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Old 04-03-2002, 03:10 PM   #1
romanom
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Default Some brake knowledge for ya!

THIS IS JUST GENERIC INFO, NOT FOR ANY SPECIFIC VEHICLE.



Just some of my experience from being an automotive brake engineer in Michigan for awhile.

First some quick definitions: Brake Pedal ratio is the measurement of how much mechanical assistance you are getting from the pedal. Example; an ratio of 4.1 will give you 41 pounds at the booster input rod for a 10 pound load at the pedal itself.

Dead or lost travel is how much pedal stoke is required before you actually start stopping.

Dead Travel or Lost travel and overall poor pedal feel is made up of the following:
[(travel as measured at the brake service pedal assembly pin (where the booster connects)]
(imagine traveling from the pedal through the brake system to the rotor, all lost travel must be multiplied by whatever your brake pedal ratio is.)

1. Tolerance between brake pedal pin and booster input rod. This can be quite a bit for systems that use a pin mounted brake light switch. If you do have such a switch do not remove it or take up the slack as your brake lights will be on all the time. If you don't have a pin mounted switch just get a tighter bushing. If you do..you s**t out of luck.
* will be felt during first few mm of travel

2. Slack in the brake pedal assembly itself. To see how good or bad yours are, with the car off pump the brakes until hard (2-3 pumps) and then grap the pedal with your hands and see how much it moves around.
* will be felt through first few mm of travel (I hope)

3. Dash flex. This can range dramatically from vehicle model to vehicle model. Not much you can do about this.
*felt during medium and high decelerations stops on most cars, on Fords dashes flex with the breeze

4. Lost travel in booster. This is designed to be there to allow for booster expansion due to climate and use over time. Only adds half a mm (multilplied by the pedal ratio).
*felt only in the first few mm of travel

5. Flex of booster shell. Can be a real problem on some designs. All you can do is try and brace the booster or replace with a better product.
*felt on medium and high deceleration stops

6. Design tolerances in the Master Cylinder. Varies creately from one to another. Simply, if you want less lost travel in the TMC (tandem master cylinder), you have to pay for a more expensive one. A minimum lost travel of about 1-1.5mm is required for proper and safe operation. However, I've seen some with double that. (again multiplied by the pedal ratio)
*felt duiring first 10mm or so of pedal travel

7. The brake tubes and ABS unit. Maybe .0000001mm here. Don't worry about it.

8. Brake hoses. Get steel braided ones, there worth it. Rubber hoses flex quite a bit even under low pressure.
*felt almost all the time

9. Brake Caliper Piston Roll Back. This is usually the worst offender. Only way to get rid of these is get better calipers. Roll back is how far the piston moves away from the rotor when pressure is released. The bigger the gap, the more you have to push on the pedal to get contact.

10. Caliper Defelection. The caliper actually flexing under pressure, like 9 you can only improve this with better calipers.
*felt during medium and high deceleration stops

11. Brake pad backing plate. If this is flimsy it will flex and not allow a good contact between the rotor and pad forcing you to apply more pressure and therefore more pedal travel. Fixed by replacing pads with higher quality ones.
*felt most of the time

12. Brake pad material itself. If the material is low density it will compress like a sponge. And if it's a low mu (friction) pad it will require more pressure and therefore more pedal travel.
*felt all the time

13. Rare, but a problem on really cheap brake pads: The bonding process used to bond the brake pad material to the backing plate. A poor process will cause the material to "squirm" around.

Well those are the biggy, but not the biggest. The biggest is AIR in the system.. Before you do anything else do a really good and thorough brake bleed. And only use the fluid it says to use on the cap, DOT 3 or DOT 4 or whatever.

How I would go about improving a system:
1. Bleed system
2. High quality pads
3. Get steel brake hoses
4. New fixed calipers from a know manufacturer
5. Some bracing for the actuation unit (booster/ master cylinder/ pedal)

Also, changing the brake pedal assembly to one with a lower ratio. Remember all lost travel is multiplied by the pedal ratio, the lower the ratio the less dead travel at the pedal pad. This also firms up the pedal as your getting less mechanical assistance. Just be careful, because if you brake booster fails it will take more force on the pedal to come to a stop. Minimum pedal ratio is calculated using NHTSA FMVSS 135 which states the maximum force required to stop a vehicle in a certain distance when the booster fails.

