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Brake options for my brakes that caught on fire


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What parts should I buy for my 2018 Civic SE that brakes caught fire on trackday #3? I wanna make sure that doesn't happen again.

The ideas I got from people I talked to in the track was: 1. Use racing brake fluid. 2. Use hawk pads(not sure which one) 3. Use oem rotors(is oem enough?) 4. Switch out brake pads to track pads when there's an event(I don't know how to change pads on a car)

I use my car for delivery so I do a lot of city driving and I don't mind the noisy brakes but I've heard my stopping distance in street driving increases.

Busted Brakes.jpg

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I would definitely recommend starting with upgrading your brake fluid first and then start looking at brake pads. ATE Type 200 or Motul RBF 660 are popular options. I believe Speed Factor stocks Motul regularly so it is easier to get a hold of. Another potential upgrade to consider would be swapping our your rubber brake lines with some braided stainless steel lines. They won't improve braking performance but they may improve the feeling of your brake pedals (firmer pedal under braking) as rubber brake lines tend to expand under high pressure. This is definitely not required but might be a worth while upgrade in the future. 

As far as pads go, there are a number of manufacturers that you can go with. Hawk seem to be the easiest to get and they have a pad for a wide range of working temperatures. If it's your daily driver then you might want to think about having two sets of pads (maybe even rotors); a set for the the street and a set for the track. The reason being, track pads often need more heat/higher temps to reach their optimal operating range to give you the best stopping power. You typically wouldn't see these types of temperatures on the street so they may not have the best stopping capabilities when cold or under light braking. There are pads that work well as a dual duty pads which operate well at lower temperatures and can handle higher temperatures. They usually don't have as high of a heat range as dedicated track pads. 

 

Hawk Performance offers a wide variety of pads for different applications.

- For street and light track (autocross) the most popular are the Hawk HPS or HP+. They offer OEM+ type of braking performance and have a good initial bite which works well for autocross but will not be able to handle laps around Gimli for long. They are decent pads but tend to produce a bit more dust and noise (mostly HP+) than OEM pads and are fairly easy on brake rotors.

- For street/track duty they offer the Hawk DTC-15, DTC-30, and the HT10. They have a wide operating temperature range and will work for both street and track but you may find yourself getting some brake fade after continuous hard breaking as performance tends to drop between 900F and 1200F. They tend to create more brake dust than the HPS/HP+ and you'll get some noise under light braking. They are a bit more harsh on brake rotors but nothing significant. 

- For track pads they offer the DTC-60 and the DTC-70. They need a bit of heat in them before you get the initial bite (100F/300F) but work well all the way up to 1600F before dropping off. They tend to produce a lot more brake dust and noise than their other pads but they also provide the best performance on track. They will wear out rotors at a faster pace and there is a higher risk of warping rotors or even cracking them due to the higher heat but this is also dependent on the quality and thickness of the rotor. Using them outside of their optimal operating range will cause them to wear out quicker.

 

You can look at Hawk's brake pad compound chart here to see what the operating range for each pad is. I urge you to also check out their website for torque ratings for each pad. That should give you an idea of what might work best for you. Keep in mind, the weight of the car, driver experience, and stopping power will play a factor in determining which pad will work best for you. As stated before, there are a number of manufacturers that make performance brake pads but my experience is mostly with Hawk so I'll let others chime in with those. For my car (Integra at about 2500-2600lbs) I run the Hawk HPS for daily driving and autocross and switch to the DTC-60s when at Gimli. One more thing to keep in mind, some pad compounds are not compatible with others and could leave deposits on the rotors when swapping between different pad compounds. A good idea would be to contact the pad manufacturer and see if there may be compatibility issues within their line up. 

 

As far as rotors go, OEM or similar would be fine. I don't think you'll see much performance benefits between slotted or cross drilled rotors vs standard blank rotors. I've had good experience with Centric rotors (about $35/rotor for my car on rockauto) but I'm sure any blank rotors will be fine to use. Personally, I swap pads and rotors between daily driving and track days (usually takes about 15-20 minutes and only a few bolts). It keeps the DTC-60 compound on the rotor, so additional bedding in isn't required, and I know that if I have any issues with pads/rotors, I can swap everything out and make it back home. Swapping out pads/rotors is fairly straight forward with even the most basic tools. If you're not sure how to do it I'm sure someone at the track can show you quickly or you can probably find videos on youtube.  

