Ronnie

Front Brake Upgrade. - Is it worth it?

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This time of year I do a few things to get ready for nice driving weather again. I'm going to check the pads on my front brakes and do a brake fluid flush. That go me to thinking about the front brake upgrade that some others have done. If I was going to do it now would be the time if I need to replace the brake pads.

 

I ran across this thread that explains what needs to be done. What I get out of it is you need to use Camaro dual piston calipers, including the bolt that holds the Reatta brake hose to the Camaro caliper, and Olds Aurora rotors. A post by McReatta ( see below - edited for clarity) pretty much sums up the result of the discussion in the very long thread.

 

I'm quite happy with the Reatta brakes but I'm open to improvements that are worthwhile. My question is, will the brake upgrade justify the time, money and effort spent if I only drive the car normally without anticipating any high speed stops? Anyone out there who has done the upgrade care to comment?

 

On 7/8/2013 at 12:59 PM, Mc_Reatta said:

...

Reviewing the good work done by the pioneers on this forum as to various options for calipers and rotors, I decide to go with the [Camaro] aluminum dual piston caliper for its performance, weight and corrosion resistance.

 

At first I thought the increase in stopping performance would be due to the increase in surface area the larger rotor and caliper would accommodate. But in researching the subject to refresh my memory about friction and dynamics, I learned that the increase is stopping power is virtually entirely due to the fact the braking force is applied at a greater distance away from the center of rotation. Same principle as using a longer breaker bar to break a nut loose. Other factors contribute to overall performance like heat transfer (fade potential) and piston area (pedal effort). Upgrading to larger rotors and calipers improves both of those as well.

 

The improvement in the stopping force from upgrading the fronts with the Camaro Z-28 brakes is quite dramatic. You will not longer get the impression you have to push the pedal thru the floorboard to achieve maximum deceleration. You get the impression you can stand the car on its nose if you push all the way. When I now drive one of the stock Reattas you realize how much further you have to push the pedal to achieve the same stopping power.

I don't drive under conditions that would tend to build up a lot of heat in the brakes, so I can't confirm the expected improvement in fade resistance from increased heat transfer. Maybe someone who has done an upgrade and drives in mountainous terrain can add a comment.

 

I do recall someone who had to grind some of the cooling fins down to prevent interference with his rims, but I don't remember if it was the particular 16" rim he had or he was trying to use a 15" rim.

...

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I've not done the front brakes but have done the rear brakes. The only reason I did them was because I wanted an easier brake pad/rotor swap then the stock Reatta set up. I haven't noticed a difference on the braking of a Reatta with the rear brake swap verses the stock set up.

 My personal opinion is that the brakes on the Reatta work really good.

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When you ask .......is it worth it.  If you buy all the parts new, it is questionable, but if you need new calipers anyway then the economics don't make much difference.

Also depending on which parts you go with....you may need 16" or larger wheels.  That enters into the calculation.   I have picked up some calipers and rotors at pick n pulls but not enough total parts to do the job.

Increasing the rotor diameter by an inch should be something you can feel in the seat of your pants. 

I did change my front pads to ceramic last summer before going to the Wisconsin meet and while I didn't feel a big difference, they do keep the wheels cleaner.

 

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I have wondered about this myself. When working properly, the brakes work very well, but it is one of those "what if" things. One of my oddball thoughts was to use a larger rotor but keep the stock caliper on a relocated mount. I "think" the caliper is what is called a GM Metric style and other mounts may be available as used in the aftermarket for off road use. Never pursued it and maybe silly since apparently gm has already engineered something.

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i have the camaro lsi front brakes and like them.neither the 15"reatta wheels or spare will fit.its a complete bolt on.they do look a lot better than the tiny reatta brakes..i did a write up at one time.

'

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When I inspect my brakes I will start making plans to do the upgrade if I find the calipers or rotors are bad. If everything is good but the pads I will probably keep the stock setup and buy new pads. I like the idea of having the extra breaking power and the way it would look with my 7 spoke chrome wheels but I don't like the fact that the spare won't work. I didn't know about that. Thanks for confirming the Camaro/Aurora parts will work.

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I never thought about the spare.... in fact if on a quiz show and ask what size it is......15" 16"  I would not know.

Without going to my car (a 1991) I would guess it is a 16" but did the '90 and earlier have a 15"?

If the spare is the only concern, then get one from a late LeSabre.....they are 16"

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8 minutes ago, Barney Eaton said:

If the spare is the only concern, then get one from a late LeSabre.....they are 16"

 

That might work. I've been told the 16" will fit in the well for the spare time. Would still need to be checked to make sure it will have clearance for the larger Camaro calipers.

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You made me look.......my 1991 has a 15" spare......the next trip to the pick n pull I may purchase a later model if they are 16"

The 15 is a nice fit in the trunk recess........the 16 may be tight....depends if the tire is larger.

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16 minutes ago, 63viking said:

16" wheels will clear the camaro calipers. I have them on my car.

 

Will the 16" compact spare clear Camaro calipers?

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I should get some 16" spares from Gibson's but the problem is that many of the cars don't have keys and Gibson's does not put the cars on stands.

 So if you want the car up in the air you have to look in near by cars that have open trunks for spares to use as stands. Jesse the end loader guy comes out, pulls the car you want out of the line and raises the cars up and the guy wanting parts stacks the spares under the car where he wants it so he can pull the parts he needs. Then when the parts are pulled the guy walks away and Jesse later comes back and puts the car back. It gets a little complicated because the spares get "moved around" so it is hard to tell which spare is the one you want.  

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i tried to see if the spare on my pontiac g6 with 18 inch factory wheels would clear but for some insane reason the bolt pattern was different.

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Jon when you the "spare clears  also" are you talking about the stock 15" spare or did you get a 16" spare?

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Today was going to be the day that I checked out my brakes and decide if I want to do the brake upgrade. That's going to be put off for a few days. I just got news that my sister-in-law passed away last night.

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5 hours ago, Ronnie said:

Today was going to be the day that I checked out my brakes and decide if I want to do the brake upgrade. That's going to be put off for a few days. I just got news that my sister-in-law passed away last night.

Ronnie I am sorry to hear the news. 

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4 hours ago, 63viking said:

Dave I have a 16" spare tire in the hole.

Thanks Jon!

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On 2/8/2018 at 10:04 AM, Ronnie said:

 

That might work. I've been told the 16" will fit in the well for the spare time. Would still need to be checked to make sure it will have clearance for the larger Camaro calipers.

the spare in my g6 is a 16 inch rim/22.5 inches overall diameter.it does fit in the reatta tire area by compressing the foam a bit.

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I finally got around to checking the brakes on my Reatta this morning. The pads were in much better condition than I expected. The pads were installed in 2009 but are still about 75%. I still intend to just flush the brake fluid to get ready driving this year. I took the Reatta out on the road and did a few panic stops. The car stopped flawlessly so I think I will leave well enough alone and keep the stock brakes for now. Thanks to all of you who chimed in with opinions about doing the brake upgrades.

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I went "window shopping" again today at Gibson's and thought I would look for a 16" spare. They have plenty and they are $10.00 each. I will pick one up when I get the Red out of storage.

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Dave, Thanks for reminding me that I need to check the air pressure in my spare.

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21 hours ago, DAVES89 said:

I went "window shopping" again today at Gibson's and thought I would look for a 16" spare. They have plenty and they are $10.00 each. I will pick one up when I get the Red out of storage.

my 16 inch caddy wheels BARELY clear the camaro brakes.id bet some 16 inch spares won't.

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