CTS Brake upgrades
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Cadillac CTS First Generation Forum - 2003 - 2007 Discussion, CTS Brake upgrades in Cadillac CTS Coupe, Sport Sedan and Sport Wagon Forums; I have a 2004 CTS with the luxury and sport packages. A couple of questions... Does anyone here know if ...
  1. #1
    CarToys is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    CTS Brake upgrades

    I have a 2004 CTS with the luxury and sport packages.

    A couple of questions...

    Does anyone here know if C5 calipers are the same as the CTS calipers? They LOOK kinda the same.

    Has anyone converted to CTS-V calipers without the 6 lug rotors?

    Thanks in advance for any info

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  3. #2
    pjohnesq's Avatar
    pjohnesq is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    This is what I found out with regard to the CTS brakes from my boy PIETRORAIMONDI -- he is a member of this forum. The rotors on the CTS utilize a PBR floating caliper as do 95% of all OEM vehiciles. CTS, CTS Luxury and Luxury/Sport have the following set-up:

    1. Front has a PBR 2 piston floating caliper. Both pistons are on the inside of the caliper
    2. Rear has a PBR 1 piston floating caliper. The single piston is on inside of the caliper.

    The CTS-V utilizes a "fixed mount" Brembo 4 piston caliper, rather than a floating caliper. On a fixed mount caliper, there are two pistons on the inside and two pistons on the outside.

    Bottom line is that you cannot install a fixed mount caliper on any CTS unless you change the entire braking system and you are looking at big bucks. Brembo wants $3500 for just their front kit and they have no rear kit at all.

    PIETRORAIMONDI is having a custom built front and rear kit with 6 piston calipers on the front ( 3 on the inside and 3 on the outside) and 4 piston calipers on the rear ( 2 on the inside and 2 on the outside). He will be using Wilwood calipers which are top shelf products.

    Don't know if that answers your question but hopefully its a start.

  4. #3
    odysseus's Avatar
    odysseus is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    I don't know if the Vette calipers are the same as the V, but the steering knuckle shows only one part number, as does the caliper bracket (meaning they're common to both the CTS and CTS-V). The V calipers should be a bolt-in (there are different part numbers for right and left side). The problem is finding 14" brake disks with the 5x115mm pattern. Otherwise, the calipers would sit an inch too far out for the stock rotors.

  5. #4
    CarToys is offline Cadillac Owners Fanatic
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    Thanks for the info.

    I was pretty sure they were PBRs on there. I did a caliper swap on my SS Camaro to Z06 calipers (I liked the red ). They more or less bolted right up. Also, the Corvette calipers are finned and are supposed to be a bit stronger than the standard PBRs. So I was kinda thinking that if they bolt up to the CTS, I might just be tempted to get another set. And I think the red would be a nice bit of color to accent the White Diamond body.

    I wonder if Baer makes a 14 inch rotor with the 5 lug pattern? Of course then I'd probably need 18 inch wheels.

  6. #5
    odysseus's Avatar
    odysseus is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    Baer does make 14" rotors in a five lug (at least for the front of the new GTO, which I think is unfortunately 5x120mm, . . . http://www.tbyrnemotorsports.com/GTO/gtobrakes.html ). And yes, you will need 18" wheels to clear them. The kit for the GTO still looks pricey at $1140 front, $1040 for 13" rears (with PBR Calipers).

    If you want to be the guini pig and get Baer to custom make 14" rotors for the CTS, and bolt on some CTS-V calipers . . . you'd be 'the man' if they worked!

  7. #6
    pietroraimondi's Avatar
    pietroraimondi is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    The Brembo 4 piston fixed mount CTS-Vcaliper will not "bolt up" to the Vette, nor will it bolt up to the CTS even if you should decide to install front and rear 14" rotors ( either one piece or two piece rotors) regardless of manufacturer. The Vette use a floating PBR caliper as does the CTS.