Pedal feel can also be "tuned" with a different booster. I will not get technical, but basically the booster sets the Force-Force curve (Force into the booster vs. the force out). How this curve looks will dictate pedal feel (assuming all else equal). A F-F curve has certain points that are important, the 2-stage, cut-in, boost ratio and the run-out.

2-stage is what sets the intial point of boost (when it kicks in)
cut-in is what sets how much initial force
boost ratio is just as it sounds, it sets how much assit you get
run-out is the maximum assist

By lowering the 2-stage and increasing the cut-in you get a better intial bite sooner. Just have to be careful you don't go overboard and have the driver eat the steering wheel at every stop light (like an '80s Audi).
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Last edited by romanom; 04-03-2002 at 05:21 PM.
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Old 04-03-2002, 11:16 PM   #2
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wow! Good stuff. More than I ever wanted to know about brakes!

I'll bet this will come up in searches for years!

I especially like the ideas of brake tuning! There's times at the track when I heel/toe and I wish the brake pedal was actually a bit softer so I can match the gas easier!!
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Old 04-04-2002, 09:01 AM   #3
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Some Great info Thanks!!!

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Old 04-04-2002, 12:01 PM   #4
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Default Difference between Feel and Performance

Just some more stuff:

I want to make it clear there is a difference between making a brake system feel better and actually perform better.

The stopping distance of a car is not necessarily directly related to the feel. A poor feeling brake system can have very good performance, i.e. Jaguar. While a great feeling system can have lousy performance, i.e. Ford Focus

The only way to decrease braking distances is to create more heat through friction and conduct that heat more efficiently.

Basically, you need a bigger contact area between the rotor and pad (bigger pads and rotors) with the best contact patch possible between the two. Also higher friction levels with higher mu brake pads.

And most importantly.........REALLY GOOD TIRES!

And you need a way to get rid of that heat at a faster rate. More rotor mass and/or better conduction (vented, etc...).


How a car stops is simple, it takes Kinetic Energy (energy created by motion) and transfers it to Heat (infrared) Energy. It does this by the mechanism of friction.

KE=1/2 the mass of the vehicle multplied by the square of it's velocity

Stopping distance is determined by the rate of KE to IE transfer, or also know as WORK.

Simply, to stop sooner you need to transfer Kinetic Energy into Heat Energy faster.

There are no other tricks...you need higher levels of friction and ways to dissipate the heat quicker (you can also get more massive rotors which are capable of absorbing more heat).


The big things to do to get shoter stopping distance:

1. Best Tires for the conditions (use common sense here, no Pilots in Feb in Alaska)
2. Higher Firiction Brake Pads
3. Bigger rotors with better heat conduction properties or better heat absorbtion properties

That's it!!!!!!!

The small things you can do that give you that extra advantage:

1. LOSE WEIGHT (the car I mean), less mass, less KE

2. Minimize rotational interia of wheels/tires. Get lighter wheels and tires (all else being equal). Note: the farther away from the center of rotation the mass is the great the interia, so a 17" wheel will have greater interia than a 16" all else being equal.

3. Try and balance out the braking, if the rears can do more work it spreads out the work. Less weight transfer to the front [edited 4/5] BY MOVING THE BATTERY TO THE TRUNK, stuff like that.

4. Calipers with more pistons and more piston area, this gets you that better contact between rotor and pad.

5. Pratice! Get to know how your system works so you can best utilize it.

6. Don't drive to fast, remember it the square of the velocity. The amount of KE increase from 40KPH to 80KPH is not 200%, but 400%.

Last edited by romanom; 04-15-2002 at 06:18 PM.
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Old 04-04-2002, 12:55 PM   #5
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Quote:
6. Don't drive to fast, remember it the square of the velocity. The amount of KE increase from 40KPH to 80KPH is not 200%, but 400%.
I'm convinced that if they pounded this into the heads of students in drivers ed a little harder that it would reduce traffic accidents. A following distance of two car lengths is perfectly safe at 25 mph but a recipe for disaster at 70 mph.

BTW, that is quite the thorough and informative post you started the thread with - Thanks!
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Old 04-04-2002, 03:25 PM   #6
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Excellent info! Thanks!

