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Discussion Starter #1
I was wondering if anyone, especially those folks who autocross, have tried ceramic brake pads on their Insight. I was told by my local Honda dealer that I need new front brake pads and rotors, and after deciding that their quote of $270 to do the repairs was too steep have been looking around at what my options might be. I went on TireRack.com and they have two sets of front pads, one in the OEM pad compound and one with a ceramic pad (about $10 difference in price between the types). I was thinking that the ceramic pads might give better performance, but I know that they require some heat to acheive the better performance and was hoping if anyone had tried this type of brake pad they might share their experiences. If it would help shorten my braking distances when I autocross, that would be great, but I was also thinking that the short bursts of needed braking in my autocross runs might not generate enough heat to be of any advantage over stock compound.

As a related question, has anyone swapped out the stock brake rotors for an aftermarket rotor? I found some rotors for the Insight that are vented and cross drilled, and again, was thinking that as long as the aftermarket rotors didn't screw up the ABS system, then going with the aftermarket parts might be a decent choice.

I've got a little time before I have to do anything. I'm going to run my next autocross event on Sept. 5th with my current brakes, then look at getting them changed out within the next week or two after that. Won't race again until next spring, so I'll have plenty of time to get the new pads bedded in before I put them through too much hell!
 

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I don't think ceramic pads would do you much good. The Insight is so light in the first place that you would have to thrash it around quite a bit to get any grip. Some Cross-drilled or slotted rotors may help in heat dissipation if you are getting any fade.

My other car is a MINI Cooper S (about 2500 lbs) and there are people using EBC greenstuff that have a hard time when the brakes are cold. Ceramic is pretty much a race only addition unless yor driving around in a Porsche or Ferrari.
 

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Ceramic brake pads require heat, lots of it, to work properly. The Insight is neither heavy enough nor driving fast enough to build up the heat requred to get the pads to start working to their full potential. When you are driving 120mph and need to repeatively slow down to 60mph for a sharp turn then ceramic pads are for you. Doing an auto-x will not heat up your brakes enough.

Organic pads are all you need for the Insight. I wouldn't suggest drilled rotors unless you will be tracking your Insight, otherwise it's over kill and you will wear your pads quicker. Not only do drilled rotors remove heat but the little holes also remove brake pad material.

Neither are worth it for a daily driver Insight doing the ocassional auto-x.

I drive my Insight at the track (that's twenty miles worth of hard accelerating and braking in a 30 min span of time, three to four times in one day) and still have the stock pads and rotors. If anything all I need in the way of brake upgrades would be metallic compound brakes, maybe.

Buy your stock pads online and replace them yourself.
 

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No ceramic probably isn't a good idea. Like was mentioned before they require heat to work. My family owns an automotive repair shop and there has only been one occasion we've used ceramic pads and that was on a big 10,000 pound truck that hauls a large horse trailer all the time. It would wear through brake pads really quickly due to the added momentum from the trailer so getting the pads hot wasn't an issue because it was having to convert so much forward momentum to heat. Ceramic pads will also cause the rotors to wear out faster as well.

Cross drilled slotted rotors probably won't get you much either. Like was mentioned they will wear out the pads much more quickly. In fact they are really only for looks and have only minimal heat dissipating advantages. Consider you will not stop any faster than the point at which you lock up the tires, and the Insight's stock brakes have no problem getting to that point where the ABS kicks in. If you had some different wheels that showed off the alluminum brake components then I'd say yeah it'd look cool.

My wholesale cost on an all around brake pad kit front and rear cost me about $70 (it's a long story how I ended up buying them, didn't need em but now I have a spare set). Fronts only should run you around 40 45 I'd guess. A brake job's not so bad to do. Come to Phoenix and I guarantee our shop will do a brake job for you for less than $270 :)
 

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I auto-x every weekend and I use William Performance Friction Solo2 pads. William custom made the pads for my Insight and charges the same as his high volume civic pads! great guy!

For solo 2 / auto-x racing you want instant bite from your brakes when they are cold because they will not heat up in a 60 second auto-x.
WPF S2 pads are specially designed for this and guess what they make fantastic street pads because on the street/highway brake pads rarely get very hot.

Ceramic/performance pads require heat to work at their best so they will not be as good for auto-x.

