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Roadster brake upgrade

Discussion in 'Roadster' started by MLAUTO, Jan 3, 2015.

  1. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    With all the talk about the bad Roadster brakes and the "custom" rotors, here are some options I have come up with. Owning both a Lotus and a Roadster has allowed a direct comparison of both. The only parts that are the same are the calipers and pads. The Lotus uses the same 288mm rotor front and rear. The Tesla uses 300mm front rotors and 310mm rear. The Tesla caliper mounting ears on the spindles are taller to accept the larger rotors. There are several upgrades for the Lotus, but nothing fits the Roadster without modification. Lotus had a 4 piston front setup on the 2010 Exige Cup260 model, but it wont fit with the taller spindle mounts on the Roadster. They still used the stock 288mm setup on the rear with that upgrade.
    For the front I used parts similar to the Sector 111 Lotus 308BBK value kit, but the mounting bracket is machined for the Roadster http://www.sector111.com/parts/performance/brake-bits/308vbbk.cfm It uses Wilwood 4 piston calipers, BP10 pads(other pad compounds are available), and 308 mm EBC USR series slotted rotors. These are straight vented rotors with directional slots. They are much thicker on the wear surfaces, but 1mm narrower. They weight 17.7 lbs. Stock ones are 14 lbs front 15 lbs rear. The venting is from the outer (wheel) side, not from the backside as original. This is probably better since there is no direct venting inside the Roadster wheel well. In the rear you have 3 choices- 1) you can just upgrade the rotors, 2) install mounting brackets and spacers to mount the stock front calipers on the front side, or 3) mount the 4 piston Wilwood units with the set of brackets. Due to the parking brake, the rear caliper is left attached. There is no useable 4 piston caliper that uses a parking brake. Those applications use a internal drum style for the parking brake.

    Rough pricing:
    $1500 for the front 4 piston Wilwood 308mm setup, +$300 for rear rotors-you will need new rear pads of your choice.
    $1850 for the rear 4 piston Wilwood 308mm setup
    $650 for the rear rotors and brackets to use the stock front calipers.
    Modified AP Racing 2 piece 308mm rotors add about $700 per pair-same front and rear

    With the mention of the 3.0 brake changes, I am sure everybody will be waiting until details are released from Tesla. That will give me time to finish testing and adjusting the balance. I have two roadsters so I should be able to do some back to back tests and document the results. As you can probably see from the pictures, the brakes are on a car with no body, so I will have to figure out how much weight to add to make a fair comparison.

    Let me know what everybody thinks.

    Mike
     

    Attached Files:

  2. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Interesting read, and v. sexy looking setup!

    I have an Elise + Model S but no Roadster. I like tinkering with the Elise, and recognise some of the parts :)

    Will be interesting to see what the brake balance ends up like. I bought my Elise second hand, and the previous owner "upgraded" the front pads to CL5 pads but left the rears stock... It was horrible, the car's definitely pretty sensitive on bias (and initial "grab").

    I know some have done the big brake upgrade, and reused the stock front calipers on the back. Some have left the rears on exactly like you have, others have mentioned second cable only parking calipers to meet the requirement for an E Brake, rather than leave the original's in place. I think they are pretty specialist and pricey though :( I'm not sure if the electronic parking brake the UK Roadster has could be made to work ?

    My experience has been the rear brake calipers of the Lotus are they are pretty crappy, heavy and prone to sticking and rubbing. The single sliding mechanism and self adjustment ratchet were never designed for efficiency, and if the 3.0 upgrade wants to reduce brake rub, it's a prime candidate for the bin :D

    Whilst it might say Brembo on it, this is the vehicle it was designed for :D

    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/a5/Renault_Laguna_I_front_20080215.jpg
     
  3. jimmyz80

    jimmyz80 Member

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    I'm trying to wrap my head around why Tesla would have used the same calipers and pads as the Lotus, but then stuffed in larger rotors. Did they just move the calipers out to a larger radius from the center, resulting in more stopping force through leverage instead of additional pad contact area?
     
  4. Fabrizio

    Fabrizio Member

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    I received this response from AP Racing when I inquired about replacement parts:

    Good Afternoon

    Thanks for your enquiry.

    The pad set number (4 pads) for the Tesla calipers is CP5119D50KX-T4139.

    The caliper part number (RH/LH) is CP5134-6/7T0.

    The discs (Ø300x26mm) are CP6552-102/3SD: LOT .

    These are AP Racing part numbers but you will need to contact Tesla to order the parts.

    Thanks & Regards
     
  5. hcsharp

    hcsharp Active Member

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    Yes.
     