All this, and you're title still says newbie.
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Old 04-04-2002, 08:16 PM   #7
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Excellent information; wow I learned even more now

Maybe this thread has potential to become sticky on the Suspension, Brakes, Rims & Tires Forum

-Benson (Another MY98 Owner)
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Old 04-04-2002, 08:47 PM   #8
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Here's link to a sticky thread on the Sus/Brakes/Tire Forum that has some really great info on brakes and brake fluid too.

http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...hreadid=159647


And the same thing as this thread on the Brake Forum that has some different replies.

http://www.i-club.com/forums/showthr...84#post1733384
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Old 04-05-2002, 07:41 AM   #9
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damn man u should write a book or something
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Old 04-05-2002, 07:44 AM   #10
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Not likely..trust me this is basic stuff....it take years of experience to be a REAL expert on brakes.

I am a mere grasshoper to the masters.
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Old 04-05-2002, 08:39 AM   #11
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If anyone is interested in vehicle dynamics I suggest the following text:

Fundamentals of Vehicle Dynamics by Thomas D. Gillespie this is a basic graduate level book. You need a good grasp of basic math, physics, dynamics and kinematics.

You can find it at Barnes and Nobles for $69:

http://shop.barnesandnoble.com/textb...sbn=1560911999

Also check out the SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) bookstore:

http://www.sae.org/servlets/techtrac...&PROD_TYP=BOOK

And just for basic automotive stuff:

Get a copy of the Bosch Automotive Handbook
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Old 04-12-2002, 10:17 AM   #12
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Default 2-Piece rotors

I have seen a lot of postings on 2-piece rotors. Some of the information contained in them is correct some is mythical.

Some definitions.

2-Piece rotor: A brake disc rotor that has a separate hat (cap) usually made from a light weight metal. There are two types of common 2-piece street rotors. One uses a bolted hat and the other a pinned hat (also known as a "floating rotor" design).

The bolted type is just what it sounds like. Usually an aluminum hat bolted to a cast iron rotor. The only real benefit of this design is weight savings. However, weight savings tend to be only 10-20%, all else being equal, but with a 50-75% price increase.


The pinned type has usually stainless steel pins that attach the aluminum hat to the rotors. This allows the rotor to "float" on the pins. The great advantage of this design is that it allows the rotor to move freely. When the rotor expands and contracts there is much less chance of binding or distortion. As you can imagine this cuts down on warping and uneven wear (DTV). The disadvantage of this design is really high costs.


As far as better heat conduction, not really. It does help a bit, buts it's not enough to make it worth the extra cost. The nice think about the weight savings is you can get larger rotor with out taking a weight penalty.

[added later] - it amy help keep you wheel bearing cooler.

Last edited by romanom; 04-12-2002 at 05:47 PM.
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Old 04-13-2002, 09:41 AM   #13
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Default Lug Nut Torque

Next Installment:

Most of you already know about this, but some don't and some don't realize how important proper torquing of the lug nuts are.

IF YOU DON'T OWN ONE GO OUT AND BY A TORQUE WRENCH...NOW


Over-torquing of wheel lug nuts is one of the prime causes of brake rotor distortion. This can lead to permanent warping of the rotors, uneven wear of the rotors and pads and lots of brake chatter (NVH).

With todays very stiff alloy wheels, like from BBS, SSR, Volk, etc., when you torque down the lug nuts the wheel mounting surface will force what ever it contact to take it's shape. Which means whatever that surface looks like will be what the rotor looks like.

Get a torque wrench and check the torques on every lug nut and make sure they are within the specs (which you should be able to find in your owner's manual). And make sure that every lug nut is torqued down exactly the same. Even if all 5 on a wheel are within specs, not having all 5 be equal will introduce distortion.

And if you think that your light alloy wheel can't possibly be that stiff, you wrong they are MUCH stiffer than the brake rotor or even the hub.


WORD OF CAUTION: Don't assume that the torque the lugs to the lowest range in the spec is the best. Try and keep it nominal not at the extremes of the range.


Much of the problems with rotor warp, brake chatter, disk thickness variation can be traced back to over-torqued and uneven torqued lug nuts.

After coming back from the shop, get that torque wrench and check the lug nuts yourself.
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Old 04-13-2002, 03:14 PM   #14
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Thumbs up Well written:

The below was originally posted on Altimas.net Forum by Black200sxSER. I'm putting it here but it's exactly what I've been trying to say, but in a much more articulate manner.


