BAD brake fades the new pads/rotors, let's talk about solutions...
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    1. #1
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      BAD brake fade with the new pads/rotors, let's talk about solutions...

      So I installed some new semi-metallic pads, and cross drilled and slotted rotors from maxbrakes.com. I bedded them in a couple weeks back, but yesterday was the first time I got to run the S60 hard. I used Decker Canyon over the PCH in the northern reaches of Malibu, and the downhill section is really tough on brakes - tight, multiple turns with very low speeds through the turns with room to sprint on the straights... and the brakes overheated after maybe three minutes of decent speeds (not even all out, just fast street driving). Foot almost to the floor, anti-lock not even kicking in... no exaggeration, the worst fade I've ever encountered up there. Backing off and cruising down the PCH cooled them down, and they're braking fine now, but I'm not sure they'd even do well at an auto cross, let alone a long hard run up and down Angeles Crest.

      So the potential problems as I see them -

      1) I somehow glazed the brand new pads, in which case, a relatively simple fix. I don't mind brake squeal, so a more aggressive pad is fine by me.

      2) The brake fluid, while clean and at proper level, is too old and can't handle it. The car has 38k miles and was dealer serviced its entire life, but the fluid may be original, for all I know. It couldn't hurt to replace it with some fresh DOT 4 fluid, so that may be the first thing I do.

      3) The new rotors are simply not big enough. I went with the stock size, but because I got the drilled and slotted versions, I've effectively DECREASED brake size with less swept brake area than stock, and they just aren't up to the job. The lack of engine braking on the automatic trans doesn't help (not a fan of having no way to precisely select gears to help with control here), but I may be better off going with a basic vented disc without all the fancy holes lol.

      I have to say, otherwise this car was really good. It was also my first chance to really try the new tires out after break-in - BF Goodrich Comp T/A2 a/s in 235/40-18 - and they were AMAZING. Great grip, quiet even at the limit, great feel at the limit, they made the S60 really fun to fling around.

      But if I can't stop, that's a bit problematic.

      Any and all input appreciated, thanks folks...
      Last edited by mylesph1; 03-04-2017 at 06:33 PM.

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    3. #2
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      Quote Originally Posted by mylesph1 View Post
      Foot almost to the floor, anti-lock not even kicking in.
      Change the brake fluid if you're going to drive like that. It absorbs water which turns to steam in the caliper when the pads get hot.

    4. #3
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      Fluid ASAP, Myles! If it's still on sale, grab a set of Technia-Fit S/S lines. At the per line price if still on sale, you'll grab them for about $55 SHIPPED for all 4 corners! That's from FCPeuro. This is also why I'm a huge fan of blank rotors. With quality performance pads, you shouldn't have much fade if any.

      Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk
      2004 S60 2.5T - Stock for now...

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    6. #4
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      Thanks for the heads up on SS lines, that couldn't hurt either. The fluid probably is too old at this point despite regular service, so that is job one, and I'll see if that helps the situation.
      However, I'm willing to accept that I may have gone the wrong route with the rotors, and if necessary I'll start over again with something slightly larger.

    7. #5
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      Bigger rotors mean new calipers and a lot mo money.

    8. #6
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      Rotor choice aside, fluid and lines should help out a lot! I'm surprised I don't get any fade on my faulty I/E to SGV commute, and that's running on probably original fluid. It's damn near black, so it's gotta be original! I've never had or seen black fluid before, but she does still stop very well on these MaxBrakes, and I'm the 286mm front setup.

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      2004 S60 2.5T - Stock for now...

    9. #7
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      Quote Originally Posted by atikovi View Post
      Bigger rotors mean new calipers and a lot mo money.

      Not necessarily. There's a good local place where I could get good used parts, a set of R calipers and carriers aren't too expensive. I'm not talking about a new set of six piston Brembos here

      I don't need this car to be competition ready - it's not the only car I own - but I do expect it to be able to handle an afternoon of fun driving in the mountains surrounding Los Angeles. Shouldn't take too much to get it there, maybe just brake fluid, maybe just non-drilled rotors, I'll try a couple things out. Worth it to me

    10. #8
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      Quote Originally Posted by Phixion View Post
      Rotor choice aside, fluid and lines should help out a lot! I'm surprised I don't get any fade on my faulty I/E to SGV commute, and that's running on probably original fluid. It's damn near black, so it's gotta be original! I've never had or seen black fluid before, but she does still stop very well on these MaxBrakes, and I'm the 286mm front setup.

