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Cool Carbon brake pads - good or bad?

Discussion in 'E46 (1999-2006)' started by bfriesen, Jun 13, 2008.

    bfriesen guest

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    Anyone have any experience with them? I am looking to swap out the OEM pads for DE event with some pads with a little more fade resistence. I still want good inital bite though, so cool carbon looked like good option. Also, looking at Hawk HP Plus. Any input would be helpful. Thanks.
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    For everyday driving, I think the Hawk pads are good. It is my understanding that ceramic brakes are excellent at dispersing heat (resulting in a lack of fade) but require warming up to be effective. I've also heard that they can be noisy when cold (will squeal every time for regular street use). Need verification; I know there is a type of brake that has these effects, just not sure if it's ceramic.
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    It's going to depend in part on your experience level. If you're an A-group student, check your pad wear every session. Waaay back when I tried them, I think I recall finding their performance to be fine (stock brake rotors/calipers on an e30 325is), but was disappointed with the life I got out of them; At that time (they may be made differently now), whatever it was they had to do to get the pad material to bond to the ceramic layer made the thickness of the ceramic/pad material layers somewhat inconsistent. I found myself using up the pad material level fairly quickly in some cases. I would say take an extra set of cool carbons as a backup, and a good set of stock pads as well.

    Upsides - rotor friendly; I think bite/stopping power & modulation was good; and the ceramic backing was effective at reducing heat transfer into the caliper piston (aiding with reducing brake fluid flash-boiling at the piston).

    Downsides were pad life and cost, and thus the pad-life/cost ratio. I don't want to suggest that you shouldn't try them, it's entirely possible that they'll work better for your car's larger brakes/driving style/etc. or that the way they're made has been modified since I used them some years ago. Their price point relative to other options could be better nowadays as well, don't know offhand. But as a just-in-case, carry some extras so you can keep going should you find a set that gets used up.
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    Pads for DE's

    First lets not get confused here. Ceramic brakes as installed on several well known exotic cars are not the same as Ceramic brake pads which are available mostly for reduced dust, and they work very well for that. They are however about equal to or a little less effective than stock OEM or OM European brake pads. Secondly the Cool Carbons you suggest are a maximum performance street pad like a Hawk HP+, that is they are effective enough at low temperatures to be driven on the street yet claim to be better at handling higher temperatures at the track. I sell brake pads as part of the my EuroWerkz business so I will not comment here on who's I think work the best but let's just say some do and some don't live up to the hype. But all that said. BMW OEM and OM replacement pads will handle quite aggressive driving at the track on a street car. In fact I know several very fast very experienced drivers that use these for track fun on their street cars, as long as things don't get too serious. My rule of thumb is if your car is on street tires and not modified, stick with street brakes, maybe even stock brake pads.

    I hope this offers some help.

    bimmerpassion guest

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    Cool Carbon brake pads - excellent

    I have the cool carbon brake pads on a 525i, on my sons E30 325iS and have also iinstalled them on an E46 M3. They work great on all of these. They have very good initial bite and feel to be 25/30% higher friction than OE. They also work extremely well both cold and hot. Many complain that OE pads on track events start to fade after 5 or 6 laps, but no complaints re: cool carbons. Also very little dust and no noise!

    I used the original cool carbons back in the 90's on a 944T but they used a ceramic layer between the steel plate and the friction material to block heat transfer.

    I am told that the new cool carbons do not have this layer but dissipate heat much more effectively rather than just trying to block the heat transfer.

    I don't know if you could out drive these pads with slicks, but I have not been able to on street tires and have not experienced any fade. They actually feel stronger as they heat up.

    Why not call Bav Auto for their opinion as my understanding is that many of the sales guys are using cool carbon on their own cars,

    Or you can try Steve at AutoIndividual.com (602) 363-8304 for his opinion.

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