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What’s up guys and gals.
So here is my brake pad story. I got sick and tired of driving barely 30 miles and having a ridiculous amount of brake dust. I mean, I have to clean these nice looking chrome rims to a mirror finish because I’m OCD and I don’t like seeing brake dust on them.
Not to mention, I’ve had semi-metallic brake pads before but these puppies seem to be working extra hard to produce that nasty sticky black, almost tar-like. I mean, this crap gets everywhere. Let it build up enough and you have yourself some black rims for free.

So anyway, even though my car has 4,000 miles now (2nd in the forum to buy one so yes, it’s quite a bit, but can you blame me for driving it?), I decided to replace those crappy dirt-splattering semi-metallic brake pads. (no offense to those who still sport them, I just didn’t get along with them, they made me work too much). I even bought the “Mother’s Foaming Wheel and Tire Cleaner” which by the way, it’s the best one (I tried nearly all of them) because you only have to spray and leave it for 30 seconds, and then rinse off with water. But even then, the buildup of the liquefied brake dust that remains on the rim stays in the nooks and such, so you still have to get in there and clean. I know I’m ranting, but the point is not that I don’t like to clean, I just don’t want to clean it everytime! (I have to, I’m OCD remember?) plus my SS is like McDonalds… I’m loving it.

Ok but seriously, I did research and compared different types of brake pads, saw videos and asked people. I also worked as a mechanic at a shop for 6 years a while back so I wasn’t foreign to what I was looking into, I just wanted to make sure I was making the right decision. I wanted ceramic!! Ceramic is cleaner, it’s better and it runs cooler. Long story longer, I went to the rockauto website, and for 24.99 got me a set of ceramic pads.
Evolution Brake Pads.jpg

I was skeptical at first because I thought, “my car comes with brembo brakes, and they make awesome looking calipers, is it possible that I may find some better, non-brembo pads out there??.” Short answer, YES. So I proceeded to install:
Evolution Brake Pads open.jpg
1.) Remove the 2 bolts per caliper. Sounds easy right? Think again. The Aussies injected some steroids into a locktite solution and poured it all over their bolts. No exaggeration here but as I took the bolts out, they ALMOST stripped out. This locktite is insane and it’s purple so yea, you can see that in the photo. Putting the bolts back in, I HAD to remove all that crap from the bolt and the part it screws into because it was about to start stripping my bolt. Could have been very bad. Hang or set your caliper somewhere where it doesn’t hang by the brake line.
Aussi Lock Tite.jpg
2.) Once my buddy Hercules and I were able to remove the bolts on the caliper, I had to remove the 2 pins that hold the brake pad tensioner that is on the rear side of the caliper. So make sure you have a thin punch and a hammer to bust these guys out. Doesn’t take much force but be careful not to miss or you might chip your caliper a little. How do I know? Umm… not important.
Brembo Caliper with stock pads.jpg
3.) This is pretty much it, now the brake pads just slide out from the backside. See the stock brake pad in the photo. These pads are semi-metallic and have padding that is probably supposed to help with brake noise but it doesn’t. Ever since day 1, my car ALWAYS squeaked when backing out or in to the garage (mainly at 5mph or below) and sometimes coming to a slow stop at a light. Quite annoying and embarrassing for a car that is barely 5 months old. Yet another reason I decided to change pads.
Brembo brake pad.jpg
4.) If you look at the pads, they have some counterweights at the back side. I believe this is what keeps the brake pads balanced and so forth. Anyway, one issue with the Evolution brake pads from rockauto is that their counterweights look like little wheels and they stick out more than the stock pads. As a matter of fact, I really had to way of measuring if the pad would fit but I went for it knowing it’d be close. I didn’t really trust rockauto that these were really specifically for my car but I went for it. What you find, is that clearance is just enough to keep the weights from touching the wheels, BARELY, especially the lower weight, as you can see in the photo. Another complaint I have, is that these round weights are black in the photos on rockauto.
new pads 2.jpg
new pads 3.jpg

