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Braking Components 2.0T & 3.8


As stock cars come off the lot, even in base trim - the BK is remarkably well-equipped. While Brembo brakes are available on many trims of the car and certainly preferred for sports applications - if you bought a base model or a trim with floating caliper brakes, do not despair, dear reader!

Non-Brembo brakes vs. Brembo OEMs - Should I swap/upgrade to Brembo (is it worth the cost?)

In short, no, not normally. I say 'not normally' because some people have pockets deeper than most mineshafts. The big difference in brake systems which cost you the big bucks are rapid heat dissipation, light weight and rapid pad change-out. Base trim calipers are big, heavy, dumb, floating calipers like the kind used by 9/10 cars on the road today. They are used because they are cheap, they work, and they are reliable.

Brembo calipers are lightweight one-piece aluminum assemblies with multiple pistons arranged to symmetrically dispense pain and suffering upon the rotor. Because the Brembo assembly is aluminum, it sheds heat much more quickly, its lighter (always good) and the uniform arrangement of pistons means even and sure-footed delivery of abuse to the rotor.

The base calipers utilize big, heavy cast housings with - typically - a single large piston on one side of the rotor. The other side of the rotor gets squeezed by a reach-over arm assembly holding a brake pad which 'floats' atop the piston housing. As the piston is driven against the rotor, the reachover arm is pushed outward from the car and thus against the inside of the rotor. This means slightly slower, less crisp brake pedal feel, and less-even pressure dispersion.

However, as the world-famous Soviet weapons designer Boris Badenuff once said, "It will still keel yu."

Rotor selection - there's almost no way to go wrong selecting brake rotors for your car. No one rotor will 'enhance' braking performance over another, though there are a few factors to consider.

- the more you pay for a rotor, the higher-temp material its likely to be made of. the more punishment it can withstand, the longer it will last, and less likely it will fade under heavy use with aggresive pads.

- cross-drilled rotors are 100% for show unless you get your rotors glowing-hot during endurance/road races all the time. these holes are drilled to allow hot gasses to exit the rotor surface area so a boundary layer of extremely hot gas & pad debris isn't causing the pad to lose grip. And no, cross drilled rotors will not crack if you brake while turning.

slotted rotors are a great way to ensure your pad is biting clean rotor surface; the slots assist in throwing pad debris away rapidly and give the surface a little more 'bite' when abraided against a pad. if you're going for no-bullshit, no-frills performance and you want to say so with your brakes, buy slotted only.

Brands of Rotors - There are only a handful of manufacturers in the game of aftermarket performance brake rotors, and much of the branded merchandise you see, although renamed/repackaged, comes from one of these two or three manufacturers. What many outfits will do is buy OEM-fit aftermarket rotors from a huge OE-fitment aftermarket supplier like Centric - and then machine them with slots, cross-drill them, and coat the edges/hubs in a particular color. This coating is beneficial as it helps combat rust over time.

Nine out of ten aftermarket rotors are single-piece machined rotors like you find on any normal car on the road. Exceptionally few aftermarket rotors will be two-piece - an aluminum "hat" will be bolted to a machined disc (looks like a ring), and the hat will typically be anodized in the manufacturer's color of brand. Two piece rotors are very expensive and wholly unnecessary for all but the most demanding professional racing applications.

DTMSpeed, a subsidiary of Valeo Korea (themselves an arm of PHC France), a massive OEM brakes/clutches manufacturer - demo'd a set of two-piece rotors for the BK in 2010. They were unmitigated crap. They warped rapidly and the disc diameter was not properly matched to the caliper placement, so the brake pad face was not sweeping some of the rotor face up top and the pad never touched some of the rotor down low either. If you see these sold, stay away from them.

Any other two-piece rotors for the BK are going to need to be custom-made and you will be hard pressed to get them cheaply, as most BK drivers won't pony up the cash for these. Again this isn't really a problem considering the fact that they aren't necessary for almost anyone.

Building Base-Trim Brakes for the Win

If you aren't interested in blowing over a grand and a half on a set of Brembos for your car - and lets face it, the front calipers are really what matter most - then don't cry, because to fix up your base brakes for excellent performance, repeat after me - rotors, pads lines. Thats all there is to it.

Select rotors you like (R1 Concepts, GC Tuner (Centric), and others), then get stainless-braided brake lines. Agency Power offers an affordable set of these, though the lines are available many other places; it's literally just a generic stainless-braided hydraulic acuator line thats been cut to fit your car - its kind of like drunk sex - aftermarket brake lines are pretty hard to fuck up, so buy from whoever is cheapest.

The stainless braided brake lines will add a metallic sleeve woven around the rubber hydraulic hose; as the brakes heat up and transmit heat back along the lines and into the hydraulic fluid, the rubber hose will expand and the volume which the hydraulic fluid is displacing will actually increase. This means lost brake pedal feel, and lost efficiency of the braking system; its all part of heat fade and its bad for business. So get some.

Finally, get pads you like. You will likely jump right to race pads because you are that badass; when a brake pad is marked for race application, it means it must be hot to actually grab and stop the car. What differentiates a race pad from a street pad is the temperature range in which it's designed to work optimally; street pads work from below freezing on up to mild temperatures. Race pads often must be absolutely cooked to even begin to grab well, but this means that if you are road racing, you'll actually be able to brake effectively at ridiculous speeds.

Performance brake pads will always scream. Be prepared. You will sound like you've got metal-on-metal brakes to your entire neighborhood in some cases; but this is part & parcel of performance braking, so deal with it.

Now that you've buffed-up your base model brakes, whatever you do, do not powdercoat/paint the calipers red. This will merely reserve you a special place in hell.

NOTE: OEM Hyundai Equus brake calipers (and matching diameter rotors) can be installed rather seamlessly to the car (both generations). That being said this upgrade, while it does add a bit more clamping force, does not offer the same benefit as the Brembo monobloc aluminum caliper; and that is weight savings. Sure, a Hyundai Equus or Veracruz brake caliper will fit up front, and sure they are larger/clamp down harder. Originally these were looked at as a low-budget simple bolt on brake upgrade for the daily road warrior, the steady decrease in price for a set of used Brembos makes this harder to opt for. They can still be had for cheaper than Brembos, are significantly cheaper to maintain (Brembo parts are expensive) and have larger rotors, they are only recently getting a lot of the pad and rotor options Brembo owners have enjoyed since almost day one. These also come in two flavors, three-piece units or monoblocks and each has their own rotor size.

Installing Equus calipers etc. will give you more braking oomph, of this there are no ands or buts. However for genuine performance application - e.g. race tracks and heavy abuse, there is never any substitute for a performance-built brake caliper such as the Brembo OEM set.

Upgrading Brembo Brakes

Your OEM Brembo calipers are track-ready; they assist in resisting heat-fade, they actuate crisply and grip firmly & uniformly. They also add +1 sex appeal when you're in the car. While I did say the calipers are track ready, the OEM pads and brake lines are not. Brembo owners enjoy a very wide selection of affordable brake pads due to the commonality of the caliper - they also enjoy rapid brake pad changes due to the Brembo design of the pin & spring retainer.

Get yourself some stainless lines, some good pads, some slotted rotors, and hit the canyons & tracks with confidence. If you really want to go crazy, upgrade your brake fluid to a high-end Motul racing fluid which resists heat even more effectively than stock stuff.