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Old 12-16-2010, 03:39 PM   #1
MrPedals
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BimmerWorld brake package/PFC Rotors and Pads review - short term

I bought these rotors and pads b/c I needed new brakes anyway. I was almost about to pull the trigger on some front Stoptechs, but at well over $2K, and then I would still need to buy rears + pads, it just wasn't really an option for me. Spending about $1.5k for all four wheels plus brake fluid, plus steel lines, plus brass bushings seemed like it made more sense...but would they work as well as? An other option was to get the CSL/ZCP upgrade, but it seemed like a bad idea to put holes in your rotors so I decided against it. This probably would have actually been a good option in retrospect, but I thought the PFC rotors looked so fly.

I should give a little bit of a background first...
I have been to 3 HPDE track days @ Thunderhill Raceway thus far, two with my old Z4 3.0si Coupe and now one with the "New" E46 M3. The first time I went I realized I needed different pads and rotors, the second time I went I realized that I needed a different everything. So I bought an M3 and I'm incredibly happy I did.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. Bimmerworld was very helpful and answered all my stupid questions. I ordered the kit with the "Z-Rated" street pads b/c I don't go very fast on the track yet and I drive 45miles each way to work every day, so this is most definately still a street car.
The car has stock everything except Rogue Engineering Street RTABs and FCABs.
I slapped on the rotors and brass carrier bushings and pads (actually, I stood over my mechanic friend for 2 hours holding a screwdriver while he did all the work) and then I had a local shop install the lines and bleed the brakes.
First impression was not really that impressive. So I took the car up Hwy1 (I live in Santa Cruz, CA) and bedded them in with about 2 sessions of 10x 60-to-10 mph stops with a few 80-to-10mph stops at the end of the two sessions. At first I couldn't get the ABS to kick in, then at stop 3 or 4 WHAM!
Ok, these work good! I actually started to get a little dizzy at the end.

I drove up to Thunderhill on Saturday night with my GF. The car had a big day on Sunday pulling double duty for the two of us, I was in the "B" group and she was in "A". They had us in back-to-back sessions most of the day where I would pull off the track and jump out while she impatiently stood there with her instructor, and then quickly go back out on the track.

I have to say that I am really, really impressed thus far. Considering the girth of my car, and the fact that these are "Street" pads, I'd say they worked spectacularly. I actually never felt them fade once. The pedal stayed consitent and solid, and I was able to modulate the car in an extremely predictable manner the entire time. I just couldn't believe the pedal didn't get mushy, I was kicking in the ABS on turn 5, Turn 9, Turn 10, and Turn 14. My previous experience with the track taught me that at the end of the session, if you were kicking in ABS on 10 then the pedal would sink about 2-3 inches for 11 and 12.
Anyway, the car didn't even flinch the entire time and I was really impressed. The next day the brakes started making a really angry growling sound whenever they were used, and they definately have a lot better initial bite when it's cold out. Everybody comments that it's sounds cool and I like it too so whatever.
The best part is that the pads still have a sh!t-ton of life left in them! So stoked! I think it was totally worth it and I'm glad I didn't blow 5K on something that I don't need.

The car:


Front Rotor:


Pad wear on Fronts, amazing!


Rears:


Obviously I need to wash the car. My SC friends prefer it dirty though...

Last edited by MrPedals; 12-16-2010 at 04:26 PM. Reason: Add pix
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Old 12-16-2010, 04:56 PM   #2
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Forgot to mention that the stopping power was extremely consistent as well. I think this was important b/c combined with the consitent pedal feel, I was able to make smoother inputs to the car. My previous experience in the Z4 had the pedal pressure and distance changing throughout the sessions and was a bit frustrating b/c I had to adjust as I was learning. I felt like I was overwhelmed and started making a lot of mistakes. With the M3 and the PFC rotors/pads, I felt a lot more secure and consistent which helped to keep me calm and put down some faster laps. I read somewhere that pretty much all cars are able to kick in the ABS on the first try (which is about as fast as that car will ever stop), but after 15 or 20 times kicking in ABS, that's when quality brakes really shine.
Now all I need is to find me some bright red caliper paint and a really big rear wing and I can look fast too!
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Old 12-16-2010, 09:02 PM   #3
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Ive always been a fan of the PFC Direct Drive rotors. Good stuff.

