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Tech Info

Bleeding your Brakes

Bleeding the brakes requires a properly sized box wrench for the bleeder and the clear plastic bleed hose provided with your system. Good quality, non-silicone fluid is also a must. Baer Brakes has tested a wide variety of fluids and has found most to be quite good for Street and Light Track uses. Best results are found with good quality, fresh DOT-3 or DOT-4 fluids. We recommend the use of silicone DOT-5 Silicone fluid only for show cars that will not see normal use. DOT-3 and DOT-4 are available at your local parts supplier. For racing, Baer recommends and uses only Castrol SRF. Baer stocks and sells Castrol SRF.

Always remember, good to excellent brakes or fluid do not function without adequate cooling. In fact, the more serious your brake system, the more attention that needs to be directed to proper ducting, as they will generate more heat due to increased capacity.

BLEEDING BRAKES IS NOT DONE WITH PRESSURE, IT IS PURELY A FUNCTION OF MOVING FLUID THROUGH THE SYSTEM. THE OBJECT IS TO DISPLACE AIR, NOT TO SEE HOW FAR FLUID CAN BE SHOT OUT OF THE CALIPER!

Proper Bleeding Technique

Enlist someone who will help you bleed the brakes. Make sure they also read these instructions carefully (so they understand the goal).

  1. For systems which are essentially dry front and rear, start by filling the master cylinder with proper fluid. Pour slowly so as not to aerate the fluid.
  2. Next, move to the first caliper, attach the clear plastic bleed hose to the bleeder and open it. Hold the hose upright so that you can monitor the escape of air bubbles. VERY SLOWLY stroke the brake pedal by hand or foot until fluid comes out. Now close the bleeder.
  3. ACTUAL BLEEDING SEQUENCE:
    • Next, move to the first caliper, attach the clear plastic bleed hose to the bleeder and open it. Hold the hose upright so that you can monitor the escape of air bubbles. VERY SLOWLY stroke the brake pedal by hand or foot until fluid comes out. Now close the bleeder.
    • Open the bleeder, letting the pedal go to the floor or until it stops, using the same modest level of pressure, then close the bleeder again. Notify your partner "the system is sealed." He can then slowly release pedal pressure.
  4. Repeat the BLEEDING SEQUENCE (never stroke the pedal more than one time) until all signs of air are purged (no bubbles) from fluid.
    • IMPORTANT NOTE: DO NOT LET THE MASTER CYLINDER RUN DRY! Be sure to check the fluid level after every third bleeding sequence or sooner if reservoir volume is very small.
  5. Before moving to the next caliper, take a small block of wood or a plastic hammer and carefully tap the caliper to dislodge any additional air bubbles that may be trapped. Then bleed one last time.
  6. Move to the next caliper and repeat the procedures previously outlined. Continue until all calipers have been bled. Before re-installing wheels and placing the car on the ground, we recommend you carefully wipe clean all caliper surfaces, hose joints and fittings, making sure they are all dry and free from seepage. If not, inspect and tighten appropriately. Spray all rotor surfaces with Brake Kleen® or a similar product to remove all dirt and oils from your hands that may have been transferred to the rotor during assembly. Also remember to remove the nut that has been holding rotor in place before attempting to re-install the wheel.

For street use, as with any time you open the brake system, it may be advisable to repeat the bleeding procedure after driving the vehicle for a day, as driving the car may dislodge some additional air bubbles. For competition cars, we recommend repeating this procedure directly after at least the first two sessions the car is on track and at the beginning of each race weekend thereafter.

Even if your pedal is high and firm and additional bleeding is deemed unnecessary, always inspect the calipers, hoses and fittings after the first outing for signs of any fluid seepage and correct immediately.

Bump Steer

Did you know that lowering a vehicle or altering its caster and/or camber can lead to unsafe driving conditions? It's true. These modifications can cause a dynamic change in "toe-in" and "toe-out" as the suspension articulates through its range of motion.

When the suspension is lowered or caster and/or camber is altered, the position of the steering arm is changed.

This in turn can lead to undesirable steering input as the tie rod, steering arm and suspension are all affected in different ways depending on suspension geometry.

Simple maneuvers, such as hard braking, cornering, or traveling over road-surface irregularities, compress the suspension and compromise the tie rod's movement by pushing it to the limit of its articulation range as it attempts to track the arc of the steering arm.

