About to upgrade brakes
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2004-2007 Cadillac CTS-V Performance Mods Discussion, About to upgrade brakes in Cadillac CTS-V Series Forum - 2004 - 2007; Hi everyone, I'm about to pull the trigger on a front brake upgrade and would like your input. My goal ...
  1. #1
    jclayc's Avatar
    jclayc is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    About to upgrade brakes

    Hi everyone,

    I'm about to pull the trigger on a front brake upgrade and would like your input. My goal is to have a "true" racing brake setup - anti knockback springs, cast aluminum calipers and no dust boots. On the table are 3-4 options:
    • An AP Racing kit with 6 piston calipers and 2 pc front rotors sold by Stillen (and distributors) at around $2500. The thing is, the rotors are 362mm and, while the calipers do have anti knockback springs, I don't think the calipers are truly "race" calipers and don't know anything about the rotors.

    • the 370mm v2 retrofit rotors from racingbrake plus stock v2 calipers. Again, I don't know that either the rotors or calipers are going to stand up to track abuse as well as a "race" kit.

    • the racingbrake rotors + find a set of "true" racing calipers for the v2

    • either custom hats or "racing" rotors for the v2 that I machine to fit + find a set of "true" racing calipers for the v2


    I don't think the D3 kits for the v2 are really an option because of price and b/c they use oversized rotors (larger than 370mm) which I think would be too big for my 18" wheels. I talked to EssexParts.com (yooper's recommendation) and they can source the calipers but 1) they can't come up with the brackets - I'd have to have them made somewhere and 2) the rotors would be 355mm.

    Thoughts?

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    OneFast V is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    Beyond just your goal what is your intended application? I mean if your true goal is true racing brake setup then obviously the V2 calipers are out of the question. However if you are only doing HPDEs the V2 caliper upgrade is the best and most affordable option. I'm running the V2 calipers with V1 rotors on the track for HPDE and they work great. I know junior1 is still running OEM calipers with 2 piece rotors on his raceV so it can be done with stock calipers too.

  4. #3
    jclayc's Avatar
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    The car is ~almost~ track only - I really only drive it when I'm headed to HPDE and Time Trial events. I may eventually put a full cage in it and "race" but not in the next 1-2 years.

    Another way to look at it - I want to stop frying rotors and caliper dust boots... and make this the last and only caliper/rotor upgrade I make.

  5. #4
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    You should start looking into better/larger brake ducting and high temp silicone dust boots (not rubber). The increase in airflow will help with fade and caliper/rotor temps tremendously. Another idea would be to use TI shields on the back of your pads. I haven't used them personally, but from what I've read they help reduce heatsoak into the calipers.

    Browsing around on rockauto the other day, I noticed you could buy carbon ceramic rotors for a ZR1, fronts and rears. You might want to look into that if you are only tracking the car. Those rotors love heat and stop better the more heat you throw at them.

    You should be running the largest size rotor you can in your package space and running a pad that uses the full surface area to get all the benefits.

    Cross drilling rotors is a marketing gimmick for anything but non-vented solid discs.

    There are also a few floating caliper systems out there too that can more than meet your criteria. I've used a few in the past that have twin piston cast iron calipers, 14" rotors and can last over a hundred hot laps without having any temp issues. (on a 4500lb vehicle).

    So many options. It all depends on what your budget is and how much weight you want to add or remove from your car.

  6. #5
    jclayc's Avatar
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    Thanks for the replies so far. I've got some good new 3" ducting that I haven't run with yet that I'm hopeful will cool things off quite a bit. I'm already running TI backing plates. (I honestly don't care about weight - more power can make up for that )

    I really like the idea of the carbon ceramic rotors but don't love the idea of machining them to 6 bolts - am I just paranoid that drilling 6 holes in a hat made with 5 holes will weaken it or make it unbalanced? Agreed that slotted or j-hooked rotors are the way to go - not cross drilled.

