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View Full Version : Brake questions from a new kid on the block


RedFire03
11-30-2004, 10:02 PM
Hi:

I've had my 2003 for almost a year now -- it's my daily driver and I'm nearing 16,000 miles on the odometer. I've signed up for the on-track day at Carolina Motorsports Park for next Friday, 10 December, and I have a couple of "newbie" brake questions.

First, I've had my Cobra on track twice before -- once when my wife and I attended an SVTOA on-track event at VIR in June (one day) and the second time when I went to the SVTOA on-track event at Summit Point in August (also for just one day). Since my wife and I were sharing the car at VIR, and we were both pretty new to this, I'm pretty sure we didn't explore the "limits" of the Cobra by any stretch. Additionally, at Summit Point, it rained most of the day, so I don't think I got to use the brakes too much then, either.

My hope is that the weather will be good next week at CMP as I'm looking forward to learning more about how to drive this beast!! :D I've been reading some forum posts across several different forums and I'm getting a tad nervous about my brakes, especially assuming that I can get some good track time at CMP. I'm still running stock everything (fluid, pads, etc.). I haven't had any problems with the brakes in my daily commute, nor at VIR or Summit Point, but I'm becoming convinced that I should -- at minimum -- change the brake fluid before next Friday. So, my questions are as follows:

1) What brake fluid would be recommended for a daily driver with an
occasional on-track event (maybe once every 3 to 6 months)?
2) Can someone give me some guidance on how to change the fluid? For
example, do I have to get every drop of the current fluid out? I've read
a few posts where some kind of a brake-pressure contraption is
mentioned -- ??
3) How can I tell if I need to change the pads?
4) Even if the pads don't need to be changed for daily driving, should I
change/upgrade the pads before heading to CMP? If so, any
recommendations as to which pads to get and where to get them?
5) I've read several posts where folks discuss "bleeding the brakes." Can
someone explain what exactly this is and how to do it?

I certainly appreciate any help that you all can offer!


Warmest Regards,
Scott (RedFire03)

P.S. Am I really the last person on earth who still has a bone-stock Cobra? :eek:

Hazman
12-01-2004, 08:28 AM
Hey Scott
First you should know that CMP is one of the toughest tracks on brakes out there. So you need to make sure that your brakes are in excellent condition. I hope my answers below help. I am sure some of the clubs more experienced folks will chime in also.

1) What brake fluid would be recommended for a daily driver with an
occasional on-track event (maybe once every 3 to 6 months)?

I use Valvoline Synfluid (Full Synthetic). It has a higher boiling point than regular brake fluid and is reasonable in cost. Several folks recommend the Ford Heavy Duty Fluid also as a good choice. If you want to make the jump up to an excellent fluid try Motul or Redline but be prepared for the $$$$.

2) Can someone give me some guidance on how to change the fluid? For
example, do I have to get every drop of the current fluid out? I've read
a few posts where some kind of a brake-pressure contraption is
mentioned -- ??

You can buy vacuum or pressure bleeders if you want to spend the money but I do it the old fashion way.
I use a turkey baster to get as much of the fluid out of the reservoir as possible and then refill with the new fluid. Then I start at the right rear tire and bleed the brakes until clean fresh fluid come out. This is repeated at the left rear then right front and left front last. Make sure you check the fluid level in the resorvoir every few 3-4 strokes of the brake pedal and add fluid to keep it full. AIR IN THE MASTER CYLINDER IS A VERY BAD THING!

3) How can I tell if I need to change the pads?

Pads should be at least 50% or more. For CMP I would suggest starting out with fresh pads!!

4) Even if the pads don't need to be changed for daily driving, should I
change/upgrade the pads before heading to CMP? If so, any
recommendations as to which pads to get and where to get them?

For someone just starting out doing track events I suggest the Autozone Performance Z pads up front. They have a lifetime warrenty. I have purchased a set on a Thursday gone to the track for two days and used them up and goe back the next Tuesday and got a FREE replacement set. Rear pads are not as critical so a good grade carbon metallic is fine.

5) I've read several posts where folks discuss "bleeding the brakes." Can
someone explain what exactly this is and how to do it?

OK bleeding the brakes. There is a small fitting on each brake caliper with a rubber cap. Remove the cap and slip a piece of clear tubing over the end of the fitting. Place the other end of the tubing in a clear jar to catch the fluid. Then using an end wrench 10 or 11 millimeter I think open the fitting about 1/4 to 1/2 a turn while some one presses the brake pedal. close the fitting when the pedal is fully depressed. Have them pump up the pedal and repeat. Continue this procedure ntil fresh fluid is seen coming through the tube and no air bubbles. DO NOT LIFT UP ON THE PEDAL WITH THE VALVE OPEN OR YOU WILL HAVE AIR IN THE CALIPER WHICH IS A BAD THING.

I certainly appreciate any help that you all can offer! One thing to know is that brake fluid like to absord water and this lowers the boiling point making it more likely for your brakes to fade on the track (soft pedal). Avoid water or even moist air and keep the contaiers of fluid closed as much as possible. Hope this helps some I know some of the other track dogs will chime in soon.

Rick "Hazman" McNutt

RedFire03
12-03-2004, 07:27 AM
Thank you very much for the reply! I'll be stopping by Autozone this afternoon to pick up a new set of front pads.

One follow-up question: I've also read about adding brake ducts. It appears one can buy a complete kit from an after-market provider or stop by the local Home Depot and buy parts for creating a setup on your own. More out of curiosity than anything else, what's involved in the going the Home Depot route? Is there a website that has directions (including pix)? Any plusses/minuses to doing it this way vs. the after-market route?

Thanks again!!
Scott

beerkat
12-03-2004, 08:11 AM
i have not done brake ducts on my Cobra yet but I have done them on my Lightning. The brake ducting itself needs to be able to handle the heat that is in the engine compartment as well as that produce by the brakes. I got my stuff from Pegasus Racing Supply.

Hazman
12-03-2004, 11:29 AM
I put brake ducts on my car and they do help. Still managed to melt the dust boots off the caliper pistons at Gingerman this year!! You do need a good duct material that can take the heat. I got mine from a local racing supply house. If you go the DIY route get a good supply of LONG wire ties (12"-14"). Check Corral.net or corner-carvers.com and search for info on home made brake ducting. WARNING do not ask any newbie questions on corner-carvers.com just search. Those guys are always looking for a virgin newbie to sacrifice!!!

johnbasf
12-03-2004, 02:17 PM
Ford HD brake fluid is what I used on my AI car.

Definitely put on cooling ducts.

Bleeding the brakes is no biggie.
(a) keep fluid level up
(b) Start with RR,LR,RF,LF
(c) have your helper push the pedal and hold it down and open the bleeder, close the bleeder and repeat until no bubbles and clear fluid is seen.
(d) I highly recommend Cocalt Pads(the ones AI drivers use) http://www.cobaltfriction.com/index.asp