As suspension movement is altered, a sudden change in "toe in"/"toe out" can occur, unsettling the suspension and giving the vehicle a tendency to dart. This is bump steer.

Baer Trackers solve the problem. The pin-height-adjustable tie rods allow compensation for ride height and suspension geometry changes, enabling an optimal range of articulation.

If your business involves suspension or camber/caster modifications, this is one issue you and your customers need to be aware of.

Caliper Comparison

Why are your T4 and 6P calipers better than similar in price calipers from other manufacturers?

Caliper stiffness is ALWAYS our first priority in any caliper design, but there are several other important criteria as well. Several design features make the T4 and the 6P calipers superior to the others on the market in their respective price ranges and some costing much more. Here we'll address each one of the concerns and questions typically posted on some the forum's and explain in detail why our designs are superior to our

  • Caliper finish - Calipers are offered Powder Coated as the standard finish, but are also available Hard-coat anodized. Typically, we use the hard-coat anodized versions in Off-Road racing applications as they have superior wear resistance compared to powder coating. This is important as it is common for the wheels to pack up with mud, rocks, etc... Not much of an advantage in road racing, but it does have a more purposeful look and hold's up well to high temperatures if the system is overheated. Powder coating is quite acceptable for most uses and almost all of our competitors use powder coating for their road going and sportsman level competition calipers as well.
  • Internal Cross Over - A quick look at the highest end calipers being produced today will show that more and more now feature internal cross over's. There are far LESS things that can go wrong with this arrangement. To ease any concerns about leaking, the calipers have been tested at up to 6000 psi with no mechanical failure of the caliper bodies, and while the o-rings did fail, it was in excess of 4000 psi which is about 3 times higher than any hydraulically operated brake system is operated at. Also the internal cross over design absolutely eliminates the chance of the cross over's being damaged as a result of debris. The absence of the frequently necessary channels to route external cross-over tubes also adds to overall caliper stiffness (more on caliper stiffness in a moment).
  • Single bleeder - Since the air is pushed up simultaneously on both sides of the caliper, it bleeds faster and more efficiently than 2 bleeder calipers. And with one less bleeder there is one less thing to worry about.
  • Pad changes aren't as fast as a quick change type of caliper design, like those typically used in endurance racing like our 6R, but there are only two bolts to get the caliper off, so it's still a very fast process. At least as fast as calipers that need to have two or more bridge bolts removed in order to access the pads. In some cases faster as you don't need to hold the other end of the fastener to loosen or tighten them.
  • Now to the most important aspect of caliper design... stiffness - The reason you need to remove the caliper to replace the pads on the T4 and 6P calipers is that the pads don't come out of the top of the caliper. This is due to the large radius corners at the opening in the top of the caliper. The large radiuses help resolve two key problems inherent in virtually all caliper designs. They help to minimize caliper flex as the result of the piston acting on the caliper body when the brakes are applied. (This is what most people think about when they think of caliper flex, and the only thing some caliper manufacturers know to exist).

    But, it is not the only distortion (flex) the caliper is experiencing during heavy braking. It also resolves another phenomenon that happens during heavy braking. Since the calipers are only mounted on one side of the caliper, as is the case with all automotive mounting configurations; the opposite side of the caliper wants to move in the direction of the rotor rotation due to the friction of the outboard pad "pulling" the caliper with it. This action causes the caliper to distort, or "twist". This also affects pedal firmness and modulation.

    Some caliper designs incorporate elaborate, spider web type, bolt in bridges at the top of the caliper to help minimize this. The bolt in bridges do a good job of minimizing caliper flex in a number of directions, but there are a few downsides... You still need to remove the fasteners to access the pads. And, they restrict airflow, reducing the pumping efficiency of the rotors so the systems typically run hotter than with our design. Other designs simply use a single bolt or two from one side of the caliper to the other in an effort to help minimize caliper distortion, but the design is antiquated, does little to eliminate the second condition outlined above; and STILL requires removal to change the pads.

    In addition to the large radius corners, Baer also employs a 6 bolt per caliper design to fasten the two halves together on both the T4 and 6P calipers (6S and 6R calipers feature a Monobloc design) compared to most competitors four bolts. More bolts equal an increase in caliper stiffness.