    I would like to get away with spending less than $4k on the front. I think that's more than reasonable.

    Any specific recommendations on 6pot calipers other than the v2 ones? I might call D3 and talk to them about direct replacement v2 race calipers but not their whole "kits", which are too expensive and too big for 18" wheels, I think.

    How would you go about switching from rubber dust boots to silicone? Meaning, I've never seen an upgrade kit for the factory calipers, just replacement kits.

  7. #6
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    thebigjimsho is offline Cadillac Owners 10000+ Posts
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    V2 rotors and calipers will allow fitment of many 18" wheels...

  8. #7
    Naf's Avatar
    Naf
    Naf is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    If you want i have 8 piston brembo calipers that fit in 18" wheels. You just have to score rotors...

    I swapped over the v2 calipers for the fact that pads were super expensive. They barely have 5000mi on them and i will toss in my full set of rotors and pads...

    Pm me if your interested...and i will also shoot u some pix of the calipers

  9. #8
    jclayc's Avatar
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    Thanks Naf, I PM'ed you.

    If Naf's option doesn't work out, I'm heavily leaning toward the AP Racing kit, even though the rotors are 8mm smaller than the 370s from racingbrake. My rationale is that the price is about the same whether I upgrade to a v2 system or the AP Racing system (math below), so it's down to whether I think going with the AP Racing calipers are worth losing that 8mm (4mm per side) of rotor. Even though I think clamping force is more important than pad area, I'm asking myself how much pad area would I get with the AP Racing calipers vs. the v2 calipers. I believe the AP Racing ones will provide 77.44cm2 (12.0in2) of pad area. Does anyone know the area of v2 pads? I can find the measurements of the v2 pad itself, but that includes the backing plates. I think the v2 pads are significantly bigger than the AP racing ones 5.98"x3.17" so I'm also assuming the v2 pad area is going to be much more.

    With that said, do I give up the v2's larger pad area for what I believe are better calipers (the AP Racing ones)?


    The math on a v2 upgrade:
    - $1350 on the 2pc racingbrake rotors (AP Racing kit comes w/ 2pc rotors - sure, I could get away with cheaper v2 discs but then I wouldn't be comparing apples to apples. The cheapest apples to apples comparison would be GM's 2 pc rotors for the v2 which, slotted and redrilled for 6 lugs would be around $900)
    - $600 on the v2 calipers
    - $300 on v2 pads (AP Racing kit comes w/ pads)
    - $100 on hardware like the bolts, washers, retaining pins/plates
    = $2350 before shipping.
    The AP Racing kit is $2475 shipped.

  10. #9
    OneFast V is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    You can get several decent pads (HP+ EBC yellowstuff etc.) for about $180. Also to note pad surface ares varies hugely by manufacturer as i just replaced my yellowstuff pads with HP+ and the HP+ literally have 15%+ less pad area. Your other consideration for the V2 upgrade and what I'm running now is V2 calipers with V1 rotors. They worked great through the whole life of my EBC yellowstuff pads (show in photos) and now im just getting ready to bed these new HP+ for buttonwillow on Sunday. You can see in the photos there is a lip on the EBC pads where it is not contacting the rotor but it is fairly small. I eventually plan to goto V2 size rotor but this kept the initial investment low and the resulting braking/stopping power very close to what the large rotor with provide.

    Also of consideration is the fact that brake pads are wear items and I don't know what size AP racings calipers are but they may use an uncommon size which means more expensive pads. The V2 caliper is shared with the ZL1 and i believe the camaro Z28 so this should help keep a lot of brake pad manufacturers offering that size and a more reasonable cost that a customer caliper company might offer.



  11. #10
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    Without knowing more information about the calipers and the rotors, I don't think you have enough to differentiate the two setups.
    - Why do you think the AP calipers are better than the Brembo calipers? Based on Stillen's website, we know that they are black, but other than the details are pretty scarce. Looking at Brake Pros website gives a little more info, but not much. Radial mount is better for caliper stability than the OEM style, so they do have that going for them.

