Brake squeal often happens during the first few hundred miles of use as pads bed in to a new or used rotor. Provided that you have the latest engineering specification of pad with center line slots, edge chamfers and black noise reduction shims on the reverse of the pads, please wait until you have achieved 1000 miles of driving before evaluating brake noise. If you have EBC Brake pads that do not have these shims, and are located in mainland USA EBC will post these to you free of charge. In early production some EBC REAR fitment pads did not have noise shims. EBC offers to mail these free of charge if you have rear brake noise which is the most common. Rear brake noise can develop even when rear pads have NOT been changed as the more efficient front pads take up all the brake load and leave the original rear pads under-utilised. This will necessitate changing the rear pads to the same pads as in the front or if the original rears are also non shimmed, you may be able to solve with adding shims to those. Ask us for a free set of shims for those pads which EBC Brakes are happy to supply at no charge. It is quite common with performance pads to hear a once only screech when REVERSING from a cold start. This is because of the change in geometry of pad and rotor alignment in reverse motion. When driving forward the noise should not repeat.
Provided you have the latest spec 3 slot version of EBC sport rotors the noise levels are as low as they will go with a sport rotor. EBC recently changed from 5 slot to 3 slot to reduce noise issues. The slots have a purpose of drawing cool air under the pad contact point and are therefore beneficial. On the 5 slot rotors experience shows us that noise gradually reduces over a period of driving but it can take up to 2000 miles use before this reaches its lowest point after which the noise is there to stay, some people like it, some people don’t.
EBC now also make their new Ultimax Black Dash series slotted rotors which feature narrower slots and no dimples. This design is significantly quieter. So why does EBC sell two types of sport rotor? First the larger the slots (as on the 3GD series) the better the air cooling effect, tests on the UK Police Force Chase cars have shown the wide slots to be very helpful at speed at cooling the pad and rotor. Also the 3GD wider slots extend completely to the edge of the rotor and are better at removing dirt, dust, debris and water (making them ideal for off road uses)
On the other hand the narrower slots on the new Ultimax series provide SOME cooling and certainly degas the pads and are therefore a good upgrade option for street use at lower speeds.
People often ask … “Do sport rotors really do anything???” and EBC's honest answer is … in most cases they do. First the cooling advantage is simple physics so YES they cool pads and rotors but the surface area reduction (again, simple physics) actually means LESS braking UNLESS you change the brake pads for a higher friction compound such as EBC to compensate. Every one of EBC pads offer significantly higher stopping than most aftermarket and OEM pads (according to dyno tests) and one extensive independent vehicle test conducted on a closed race track in the UK on a Sport compact (Golf GTi) showed EBC pads to stop several car lengths faster than three popular USA aftermarket brands tested. Add this extra friction to the better cooling and you have better brakes.
Extra benefits of sport rotors are not often spoken about but are very worthwhile. This is the effect the slots have on maintaining a flat smooth pad surface during the pads wear life. The slots encourage the pads to wear with a more flat pattern and the “Ribbing” common with non slotted rotors does not appear. This removes the “Record groove” effect of pads on plain rotors, particularly around the outer edge and helps pads maintain better contact area with the rotor through their life. As far as EBC is concerned this is the MAJOR benefit of sport rotors over all others as honestly speaking EBC pads have such a high temperature rating they don’t NEED degassing. EBC test all pads to temps over 1000 degrees.
Some BRAKE DUST is inevitable from every brake pad and it is impossible to totally eliminate dust otherwise brake vibration will occur. EBC never advertise ZERO DUST they only advertise LESS DUST and EBC appreciate that in some cases dust will be almost the same as original pads. However, please note that dust is always more severe in the first 1000 miles of driving especially if pads were fitted to partly worn rotors. Another condition which promotes significant dust is wrong pad compound choice. If you have a car with over 200bhp (horse power) or drive above what EBC might call a spirited street level, for example green pads would not be suitable and red ceramic, being a slightly harder pad, can handle these higher speeds and loads and gives off less dust … there may be cases of overload where the Green pads are carbonising in use and a higher spec pad (Red Ceramic) is needed. If you have been sold greens and need reds, go back to the dealer where you purchased them and ask him for some sort of a deal to get you onto the correct brake compound. Yellow compounds are a fantastic brake, probably the best but they are equal in dust to Original parts and should not be chosen if a low dust pad is what you need. EBC's CLEANEST pads are RED CERAMIC for sedans and Green 7000 series for SUV and light trucks.