    The CTS-V uses a "custom GM spec'd" built front and rear 4 piston fixed mount Brembo calipers and one piece 14" front and rear Brembo rotors. ( it is not the $3600 Grand Turisimo) front brake kit that is available from Brembo in many different vehicle applications.

    The attraction of the CTS-V's braking system is not just the 14" rotors, but the 4 piston front and rear fixed mount brake calipers. They are alot more attractive looking than the PBR floating caliper that leaves the brake pad shims exposed, plus the fact that a PBR caliper by it's design will have you changing front brake pads like you change your socks depending on your driving habits.

    There is no way in the world that you would ever get these type of fixed mount, tab mount or radial mount calipers to ever work with your OEM 11.9 & 11.7 factory rotors. Nor would they work with any other manufacturers 14" rotor.

    In order to make it possible you would have to engineeer caliper mounting brackets for the installation of the calipers and you are talking at least a couple of grand in CAD programming fees and water jet and cadium plating and that is making the assumption that the measurements on the first BETA run are dead accurate, othewise you could quite possibly end up "dead" when the braking system fails.

    The current BAER "big brake kit" offers the following: 2 piece 14" front rotors with 2 piston PBR Calipers that are identical to what you are now running and stainless brake lines.

    The rear Baer "big brake kit" offers a two piece 14 inch rotor and caliper mounting brackets to move your existing single piston OEM floating PBR caliper "outbound" in order to operate with regard to clearance. There are no stainless brake lines with their rear kit.

    You in effect will end up with the same braking system that you currently have and will drop about $2000 to get there. A huge waste of $$ in my opinion from your OEM (11.9 front and 11.7 rears) to 14" rotors with really no measurable change except aesthetics.

    Brembo offers a front only Grand Turisimo Kit that includes the following: a fixed mount 4 piston Brembo caliper, 14" two piece rotors, stainless steel front brakes lines and all of the necessary mounting hardware: cost is $3500 to $3600. There is NO REAR BREMBO 14" kit. If there was a rear Brembo big brake kit, I would venture to guess that you would be looking at about the same or more money due to the OEM rear parking brake assembly that needs to be engineered into the rear hub.

    I can offer you a custom big brake front and rear brake kit that is "engineered" for specifically the CTS that would include the following:

    Front: 6 piston Wilwood calipers (fixed mount) and 13.1 (2 piece diectional vane rotors) that have been cross drilled, gas slotted and zinc plated, stainless brake lines and it is bolt up "brain dead" simple installation!

    Rear: 4 piston Wilwood calipers (fixed mount) and 13.1 (2 piece directional vane rotors) that have been cross drilled, gas slotted and zinc plated. In addition, you will have a fully functional rear parking brake that is custom built into the rear rotor hat/hub assembly:

    Total cost for the front and rear kit plus shipping: $2800

    If you want 14" rotors instead of 13.1 inch rotors add another $700 to $800 and you should be at $3500 to $3600 for the front AND REAR.....which is what Brembo charges for just the front and NO REAR KIT AVAILABLE. In addition you would be receiving a 6 piston front caliper versus the Brembo 4 piston front caliper

    Believe me....a 13.1" directional vane rotor that is thermal treated, cross drilled and gas slotted and zinc washed versus spending another $700 for another .90 of an inch to get to a 14" rotor is a total waste of money in my opinion. Don't mistake the size of the rotor ( 14", 13.1. 12.7" etc) for what the function of the brake caliper is and does!!!!

    The floating PBR caliper that is OEM on just about 95% of all production vehicles is there as a cost measure and believe me....why do you think the replacement brake pad business is such a profitable one!

    This custom engineered braking system with it's 6 piston front calipers are staggerd bore pistons which will provide you far more road miles with regard to wear and tear on the leading edges of your front brake pads versus the 4 piston front OEM Brembo CTS-V calipers.