"brakes do not stop a car. the tires do.they are the gripping force that comes into contact with the ground. better tires=better braking..think about that one for awhile.

stock brakes are capable of locking up the tires. they are "adequate" for normal driving. for higher performance applications, (spirited driving, racing)..."BIGGER" brakes are better..due to their ability to take and dissipate heat from the friction created. Also for the larger sizes of caliper that can be used to apply more clamping force, which generates more heat, which larger calipers do. the larger rotors can take MORE of this heat..due to size, and dissipate it better due to more mass.

cross drilled rotors are more for looks than for performance due to todays technology in pad materials. look at any form of racing, and they are running huge regular rotors..or in some instances slotted rotors (ex: Rally keeping pads cleaner) Slotted are somewhat better due to the ability to self clean the pad. But still do not improve braking ability the way that larger size brake systems can.

This does not mean that slotted or cross drilled brake sets do not "improve" braking, but they are not the end all to a good system. There are several companies that use cross drilled and slotted rotors in conjunction with larger brake sets. for every last little improvement they provide. But, they do not brake better than a regular large diameter brake upgrade kit. Slotting/drilling is most often used to help dissapate that build up, not to dissapate heat. That is the reason you may find upgrade kits with one or both..but the kits that improve braking are always going to be larger rotors and calipers. If they aren't larger, than they arent going to be much of an improvement other than looks."
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Old 04-14-2002, 01:04 AM   #15
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The question everyone is dying to ask:

What upgraded brakes would you suggest for RS's and WRX's?
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Old 04-14-2002, 08:04 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by scotter
The question everyone is dying to ask:

What upgraded brakes would you suggest for RS's and WRX's?
We need to know what you looking for. The ultimate system for ragged on the edge high-competition racing.

Or just better feel and consitancy?

There is no one kit that meets everyones needs. It's like asking what's the perfect food.
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Old 04-14-2002, 01:20 PM   #17
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Better braking for the street/spirited backroad driving... not competition per se.
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Old 04-14-2002, 02:16 PM   #18
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SubaruWRXParts.com has the STi 4 Piston Calipers with pads, those coupled with the brake line kit, would that be a worthy upgrade? There doesnt seem to be any 4 pistons for the rears though, wouldnt you want to upgrade all four, or are just the fronts good enough?
Thanks
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Old 04-14-2002, 02:18 PM   #19
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Lightbulb

Well, the 4-pot Subaru brakes (UK brakes I think) are a good place to go. They're inexpensive and will give a very nice pedal feel. And good feel is important.

They will help with performance a bit as I belief they have larger pads . But not a massive increase. Like I said feel is important to both how well you can use the system and to the FUN factor.


Personally, I would first try "upgrading" the stock system. Best pads, the best tires (for the conditions), some nice SS hoses and a good thorough brake bleed. You may find this is all you really need.


I belief there is an AP kit that is designed for 16" wheels that's like $1700. If I remember correctly it uses a 330mm (13in) rotor and is also thicker. This would be an improvment from stock and isn't overpriced. You can get the 2-piston Subaru rears if you like to better balance front-rear brakes.


For back-road driving I would save some cash by not getting 2-piece, slotted, x-drilled rotors if you can. Some kits though come only with these. They won't hurt, but they won't help that much either.

If you want to try doing it with out an all inclusive kit. You can find a nice rotor, like a 330mm x 30mm rotor. Then find a good caliper that will fit it. But most of the good brake companies, Brembo, AP, Baer, etc. will offer more than one type of rotor for a given caliper.

The above will easily meet any street need you may have and will do just fine in auto-x too.

But remember if you lock up the wheels then you have more brake than your car can handle. Locked wheels aren't braking the car. That's why ABS was invented.

