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Lesson Learned: Keep your Brake Rotors Conditioned!

Discussion in 'Roadster: Performance' started by Doug_G, May 1, 2012.

  1. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    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. drees

    drees Active Member

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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. strider

    strider Active Member

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    #23 strider, May 1, 2012
    Last edited: May 1, 2012
    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.
     
  4. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    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. Roger Reid

    Roger Reid Old but effective

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    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.

    Absolutely agree with scrubbing your rotors clean weekly. It could save you and your expensive car.
     
  6. frequencydip

    frequencydip Sig 100 - #52

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    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. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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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. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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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. Roger Reid

    Roger Reid Old but effective

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    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. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    Sorry, I didn't get pictures. Before looked dull grey with some rusty tinges. After was shiny as a mirror.

    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.
     
  11. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    I was told that Brembo worked with Tesla to design those brakes special for the Model S. They reportedly took into account the fact that they are not used nearly as much as ICE car brakes due to regen. If true then this "cleaning the rotors/pads" problem will be less of an issue on the Model S.
     
  12. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Roger, I looked at those... Will they reduce the problem that we have here in the Northeast where our rotors rust and load up the pads? What about the other pads they recommend for high performance street use - Carbotech 1521 compound? Wouldn't that be better since the Carbotech 6 are designed for racing?
     
  13. jerry33

    jerry33 S85 - VIN:P05130 - 3/2/13

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    I wouldn't think so because racing pads don't work well until they get really hot. You want something that works when cold.
     
  14. Roger Reid

    Roger Reid Old but effective

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    The Carbotech 6 compound is a race compound that has good grip while still cold. In autocross you wait for your run while your tires and pads are loosing heat. The worst run is the first one in the morning before the ambient temperatures rise. Typical autocross runs are 35 to 40 seconds with 5 minute wait between runs. Carbotech has other compounds that have higher grip but only when they are hot. If you were on a road race course using the brakes for 30 minute stints, the brakes get hot and stay hot.

    The difference between Carbotech and stock pads on the street with normal street driving habits is night and day.
     
  15. dsm363

    dsm363 Roadster + Sig Model S

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    I guess if they're going to be offering an official brake upgrade, I'll wait but if not I think I'll try the Carbotech 6 at some point. Thanks.
     
  16. strider

    strider Active Member

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    I have stood on the brake peddle a number of times. The pedal pressure is fine and it doesn't take very much pressure to activate ABS after the brake pads are scrubbed in and/or are warm. There is nothing wrong w/ the calipers (what most people think about when they say "brakes"). This is purely down to pad/rotor material pairing. It will be interesting to see what Tesla offers for their "brake upgrade". If it is larger calipers/rotors I will be skeptical. For daily driving we simply need a pad/rotor combo that works when cold.
     
  17. Doug_G

    Doug_G Lead Moderator

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    No, we need something that won't get brake dust build-up on it, and a rotor that won't corrode.

    It would probably work better with metallic pads, but they'd always be squeaking so I'm sure they won't go to that.
     
  18. strider

    strider Active Member

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    Yes. I should have clarified cold/little used. My point was that I don't believe it's a caliper or rotor size issue which is what most people think of when they say "brake upgrade" (larger rotors and bigger calipers).
     
  19. Jaff

    Jaff Active Member

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    #39 Jaff, May 11, 2012
    Last edited: May 11, 2012
    Curious then Strider...why do performance cars like Ferrari, Aston, Porsche, etc use these massive calipers then?

    Calipers on these vehicles seem to cover off about a quarter of the rotor circumference...when I had my Roadster calipers painted (red) a few weeks ago, I was shocked how tiny they look when compared to the above mentioned vehicles...is this just a (nother) thing to feel inadequate about? :scared::biggrin:
     
  20. Roger Reid

    Roger Reid Old but effective

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    My son races my Red Tesla in the SS class in SCCA autocross. There are rules in the SS class that state you can't change the brake rotor diameters. If we switch classes, the first thing I would do is switch to some larger Lotus roters and calipers (probably from Sector 111). This would allow wider wheels in a much more available 4 lug Lotus pattern.
     

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