Care of Caliper Coatings

How to take care of various finishes on the calipers, rotors and rotor hats,

CALIPERS:

Baer supplied calipers can come in a variety of finishes including powder coat, anodized and Electroless Nickel. We use what are basically Hybrid powders for our calipers, straight Epoxies have better chip and chemical resistance and Polyesters have somewhat better UV resistance. Hybrids are good at both since calipers do see brake fluid, wrenches, sunlight, etc.

Care of powder: While powder is better than typical wet coatings it is not indestructible as many believe but will provide years of service if properly taken care of. We suggest using mild soap and water only such as car washing product from Mothers, Meguiars, etc. We do not recommend wheel cleaners, while some do not contain acids many do and will stain or even lift the finish. Once a year or more it's a good idea to remove the wheels and completely clean the calipers to remove all brake dust, road grime, etc. this is also a good time to clean the inside of the wheels that is hard to get to otherwise. The dust from the brake pads that are sent with our systems is quite benign and should pose no problem for the finishes, some of the more aggressive pads that may be used for Track days or other events though may harm the finish if left on or the dust gets wet and dries, we strongly recommend when switching back to street pads after an event that the calipers and hats be cleaned at that time.

When bleeding the brakes there will be residual brake fluid left in the bleeder, when driving this will migrate out around the threads and can harm the finish. We recommend using the supplied syringe (or this can be obtained from Baer) to thoroughly flush the bleeder and then using compressed air to dry it out before installing the rubber cap. DO NOT use air to blow out the fluid as it will spray and possibly get in your eyes or harm the paint on the car.

Small scratches can be removed the same way you would on the cars paint by using very fine sand paper and then buffing/polishing the surface, the powder can also be waxed like paint which will make cleaning easier.

Care of Nickel: Electroless Nickel is a very durable finish that does not require much maintenance other than cleaning with mild soap and water. We also do not recommend wheel cleaners for Nickel since they can stain the finish. If the finish does become stained or tarnished use a good (Mothers, Meguiars, etc) metal polish to restore the finish.

Care of Anodize: Whether the calipers are clear anodized or Hard Coated they easily maintained by cleaning with soap and water, Hard Coat calipers used in competition can be cleaned with Scotch Brite to remove baked on grime and pad residue.

ROTOR HATS:

The hats are Anodized, some wheel cleaners will spot or stain the color/dye in the finish, the Anodizing is still there but the color is damaged. We recommend using mild soap and water just like the calipers to clean them.

ROTORS:

The rotors are Zinc plated, this does make them corrosion "resistant" but they are still Iron and will do as Iron does. The same wheel cleaners that are mentioned above will also stain the Zinc. Vehicles that are used in snowy/salt or other harsh environments will also benefit from keeping them cleaned.

How to bed your pads

Bedding brake pads has a couple of important effects. The friction material in semi-metallic pads is held together by an organic binder, usually a type of phenolic material. As the pads get hot, the binder boils and burns from the top surface of the pad. Once this burning or "Bedding" takes place, the friction material makes proper contact with the rotor.

Baer Claw® systems feature Baer's ceramic-based SPORT TOURING "D-compound" brake pads. Although pre-burnished from the factory, SPORT-TOURING, just as with all pad types, benefit from being properly mated to the rotor surface. If both the rotor and pad are new and the rotor surfaces are un-plated, it is most desirable to run the pads through normal commuting type driving for at least 150-200-miles before using them aggressively. If the new rotor surface finish is plated or the rotor is used with a compound other than the SPORT-TOURING ceramic-based pad, increase the commuter type driving with no hard use, to a total of 250-300-miles to accomplish the blending of the pad surface to the rotor surface.

Bedding The Pads - NEVER DRAG the brakes

Note: Never "Bed" pads on rotors, which have not first been "Seasoned." Always allow a substantial coast down zone when bedding pads that will allow you to safely drive the car to a stop in the event of fade.

  1. Perform four-repeated light to medium stops, from 65 to 10 mph, to bring the rotors to temperature.
  2. Perform three light stops in succession. Perform eight heavy stops, back to back, at a point just pending wheel lock, from 65 mph to about 5 mph.
  3. Drive for ten minutes to create cooling airflow, without using the brakes if at all possible.
  4. Perform three light stops in succession. Perform eight heavy stops, back to back, at a point just pending wheel lock, from 65 mph to about 5 mph.
  5. Drive for ten minutes to create cooling airflow, without using the brakes if at all possible.