 

I'm sure I've missed some stuff but hopefully this helps you get pointed in the right direction.

 

Edited by Igor
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If I'm gonna swap the pads anyway, I will have to go with the most aggressive race pads.

Isn't rotors hard to take off cause they're usually stuck?

And does DTC-60 not work in autocross?

Why are you not using DTC-70 at the track? You're already there, why not go all the way?:D

Can I get away with not changing the rotors?

And what about the rears? Should I replace them as well? Is oem pads good enough for the rears?

What happens if I use DTC-70 at the street?

I'm using steelies with my RE-71R right now, is that also the reasons why I'm overheating?

Edited by rusoman
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On 5/1/2021 at 11:38 AM, rusoman said:

If I'm gonna swap the pads anyway, I will have to go with the most aggressive race pads.

Isn't rotors hard to take off cause they're usually stuck?

And does DTC-60 not work in autocross?

Why are you not using DTC-70 at the track? You're already there, why not go all the way?:D

Can I get away with not changing the rotors?

And what about the rears? Should I replace them as well? Is oem pads good enough for the rears?

What happens if I use DTC-70 at the street?

I'm using steelies with my RE-71R right now, is that also the reasons why I'm overheating?

I guess it depends if your rotors are seized on or not. I have yet to have any rotors stick but I also do not drive my car during the winter. 

The DTC-60s would not work well at autocross because they do not have a high initial bite since they need more heat in them to get them in their optimal working range. The optimal heat range for DTC-60s is around 700-1100F, which I doubt you'll ever see at autocross. For autocross, you want something that doesn't require much heat for them to start biting. Something like the HPS 5.0, with an optimal heat range of 100-550F, or an HP+, with an optimal heat range of 300-600F, would be better suited for autocross. You could even run any oem pad at autocross. 

DTC-70s would probably be overkill. I actually ordered the DTC-30s for my car but due to quality control issues they ended up sending me DTC-60s instead. Next time around I'd probably get the HT10s or maybe give the DTC-30s a shot. 

You could probably get away without replacing the rotor. You'll just have to make sure you bed in your track pads every time you switch.

I'm not sure what others here run, but I just have the HPS pads in the rears since majority of the brake bias is to the front wheels. If you're going with DTC-60s or DTC-70s maybe you'll want something a bit more aggressive in the back for a better pairing but I have not experienced many issues with my HPS pads in the rear and I haven't noticed much wear on the pads either. I'm sure even oem pads would be fine in the rear. 

If you use DTC-70s on the street you'll probably notice that your stopping distance will become much greater as the time for the pads to reach their operating temperatures will be greater. I'd imagine this might get even worse if it's cooler out or raining. You'll also get more noise, produce more brake dust (hope you don't have white wheels), and increase wear on the pads/rotors. Personally speaking, I'd rather daily drive a set of $75-$100 pads and wear them out over a few years instead of a $250-$300 set of pads that might only last a season...maybe two.

Hard to say. Could be a factor since steelies don't dissipate heat as well as a set of alloy wheels. Are you planning on upgrading your wheels in the future? 

 

 

Edited by Igor
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28 minutes ago, Igor said:

The DTC-60s would not work well at autocross because they do not have a high initial bite since they need more heat in them to get them in their optimal working range.

What if I drag the brakes hard from the pit to the starting line? Would that be enough heat?

35 minutes ago, Igor said:

DTC-70s would probably be overkill.

My oem pad was more than 50% when I to the track. After four sessions they're gone, they couldn't keep up with my tires, my abs wouldn't even activate. That's why an overkill pads would probably be good.

 

42 minutes ago, Igor said:

If you use DTC-70s on the street you'll probably notice that your stopping distance will become much greater as the time for the pads to reach their operating temperatures will be greater. I'd imagine this might get even worse if it's cooler out or raining. You'll also get more noise, produce more brake dust (hope you don't have white wheels), and increase wear on the pads/rotors.

