Monday, November 19, 2012

Busted-ass Miata brakes

Not too long ago, I took my Miata to a track day. I had been driving and autocrossing on a set of Porterfield R4-S pads for some time and I figured they'd be good for a few sessions at a track with relatively short straights. The fronts were not so happy about this.

I'll admit the rotors had seen a lot of Chicago road salt and the fins were pretty rusty to begin with. That likely didn't help their cooling ability. After about a 15 or 20-minute session at The FIRM, I felt the pedal getting soft. I came in and let them cool for a spell before the guy who came with me that day took a stint. The turnout for a FIRM track day is so low that you can go on and off the track as much and whenever you want. My co-driver said the brakes were still soft when he went out, and he came back when they got softer. Another 40-minutes of cooling and I decided to have another go.

Nope. There were bad noises, and the pedal required some serious pumping to generate a response. We popped off a wheel real quick and saw the above: A cratered rotor. When I took it home, I noticed also the burn mark on this brake pad; that a couple of the front pads cracked; most of the wear material was gone; the fluid, too, was cooked.

Because my budget is low, I got a set of pads from Autozone for $20-something and a set of their front rotors. I've had good luck with Autozone brake rotors, having run them for 3 races on my LeMons car. Some whiny bitches are picky about brand and will only buy Brembo rotors. I'm not one of those guys.

The Autozone pads are way not-grabby. I can't lock up the fronts without extreme pedal pressure. These pads will be going bye-bye soon, in favor of some real track-worthy material. These cheapo things are barely street-worthy.

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