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LR RWD - 3 track days -> Replace rotors, calipers (?) and pads

captainfranz

Member
Mar 6, 2020
7
2
Chicago
So... after 3 track days (3 x 20 minute sessions each), I started getting a bit of a break squeak. Checked the front brakes and I found that on both sides, both inner and outer pad had pretty bad vertical tapered wear. Something like 7/8mm at the top and 3mm at the bottom, which is the service limit (see pic). My bad for not checking this earlier, but I am new to both track days and doing automotive work myself, so I just recently acquired the tools I need to get wheels off, etc.
The most disconcerting thing to me was the kind of wear on the pads. Looking at the calipers, it would look like the bottom piston was pressing in more than the top one on both sides, which is what caused the uneven wear. Made an appointment with the service center and they ended up replacing front rotors and (obviously) pads. Not sure about calipers because, although the part order mentions calipers (spring kit & lining kit), the description of the repair does not.
On one side, I am surprised how cheap the repair was ($330 for parts, $130 for labor), on the other side I am somewhat disappointed that this happened just with 3 track days. I read of similar experiences and I don't have a problem with having to replace the pads more often, but the uneven wear is puzzling to me and seems to point to an issue (defect?) with the calipers. I thought the Tesla calipers are Brembo, which are supposed to be among the best, although I guess the ones on the non-performance are pretty basic ones?

Questions:
1. Is there a problem with the calipers or was I just negligent with replacing pads early enough to avoid rotor damage?
2. Would more track-oriented pads last longer?
3. If I were to upgrade to a P3D, should I expect the same issue with stock brakes?
4. If I were to upgrade to a P3D, would this kind of usage (they obviously figured I brought it to a track) be covered under warranty? I am somewhat confused about what the situation is with P3D because on one side they are kind of marketing the car for the track (track mode and now track package), yet the warranty still specifically excludes track usage (or is that just competitive track usage, which would be fair?)

First post, please don't butcher me :)
 

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Dolemite

is my name
Sep 19, 2019
1,136
1,366
ol' Virginny
Props to you for getting into the only worthwhile hobby out there. These cars are stupid easy to work on and you'll feel empowered doing your own wrenching.

There are a good number of guys on here who race their 3s so they'll have far better input than I, but in short:
  • The bone-stock brakes are good, but not suitable for track use. I'm surprised you made it through the weekend without totally frying them
  • Your tapered pad issue may be related to cooking the dust boots - but I'm not sure. Again, the bone-stock brakes aren't meant for track use. You can get yourself some of these and never have a problem again
To answer your questions:
  1. Likely no inherent issue with the stock brakes... they're just not meant for that sort of abuse. Sounds like the they've already rebuilt the calipers so you're probably good again for regular driving
  2. Yes - change to racing fluid, too. Although, no guarantees you won't experience the same type of problem and be faced with another rebuild. It's a super heavy car & the brakes get crazy hot... As you get better, you'll probably need bigger discs to take the heat
  3. Probably not - although I recall people on here saying pads may be advisable on the P3D+ if you're advanced
  4. Tesla crap shoot - who knows
 

destructure00

Active Member
Mar 2, 2019
1,465
1,619
Scottsdale, AZ
1. No issues with calipers, stock pads are not suitable for track use.
2. Yes
3. Yes
4. No, do not expect warranty to cover abnormal use.

FWIW here's my stock P3D pads after my first track day. Look familiar? Do yourself a favor and upgrade the pads at a minimum, if not rotors too.

IMG_20190519_092746.jpg
 

MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
1,113
1,808
USA
As others have noted, stock pads are NOT designed for track use, and you will absolutely get that tapering effect if you track with them.

A P3D with stock pads would have the same problem.

Pads and rotors are always going to be a wear and tear item, so it will never be covered under warranty.

The solution to your problem depends entirely on how hard you're pushing it, but I would look here for options: MPP Model 3 RWD Brakes

You may be able to get away with just pads. The 365mm BBK Upgrade Kit for the front axle is nice, and if you don't need it now you may need it in the future anyway.

Last, I am guessing you already have, but you've changed the brake fluid, right? If not, please do this ASAP. The stock DOT 3 fluid has a very low boiling point.

As an aside, thanks for pointing out how cheap Tesla parts and labor are. I try to tell people all the time and they don't get it. If this were a BMW with the same repair, the dealer would have charged $1,000+ for the same work. We're lucky!
 

Dolemite

is my name
Sep 19, 2019
1,136
1,366
ol' Virginny
Anyone know what causes the tapering effect?

As others have noted, stock pads are NOT designed for track use, and you will absolutely get that tapering effect if you track with them.

A P3D with stock pads would have the same problem.

Pads and rotors are always going to be a wear and tear item, so it will never be covered under warranty.

The solution to your problem depends entirely on how hard you're pushing it, but I would look here for options: MPP Model 3 RWD Brakes

You may be able to get away with just pads. The 365mm BBK Upgrade Kit for the front axle is nice, and if you don't need it now you may need it in the future anyway.

Last, I am guessing you already have, but you've changed the brake fluid, right? If not, please do this ASAP. The stock DOT 3 fluid has a very low boiling point.