If I brake early on the street and be really careful and be mindful of my following distance I'll be fine yeah? Or maybe get something less aggressive but still classified as a race pad?

46 minutes ago, Igor said:

Personally speaking, I'd rather daily drive a set of $75-$100 pads and wear them out over a few years instead of a $250-$300 set of pads that might only last a season...maybe two.

I just want it to last this racing season cause I might trade this car in by October.

47 minutes ago, Igor said:

Are you planning on upgrading your wheels in the future? 

If they're the main reason for overheating, I could upgrade my rims. Otherwise, tires would stay on my steelies.

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23 hours ago, rusoman said:

What parts should I buy for my 2018 Civic SE that brakes caught fire on trackday #3? I wanna make sure that doesn't happen again.

The ideas I got from people I talked to in the track was: 1. Use racing brake fluid. 2. Use hawk pads(not sure which one) 3. Use oem rotors(is oem enough?) 4. Switch out brake pads to track pads when there's an event(I don't know how to change pads on a car)

I use my car for delivery so I do a lot of city driving and I don't mind the noisy brakes but I've heard my stopping distance in street driving increases.

Busted Brakes.jpg

Changing your brake fluid won’t improve the fireproofing, but using something like MOTUL RBF660 reduces the possibility of your brake fluid boiling at elevated temperatures  Boiling produces vapor, which compresses easily resulting in loss of braking, liquid brake fluid doesn’t compress. Get stainless steel brake hoses, when they get hot, they don’t expand like ordinary rubber ones do.

If you’re using your brakes hard, regular street pads will wear very quickly when you operate above the designed temperature range. So you need pads that will operate at elevated temperatures. Even street performance pads will wear quickly once they are operating above their rated temperatures  Racing pads (like Carbotech XP-10’s) can operate at at temperatures as high as 800 degrees C. See https://ctbrakes.com/choosingcompounds/ 

Part of braking action is that on initial breaking in, the rotor is imbedded with bits of the brake pad, braking is improved, rotor life is improved. Its recommended that if you change pads, you should change rotors too, or at least give the rotors a sanding to remove bits of the old pads. 

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42 minutes ago, David Klassen said:

Changing your brake fluid won’t improve the fireproofing, but using something like MOTUL RBF660 reduces the possibility of your brake fluid boiling at elevated temperatures  Boiling produces vapor, which compresses easily resulting in loss of braking, liquid brake fluid doesn’t compress. Get stainless steel brake hoses, when they get hot, they don’t expand like ordinary rubber ones do.

If you’re using your brakes hard, regular street pads will wear very quickly when you operate above the designed temperature range. So you need pads that will operate at elevated temperatures. Even street performance pads will wear quickly once they are operating above their rated temperatures  Racing pads (like Carbotech XP-10’s) can operate at at temperatures as high as 800 degrees C. See https://ctbrakes.com/choosingcompounds/ 

Part of braking action is that on initial breaking in, the rotor is imbedded with bits of the brake pad, braking is improved, rotor life is improved. Its recommended that if you change pads, you should change rotors too, or at least give the rotors a sanding to remove bits of the old pads. 

I never heard of carbotech before, are they good? Which one are you using? 

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I think the main issue was mentioned near the start, steel doesn't conduct heat as well as aluminum, so it kept building up in the wheel rim and brake rotor. Compounding that material issue your average steel wheel shape usually just have small holes in what would otherwise be a smooth disk, and not thick spokes like alloys to get into the airflow and create more turbulence, so it's probably safe to assume that the air flow through the wheel is reduced compared to your average aluminum rim design, and also that in this case potential cooling air flow was further blocked by the plastic covers that should probably never have reached pit exit either.

I ran an Accord with more power, more weight, OEM equivalent ceramic pads with mostly Honda DOT 3 fluid, (I did my recent bleeds with Prestone DOT 4 but not a full flush) and ran for 3 days. The pedal got long and the system needed bleeding each day, but there was a lot of material left on the front pads at the end of it.

