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I have been researching ceramic brake pads online, but have no personal experience with them. The idea is attractive because they supposedly generate very little brake dust to soil rims, and they supposedly allow better performance at high temps. Since it seems like I'll be driving the Solstice on curvy roads (I hope, I hope, I hope real soon) that may involve braking as well as downshifting and a lot of dust on the rims. I have similar polished rims on my GXP and they require a lot of cleaning due to dust buildup.

What are the forum members’ experiences with ceramics? Do they perform as touted? Do the rotors have to be upgraded as suggested? They don’t seem that expensive of an upgrade if they turn out to be a good idea.
 

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ceramic pads come stock on the Isuzu Rodeo, and they get very good reviews! They are lasting 100K+ miles. Beyond that I am of little help. We could ask some questions of the more knowledgable guys on the Rodeo Forum, let me know!
 

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I have them and i think they are really nice, they do tend to squeak some but not the same annoying squeel of a worn pad, just a tiny squeak. They do produce less dust or it is less apparent at least. No advice on performance because i drive a saturn.
 

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I bet the ceramic pads are pretty dang expensive.

From one of the Ford Focus forums I learned that the EBC Green Stuff pads are supposed to have a lot less dusting. I bought a set for all 4 wheels, but my wife took the car in for an oil change & they sold her a brake job before I had a chance to install them! :brentil: (Yes, I said 4-wheel discs, the car is a 2001 with the AdvanceTrack option.)
 

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Ceramic pads don't cost much more. I've used pretty much every pad/rotor combination there is. I had to ditch the ceramics. They tend to not grip as well initially and need to be warmed up to proper operation temps. But I was also using drilled rotors. And the ceramics ended up glazing my rotors. For performance I would not recommend them. But for a daily driver they would be perfect. Right now I have some carbon pads and they work pretty well. Dust isn't too bad either.
 

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Ceramic Pads

Honda has used ceramic pads on the front of the Accord for a number of years. I wouldn't use anything else for everyday driving. They are more quiet and less dusty than conventional, and they only cost about $20 more per pair.
 

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A guy I work with tells me lot of the GM truck people are switching to ceramic pads on their 99-04 Silverado/Sierra pickups to make up for rather weak brakes. They do stop the trucks significantly better, but he says the biggest advantage is that they are far more consistent and have better pedal feel. They also do not cost any more than the OEM metallic pads the dealer would sell you.
 

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On my Avenger I got the EBC breakpads, they reduce squeeling to nill at least, but I wore them down to the nubs in no time at all, replaced them right before the tranny on it crapped out with me. The Solstice is going to be my daily driver so Im going to give the ceramics a try, and if they can last 100k, you cant beat that! Do they treat them like the metal and EBC pads and warrantee some for life so you can get replacements for free?
 

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Fformula88 said:
A guy I work with tells me lot of the GM truck people are switching to ceramic pads on their 99-04 Silverado/Sierra pickups to make up for rather weak brakes. They do stop the trucks significantly better, but he says the biggest advantage is that they are far more consistent and have better pedal feel. They also do not cost any more than the OEM metallic pads the dealer would sell you.

Thats interesting. The four wheels discs on my GMC are front/rear weight bias balanced but in that heavy a vehicle any additional braking power would be appreciated. No experience with ceramic pads but I will look into it. Thanks! :yesnod:
 

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i used the EBC pads and rotors. im planning on going with powerslot for this next one. ive had a much better experience with them.
 

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Primus said:
I'm not sure, but this makes me thing of BMW's. Why do the rims on BMW's always crap up? It's a real shame but they always look horrible.
This is true in most BMW cases, except with M cars, they use high performance ceramic/carbon metalliic pads, they dust less, and grip like hell, regular BMW pads dust so much because they are ceremetallic, they feel great, and stop great but unforunatley dust alot.

But heres the general rule with brake pads,
You have to chose 3 out of 4, because 99% of the time u wont get all 4

1. Low Dust
2. Low Noise
3. Stopping Power
4. Pad Life

Ceramic pads offer great life, and low noise and dust, but in some cases they reduce stopping power, they are usually over all great pads, but just be careful, as some ceramic pads can glaze rotors and make them stop worse than they did from the factory.