Youre missing your caliper spring brackets....
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Old 12-17-2010, 02:56 PM   #4
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Youre missing your caliper spring brackets....
+1. Unless you have solid brake guides, in which case they aren't needed (that is the package you bought?)

The PFC DD rotors, pads, and solid guides honestly work better than half the big brake kits out there. Ran them on the Street/Track car with full race slicks turning fast times at the high braking requirement VIR and Summit Point and they did awesome.
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Old 12-20-2010, 09:46 AM   #5
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+1. Unless you have solid brake guides, in which case they aren't needed (that is the package you bought?)

The PFC DD rotors, pads, and solid guides honestly work better than half the big brake kits out there. Ran them on the Street/Track car with full race slicks turning fast times at the high braking requirement VIR and Summit Point and they did awesome.
Yup, solid brake guides with some anti-seize compound smushed in there for good measure.

Question for you James, if you put the brake ducting kit in your "Street legal track car" and thus removed the winshield washer reservoir, don't you think you could just relocate it to that big empty space near the passenger side of the firewall (I have a 2006 so they moved the DSC stuff right?) It even has some pre-drilled holes to mount stuff.
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Old 12-28-2010, 09:49 PM   #6
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great review! the next time i have to replace my rotors, i'll definitely be investing in this PFC package. i can't wait for the next track season to try out some PFC 06 pads
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:24 PM   #7
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Question for you James, if you put the brake ducting kit in your "Street legal track car" and thus removed the winshield washer reservoir, don't you think you could just relocate it to that big empty space near the passenger side of the firewall (I have a 2006 so they moved the DSC stuff right?) It even has some pre-drilled holes to mount stuff.
Absolutely. It doesn't care where it lives...
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Old 12-28-2010, 11:29 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesC View Post
+1. Unless you have solid brake guides, in which case they aren't needed (that is the package you bought?)

The PFC DD rotors, pads, and solid guides honestly work better than half the big brake kits out there. Ran them on the Street/Track car with full race slicks turning fast times at the high braking requirement VIR and Summit Point and they did awesome.
This is a Great Combo...but I would leave the Caliper Clip Just incase something happens to the Bass Bushings....

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Old 12-29-2010, 01:32 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by TrippinBimmer View Post
This is a Great Combo...but I would leave the Caliper Clip Just incase something happens to the Bass Bushings....

-TrippinBimmer
I actually had similar brass bushings in my z4 and the only thing that can happen is they get a bit sticky if you don't maintain them.

UPDATE:
I took the car out for another track day at Thunderhill, this time it was a "Friends and Family" outing and I must say that we had a very good time. It was a good turnout with a bunch of real race cars and I feel like everyone was in a good mood so we all played really nice together.

Again my GF was in the novice group and I was in advanced (which made me nervous going up against a fleet of fully prepped spec Miatas, Mustang Race cars a Ferrari F430 and even a 458 Itialia!)

The brakes and car were amazing again! Although, I have to admit, I did feel them get hot. I started to really get in a groove on my 3rd session and felt the pedal start to get a bit soft. There was about 1/4 of an inch of dead space before the brakes started to work after that and it continues to be that way. I'd say they continued to be super consistent, which to me is more important. I was able to put down faster and faster times throughtout the day without the car feeling much different. I could tell I was getting faster because shift points started to change and braking points started to get sooner b/c the distances seemed to shorten between straightaways.

Interesting to note: I don't know if this is fast or not but my car did show 130mph on the front straight, which is probably around 125 or so because my speedo is wrong. That's the fastest I've gone so far at thunderhill.


The pads definately saw some serious heat as my GF really started to get some speed up as well and I was wailing on the brake pedal pretty solid. Together, the car computer said we put in over 260 miles at the track and averaged 55mph overall (including two trips to town to get gas and a subway sandwich). The pads look a little bit less admirable than last time, but they still have about half thier life left in them. I'm still incredibly impressed as these are not supposed to be track pads, and they cost 99$ per set as apposed to 249$ for the real race pads. I can tell that the rotors have uneven pad material deposited on them, so I have to figure out what I did wrong when I broke them in. Maybe I will call PFC to get a better idea. They still work great, they just sound angry. It's raining like hell right now so I can't take pictures but I will post some as soon as I can.