I would think that if you just upgrade your pads/rotors/fluid and leave the stock rims again, you'll just have a bigger fire.

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I am just stirring the pot a little bit here...

Does anybody know whether it was actually the brake fluid that burnt? Brake fluid needs extreme high temperatures to burn...temperatures brakes don't ever reach during 15 min lapping sessions. How many thousands of cars have done faster laps in hotter conditions without inflaming their brake fluid, regardless of the wheel type? Furthermore, to have a fire you need oxygen - how did the brake fluid start on fire if it was contained in its system?

Did you run metal to metal? Even then you would have to be noticing your reduced brake performance and {hopefully} not keep driving...

Do you have dragging brakes? Or was it the grease in your wheel bearing that started to burn...possibly because your wheel bearing was failing? Or maybe your CV shaft boot is open and managed to get grease onto your hot brakes?

 

Something in that story doesn't add up. And just putting in Hawk -70 pads won't solve that problem...

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26 minutes ago, Mjmcnee said:

I think the main issue was mentioned near the start, steel doesn't conduct heat as well as aluminum, so it kept building up in the wheel rim and brake rotor. Compounding that material issue your average steel wheel shape usually just have small holes in what would otherwise be a smooth disk, and not thick spokes like alloys to get into the airflow and create more turbulence, so it's probably safe to assume that the air flow through the wheel is reduced compared to your average aluminum rim design, and also that in this case potential cooling air flow was further blocked by the plastic covers that should probably never have reached pit exit either.

I ran an Accord with more power, more weight, OEM equivalent ceramic pads with mostly Honda DOT 3 fluid, (I did my recent bleeds with Prestone DOT 4 but not a full flush) and ran for 3 days. The pedal got long and the system needed bleeding each day, but there was a lot of material left on the front pads at the end of it.

I would think that if you just upgrade your pads/rotors/fluid and leave the stock rims again, you'll just have a bigger fire.

I'll bring a fire extinguisher this time around :D. And I'll stop as soon as I feel sponginess on my brake pedal.

With the cost of repair on my brakes, I'm not in a position to buy new rims. What I could do is install my track tires to my alloy wheels. ;)

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8 minutes ago, donrolandofurioso said:

I am just stirring the pot a little bit here...

Does anybody know whether it was actually the brake fluid that burnt? Brake fluid needs extreme high temperatures to burn...temperatures brakes don't ever reach during 15 min lapping sessions. How many thousands of cars have done faster laps in hotter conditions without inflaming their brake fluid, regardless of the wheel type? Furthermore, to have a fire you need oxygen - how did the brake fluid start on fire if it was contained in its system?

Did you run metal to metal? Even then you would have to be noticing your reduced brake performance and {hopefully} not keep driving...

Do you have dragging brakes? Or was it the grease in your wheel bearing that started to burn...possibly because your wheel bearing was failing? Or maybe your CV shaft boot is open and managed to get grease onto your hot brakes?

 

Something in that story doesn't add up. And just putting in Hawk -70 pads won't solve that problem...

Yea stupid me kept on driving even when the brake pedal was spongy, I was too trusting of OEM quality I thought there's no way my OEM brakes would fail me. From now on as soon as I feel sponginess I'm gonna stop driving.

There was brake fluid everywhere in the wheel well and the ground so it is the brake fluid that caught fire for sure. 

Actually, even the rear rotors was scored. So I'm replacing all four rotors, four pads, two front calipers and brake fluid. And then I'm gonna have a dedicated street rotors and pads for the front. It should be reliable then, better than OEM.

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24 minutes ago, Matter said:

Did your brake pads have any material left? Can you send a picture please?

I don't think there's any pad material left. I don't have a picture, it's in the shop right now. 

Here is what it says on the report:

1. Replace both front brake calipers w/ carrier (both front calipers leaking)

2. Replace front brake pads and rotors w/ calipers (front brake pads damaged due to caliper contacting rotors)

3. Replace rear brake pads and rotors (rear brake pads and rotors heat scored)

4. Perform brake fluid flush/bleed (no brake fluid in system)

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rusoman said "...brake fluid everywhere..." 