  6. Fabrizio

    Fabrizio Member

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    I tried again to inquire about what upgrade brakes are available from AP Racing since they make upgraded calipers and 2-piece rotors in the same size as the originals. This is the reply I got:

    "Thank you for your enquiry but I have to direct you back to Tesla Motors for any brake upgrades. '
     
  7. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    You need to ask about the Vauxhall VX220, they wont give you any info about the Tesla. The upgrade is here http://www.apracing.com/product_details/road_car_upgrades/factory_big_brake_kits/vauxhall/vx220-front_4_piston_kit_cp7621-1001.aspx

    The 308mm rotors work as is in the rear also. This upgrade has been available for awhile but Tesla would be unable to make it exclusive to them, so I doubt they will ever mention it.

    Individual rotors are available here http://www.vx220parts.com/products/category/2/braking-systems/

    Calipers are shown here http://www.seriouslylotus.com/braking/ap-racing-lotus-4-pot-caliper-upgrade-kit-s2 they are more Lotus oriented, but they show both. I'm sure a lot of the rotors are also made in 5 lug for the VX220.

    You can fit the 315mm rotors in the front with just a 3.5mm spacer. The 5000 series calipers need an adapter bracket, but the 7000 series are a direct fit.

    I took a close look again between the Lotus and Tesla. The front calipers have a 6mm longer standoff in the Roadster to fit the 12mm larger rotor. The front spindles are the same. The rear are not

    The rears are the big weak point in the Tesla. You can use this with a 4mm spacer to mount the Tesla front calipers on the rear. http://www.elise-shop.com/rear-radial-caliper-brackets-elise-s2-exige-s2-2eleven-vx220-p-502634.html Or the 7000 series caliper would bolt right on to use with a 308mm rotor (or the stock 310mm one)
     
  8. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Thing is if you do the front, you have to do the back or else risk throwing your brake bias horribly off. Secondly, you'll also have to hunt down or have custom fabricated the 5 lug hat to fit the Roadster. And now you're throwing in some good money. I like the AP big brake kit running on all 4 corners, however you lose you're e-brake and also it has a $5500+ price tag with rotors, but they really do Rock and have unmatched stopping power. The stock calipers with upgraded brake pads and the custom set of rotors we had made really does the trick. I don't see anyone needing more stopping power on the street, although you can not ever have too much for sure if the brake bias is perfectly setup.
     
  9. m0rph

    m0rph Member

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    My AP Racing upgrade will have following parts involved:


    Total price of the above parts is GBP 1295 (~ $ 1950), but I reuse some parts as my 4 brake discs (from groupbuy) and the front brake calipers + pads that move to the rear.

    If you do choose to buy everything new, then add following:


    This adds another GBP 1636 (~ $ 2450) to the bill, so total of $ 4400 without customs and shipping.
     
  10. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    #10 wiztecy, Nov 12, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 12, 2015
    Cool, would like to see how they work out. When you do put them on it might be good try to schedule a day on a track / flat area to do some skidpad testing unless you can find a wide open parking lot to play around. I'd do some hard braking while turning, etc... seeing how the front reacts to the back in terms of how they grab/bite. Its better to test it in a controlled environment and make adjustments instead of when something jumps or pulls in front of you.

    Here's the big brake kit I drool over. I love brakes that just skirt the ID clearance of your rims:
    AP Racing 4 Corner Big Brake Kit for the Lotus Elise and Exige

    AP Racing 4 Corner Big Brake Kit Upgrade - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
     
  11. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    A couple of issues you will have.

    1) You will need 5mm spacers for the rear calipers to make up for the 10mm increase in rear rotor size (the Tesla calipers already have longer mounts to compensate for the increase from 288mm (lotus) to 300mm (tesla front). The rear rotors are 310mm.

    2) You may also have to space the front calipers a bit, as the AP calipers only show 295mm rotors. They might rub or be down from the top of the rotor. You want them out as far as possible.

    3) You might not need the bigger master cylinder. Elise parts does not state the new AP caliper piston sizes. Stock equates to about a 4-pot with 32mm pistons, I used a 35mm 4-pot setup and the pedal had a much better feel to it. When I added 32mm 4-pot ones to the rear, the pedal feel and control was simply incredible. Better than any car I have ever driven.

    4) I'm not sure the 5000 series caliper works on the front without an adapter bracket. The stock Lotus 4-pot caliper is a 7000 series.

    - - - Updated - - -


    The rotors for the VX220 are 5-lug and are a direct fit, if you use the correct diameter for your caliper setup.