FYI: Spec miatas are about as fast in the corners, maybe slightly faster depending on the car. The F430 driver could actually drive and blew by me. Seriously it was like watching something go into light speed. The 458 wasn't as good so it was sad that I passed it and didn't get to hear it anymore.

Last edited by MrPedals; 12-29-2010 at 01:40 AM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 09:58 AM   #10
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The play in the pedal could be pad knockback. I get it when my pads get pretty low. Just have to add in an extra pedal pump before you hit the brakes.

Yes, I also experienced a LOT of noise from my PF01 pads when they get low. Or if they get REALLY hot, they'll squeal for the rest of their life.

My DD rotors have gotten grooved pretty badly and have a lot of surface cracking. Not sure if that is a function of the UUC/Wilwood BBK, something with the used pads that I bought, or something else.

Also, those Spec Miatas don't even need brakes...they just turn the wheel and hug the road.
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Old 12-29-2010, 02:49 PM   #11
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More pictures after second track day

The car is very dirty now, the first two runs of the day were wet and muddy. I wish I had some b@lls cause it would have been fun to turn off the DSC and get squirmy. I just wasn't ready for it though..I guess it was the way that 330i race car in front of me almost washed out under acceleration that told me to take it easy.


I love the way the mud sprayed all over the car. It gives a real sense of speed. It looked way better before it rained on the way to work this morning.
If you look closely at the tires, it almost seems as if the Michelin man is waving goodbye to my money as the edges of the tire wear down.




Down to business... Front Drivers side rotor and pad wear:
*Note* sorry for the blurry pictures. *EDIT* Notice the lower little rivet holding the backing plate to the pad is loose. I noticed that yesterday.


Rear drivers side pad:


Front passenger side:


Rear passenger side (it's hard to see but you can tell by referencing the back plate):


Here is a clear shot of the rotors; Front...those are not cracks, just some dirty water that dried that way. I can rub them off with my finger.


Rear...looks like camouflage! Cool!


Most of that 1/4 inch dead pedal sensation has gone now. I feel like driving the car around town and letting it sit for two days now has "freshened up" the braking system a bit. I don't know why.

Last edited by MrPedals; 12-29-2010 at 03:59 PM.
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Old 12-29-2010, 08:08 PM   #12
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Wow, I bet you would really enjoy a good set of race pads.
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Old 12-30-2010, 09:52 AM   #13
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I'm an idiot

So I went and looked up several procedures on how to bed-in brakes and they specifically say "do NOT engage the ABS!"

SOOOOooooooo, guess what I was doing every time I was stopping???

Oh well, live and learn.
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Old 01-08-2011, 10:25 AM   #14
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Rotor Weight???

Can someone put these PFC rotors on a scale, or point me to the actual weight?

Trying to evaluate brake upgrade options, and would like actual data to quantify how much weight reduction over stock rotors (~18lbs front, ~16lbs rear depending on wear).
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Old 01-08-2011, 12:04 PM   #15
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Old 01-19-2011, 07:31 PM   #16
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Call BimmerWorld and ask?
Bah... F that. I just ordered them instead. I am so close they were waiting on my doorstep when I got home today... just weighed them on Tanita bathroom scale, they are very lean with only 4% body fat.

But seriously I did buy them and just weighed them:
16lb front rotor.
16.8lb rear rotor

front is thicker but smaller diameter, it looks like it would weight more but just more spacing to make the extra width. I only weighed one of each, but when I install I will weigh them all compared to worn stock and see if there is any variation.
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Old 08-09-2012, 10:55 AM   #17
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Mr. Pedals,

I know it is been quite a while since you originally posted this info, but I have a quick question if you don't mind. I just installed PFC Z-rated pads on my car yesterday and have not had a chance to Bed them or do much driving. Anyways, they feel terrible and almost feel like they would not even stop the car in an emergency. But after reading your post, it seems like they just need to be broken in. Have you found that after breaking them in (correctly bedding them) that they do a better job braking when cold? Or do these pads only work well once they are brought up to temperature (warmed up). Since I do about 98% daily driving, I think I would probably prefer a pad (like OEM) that bites/brakes quick when cold.