William's Solo 2 pads are only $80 Canadian
Order online

http://www.wpfri.com/

Now about the rotors:
Cross-drilled rotors are designed to improve cooling for track use. But with improved brake pad technology cross-drilled rotors are now more for show more then anything. They increase pad wear, and reduce the pad contact area. Ferraris have them because people expect to see them there.
Slotted rotors are better for track use because they allow the hot gases between the pad and rotor to escape and slice the pad clean.
Slotted rotors have more bite and they wear the pads more quickly as well. For auto-x using a great Solo2 pad is more important so I just replaced my rotors with OEM Insight rotors.

William is a sponsor of our Autoslalom series. He has donated several pads per event as a draw prize. All the feedback from the racers have been fantastic so that's why I switched. I agree with their comments because these WPFS2 pads are awesome. I just need to fine turn the brake pedal stroke a little so the brakes engage sooner, and slightly adjust the height for better heal and toe....
 

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Solo2 pad warning:
For those very few Insight owners that actually drive their insights on real race tracks. I can overheat the Solo2 pads in less then 2 minutes of HARD lapping. When the solo2 pads overheat they fade a lot!

But this only applies to Sparky when he is trying to keep up with Porsches on a race track. Or people that drag their brakes 5 minutes all the way down a mountain! For heaven sakes downshift!
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the tips y'all, I will certainly not be getting ceramic pads, nor will I get any cross-drilled rotors. A friend of mine is going to check out my rotors and see if in fact I really need them. If I don't need new rotors, I'm definitely going to order some of the Williams Solo 2 pads. If I have to get new rotors, I'm probably just going to get some stock compound pads, because I'm a little short on the cash right now and have to limit the total amount I spend on this brake job, if at all possible. At least now I'm armed with some better info!

Oh, and I'd love to take you up on your offer Rick, but I don't think the trip out to Arizona from Maryland would fly with my wife just to get new brakes, although I'm fairly certain I would enjoy the journey!
 

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Measure your rotors with a vernier caliper. The service limit only allows 2 mm of wear for the rotors. If you just buy new pads it will take a few weeks for the pads to wear to the shape of your old rotors, only then will you start getting full braking power.
 

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Sparky5501 said:
Ceramic brake pads require heat, lots of it, to work properly. The Insight is neither heavy enough nor driving fast enough to build up the heat requred to get the pads to start working to their full potential. When you are driving 120mph and need to repeatively slow down to 60mph for a sharp turn then ceramic pads are for you. Doing an auto-x will not heat up your brakes enough.
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Just came across this thread and thought I would add my 2 cents. The above is not necessarily correct. There are many different blends of so-called ceramic brake pads, some good, some not. I have used Porterfield R4-S carbon/ceramic pads on a couple of cars, including my Mercedes wagon, and they have fantastic cold bite as well as great fade resistance when they're hot. They are not cheap, but if you want a combination street/track/autocross pad, you could hardly do better:

http://www.porterfield-brakes.com

That said, I'll agree that drilled-slotted rotors don't get you much on most cars. In fact, they're often more trouble than help. The drilling and slotting removes mass from the rotor. You need that mass to soak up heat, so in most cases you're basically hurting brake performance.

That is all... 8)
 

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Ceramic brake pads? I've never heard of these. I've heard of metallic brake pads, used on race cars, which apparently work really good and they make your wheel wells glow when you brake, which is cool - but they wear out very fast.

And I've heard of the organic kind, which apparently last practically forever, (I read this in a book about building race cars, so "practically forever" is of course relative) but don't brake all that well.

And I've heard of a semi-organic kind, which are apparently pretty good, but they don't get the cool glow in the wheel wells. Are the ceramic pads the semi-organic kind?
 

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Hello Foxpaw, I have experienced the other way around:

- Organic are the cheapest. The pads wear down fast and you need to change them often. They fade fast once hot. But the disc is not wearing down as much

- Metallic are more $$ The pads wear less so the disc will wear more. The pads still have grip even when hot. I always use those.

- The semi metallic are in between the above and I would consider the cheapest option. I would not use organic at all.

- Ceramic, I do not know
 

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I think there may be some confusion, as has been noted already. Carbon-Ceramic brakes are used on some high end Porsche's and Ferrari's, F1 cars, large trucks, and trains. If you are getting ceramic brake pads from your local auto parts store, they AREN'T the same as the Porsche brakes. I use PBR Ultimate Ceramic pads on my Civic (similar weight to an Insight) and they are phenomenal for street, autocross, and track. I boiled my fluid on the track, but after I put some good fluid in, they were fine. The pads never overheated at all. They bite instantly even when cold, and don't fade.

BTW, as mentioned, I don't have an Insight, but Guillermo knows me... :)

Tom

PS anyone want to donate a set of calipers so I can see if they fit my Civic? :)
 
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