5.) I contemplated grinding the weight down but I didn’t want to so I didn’t. Also, I placed some grease in between the backing plate of the pad and the pad itself (it prevents ANY obnoxious squeaking noise). The next issue I ran into once I placed the wheel back on, was the wheel balancing weights. As I had the car jacked up, I spun the wheel by hand and found that the brake pad counterweight hit the wheel balancing weights so the wheel couldn’t spin.
new pads 1.jpg
Solution: I bought 3M command strips (see photo) and I removed the wheel weights from their position and placed them a bit closer to the outside without compromising their longitudinal position. It did the trick. Be very careful removing the weights, as they are stuck with a VERY sticky tape and you should lift them carefully with maybe a screwdriver, but remove the tape by hand. It’s a pain but if you don’t want to scratch your rim then you will be patient. I just used my fingers and my nails. After this, I cleaned my wheel back to factory cleanliness to really see what the ceramic pads would do as far as brake dust is concerned.
command strips.jpg
6.) I went for a test drive and there was no shaking, no vibrations, and the car ran completely normal and there was no squeaking noise at all. I tested the ceramic brake pads and found out that while they take slightly more pressure to brake than stock, once they do bite, they bite harder and stops faster than semi-metallic. It does not in any way shape or form affect the way I’ve been driving. Lastly and best of all, after 200+ miles of driving, my wheels are STILL clean!!! I love it. I mean, there is a slight bit of dust, but it’s lighter colored and you can barely see it. I could probably go 500-1000 miles before having to really clean them at this rate. Overall, I’m very satisfied with these and I won’t go back to semi metallic. Maybe I’ll get some brembos in the future if they come out for this, though I doubt they’ll be $24.99!
final look.jpg

Cheers –
Please repost it in other sections if you need. Thanks.

:: Hadder
 

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Instead of changing the brake pads you could have used the Armor All Wheel Protectant spray to repel brake dust. (Note: I am not an Armor All product user besides this one.)

We have several other cars with Brembo brakes and this stuff is a godsend, it keeps your wheels looking clean for a loooong time and also makes cleaning it much easier. Google it and you'll find tons of reviews for it, especially in the STi crowd. This is a much better route than changing out the brake pads and altering the performance of your brakes.
 

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You can't take one bolt out of caliper and pull it back and take the pads out. I usually just remove one bolt what gives with this my older vetts you pulled the pins and pulled the pads after you pushed the pistons back in.
z51vett
Doug
 

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Nice write up.
BTW, the wheels aren't chrome. Clear coated aluminum. Important to know for polishing.
 
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Can't really comment until I get mine; I do have front pads waiting for the arrival as well. My last GXP I was able to snag the pins out and replace the pads without pulling the calipers. On the G8 GXP w/Brembos the caliper bolts were "torque to yield" meaning no re-use regardless of adding threadlock. The caliper bolts from GM are a bit pricey as I recall.... will have to look to see of the SS uses the same...
 

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Can't really comment until I get mine; I do have front pads waiting for the arrival as well. My last GXP I was able to snag the pins out and replace the pads without pulling the calipers. On the G8 GXP w/Brembos the caliper bolts were "torque to yield" meaning no re-use regardless of adding threadlock. The caliper bolts from GM are a bit pricey as I recall.... will have to look to see of the SS uses the same...
That's what I'm talking about pull pins push pistons back and pull pads yea, from the pics that's what it looks like to me oh and yes on the bolts need new ones.
z51vett
Doug
 

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No need to remove the calipers to change pads. Simply take out both pins that hold the pads in the caliper, and wiggle the pads out. The big ol weights are there for sound attenuation. You will probably need to compress the pistons a bit, I used an old backing plate and a large pair of channel locks. I swapped pads with the weights removed to fit smaller winter tires/wheels, and they screamed like a banshee. Swapped the stock ones back in a few weeks ago since spring has sprung here in the Mid-Atlantic states. All of this having never removed the calipers.
 

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The caliper bolts are TTY.

They need to be replaced asap since you reused them and did not replace them.
 
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Discussion Starter #11
Instead of changing the brake pads you could have used the Armor All Wheel Protectant spray to repel brake dust. (Note: I am not an Armor All product user besides this one.)

