Why should I upgrade my brakes?
Upgrading your brakes can dramatically improve many aspects of your braking performance; from increased braking power (reducing overall braking distances), to improved longevity (reduced brake wear), as well as sustained braking performance (more repeated braking cycles without inducing brake fade or premature wear).
A properly selected grouping of braking components will not only improve performance during spirited driving but can also boost confidence and safety during day-to-day operation.
While most factory braking systems provide adequate braking force to exceed the limits of the tires, introducing other aftermarket vehicle enhancements such as increasing horsepower, changing the vehicle's gross weight, or adding improving mechanical grip through aerodynamic, suspension and/or wheel and tire upgrades can all create scenarios where improved braking performance may become desired or even necessary.
Do I need a “Big Brake Kit” to improve my braking performance?
A “big brake kit” (oversized braking components such as larger diameter brake discs and/or resized multi-piston caliper upgrade) is not the only option for improving braking performance. Simpler and more economical upgrades such as higher quality brake discs, brake pads which are matched to your intended driving style and purpose, or even proper care and maintenance such as flushing your brake fluid can all yield improved performance.
For performance minded drivers looking to achieve optimized braking for spirited driving on open highways and in the canyons or at the occasional track day, a properly matched set of directional two-piece rotors and high-performance brake pads will more than meet your expectations at a fraction of the cost of most BBK’s. You can click here (https://febrakes.com/direct-replacement-2-piece-discs/) to see if we offer a 2-piece replacement discs for your specific year/make/model.
Does FE Brakes manufacture all of its own products?
FE Brakes is first and foremost a research and development company. While we do not manufacture our own cast iron brake rotors, we work directly with world class brake rotor manufacturers right here in the US.
All our 2-piece rotor products are made in the USA, which includes the high carbon cast iron directional curved-vane brake discs, hard anodized billet aluminum bells, and floating rotor hardware. The end result is a high-quality, American made, high performance braking option based on years of experience and in house R&D and testing processes.
What is brake fade?
In order to understand brake fade it is important to understand the primary purpose of your brake system. Your brakes are specifically intended to convert kinetic energy (the energy of an object in motion) into heat (induced by the friction between your brake pads and rotors during a braking cycle). Equally important is your brake system's ability to dissipate this heat between or during repeated braking cycles.
The symptom of “brake fade” is directly related to excessive heat which becomes stored in the system, negatively affecting braking performance. There are two types of brake fade - “mechanical fade” in which the heat stored in the brake pad, exceeding its M.O.T (maximum operating temperature) and causing a reduction in brake friction, OR “fluid fade” which is the result of excessive heat stored in the hydraulic brake fluid causing it to boil, introducing air pockets/bubbles in the brake line, resulting in a soft/spongy brake pedal.
Both symptoms dramatically reduce total brake torque, negatively affecting your ability to stop within a reasonable distance. Mechanical fade is a result of the loss of friction, whereas fluid fade is the result of the loss of hydraulic brake line pressure.
What are the benefits of a 2-piece rotor?
2-piece rotors offer a number of significant features and benefits over your typical/factory 1-piece cast iron rotor. From a dramatic reduction in unsprung and rotational weight. To improve airflow through directional vane technology. And also the ability to expand and contract more evenly due to the use of floating rotor connecting hardware. Each of which will result in improved braking performance, increased longevity, and in some cases - a notable reduction in consumable parts cost.
Is there a specific break in procedure for new brakes?
Brand new braking components such as brake discs and/or brake pads do require a specific brake in (or “bedding”) procedure to ensure optimal performance and longevity.
Properly bedding in your new brakes will more evenly distribute and impregnate the brake pad material across the disc surface, resulting in smoother and more consistent braking and even help to prevent unwanted NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness).
To learn more about our recommended Bed-In Procedure.
What is the difference between smooth / drilled / slotted /dimpled rotors?
Surface modifications to the brake rotor such as slots or grooves, cross-drilling or dimpling, etc. were all developed to improve performance under extreme braking conditions. As most commonly noted, these features were originally introduced to mitigate pad “lift-off” caused by off-gassing from the brake pad. While modern brake pad compounds are no longer off-gas in the same way they used to, there are still a number of benefits to many of these features that can contribute to performance and longevity.
In the case of our high-performance two-piece rotors, we have chosen to use a dimpling pattern to benefit from the prevention of unwanted lift-off caused by potential off-gassing, as well as to refresh the brake pad surface area on each revolution. In addition to aiding in performance under extreme use, the aesthetic benefit is similar to cross-drilling, but without the reduction in structural integrity as often seen in drilled discs.
Will your rotors work with my factory calipers and pads?
YES. Our two-piece, directional, full floating brake discs are designed to work specifically with your factory brake calipers and designated brake pad shape.
By engineering them to the same diameter, thickness, and matching the annulus (the height and radius of the swept area of your factory brake rotor) this upgrade is a direct bolt-on replacement to your factory rotors.
How do I prevent brake squeal?
While it is difficult to guarantee absolutely zero chance of unwanted brake squeal - especially when using high-performance pad compounds which are primarily developed with an emphasis on performance - there are a number of proven methods that can dramatically reduce NVH (noise, vibration, and harshness).
For brake pads that do not include anti-squeal dampers or shims on the backing plate from the factory, applying a small layer of anti-squeal gel or grease where the brake caliper piston makes contact with the backing plate will aid in noise reduction. Additionally, following our recommended bed-in procedure can greatly reduce the chance of noise. (Link here) And in some extreme scenarios, you can carefully (and at your own discretion) add a small chamfer to the leading edge of the brake pad material to aid in a smooth contact area in revolution.
Will a 2-piece rotor upgrade affect brake bias?
Our high-performance 2-piece brake rotor upgrade does not negatively affect brake bias.
By maintaining the factory disc diameter, specifically the effective radius (which is measured from the center of the axle to the center of the brake disc annulus), the percentage of total brake force at either the front or rear of the vehicle remains within the factory tolerance.
What is “unsprung weight”?
“Unsprung weight” is defined as the weight of a vehicle which is NOT supported by the springs. For our purposes this refers primarily to the rotating drivetrain components on the outboard side of your axles, namely your braking components and wheels & tires.
Rotational weight (in regard to braking performance) is significant as it is a factor in both acceleration and braking, based on the amount of force it requires to rotate (during acceleration), or to overcome the inertia of these components (during deceleration).
Every pound of rotational weight saved in your brake system can be equal to somewhere between 4 and 7 lbs. of gross vehicle weight.
Are these brake rotors directional?
Yes. Our lightweight 2-piece brake system upgrades uses directional cast iron brake discs.
All of our discs utilize a vane design which is both curved and directional, optimizing airflow to improve temperature control during aggressive use. 48 vane count for discs up to 369mm in diameter, and 72 vane count for discs 370mm or larger.