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How to Properly Bed-In a Big Brake Kit

December 18th, 2008

We just got finished installing our StopTech Big Brake kit on our project Porsche. We like going fast just as much as anyone, but when you’re adding hundreds of horsepower to a vehicle, it’s always good to plan on upgrading your brakes. Our car had over 60k miles when we purchased it, so the brakes needed some added attention right off the bat. We went with Stoptechs 380mm/6piston kit on the front and their 332mm/4 piston in the rear. We will be using the car for DE events and the Texas Mile so I wanted to make sure that the brakes where properly bedded and will be up the heavy braking the car will experience.

Just as important as upgrading the brakes themselves, is carefully following the bed-in procedure for the pads and rotors. This is a very important step and it should be preformed right after installation to ensure a consistent friction surface and prevent warping of rotors from pad deposits. Before you begin the process you want to make sure the rotors are clean and free of and oil or debris. For non-plated rotors a bath in soap and water, then brake clean should do the trick. For our application we had the rotors zinc coated to prevent rusting of the fins. If you opt to have the rotors zinc plated, drive a few miles with light braking until the plating is worn off. Do not use the brakes aggressively or begin bed-in procedure until this has been completed.

To begin the bedding procedure find a long stretch of level roadway or a skid pad. It is best to perform the exercise at a time when traffic is at its lightest to make sure you can complete the procedure without compromising safety. I was fortunate to have a long 4-5 mile access road for the airport near our new location to perform the bed-in. To properly seat the pads and rotors evenly you will perform 2 series of 10 consecutive decelerations from 60mph to 10pmh. You want to be sure that accelerate back up to 60 after reaching the 10mph decelerating point. You should be using consistent 80-90% braking force and expect some smoke and brake smell from the brakes. Be sure that you do not come to a complete stop during the series of 10.

For this procedure in the 996tt I found 2nd gear to work quite well as it allowed me to reach the designed RPM and still be able to accelerate from the lower RPMS. Complete the first 10 series in sequence, when you are finished be sure not to come to a stop as you want to let the rotors cool completely without leaving hot deposit. Once the brakes have cooled to a near ambient temperature (usually after 10-15 miles of driving at 50MPH or more without using the brakes) repeat the series of 10 stops and let the system cool again to ambient temperature. For higher performance track pads, Stoptech recommends you add 4 80-10mph decelerations to the end of each series. Full race pads should always be bed-in on the track.

Once you have completed the 2 series the rotor faces should have a faint blue appearance covered by a polished, light gray film. The blue tint indicates the proper brake in temperature has been reached and the pad material is evenly transferring onto the rotor face. Perform this procedure at your own risk, don’t necessarily be concerned that you are reaching the speeds exactly, but you want to make sure you are using consistent brake force throughout. Check out the Gallery Below to see before and after pictures of the rotors for comparison.

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