We have several other cars with Brembo brakes and this stuff is a godsend, it keeps your wheels looking clean for a loooong time and also makes cleaning it much easier. Google it and you'll find tons of reviews for it, especially in the STi crowd. This is a much better route than changing out the brake pads and altering the performance of your brakes.
Thanks for the suggestion, I may still use this product. The brake performance has increased though :)
 

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Discussion Starter #12
You can't take one bolt out of caliper and pull it back and take the pads out. I usually just remove one bolt what gives with this my older vetts you pulled the pins and pulled the pads after you pushed the pistons back in.
z51vett
Doug
You may be right! Maybe even not having to remove any bolts and just the pins. Hopefully someone else reads this and does the shorter version. Thanks Doug
 

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No need to remove the calipers to change pads. Simply take out both pins that hold the pads in the caliper, and wiggle the pads out. The big ol weights are there for sound attenuation. You will probably need to compress the pistons a bit, I used an old backing plate and a large pair of channel locks. I swapped pads with the weights removed to fit smaller winter tires/wheels, and they screamed like a banshee. Swapped the stock ones back in a few weeks ago since spring has sprung here in the Mid-Atlantic states. All of this having never removed the calipers.
Totally missed that! That's what I get for reading too fast. There are good videos online about changing Brembo pads. Pop the pins out and use a screwdriver to spread the caliper apart. Pads slide right out. Correct on the TTY bolts as well.
 

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Totally missed that! That's what I get for reading too fast. There are good videos online about changing Brembo pads. Pop the pins out and use a screwdriver to spread the caliper apart. Pads slide right out. Correct on the TTY bolts as well.
Don't forget to look up the torque spec for the new bolts and use a torque wrench ... not just grind 'em in real tight like I've seen so called ASE certified techs do....
 
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My last GXP I was able to snag the pins out and replace the pads without pulling the calipers. On the G8 GXP w/Brembos the caliper bolts were "torque to yield" meaning no re-use regardless of adding threadlock. The caliper bolts from GM are a bit pricey as I recall.... will have to look to see of the SS uses the same...
Short story long....

Not to challenge GM's use of TTY technology, can anyone explain WHY these fasteners are so important--beyond "GM said so"? Many TTY fasteners are used today (LS engines, for example), and aftermarket sources, such as ARP, offer replacement fasteners that are not TTY--ie. they are re-useable. No BS flag, just would like to see this aired and given proper explanation beyond the "don't re-use" directive. If it truly is critical, can someone offer further elaboration?

Another part of brake service that has not been mentioned (so far) in this thread: properly bedded pads/rotors create a transfer film of friction material onto the rotor surface...I'm not talking about a "glaze", in this case. This film often is not compatible with a new set of pads.

The replacement of pads, alone, is only doing half the job, and, in the case of replacing one pad compound/source with a different compound or source, the proper way to do this includes refinishing the rotor (there are several ways to do this) to remove the transfer film of the pads being removed.

Granted, we are discussing "new" cars, many with very few miles, so the normal wear that might be experienced through a pad's life, which will vary with driving style, may be less of an issue than otherwise when doing a "normal" service at, say, 30,000 miles. Still, rotor runout needs to be checked, as well as RTV (rotor thickness variation)--those things that most often are attributed to WARPED rotors, when in fact it is uneven rotor wear, possibly as a result of rotor runout (a hub out of spec, for example), or an uneven buildup of friction material that has transferred from the pads onto the rotors, especially when the brakes are hot--the automatic transmission only contributes to this, because often it is driving situations where hot brakes and sitting stopped holding the car from moving (still in gear) combine to promote the concentration of heat that can cause excess friction material to transfer onto the rotors. This, in turn, can promote brake shudder/judder as the high spots on the rotors pass through the pads.

In the case of the Brembo front brake system on the SS, I do not know if any of the cars using it (such as CTS-V, Camaro SS, etc) have such a tendency, but it is not uncommon. The Brembo combination may mitigate this by the rotor mass and specific friction compound used, probably more stable at higher temps than typical GM and other OE pads.

The various fixes to provide a fresh surface for new brake pads include:
1. replace rotors
2. turn rotors
3. re-finish rotors - 3M sanding discs, sandpaper & wood block, and my preferred solution, using a Flex Hone, which, properly used, will provide a non-directional finish to improve new pad bedding-in.