All EBC coloured range pads – green, red and yellow – are high mileage compounds. and you cannot expect their optimum performance straight out of the box. Brake effect will be GOOD and certainly SAFE but not at their BEST. Pads need to be bedded in geometrically which could take 400-600 miles, even on new rotors and after that pads have to final cure chemically which can take another 1000 miles. Experience shows that out of the box all EBC pads perform equal to or better than OEM parts and most other aftermarket parts but they just keep getting better with time so hang in there – and please don’t criticise the performance of the pads until they are fully bedded. Also during the life of the pads remember to monitor pad wear as half worn pads or more than half worn pads will cause a significant reduction in performance of the brake. In sport use and for optimum braking EBC recommend changing pads when there is 3/16 th inch (4mm) of friction material left on the steel backing plate and not to wear the pads any lower. Pads and calipers start to overheat when friction material goes below this level. Remember the faster and harder you drive, the faster pads will wear and a wrong spec pad could wear out surprisingly quickly so keep an eye on the pads, especially if you see more dust than expected. In race use wear will be MUCH faster.
Many Asian and USA vehicles use a rivet on screech clip, a small gold coloured metal clip in a U form that contacts the rotor as the pads are low and makes a loud noise to remind you of the need for pad replacement. You only need ONE clip per set of pads and that is all EBC use in most cases. There is NO NEED for multiple clips and there is no safety issue with less. Pads wear evenly unless there is a major caliper problem and one clip will alert you of a pad requiring replacement. This assumes of course your calipers are functioning properly and sliding freely which is part of any routine brake install work. It is always good practice to check pad wear every 3000-5000 miles anyway, whether or not you have indicators of any type on your car.
European cars usually use a wear lead wire to operate a dash warning light. For VW and Audi models the lead is GLUED into the pad and the EBC pad comes with a new lead in the pad. BMW, Mercedes and Saab models have LOOSE wear leads which CLIP into the top of the pad. EBC SELL these leads separately on vendors web sites or at the dealer that supplied you. Brand does not provide these loose leads in EBC sets as the price is considerable and leads do not always need replacement.
In Street use situations … Bedding in when the red EBC surface coating (marked on the pads as Brake In) is applied. Best procedure is to drive gently avoiding harsh braking unless in an emergency for first 100 miles. In the second 100 miles (up to 200) you can use gently increasing brake pressures when using the brakes.
Only after 200 miles urban driving (not 200 miles on a freeway where brakes are almost unused) should you attempt to apply heavy load and heat to the brakes. To do this final bedding on a QUIET ROAD in safe traffic apply the brakes and slow from 60 to 10 MPH five times in a row. Then drive slowly for a few minutes if safe to do so to allow the brakes to cool. Try to avoid coming to a rest whilst the brakes are heated.
A smell may be noticed from the warm brakes, this is normal. Repeat this procedure a second time after the brakes have TOTALLY cooled down. EBC pads get better with miles. Even after this bed in procedure it can take up to 1500 miles before the pads are at their best. In the meantime the pads will be good and safe but true potential not realised. EBC makes performance pads that last, they do not bed in within 5 minutes driving. Noises will be more likely during the first 1000-1500 miles use whilst this chemical bedding takes place.
NEVER attempt to sand or scotchbrite brake pads to assist it bedding in or noise reduction,this will only make things worse by taking the pads “Off-Flat” and require hundreds of miles driving to seat them again during which time the brakes will feel very dull. The only way to seat pads is against the rotor they will be used on and by following EBC bedding recommendation.
Bedding in for trackday or race use … EBC reminds you there is NO WARRANTY on any EBC product for race use due to the very varying conditions that can be seen. However, care bedding pads in and monitoring wear will get the best from EBC products. Most EBC pads including Yellow range pads now have the brake in coating. If possible and using a street based car, fit the pads before the race use and bed in as above for street use. Try to get 200-300 miles urban driving on the pads before racing them. If this is NOT possible and you fit at the track bed like this.
Drive two laps steadily applying the brakes every few seconds and then coast for a full lap without any unnecessary braking to allow pads and rotors to cool down. Drive a third lap applying the brakes slightly harder each time and again drive a cooldown lap. Do NOT pull up and park the car with the brakes red hot, try to let them cool as much as possible before coming to a rest. It is also important to understand that the pads must be geometrically matched to the rotor (flat and parallel) before they will bed in chemically. If you do the above bed in and get violent fade first use you MUST repeat the bedding procedure. EBC gets lots of new customers calling in saying my brakes have faded and when they send a digital the pad is only touching on 70-80% of its surface area. Fade early in a pads life is almost a good thing. It is called GREEN fade and will disappear so if you suffer Green fade (you will notice this by smell), you are on the right path and this is not a negative. If you are getting fade after 20 laps and the pads are part worn, then something else needs looking into such as material choice, bleeding of the system, driving style etc …
Many modern trucks have bearing cups pressed in the rotors. The EBC replacement rotors also have new bearing cups. Do not attempt to remove these. If you are not a qualified mechanic you should NOT attempt installing such rotors and in all cases the manufacturers handbook should be observed. Wheels falling off cars or wheel bearings seizing is a serious matter.