Additional Notes:

  • Metallic brake pads - Metallic pads need high temperatures to keep the pad "Bedded". If you drive the car for a period of time without using the brakes extensively, you may need to "Bed" the pads again. This is not a problem. Simply repeat the procedure.
  • Switching from Carbon Metallic pads to semi-metallic brake pads (not recommended) - When switching from Carbon Metallic pads to semi-metallic brake pads will need to wear through the layer of carbon that the PFC pads have deposited in the rotor surface. The new pads won't grip well at all, until this layer of carbon is removed.
  • Racers - Racers should "Bed" a few sets of pads at a time. In the event you need to change brake pads during a race, you MUST use a set of "Bedded" pads. Racing on "non-bedded" pads leads to a type of "fade" caused by the binding agents coming out of the pad too quickly. This is called "green fade". These binders may create a liquid (actually a gas) layer between your pads and rotors. Liquids have a very poor coefficient of friction. This condition is the reason for reverse slotting or cross-drilling rotors, as it allows a pathway for the gasses to escape.

Season your rotors

The first step in preparing the brake system for duty is to "SEASON" the rotors. The most visible effects are that of burning the machine oils from the surface of the iron and establishing a wear pattern between the pad and rotor. The most complex task it performs is that of relieving the internal stresses within the material. If you've ever poured water into a glass of ice and noticed the ice cracking, then you've witnessed first hand the effects of internal stresses.

By gradually heating the material, the crystalline matrix will reconfigure to relieve these internal stresses. After these stresses are relieved, the rotor is ready to accept the heat of bedding pads. Heating the rotors before they are fully seasoned can result in material deformation due to the unrelieved internal stresses in the material. This deformation may cause a vibration from the brakes.

Rotors need to be gradually elevated to "race" temperatures before any severe use. A "nibble", or slight vibration, normally indicates rotors that were heated too quickly. After initial "Seasoning", when running your car at open track events or serious canyon carving, you should use the first lap of a session (or first couple miles of open road), to warm the brakes as well as the engine, gearbox, etc. Where an engine turns chemical energy into motion, the brakes turn that motion into thermal energy.... and lots of it! And where there is no cooling system for the brakes as there is for the engine, and there's not, the brakes could use the courtesy of a warm-up lap.

Remember to ALWAYS WARM THE BRAKES before any heavy use!

Seasoning Procedure:

Before you begin, please note: The following represents the minimum recommended, "Seasoning" process. If your situation offers any opportunity to perform gentle preliminary "Seasoning" outlined in Step 2 below for a longer period of time, this will generally render even better performance and increase further long-term rotor life. Use the vehicle for 5 to 6 days of gentle driving. Use the brakes to the same extent that you used the stock brakes, DO NOT TEST PERFORMANCE or ATTEMPT HEAVY USE UNTIL ALL ITEMS OUTLINED HAVE BEEN COMPLETED. It is imperative that excessive heat is not put into the rotors at this stage. They need temperature-cycling to relieve the internal stresses.

Note: Zinc plated rotors (which are an extra cost option) need a couple of extra days of driving to wear through the plating before "Seasoning" actually will begin. Find a safe location where the brakes can be run to temperature. Your goal is to gradually increase brake temperatures with progressively faster stops. Start by performing four 60 to 70 mph stops, as you would in the normal course of driving.

Next, perform four medium effort partial stops (about 50 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with five minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool.

Then, perform four medium-hard effort partial stops (about 75 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with ten minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool.

Park the car and allow the brakes to cool overnight to ambient temperature. You are now 50 % done with the rotor "Seasoning/Bedding" procedure proceed to STEP 4 the following day.

Return to the safe location where the brakes can be run to temperature. Make sure the brakes are warmed to full operating temperature and then, perform four medium effort partial stops (about 50 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with five minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool. Then, perform four medium-hard effort partial stops (about 75 %) from 60 mph down to 15 mph. Follow this with ten minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKINGto allow the rotors to cool.

NOW, make six HARD partial stops from 60+ mph down to 15 mph or until rotors have reached an operation temperature of between 900 and 1,100 (Note: Temperature paints to accurately measure rotor temperature may be purchased from Baer Racing). Every effort should be made to perform this procedure without locking a wheel. Follow this with ten minutes of freeway driving with LITTLE to NO BRAKING to allow the rotors to cool.

Let the system cool off over night. The rotors are then ready for the next step in Preparing your Brake System: Bedding Pads.