      Sent from my HTC One_M8 using Tapatalk
      Drilled rotors or standard?

      My fluid passes the visual test - it's clear and at the proper level. But again, this car is ten years old, and with low mileage everything looks great, but it's easy to believe there's excess moisture in the brake system.

    11. #9
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      I agree! Where's the place you speak of? I'd be down to roll there with you sometime!

      I got blanks in my MaxBrakes kit, just good old vented. After time, moisture will always work its way in somehow, especially the older the fluid is. I hope that mine is not actually original, because that's a scary thought! It was very well dealer maintained though, so who knows... Yours being clear and at proper level is a good thing. Mine is only at the proper level, lol! I have two 1q bottles of Pentosin ready for a bleed session and I picked up a pair of front S/S and rear heavy duty rubber lines to swap everything out with.

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      2004 S60 2.5T - Stock for now...

    12. #10
      Quote Originally Posted by mylesph1 View Post
      Drilled rotors or standard?

      My fluid passes the visual test - it's clear and at the proper level. But again, this car is ten years old, and with low mileage everything looks great, but it's easy to believe there's excess moisture in the brake system.
      Is the fluid clear in the reservoir or at the calipers.
      Because of the fact that it absorbs water, that's why they recommend full flush after so many years, regardless of miles or visual clarity.

      Honestly that kind of absolute failure is not due to dimpled or slotted rotors, those features if anything help reduce gas buildup between pad & rotor (their flaw is more long term where you can possibly develop hairline cracks)

      But, cheap pads can lose their friction under extreme heat, and our cars are not lightweight (and if you've got an automatic it's not carrying its load on deceleration).

      If you're going to drive hard, the larger R calipers/brackets/discs will help.
      SS brake lines and fluid aren't a bad move for now, it's a good next step.
      And if you drive hard, as I did when I had long windy mountain roads, you may have to get a higher quality set of pads.

      I feel for ya, I've had that kind of fade once in my 300zx and it was absolutely terrifying, but I had a manual to slow down and regain control

      Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G890A using Tapatalk
      I'm a sucker for Ice White S60's
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    13. #11
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      I still need to flush my fluid and replace the original lines with new ones I bought a couple months ago (S/S fronts and heavy duty rubber rear ones). But I'm having build up occur on my front rotors, which is common for ANY brakes. It's usually what's mistaken for warping in fact given the symptom is identical. Considering getting the rotors turned. A big cause of this is improper bedding in which may have happened here as didn't do it nearly as well or long as I should have. Good bedding in involves getting the brakes heated up enough to induce fade eventually before letting them cool down. Stop-Tech has a great write up on their website for good proper bedding in.

      Besides the fading you were experiencing Myles, have you experienced anything else? I don't have fading, but do have front vibration when braking HARD from high speeds.
      2004 S60 2.5T - Stock for now...

    14. #12
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      No, the brake feel is smooth, straight and vibration-free. It's only by going very quickly on steep downhills, with repeated hard braking for very tight cornering, that causes the overheating and eventual fade. They're perfectly fine - up to a point.

      I still haven't changed the fluid, but I also haven't driven it to the same level I did that day testing them out. Been working on the other cars more, as well - the Volvo is in pretty good shape compared to my older coupes, which have some more pressing issues..

    15. #13
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      Never had a problem like this with a Volvo, but I had my brake fluid boil in my last Saab because of a sticking rear piston, rendering all 4 corners useless. Scary stuff (especially when not being able to stop at an intersection crossing a non-stop 55mph zone).

      Because your brake pedal went down so far, I'd be somewhat concerned that the piston in your master cylinder has gone to previously unexplored regions, possibly damaging the seals.
      2002 V70 2.4 N/A. 261k miles. Totaled for the second time November 16, 2016, RIP.
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    16. #14
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      Myles, you and I both need to get out brake fluids changed.

      I agree Metalbender, a long traveling pedal could be sign of more than just bad fluid. Actually, if the fluid level is where it should be, and even with near black fluid like mine currently is, you should still have a pretty solid pedal, I do anyways. Fade though like Myles experienced is no joke! I've had that before on my old '01 S40 when I threw on some cheap Auto Zone pads in pinch until the brake kit I had ordered arrived. Almost as scary as black ice, almost.
      2004 S60 2.5T - Stock for now...

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