Having said that EBC advice is to clean off excess old grease from the bearing cones (centre of bearing which locates the bearing rollers) with a CLEAN cloth and apply fresh axle grease to those bearings and pack the rotor hub one third full with the same grease. Do not use any grease that contains Molybdenum or sulphides, the correct grease is a lithium soap based grease with NO additives and is called in most places axle grease. The BIG message here is do NOT get any greases or even fingerprints on the braking surface of the rotor and on completing the install CLEAN the brake rotor with methylated spirit or brake cleaner and wipe with a VERY clean rag until no traces of greases or oils are seen on the brake.
It is a complete waste of money to fit new pads if your rotors are badly scored or hollowed. It is also dangerous and can cause a total loss of brake. Check rotor surface condition with a straight edge and if there is more than 0.5mm or 0.020 inches (twenty thousandths) of hollow the rotors must be turned or replaced. This can be done by any brake centre or most machine shops. If you DO NOT turn or replace the rotors you will have low efficiency/dangerous brakes for the first 1000 or more miles and you will tramline your pads and damage them. This is a safety issue and EBC strongly recommends having a professional mechanic advise if you are not capable of measuring this yourself. With brakes the motto is “Any doubts … see a mechanic”.
EBC can supply new rotors in plain finish OEM style at very competitive prices or sport slotted rotors of two versions. Sport rotors help braking, reduce fade and maintain parallel pad wear throughout the pads life.
If sport rotors are not checked for runout, driving without even applying brakes will exhibit a clicking noise on a “Once-per-rev” of the wheel basis. If you encounter this, especially early after having rotors installed return them to the service shop and have them checked for runout. Recommendations for maximum permissible runout vary from 0.001 to 0.002 inches on most European cars to 0.003 to 0.006 on larger USA Trucks and SUV’s. Figures above these are not only unacceptable but they will cause brake vibration after a period of 3000 to 4000 miles. (Read below in Blue please) which is not grounds for warranty. Mounting rotors on dirt or rust and scale covered hubs or excessive use of mounting greases and most often incorrect tightening of rotors from first install are the common reasons for excess runout. If your installer knows his job he will hand tighten the rotor studs in a diagonal fashion with gradually increasing torques by hand and final tighten with a TORQUE wrench and ideally you wont even see or hear an air gun being used. Guns (including air guns) are for cowboys and are often used by them.
Why do rotors suffer vibration after 3000-4000 miles and how can EBC be so precise in this mileage estimate, surely it cannot be the same for every car? … this is a common question.
The reason the mileage is more or less the same for every car where vibration occurs is that the problem develops OFF BRAKE or when you are driving without applying the brake. The more freeway driving you do the more easily this can occur. The excess runout mentioned above caused in 90% of the cases by bad fitting and not checking for runout (and the other 10% due to a hub not running true such a car that has impacted a curb at some time) … causes the pad to “Kiss” the rotor gently each revolution of the wheel as you drive. After the above mileage period the pads wear a microscopic thin spot on the rotor and a condition known as DTV occurs. This DTV (Disc Thickness Variation) causes the brake to pulse. A small amount of runout itself does NOT cause vibration but the tiniest amount of DTV does cause vibration. That is why when a rotor is not running true the car does not exhibit vibration in the first few miles and this explains how it shows up later (3000-4000 miles). How can I cure this vibration problem? Rotors will need to be turned at a machine shop or brake fitting center or replaced. EBC sport grooved rotors can be turned with good results on standard AAMCO brake lathes. If too badly scored or worn some rotors will have to be replaced. New pads will ALWAYS be needed.
Before taking your car to the shop, check if the vibration is coming from the front or the rear to save costs in unnecessary brake work. Generally vibration under braking that can be felt through the bodywork or seating of the car is a problem on the REAR brake and vibration felt on the steering wheel is related to FRONT brake problems. What are the best pads to prevent or limit brake vibration?
Any good quality pad with a high thermal conductivity will reduce the chances of vibration both due to DTV as described above or vibration at speeds due to what we call thermal shock. Thermal shock is common on European cars and all pads in the EBC range are especially good at reducing vibration. Our online catalog recommends the minimum grades for your car and shows options.
It is important that your brakes are balanced to avoid rear wheel lock up and here are some good ideas how to select compounds or even blend them with whats on your car already. It is always best to use the SAME compound front and rear.
EBC does not make either of these and is not planning these for the immediate future.