    If you have any questions- just shout back!

    best regards - PJR

  8. #7
    okiwont is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    Pietrimondi, could you explain further why CTS-V calipers wouldn't work with the 14" rotors on a standard CTS? I am very interested in this info. I purchased V-calipers several months ago from a totaled V with this idea in mind. I haven't started any research, but came across this thread and thought I would ask.
    Thanks!

  9. #8
    okiwont is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    Above, I think I made it sound as if a stock CTS has 14" Rotors. I know that they are not 14" but if you had 14" 5 lug rotors, I just wanted to make this more clear.
    Thanks

  10. #9
    odysseus's Avatar
    odysseus is offline Cadillac Owners Connoisseur
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    Okiwont,

    Since this seems to be a recurring topic, and one of interest to many, I vote that you see if they fit (for all of us), since you have a set of coveted V rotors. Jack up the car, remove the wheel, unbolt the current caliper and compare mounts. POST PICS! It would be interesting to see the differences.

    In an ideal world, the V caliper would bolt right on, but be 1" further out radially. That would tell me that we simply need to convince someone to custom build a new "hat" (center part where the lugs mount) for an existing 14" two piece rotor, for the CTS.

  11. #10
    okiwont is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    Odysseus, thanks for the response. I plan to do what you recommend and when I do I will Post Pictures soon. If you read Pietiomondi (sp?) comments he says there is no way they would work so that is why I responded to this thread. I figured that with a 14" rotor with the correct 5 bolt pattern and offset that they would work providing the calipers will bolt right on. I will definately do as you said and report back soon!
    Thanks!

  12. #11
    mikegronholz is offline Cadillac Owners Member
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    I tend to think that the caliper will mount right up and getting a rotor will be fairly easy ... here's why ...

    Last car was a 350Z Track model ... came with the exact same caliper and rotor combo the CTS-V does (minus bolt pattern). MANY MANY non-track model Z owners switched to the track model Brembo setup.

    So my bet it, they will bolt up. And FYI, the bolt pattern on the Z is 5x114.5 ... CTS is 5x115 ... REAL close so the rotors could easily be redrilled. No other modifications were made on Zs that changed ... I would be curious to see if the prop valve and booster show different p/n for CTS and CTS-V

  13. #12
    pietroraimondi's Avatar
    pietroraimondi is offline Cadillac Owners Enthusiast
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    Re: CTS Brake upgrades

    I will attempt to make this response to the CTS-V Brembo caliper conversion over to the stock CTS as hopefully painless as possible. First, lets look at what you have with regard to your current CTS braking system and then how it compares to the V and the difficulties and impossibilities that you will encounter.

    1. The current CTS utilizes am OEM 11.9 x 1.3 directional vane solid one piece rotor. That one piece rotor is attached to a 5 bolt hub/bearing assembly that is then pinned or mounted to your front ABS sensor bracket. That entire assembly is the bolted into the front steering knuckle or spindle. The current CTS spindle is machined with two holes that are spaced approx. 3" apart to allow for the "tab mounting" of the OEM CTS 2 piston PBR Floating Brake Caliper which is as mentioned, tab mounted.

    2. The CTS-V has "similiar" front end engineering with the following differences. Instead of a 5 bolt hub bearing, the CTS-V utilizes a 6 bolt hub bearing assembly. Attached to that 6 bolt hub bearing assembly is a one piece 6 bolt 14" rotor. The CTS-V utilizes a stock "off the shelf" Brembo 4 piston radial mount caliper that is attached to the same steering knuckle/spindle using a radial mount bracket that allows for the proper clearance with regard to rotor height, depth and disc radius.

    So the bottom line my friend is that if you want to make this Brembo caliper application work on the front end of your CTS, here is what you will need:

    1. A pair of the CTS-V Brembo 4 pot calipers (already in hand I assume)
    2. A pair of the Brembo radial mount brackets
    3. A right and left 6 bolt Hub bearing assembly
    4. A pair of CTS-V 6 bolt one piece 14" rotors
    5. A new set of 6 bolt rims with the proper spoke clearance to clear the outboard face of the caliper.