Although i think the GM rotors will be good with ceramics, so i would probably recommend them, however i think i will have to see how good the car stops from the factory before i make any other adjustments. My M3 pads are mostly ceramic, and they are great, but they sometimes get fade when they are hot.

ALSO REMEMBER. The number one way to get your car to stop better, is better tires, thats the final say on how well your car sticks to the road, you can have a 14" big brake kit, but if you have ****ty tires, its not going to do you any good unless you like your ABS pump.

I think if i do upgrade, i will go with
Stainless Steel Braided lines
DOT 4 Motul 600 fluid
Some sort of ceramic, or metallic/ceramic mix
and Slotted/Drilled Rotors when available
This will not only make you stop better but make your pedal feel better, more efficient, and consistent.
 

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Here is an article that I found on ceramic pads, but it is not the full article. Follow the link for the full article.

http://www.aa1car.com/library/2004/ic10422.htm

CERAMICS ARE HOT
It seems that almost every major aftermarket and original equipment brake supplier these days uses some type of ceramic-based friction material in their products. Ceramic-based friction linings have been used on Japanese and domestic vehicles for more than 15 years and, in recent years, the percentage of makes that use these kind of linings has exploded.

One brake supplier estimates that brake linings containing ceramic ingredients are now used on 50 to 60 percent of all new vehicles. If you count only those applications where ceramic fibers are the primary ingredient, the figure drops to about 40 percent but is still a significant portion of the new vehicle fleet.

European automakers have mostly used low-metallic friction materials to date. Low metallic formulas offer good braking performance but tend to be noisy and wear quickly. Low metallic compounds can also leave a black grimy residue on alloy wheels that makes them look dirty. A recent J.D. Powers survey in Germany revealed that many European car owners are not that happy with their brakes and would prefer quieter, cleaner, longer-lasting brake linings. The same probably holds true for owners of European luxury makes here, too. That’s why ceramic linings are growing in popularity. Ceramics provide good braking performance, quiet operation and low dusting. They’re kinder to rotors than semi-metallic pads, too.

Ceramic fibers are a good choice for brake linings because they have stable and predictable friction characteristics, more so than most semi-metallic materials. Ceramics provide a consistent pedal feel that’s the same whether the pads are hot or cold because the coefficient of friction doesn’t drop off as quickly as semi-metallics. NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is also less with ceramics, so the brakes are significantly quieter.

Ceramic compounds can be very complex and may use 18 to 20 different ingredients in a formula, including various fillers and lubricants that are added to help dampen vibrations and noise. A typical semi-metallic compound, by comparison, might contain only eight or nine ingredients.

Though semi-metallic linings generally provide better wear at higher temperatures, ceramics perform just as well, if not better, at lower temperatures for the average driver. Consequently, pad life is often improved.

Low dust is another desirable characteristic of the material. The color of most ceramic materials is a light gray, so it’s less visible on wheels (unlike some NAO pad materials that produce a dark brown or black dust that clings to wheels).

ALL THE SAME?
One very important point to keep in mind about ceramic-based friction materials is that they are not all the same. In other words, "ceramic" is not a generic term for a type of friction material. It’s a marketing buzzword that covers a wide spectrum of different friction products. The only thing they have in common is that they all contain some type of ceramic as an ingredient.

Every brake manufacturer uses their own ceramic-based or ceramic-enhanced compounds. The type of ceramic used, the particle size, distribution, hardness and other ingredients that go into a ceramic type of friction material can all vary - and even from one vehicle application to another. One supplier uses more than 20 different ceramic formulas to cover all the different vehicle applications in its product line (more than 260 SKUs currently!). Others may use only a couple of different formulas.

Some people disagree over what should and should not be called a ceramic. Ceramic materials include a variety of substances including potassium titanate fibers, as well as clay fillers. Some brake manufacturers use clay filler in certain friction linings but do not call these products ceramic linings. Others do. Consequently, the type of ceramic compounds used in a brake supplier’s ceramic product line may vary significantly from those used by another brake supplier - along with the performance characteristics of their linings.