    [If you want to drool over some brake porn, go to AP's site and look at the calipers in the Race Car section. WOW! The nickel-plated, forged monoblock Radi-Cal calipers are frickin' works of art! ] Browsing through AP's site, I'd guess that Brake Pros is using the CP5555 calipers, as the specs and pictures seem to match up. If you truly want a race caliper, perhaps Brake Pros could substitute one of AP's 6-piston racing calipers instead of using the street caliper? With that said, it looks like the street calipers and race calipers use different radial mount spacing (if I'm reading the specs properly).

    - What are the specs on the AP rotors (thickness and # of vanes, principally)?

    The V2 pads are massive, but I don't have exact measurements. Here's a picture I took some point last year comparing a V2 pad to a V1 front pad:
    '05 Stealth Grey CTS-V, Hyper Silver Linea Corse Venetos w/Continental ExtremeContact DWs (summer), black Team Dynamics ProRace 1.2 wheels with 275/35-18 R-compounds (track), Hyperblack Rota Torques (winter), KW Variant3s, V2 front brakes, Hotchkis rear sway bar, EPS cam, TEA-ported 243 heads, FAST92 intake w/LS2 TB, JBA Camaro/G8 1-3/4" shorty headers w/JBA cat pipes, Corsa exhaust, UUC motor and tranny mounts, UUC shifter, MAPerformance trailing arms, Specter cradle bushings, etc...

  12. #11
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    I agree that the AP Racing kit is probably using CP5555, which don't make me as happy as their true race calipers' description but they do provide knockback springs and assumed-to-be better construction. You're right that I have no basis for that assumption other than charts like this one on BrakePros (http://www.brake-pros.com/apvscomp.html) Like you say AAIIIC, I'd like a bit better caliper but didn't think stillen would break up the kit. Seeing how BrakePros is a division of stillen, I can talk to them.

    OneFastV - when you upgraded to the v2 calipers, did you have to drill and tap the knuckles? Did the official v2 GM bolt work or was it a bit too long like I believe I read yooper post?

  13. #12
    OneFast V is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    Quote Originally Posted by jclayc View Post
    OneFastV - when you upgraded to the v2 calipers, did you have to drill and tap the knuckles? Did the official v2 GM bolt work or was it a bit too long like I believe I read yooper post?
    No tapping of the knuckle as the threads are on the caliper itself. It was simply boring out the hole to i believe 14mm which was very simple, than finding 4 V2 caliper bolts (which was a pain in the ass to source locally, drove to 2 different dealerships both 50+ miles away from me and not close to each other) which were the correct length for me.

  14. #13
    FuzzyLogic is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    The biggest contributing factor to knockback is wheel bearing rigidity (or lack thereof). If you don't have SKF X-Tracker hubs, don't go spending $4000 on a big brake kit that is disallowed by some regulations. Also, it may be possible to retrofit the V1 and V2 rotors with Brembo anti-knockback springs and seals.

    http://www.hrpworld.com/index.cfm?tp...action=product

    http://www.hrpworld.com/index.cfm?fo...action=product

    I believe the V2 front calipers have 44/40mm pistons, and the rear have 30/28mm pistons, but I can check later since I have a full set of front and rears at home.

  15. #14
    jclayc's Avatar
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    Very cool - I didn't realize you could retrofit the knockback springs. (Yes, I've got SKFs.)

  16. #15
    FuzzyLogic is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: About to upgrade brakes

    The owner of Zeckhausen says that you can use Stoptech titanium nosed pistons in Brembo calipers if you know the size. They might be good as a replacement/supplement for titanium shims from Hardbrake. I don't know the right height for the V1/V2 caliper pistons or if these pistons preclude the use of anti-knockback springs. Expensive as hell.

    http://store.zeckhausen.com/catalog/...c4d16gs2r3m4o3

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