Even if rotors are turned, they need to be sanded or honed to knock down the sharp edges of the cut rotor--a phonographic surface is not conducive to good pad break-in. In addition, rotors need to be cleaned thoroughly after turning, sanding or honing, to remove as much of the residual metal particles from the refinishing process as possible. Oil/scent-free detergent (granular) in warm water to make a sudsy lather, and a clean nylon-bristle scrub brush, will dislodge and float away these metallic contaminants. Follow this with a thorough flush of fresh water, then air-dry the rotors (not with compressed air), is the ideal approach--spray brake cleaner really does not do a good job of removing these metal particles, and if they remain, they can tend to gum-up and clump as the new pads are being bedded on the rotors

While these processes (2 & 3) can be performed on-car, the results will be much better with the rotor(s) removed and mounted on a brake lathe. In all cases, this means removing those pesky TTY caliper mounting bolts, so I understand the DIY approach to just ignore this whole process I'm talking about.

Added perspective: on the 2011 PPV, which has VERY dirty front pads, but great stopping power (using a single piston front caliper, same as V6 Camaro) clamping a 345mm rotor, I found that in 15000 miles, the rotors were worn to half of minimum thickness (total allowed wear before discard)--assuming the wear rate continued at that pace, if the pads lasted to 30K, the rotors would be at or beyond discard thickness. I changed to Camaro-spec OE pads, and the dusting was reduced significantly, but brake feel is noticeably "softer" at initial application compared to the cop-car pads--which also tended to be noisy (squeal).

I have other plans as far as the next brake servicing for this car, but the OE police package pads are obviously quite aggressive--dirty, with high rotor wear rate--and stop like crazy, but I expect the rotors to be able to last beyond 30K if I wait that long, considering the Camaro-spec pads are much more friendly, quiet and produce far less dust. As my wife is primary driver of the car for now, really aggressive pads or gonzo brakes aren't "necessary".

Still, to re-iterate, I went through the entire process addressed above, removing the rotors, honing them, etc, and that also meant removing the TTY bolts (the calipers are floating, not like SS) to get the caliper bracket out of the way to remove the rotors. While I do have the new bolts, I admit, like others have acknowledged, that I did not use them--my recollection at the time was that I did not have a torque wrench with a high-enough setting to install them properly, and I don't have a TTY gauge--TTY specs typically will specify a number PLUS an additional rotation, ie. 140 lb/ft +90 degrees. I'll talk to my favorite dealer tech to get some further insight on this--is it truly critical, is it to sell parts, or is it a protection instituted by (in this case) GM legal beagles, to insulate the company in a court of law?
 

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Short story long....

Not to challenge GM's use of TTY technology, can anyone explain WHY these fasteners are so important--beyond "GM said so"? Many TTY fasteners are used today (LS engines, for example), and aftermarket sources, such as ARP, offer replacement fasteners that are not TTY--ie. they are re-useable. No BS flag, just would like to see this aired and given proper explanation beyond the "don't re-use" directive. If it truly is critical, can someone offer further elaboration?

Another part of brake service that has not been mentioned (so far) in this thread: properly bedded pads/rotors create a transfer film of friction material onto the rotor surface...I'm not talking about a "glaze", in this case. This film often is not compatible with a new set of pads.

The replacement of pads, alone, is only doing half the job, and, in the case of replacing one pad compound/source with a different compound or source, the proper way to do this includes refinishing the rotor (there are several ways to do this) to remove the transfer film of the pads being removed.

Granted, we are discussing "new" cars, many with very few miles, so the normal wear that might be experienced through a pad's life, which will vary with driving style, may be less of an issue than otherwise when doing a "normal" service at, say, 30,000 miles. Still, rotor runout needs to be checked, as well as RTV (rotor thickness variation)--those things that most often are attributed to WARPED rotors, when in fact it is uneven rotor wear, possibly as a result of rotor runout (a hub out of spec, for example), or an uneven buildup of friction material that has transferred from the pads onto the rotors, especially when the brakes are hot--the automatic transmission only contributes to this, because often it is driving situations where hot brakes and sitting stopped holding the car from moving (still in gear) combine to promote the concentration of heat that can cause excess friction material to transfer onto the rotors. This, in turn, can promote brake shudder/judder as the high spots on the rotors pass through the pads.

In the case of the Brembo front brake system on the SS, I do not know if any of the cars using it (such as CTS-V, Camaro SS, etc) have such a tendency, but it is not uncommon. The Brembo combination may mitigate this by the rotor mass and specific friction compound used, probably more stable at higher temps than typical GM and other OE pads.