    So you will need to make another trip back to the junk yard for some more parts and will have to dig a bit deeper in your wallet to make this application workable.

    The other option is that Brembo sells a Grand Turisimo CTS Big Brake front kit that is a "turn-key" out of the box kit for $3595 and it includes the following: the same stock Brembo 4 piston radial mount loaded front calipers (brake pads are included), the appropriate radial mounting brackets, stainless steel brake lines and a pair of 2 piece rotors that are zinc plated, cross drilled and gas slotted and attached to light weight anondized aluminum 5 bolt rotor hats.

    This $3595 kit is NOT what is on the CTS-V.

    The OEM V has a 14" $135.00 one piece rotor and not the high end 2 piece rotor that is included in the Brembo Grand Turisimo performance big brake kit. Also, Brembo makes absolutely nothing in the way of a big brake performance kit for the rear of the CTS. And to be brief, don't even think of trying to convert a junk-yard CTS-V rear Brembo caliper for the rear of your CTS. GM utilizes a proprietary narrow body Brembo Caliper on the V that will in effect make it virtually impossible to convert it over to a rear CTS platform.

    Here is what I can offer you that is far superior to what is on the CTS-V and available from Brembo:

    2 Wilwood 6 piston staggered bore calipers. Why staggered bore 6 piston calipers versus a fixed bore 4 piston Bembo caliper, you ask? The CTS-V uses a .665 brake pad and due to the 4 piston alignment, your pads will wear twice as fast in the center portion of the pad due to piston contact, whereas the staggered bore 6 piston caliper uses a thicker pad and will wear evenly along the leading edge of the brake pad. What does this all mean? Your brake pads on a 6 piston caliper will last twice as long! My kit also includes a pair of 13.1 x 1.25 thermal treated rotors that have been zinc plated to inhibit rust on the directional rotor vanes and are gas slotted and cross drilled and are attached to billet 5 bolt anodized light weight aluminum rotor hats. This 2 piece rotor weighs significantly less than the OEM V one piece rotor and is far superior in it's forging and CAD design. It is in fact a Bondurant race track proven rotor and not some stock OEM cast iron piece of junk that GM has installed on both the CTS and the CTS-V.

    Why 13.1" rotors instead of 14" rotors you ask for this application? For the sake of brevity and not tiring you with a course in automotive engineering; there was much to consider when one starts to lower there vehicle by the use of lowering springs, coilover shocks and aftermarket sway bar assemblies. All of these factors had to considered and be engineered and accounted for to make sure that the rotor radius and caliper clearance were not compromised when the average weekend "tinkerer" started playing around with lowering their vehicle. We had to insure proper clearance without compromising what a high performance braking system is supposed to do and that is: Stop a fast moving car even faster!

    Aside from certain track rules, there are some engineering reasons why in the world of NASCAR that braking systems are engineered with 12" rotors and 15" rims. Anyway, the bottom line is I would challenge you at eyeball sight to be able to tell the difference between a 13.1 and 14.0 rotor when it is bolted up to the hub and sitting behind your 18" rims. The difference is inmaterial with regard to the function and performance of the braking system.

    So my friend, I would challenge you to find a better engineered braking system anywhere in the market for any CTS. The Brembo kit with all of it's 4 piston caliper deficiencies will set you back $3595.

    My Wilwood big brake kit which is bolt up "brain-dead" simple will be offered at an introductory price of $1895 for a very, very, short period of time and will then be priced at about $2195. Again, about $1700 less right now for a far superior race track proven and very streetable high performance braking system that makes the OEM V Brembo braking system as well as that $3595 Grand Turisimo package pale in comparison and peformance.

    Email me if you have any questions at all at: pietro@comcast.net

    best regards - Pete Raimondi

    PS; Hello to my good lawyer and "driving like he stole it" friend, John Paul Esq.!

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