    The stock rear brakes need a lot of improvement, something you can't get with only rotors and pads. There is just not enough clamping pressure from the rear system. While you may be able to activate the ABS, it is due to the front locking, not the rear. If you doubt this, try this test: Find a deserted road. Open one of the front bleeders to disable the front brakes. Drive 35MPH, put the car in neutral to remove the regen, and hit the brakes. Although the pedal will be very low, you will only be using the rears to stop the car, and will find out exactly how much they do in slowing the car down.
     
  12. wiztecy

    wiztecy Active Member

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    Very true about the inability to lock up the rear, only the fronts can be heard chirping when doing a quick & hard stop coming down from a high rate of speed. It always puzzles me why automakers do these mistakes on performance vehicles. I know that Lotus opted for safety and Tesla followed what worked in the past, such as the purposely configured understeer, I'm starting to think they put an underated rear brake / caliper for just the same reason. That they didn't want people panicking and locking up the rear around a turn causing a spinout that they can't even imagine knowing how to correct. Nice hearing how your 4 pot brakes & calipers are working out well all the way around.
     
  13. ElectricLove

    ElectricLove Member

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    One thing I'd like to add to this conversation for some of us to consider;

    I am currently working on a battery replacement option which will result in a significant reduction in the weight of the Roadster (about 350 lbs). If one were to invest in this sort of upgrade rather than brakes themselves, I wonder if the increased braking performance from the weight lost will be as good or better than keeping the same weight but using larger brakes...
     
  14. Chickenlittle

    Chickenlittle Active Member

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    One thing I like about TMC is that there are specified threads for advertising sales and services. You have on different posts, in my opinion, crossed the line and am promoting your start up companies services in threads not devoted to sales and services. I recollect your promoting your services to fix PEM and battery replacement. This post is pushing your replacement option. I hope moderators will not let these ads creep into all posts on the forum.
     
  15. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Or Europa SE ;)

    Personally I think it's a closer base vehicle to the Roadster than the Elise (or VX220).

    Similar 5 lug brakes, lowered sills, etc. etc. Bear in mind these are chronologically the closest related on the Elise family tree too. Having sat in Elise, Exige, VX220, Europa and Roadster, I'm convinced there was some design crossover between the last two on that list ;)
     
  16. MLAUTO

    MLAUTO Member

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    That one is rarer than the Roadster. We didn't even get it over here.
     
  17. Mark77a

    Mark77a Member

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    good point, well made (I agree :) )
     
  18. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Pretty rare here too. Was a bit of a sales flop :( They are starting to get some love in the used market now though.

    TBH I'm amazed they didn't use it as the basis for the Exige V6, which is decidedly Elise based.. Which by the way could also be a good source for upgraded parts for the Roadster, as it's similar weight, and the brakes are top class.

    One catch as far as brakes go is they moved up to 350mm up front, 332mm at the back, all 4 pot AP calipers. I suspect you'd need to change wheels to fit them though, as Lotus went to 17"/18" wheels and the rotors are a tight fit up front! (Of course then you'd have geo setup issues, possible wheel well clearance problems, etc. etc. so might be a non starter.)
     
  19. ElectricLove

    ElectricLove Member

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    Sorry, I apologize to you for seeming "sales-y"

    I guess what I'm trying to say in this thread is:

    What do you all think the performance improvement would look like if we could "somehow" shed 300-350 pounds of weight off the Roadster? To me, it was more clear with the ancillary information I used previously, but in general I am just trying to ask what we think braking performance would look like if the vehicle were simply lighter and if it were lighter, would we still need to upgrade brakes?

    - - - Updated - - -

    I know it wasn't available at the time (maybe it was in "development stage" though?) but I really like the Evora, any idea on hubs/brakes on those?
     
  20. smac

    smac Active Member

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    Evora rotors and calipers are similar (same?) to the Exige V6 ones, however wheel offsets are all different. (I know as a fellow V6 owner chopped in his Exige for an Evora and had a spare set we looked at doing a deal on ). I also know however the wishbones on the Elise/4 Cylinder Exige, are the same as the Exige V6.

    I do know there's a specialist Lotus firm in the UK working with one Roadster owner to try and work through which parts make sense as upgrades / swaps (and they've worked on and know every variant of Lotus ever made). My Lotus spannering skills are purely DIY on my own cars so they would be able to offer far more guidance than me. (You can PM me for the details, I don't want to be seen as advertising, even though I'm not connected)

    I'd be happy to meet up with any of the UK owners with my car, at least they could have a nosey around which bits from Lotus's latest line up could be made to fit. As ever though it would take some experimental work to determine what was practicable. Will say I'm happy to test fit a wheel swap though as that resolves one of the biggest potential drawbacks I can see.
     

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