The various fixes to provide a fresh surface for new brake pads include:
1. replace rotors
2. turn rotors
3. re-finish rotors - 3M sanding discs, sandpaper & wood block, and my preferred solution, using a Flex Hone, which, properly used, will provide a non-directional finish to improve new pad bedding-in.

Even if rotors are turned, they need to be sanded or honed to knock down the sharp edges of the cut rotor--a phonographic surface is not conducive to good pad break-in. In addition, rotors need to be cleaned thoroughly after turning, sanding or honing, to remove as much of the residual metal particles from the refinishing process as possible. Oil/scent-free detergent (granular) in warm water to make a sudsy lather, and a clean nylon-bristle scrub brush, will dislodge and float away these metallic contaminants. Follow this with a thorough flush of fresh water, then air-dry the rotors (not with compressed air), is the ideal approach--spray brake cleaner really does not do a good job of removing these metal particles, and if they remain, they can tend to gum-up and clump as the new pads are being bedded on the rotors

While these processes (2 & 3) can be performed on-car, the results will be much better with the rotor(s) removed and mounted on a brake lathe. In all cases, this means removing those pesky TTY caliper mounting bolts, so I understand the DIY approach to just ignore this whole process I'm talking about.

Added perspective: on the 2011 PPV, which has VERY dirty front pads, but great stopping power (using a single piston front caliper, same as V6 Camaro) clamping a 345mm rotor, I found that in 15000 miles, the rotors were worn to half of minimum thickness (total allowed wear before discard)--assuming the wear rate continued at that pace, if the pads lasted to 30K, the rotors would be at or beyond discard thickness. I changed to Camaro-spec OE pads, and the dusting was reduced significantly, but brake feel is noticeably "softer" at initial application compared to the cop-car pads--which also tended to be noisy (squeal).

I have other plans as far as the next brake servicing for this car, but the OE police package pads are obviously quite aggressive--dirty, with high rotor wear rate--and stop like crazy, but I expect the rotors to be able to last beyond 30K if I wait that long, considering the Camaro-spec pads are much more friendly, quiet and produce far less dust. As my wife is primary driver of the car for now, really aggressive pads or gonzo brakes aren't "necessary".

Still, to re-iterate, I went through the entire process addressed above, removing the rotors, honing them, etc, and that also meant removing the TTY bolts (the calipers are floating, not like SS) to get the caliper bracket out of the way to remove the rotors. While I do have the new bolts, I admit, like others have acknowledged, that I did not use them--my recollection at the time was that I did not have a torque wrench with a high-enough setting to install them properly, and I don't have a TTY gauge--TTY specs typically will specify a number PLUS an additional rotation, ie. 140 lb/ft +90 degrees. I'll talk to my favorite dealer tech to get some further insight on this--is it truly critical, is it to sell parts, or is it a protection instituted by (in this case) GM legal beagles, to insulate the company in a court of law?
The bolts stretch therefore they are weakened and a second use will do even more the head bolts on LS motors are done the same way it's the material they are made from after market head bolts are not same material. This is short Verison as to why.
z51vett
Doug
 

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TTY information

I take no issue with the need to replace TTY fasteners--so no one misunderstands. I have work of my own to do, as I've acknowledged!

General discussion about TTY fasteners

Engine-focused discussion
(quote)
A final subject is the relative merits to re-using critical fasteners. If I had a dollar for every head bolt I’ve wire brushed and reused I could afford a pretty nice vacation next year. There are very few of us in this industry that haven’t reused critical fasteners!

However, times change, engines change, technology changes, I’ve changed. My policy is that if new critical fasteners – especially head bolts – are readily available, old ones are replaced. Understanding much more about fasteners and engine operating conditions today, I’m reluctant to reuse them.

A well-respected OE engineer specializing in engines tells me that critical fasteners have about six rundowns in their useful life. They use four of those at the OE manufacturing operations, leaving rebuilders just two. One rundown for checking sizes puts us on the last rundown during final assembly. My thinking is: why take the chance? Replace the fasteners! The relative cost compared to the total engine job is small and the peace of mind is high.
(end quote)

Much more TTY information is available by online search.
 
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