What are your thoughts on the situation? Thanks!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MrPedals View Post
I bought these rotors and pads b/c I needed new brakes anyway. I was almost about to pull the trigger on some front Stoptechs, but at well over $2K, and then I would still need to buy rears + pads, it just wasn't really an option for me. Spending about $1.5k for all four wheels plus brake fluid, plus steel lines, plus brass bushings seemed like it made more sense...but would they work as well as? An other option was to get the CSL/ZCP upgrade, but it seemed like a bad idea to put holes in your rotors so I decided against it. This probably would have actually been a good option in retrospect, but I thought the PFC rotors looked so fly.

I should give a little bit of a background first...
I have been to 3 HPDE track days @ Thunderhill Raceway thus far, two with my old Z4 3.0si Coupe and now one with the "New" E46 M3. The first time I went I realized I needed different pads and rotors, the second time I went I realized that I needed a different everything. So I bought an M3 and I'm incredibly happy I did.

Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. Bimmerworld was very helpful and answered all my stupid questions. I ordered the kit with the "Z-Rated" street pads b/c I don't go very fast on the track yet and I drive 45miles each way to work every day, so this is most definately still a street car.
The car has stock everything except Rogue Engineering Street RTABs and FCABs.
I slapped on the rotors and brass carrier bushings and pads (actually, I stood over my mechanic friend for 2 hours holding a screwdriver while he did all the work) and then I had a local shop install the lines and bleed the brakes.
First impression was not really that impressive. So I took the car up Hwy1 (I live in Santa Cruz, CA) and bedded them in with about 2 sessions of 10x 60-to-10 mph stops with a few 80-to-10mph stops at the end of the two sessions. At first I couldn't get the ABS to kick in, then at stop 3 or 4 WHAM!
Ok, these work good! I actually started to get a little dizzy at the end.

I drove up to Thunderhill on Saturday night with my GF. The car had a big day on Sunday pulling double duty for the two of us, I was in the "B" group and she was in "A". They had us in back-to-back sessions most of the day where I would pull off the track and jump out while she impatiently stood there with her instructor, and then quickly go back out on the track.

I have to say that I am really, really impressed thus far. Considering the girth of my car, and the fact that these are "Street" pads, I'd say they worked spectacularly. I actually never felt them fade once. The pedal stayed consitent and solid, and I was able to modulate the car in an extremely predictable manner the entire time. I just couldn't believe the pedal didn't get mushy, I was kicking in the ABS on turn 5, Turn 9, Turn 10, and Turn 14. My previous experience with the track taught me that at the end of the session, if you were kicking in ABS on 10 then the pedal would sink about 2-3 inches for 11 and 12.
Anyway, the car didn't even flinch the entire time and I was really impressed. The next day the brakes started making a really angry growling sound whenever they were used, and they definately have a lot better initial bite when it's cold out. Everybody comments that it's sounds cool and I like it too so whatever.
The best part is that the pads still have a sh!t-ton of life left in them! So stoked! I think it was totally worth it and I'm glad I didn't blow 5K on something that I don't need.

The car:


Front Rotor:


Pad wear on Fronts, amazing!


Rears:


Obviously I need to wash the car. My SC friends prefer it dirty though...
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Old 08-09-2012, 11:16 AM   #18
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You most likely need to bed them in if you had a different compound on the rotor before. Are the rotors new too? What kind?
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:04 PM   #19
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Brand new Centric 125 rotors (front and back). They have a bunch of cross-hatching on the surface that probably needs to be smoothed out by doing some bedding or just putting more miles on them, but I have never felt brakes that needed so much pedal force to slow down, even brand new ones. It just doesn't seem normal. I guess it could be a combo of the rotor surface and new pads though?

Thanks
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Old 08-09-2012, 02:22 PM   #20
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Did you clean the surface of the rotors before installing?
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