The bottom line is that the actual amount of ceramic that’s used in a friction material can vary a great deal from one brake supplier to another. It’s like how much pepperoni one pizza maker puts on his pizzas compared to the guy down the street. None of the brake lining manufacturers we interviewed for this article would revel the exact ceramic content of their linings. But several did make it very clear that the ceramic content can vary from a few percent to a significant percentage. What really counts, though, is braking performance and noise, which depends on the combination of ingredients in the friction material as well as the design of the pads themselves.

Most ceramic-based linings perform well in a wide variety of applications but, for some applications, other materials work just as well or better. It depends on the vehicle platform and the type of driving. That’s why some brake suppliers use a "best fit" philosophy when choosing a particular friction compound for a given vehicle application.

The trend today among many brake suppliers is to closely match whatever type of friction material the OEM chose for the vehicle. If an OEM application is ceramic, the replacement pads will likely be ceramic - though you can’t always tell by looking at the box. Some brake suppliers make a big deal out of touting their ceramic linings, while others don’t.
 

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Personally, I'll be looking for a larger diameter rotor upgrade. I don't really like how the stock brakes don't fill up the wheels.

Thanks for the info on the ceramic pads, guys.
 

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WaitingForBoost said:
Personally, I'll be looking for a larger diameter rotor upgrade. I don't really like how the stock brakes don't fill up the wheels.

Thanks for the info on the ceramic pads, guys.
Just don't forget that increasing the size of the rotor increases the rotational inertia of the entire wheel assembly. I remember watching an episode of SCR when they were doing the RSX-S project car. The bigger rotors dropped the dyno HP of the car by at least 5 HP, it might have been as much as 12 HP (don't remember the exact number off the top of my head).
 

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brentil said:
Just don't forget that increasing the size of the rotor increases the rotational inertia of the entire wheel assembly. I remember watching an episode of SCR when they were doing the RSX-S project car. The bigger rotors dropped the dyno HP of the car by at least 5 HP, it might have been as much as 12 HP (don't remember the exact number off the top of my head).
Very true, thats why i always use stock rotors, plus size rotors are just pointless, the stock brakes on an SL 55 amg are slotted, drilled, and BIG, on a stock M3, they are way smaller, but they work and feel better, more inertia and unsprung weight is never a good thing. so im going to go with what i mentioned above, but NO plus size rotors, unless its a big brake kit, that is already lightweight and has been proven to stop better than stock.
 

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I have 245 front tires on my car now and it stops horribly compared to the stock 275 tires that are usually on the car. The 245 tires are much stickier then the old worn out 275 tires but the 275s are about an inch and a half wider. With the 275s I never really used ABS on dry pavement but with the 245s I get ABS all of the time now.

I personally would get lighter/larger wheels with wider tires for improved breaking performance.
 

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bradyb said:
I have 245 front tires on my car now and it stops horribly compared to the stock 275 tires that are usually on the car. The 245 tires are much stickier then the old worn out 275 tires but the 275s are about an inch and a half wider. With the 275s I never really used ABS on dry pavement but with the 245s I get ABS all of the time now.

I personally would get lighter/larger wheels with wider tires for improved breaking performance.
The better rubber, and more rubber you have touching the ground, the better your stopping power will be.
 

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Pads & Rotors

I have a 98 Grand Prix GTP, I'm using ceramic pads on it right now. They still dust more than I tought they would, but it is lighter. Also they feel better, are more consistent, and much quieter. Unfortunately my car doesn't stop as quickly although it is still better than stock. I have also tried carbon metallic pads, Although they stopped on a dime they were louder & turned my wheels black in just a few weeks.

As for Rotors lots of people say cross drilled is the way to go, but they are weaker and if put under heavy strain consitently tend to crack between the holes. Most, though not all, cars that come with "Cross Drilled" rotors stock are actually cast that way, meaning they are stronger and don't suffer from those types of problems. Slotted rotors tend to be better for street use since they are bearly weakend at all, if any. Meaning they will last longer and still vent gas effectively.
 

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Skyolstice said:
The better rubber, and more rubber you have touching the ground, the better your stopping power will be.
You'd be surprised at how many exceptions to this general thought pattern there are.
 
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