selection for them, and I am going to guess we will continue to see a lot more pad options in the future.
 

MasterC17

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@MasterC17 How do you like the Ferodo 3.12 pads?

I'm pretty happy with them so far. They have yet to squeak, they are wearing nicely, and they are staying within the intended temperature range. No fade. But, they are expensive, so I'll be going with the Raybestos ST45's next time which I have previously been happy with.
 

mcbarnet007

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Oct 10, 2016
806
587
San Jose, CA
I'm pretty happy with them so far. They have yet to squeak, they are wearing nicely, and they are staying within the intended temperature range. No fade. But, they are expensive, so I'll be going with the Raybestos ST45's next time which I have previously been happy with.
How does the brake feel first thing in the morning in the cold? Any squeak yet?
 

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