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Suspension & Braking Forum by BimmerWorld
Have some questions about suspension or brake setups for your E46 BMW? Get all your answers here!
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Old 08-26-2008, 05:09 PM   #1
skipole
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Value in SS Brake Lines, High-End Fluid

Hi all - I just bought a set of Akebono Euro Ceramic pads & Zimmerman OEM blank rotors for my '02 330ci. Also going to grab a set of new wear sensors.

I would like some expert opinions on whether or not it would be valuable to also purchase some SS brake lines (either EBay brand or otherwise). I drive the car very hard, but I do not ever take it to the track so it's just used in general hard daily driving. Will there be any perceivable difference?

Also wondering if brake fluids like Motul or ATE are any better than what my local Indy mechanic would use? Any sense in buying some high quality stuff, or will I not notice any difference?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 08-27-2008, 03:25 AM   #2
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There is no doubt that SS Lines and high performance fluid would be better than stock. That is why they make them. The real question is do you need them?

I track my car as often as I can and use Oem rotors, Oem fluid, and Oem lines with a dedicated track pad. I have never had a problem or experienced any brake fade. The weakest link in the system has always been the tires which are Toyo T1R's. The brakes will over power the tires and available traction every time with this set up. I do have to change the fluid after every trackday though.

So with that being said, if you want to get fancy with your brake set up go ahead. It certainly won't hurt anything but the stock set up works well on the track so you will probably be hard pressed to over work it on the street.
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Old 08-27-2008, 11:59 AM   #3
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Thanks for the input, elite. I have decided against the high performance fluid, but I am still up in the air about the stainless lines... do you think they would have any impact on pedal feel? I've heard this is one thing that suffers when you switch to aftermarket ceramic pads. Perhaps SS lines are the remedy?
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Old 08-27-2008, 12:36 PM   #4
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I have StopTech SS Brake Lines and Motul RBF600 Fluid (along with Axxis Ultimates and PowerSlot Slotted rotors), and the SS brake lines really do improve pedal feel; mine is now much stiffer and feels much more "linear", in that a given amount of distance-pushed on the pedal will give a linear increase in stopping power. There is no "guessing" as to how hard to press the pedal to stop. Can't comment as much on the fluid, but I suppose it's very high boiling temperature helps with brake feel and certainly would help with fade resistance. It's not significantly more expensive than alternatives, so might as well go for it.
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Old 08-27-2008, 02:31 PM   #5
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i'll have a review up shortly. got SS lines in my car recently, and doing a full fluid flush with ATE Blue on sat.
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Old 08-27-2008, 04:48 PM   #6
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I think that over time the OEM brake lines could weaken and could cause decrease in braking power. SS brake lines are said to be more durable over time.
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:00 PM   #7
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When push comes to shove, performance brake fluid will be more likely to save your butt then stainless steel lines. If you're flying down a backcountry road, and your pedal suddenly sinks to the floor, it's not going to be because of the lines (and if it is, you're screwed with or without stainless crap).

ATE is $10 a liter (at least in the states), and if you're smart about it, a liter is all you need to flush your system. Heck, at worst, you'll spend $20. Skip the trip to McD's 4 times a week, and you just bought yourself some high perf. fluid!!
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Old 08-28-2008, 01:13 PM   #8
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I added SS lines and I didn't notice a difference. Our stock lines are much much stronger than you think. The SS lines look really cool though.
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Old 09-15-2008, 12:31 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by simsima325 View Post
i'll have a review up shortly. got SS lines in my car recently, and doing a full fluid flush with ATE Blue on sat.
Have you noticed any difference with the SS lines?
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Old 09-15-2008, 01:49 PM   #10
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Brake fluid, I would think you should go with the best you can find as the cost difference is very minimal compared to the labor work involved. In terms of the SS brake lines, that's a toss up. With older cars, OEM brake lines do tend to deteriorate and expand causing less connected feel and poor modulation. With that said, our cars really aren't that old anymore and the construction may be better. I know that with my older 1990 miata, the SS brake lines do make a big difference due to the deteriorated brake lines, old brake fluid and brake modulation is much more important as it didn't have ABS. Personnally I wouldn't think it would be necessary for SS brake lines for street use, however for your piece of mind, it might be nice to get the SS lines. Cost isn't huge on those either.
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Old 09-15-2008, 03:13 PM   #11
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sorry not to update.

bite is better, but not what i was expecting really. for the low cost of the upgrade, i'd say do it. but no need to buy expensive lines, ebay were of good quality and fit my driving purposes for sure.
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Old 09-15-2008, 11:02 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by elite53 View Post
I track my car as often as I can and use Oem rotors, Oem fluid, and Oem lines with a dedicated track pad. I have never had a problem or experienced any brake fade. The weakest link in the system has always been the tires which are Toyo T1R's. The brakes will over power the tires and available traction every time with this set up. I do have to change the fluid after every trackday though.
be weary though...the minute you switch to a newer/better tire, you will be able to brake later and harder. with the tires no longer the bottleneck, you'll either experience brake fade via excessively high pad/rotor temps, or excessively high brake fluid temps (probably the latter for you since you have dedicated track pads). remember, the OEM fluid might be great on the streets, but you'll see higher brake fluid temps after you switch tires and start braking later/harder - more than likely enough to warrant the switch to high performance fluid.

when i attended my first few track outings my tires were my handicap, and so like you, brake fade was not an issue...but the minute i switched to a stickier tire i realized that two hot laps around the average circuit or road course was enough to fade my OEM brakes. i also experienced the same exact thing (2nd lap brake fade) while riding shotgun in an e46 M3 with OEM brakes...and the driver was an instructor and FAR better driver than myself. if OEM M3 or Supra brakes fade after a few hot laps on the track, i suspect 325ci brakes would fade even sooner, provided your tires are doing their job.

Quote:
Originally Posted by nleksan View Post
I have StopTech SS Brake Lines...and the SS brake lines really do improve pedal feel...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JonnyB View Post
I added SS lines and I didn't notice a difference. Our stock lines are much much stronger than you think...
OP, the varying responses just go to show you that it really depends on where you're coming from (i.e. what type/condition your brake lines are in now). like JonnyB, i hardly noticed a difference when i upgraded to SS lines. but i also believe those who say they do feel a significant difference after going to SS lines.


Quote:
Originally Posted by skipole View Post
...I have decided against the high performance fluid...
good decision...since you don't ever plan on taking it to a track event, you won't need high perofrmance fluid. you'll never brake hard and often enough of the streets to bring your brake fluid up to unsafe temperatrures.
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