Last edited by romanom; 04-14-2002 at 02:42 PM.
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Old 04-14-2002, 09:14 PM   #20
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There is a group buy going on for Wilwood 6 piston calipers front
and 4 piston rear if i read it right

for fast spirited driving, not racing or anything

would it be worth it for the price increase between 4 piston front, 2 in the back or it would be a total waste of money

And what about Wilwood brakes? i've heard good things and bad things about it, but you seem to know your stuff more than some random guy who said his friend liked them.

if it really isn't worth it, i'll wait a while and go for the 4 piston front and 2 in the back with slightly bigger rotors
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Old 04-14-2002, 09:59 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by frank544
There is a group buy going on for Wilwood 6 piston calipers front
and 4 piston rear if i read it right

for fast spirited driving, not racing or anything

would it be worth it for the price increase between 4 piston front, 2 in the back or it would be a total waste of money

And what about Wilwood brakes? i've heard good things and bad things about it, but you seem to know your stuff more than some random guy who said his friend liked them.

if it really isn't worth it, i'll wait a while and go for the 4 piston front and 2 in the back with slightly bigger rotors
I don't know much about the Wildwood Company.

Any big help comes from rotor size and pad size. What more pistons do for you is give a little bit more advantage. Again it's matter of bang for the buck. If the Wildwoods aren't to much more expensive and they have larger rotors, larger pads (more swept area, more contact area) then they will work better (assuming all else equal). What multi-piston designs do is give you 1. a more even contact force across the pad and 2. possibly more overall piston area (but not necessarily). Sometimes manufacturers use multi-piston calipers for packaging purposes as they can increase piston area without increasing the height of the caliper. Fixed calipers give you (or are supposed to give you) a much stiffer caliper which means less dead travel and the pads bite sooner in the pedal travel. Also help on packaging and usually weight.

Since the stock WRX has 294mm fronts and 260mm rear rotors any kit that has a 10% increase in rotor size and/or swept area will give a noticable benefit. Even if you keep the stock rotors and just replace the calipers with ones that use larger pads will be an improvment. I believe the Subaru 4-pots fall into this category.

For the street, assuming your starting out with a real crap system, I think $2500 for both front and rear is acceptable, $3000 the max (for just street driving). If your starting with a good stock setup (like BMWs) then half that. If you have a Porsche Boxster..."a fool and his money are soon parted."


I myself haven't completely decided on what I want to do. I haven't had the time to do a proper brake bleed, change my hoses and look into better pads.

Also, remember your master cylinder was designed with a specific volume requirement. The master cylinder has a fixed volume, so a lot of caliper piston volume won't do you any good if the MC can't provide the volume. The MC will just bottom out under hard braking sooner. Also larger piston area at the calipers will result in a shorter pedal stroke for a certain decel, but will also decrease the effort for that certain decel. But, the shorter stroke and decrease in dead travel more than makes up for any softness introduced.

I would do a search of the board. I've read some posts where people have done some very cool things. Like some one who installed Legacy H-6 rear brakes on there WRX. This is a nice cheap way to do it. In comjuction with the Subaru 4-pot front caliper!

Last edited by romanom; 04-14-2002 at 10:07 PM.
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Old 04-22-2002, 11:32 AM   #22
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Cool

Hey one thing everyone forgot about as far as keeping brakes cooler:


Brake Air Ducts.

This is only for auto-x and racing.

Getting all that extra air on the brakes going down a straight gets the brakes nice and cool for the next corner.

Cheap and effective. You can do it yourself.

Just need some flex tube, a few brackets and some mesh.


The brackets are used to mount the ends of the tube and the mesh to keep larger rocks, sticks, leaves from clogging up the tube.

Just do a little planning before hand and the job will go by real easy.

One piece of advice, you don't want the tube opening pointing directly at the brakes, but use a panel to direct the air. These just makes sure that you don't have dirt, gravel and winter salt thrown directly onto the brakes.
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Old 04-23-2002, 09:58 AM   #23
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Good post!
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Old 04-23-2002, 07:26 PM   #24
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who needs brakes? they only hinder your ability to go faster. nah just playing
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Old 04-24-2002, 03:03 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by jaycastaldo
who needs brakes? they only hinder your ability to go faster. nah just playing

You mean all this writing was for nought?!?!?!
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Need brakes? Stoptech for ya!! NinosAutoAccesories Suspension/Brakes/Handling 9 01-16-2005 02:57 PM
Need some honda knowledge for a buddy Davenow Off-Topic 3 08-07-2003 07:14 PM
ShagnRS and Crash got some ROTW goodies for ya. enTarget South East Region Forum 20 05-09-2003 11:23 PM
Just some generic brake info for ya. romanom Brakes, Steering & Suspension 49 05-28-2002 03:34 PM
Some early pics for ya lenyx Car Audio, Video & Security 13 10-25-2001 04:42 PM


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