As an aside, thanks for pointing out how cheap Tesla parts and labor are. I try to tell people all the time and they don't get it. If this were a BMW with the same repair, the dealer would have charged $1,000+ for the same work. We're lucky!
I don’t know how long this will remain true - the SC a couple of weeks ago told me their prices have been constantly fluctuating and one of the techs said their labor rate’s gone up a lot. They quoted me $302 for a 4-wheel alignment. :confused:

I remember back when an 18” aero was $220...
 

captainfranz

Member
Mar 6, 2020
7
2
Chicago
Thanks everybody for replies!
Glad to hear other people had the same experience. I am definitely going to upgrade pads before the next track day. I’ve been holding back on more expensive upgrades as I am planning to get a P3D within the next year or so.
 
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captainfranz

Member
Mar 6, 2020
7
2
Chicago
As others have noted, stock pads are NOT designed for track use, and you will absolutely get that tapering effect if you track with them.

A P3D with stock pads would have the same problem.

Pads and rotors are always going to be a wear and tear item, so it will never be covered under warranty.

The solution to your problem depends entirely on how hard you're pushing it, but I would look here for options: MPP Model 3 RWD Brakes

You may be able to get away with just pads. The 365mm BBK Upgrade Kit for the front axle is nice, and if you don't need it now you may need it in the future anyway.

Last, I am guessing you already have, but you've changed the brake fluid, right? If not, please do this ASAP. The stock DOT 3 fluid has a very low boiling point.

As an aside, thanks for pointing out how cheap Tesla parts and labor are. I try to tell people all the time and they don't get it. If this were a BMW with the same repair, the dealer would have charged $1,000+ for the same work. We're lucky!

I still need to upgrade to DOT 4 but I will definitely do that before I go back to the track. Admittedly I didn’t learn about this until very recently - should have done some due diligence beforehand. I watched countless videos and it looks like it is relatively straightforward and I should be able to do this myself?
I am a bit unsure about the fact that the front calipers have 2 bleed valves and how to deal with that. Any advice on that?
 

MasterC17

Active Member
Dec 3, 2015
1,113
1,808
USA
I still need to upgrade to DOT 4 but I will definitely do that before I go back to the track. Admittedly I didn’t learn about this until very recently - should have done some due diligence beforehand. I watched countless videos and it looks like it is relatively straightforward and I should be able to do this myself?
I am a bit unsure about the fact that the front calipers have 2 bleed valves and how to deal with that. Any advice on that?

Yeah, it's pretty easy. You'll want this: https://www.amazon.com/Motive-Produ...ds=Motive+Brake+Bleeder&qid=1596291103&sr=8-6

For brake fluid, I would recommend RBF600 (you need 1L): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY29SY6/ref=twister_B082DKCHT8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

On the front calipers you just need to bleed the outer valves. You would only need to do the inners as well if replacing lines/calipers.

This sub-forum is a great resource to learn more too!
 
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holmgang

Active Member
Sep 9, 2019
1,281
1,287
eu
It makes sense to me that when the pads clamps onto the turning rotor, the rotation pulls the leading edge of pads inwards. (leading edge being the first end to contact a particular point on the rotor.)

that's the end of the pad that's on the "bottom" of the front brake, hence the wedge shaped wear
 
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Mash

Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
885
672
Prague
Yeah, it's pretty easy. You'll want this: https://www.amazon.com/Motive-Produ...ds=Motive+Brake+Bleeder&qid=1596291103&sr=8-6

For brake fluid, I would recommend RBF600 (you need 1L): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07KY29SY6/ref=twister_B082DKCHT8?_encoding=UTF8&psc=1

On the front calipers you just need to bleed the outer valves. You would only need to do the inners as well if replacing lines/calipers.

This sub-forum is a great resource to learn more too!
I have to say that rbf600 is high maintenance fluid, it goes bad very quickly. Usually we were bleeding brake after each session and flushing after and before each season. And bad fluid is worse than fresh cheap dot3.
 

Mash

Supporting Member
Nov 10, 2019
885
672
Prague
It makes sense to me that when the pads clamps onto the turning rotor, the rotation pulls the leading edge of pads inwards. (leading edge being the first end to contact a particular point on the rotor.)

that's the end of the pad that's on the "bottom" of the front brake, hence the wedge shaped wear
That's why race calipers often use smaller leading pistons. But that's primarily the result of melting whole pad due to abuse.
 

mcbarnet007

Member
Oct 10, 2016
787
555
San Jose, CA
It makes sense to me that when the pads clamps onto the turning rotor, the rotation pulls the leading edge of pads inwards. (leading edge being the first end to contact a particular point on the rotor.)

that's the end of the pad that's on the "bottom" of the front brake, hence the wedge shaped wear

The stock caliper has the pistons at a slight offset so it applies more force for the trailing edge. On my Endless EX90 pads I can get even wear down to 2mm with only 0.5mm taper wear. The problem is not the caliper, the problem is taking street pads to the track. Each pads has a specific temperature range, when you use them aggressively out of the temperature range, they will wear very quickly.
 

mcbarnet007

Member
Oct 10, 2016
787
555
San Jose, CA
Also, $330 for parts is cheap. Service advisor must have gave you a deal. On the performance upgrade package brakes, the front rotors and pads would have cost over $500 easy.
 

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