Sound like either the caliper seals blew or the brake hose blew. The natural response when the brakes fail is to press harder, and if the seals or hoses were overly hot, that'd increase fluid pressures and something blew.

So . . . stainless steel braid hoses are called for too.

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Just now, David Klassen said:

rusoman said "...brake fluid everywhere..." 

Sound like either the caliper seals blew or the brake hose blew. The natural response when the brakes fail is to press harder, and if the seals or hoses were overly hot, that'd increase fluid pressures and something blew.

So . . . stainless steel braid hoses are called for too.

Shop said the brake hose are fine, but I'm still undecided if I'm gonna get steel braided line because the rubber hose survived the fire anyway.

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3 hours ago, rusoman said:

I'll bring a fire extinguisher this time around :D. And I'll stop as soon as I feel sponginess on my brake pedal.

With the cost of repair on my brakes, I'm not in a position to buy new rims. What I could do is install my track tires to my alloy wheels. ;)

Wait, you already have alloy wheels and decided to put sticky rubber on steelies???

Going back to 2nd paragraph of the original post, I suggest you learn to at least change your own brake parts, I’d imagine that most mechanics will be happy to charge you to replace your brakes after each track day because they will look a little nastier than regular commuter Civic brakes. 

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There is likely three things that caused fire...

Paint boiling off stock Pads
caliper getting hot, slider boots melting, seals failing and sending fluid past the cylinder
you have a pressure leak in the rubber lines @ the crimp locations

Changing to DOT4 or 660 won't help the fire situation. All brake fluid will ignite if sprayed onto a hot rotor.
I lit my wheels up last season with Motul 660 in the caliper.

The rest is subjective but I will argue that EBC yellows are the best bang for the buck for all-round double duty use.
Are there better track-day pads? yep!
Are there cheaper pads? Absolutely.
But none that I have personally tested from Carbotech to Hawk to Powerstop etc. offer the best initial cold bite, with little to no acidic aluminum eating dusting issues that plague daily drivers and still be able to take the heat of track day use. Not to mention offer the least amount of ear piercing squealing that the popular Hawk 9012's offer.

All that while using the cheapest off-brand set of solid rotors you can find. You will be tossing them on the next pad change anyway.
(Cuz you never just swap rotors or pads...ever!)

PS...Hawk HPS and HP+ (Like EBC reds and PowerStop TDP's) are just glorified OEM replacement pads. They will get eaten alive at Gimli in one day.

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25 minutes ago, nopistons said:

There is likely three things that caused fire...

Paint boiling off stock Pads
caliper getting hot, slider boots melting, seals failing and sending fluid past the cylinder
you have a pressure leak in the rubber lines @ the crimp locations

Changing to DOT4 or 660 won't help the fire situation. All brake fluid will ignite if sprayed onto a hot rotor.
I lit my wheels up last season with Motul 660 in the caliper.

The rest is subjective but I will argue that EBC yellows are the best bang for the buck for all-round double duty use.
Are there better track-day pads? yep!
Are there cheaper pads? Absolutely.
But none that I have personally tested from Carbotech to Hawk to Powerstop etc. offer the best initial cold bite, with little to no acidic aluminum eating dusting issues that plague daily drivers and still be able to take the heat of track day use. Not to mention offer the least amount of ear piercing squealing that the popular Hawk 9012's offer.

All that while using the cheapest off-brand set of solid rotors you can find. You will be tossing them on the next pad change anyway.
(Cuz you never just swap rotors or pads...ever!)

PS...Hawk HPS and HP+ (Like EBC reds and PowerStop TDP's) are just glorified OEM replacement pads. They will get eaten alive at Gimli in one day.

Yea the caliper seal is leaking.

My new setup is: 

Trackday

Front - Hawk DTC-70 pads and Certified Rotor

Rear - Hawk HPS 5.0 pads and Certified Rotor

 

Street and Autocross

Front - EBC Yellowstuff and Certified Rotor(different from trackday rotor)

Rear - Same as the trackday setup

 

Fluid - OEM Dot 3 Brake Fluid rated for 500°F

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I had been doing some brake work this spring . . . didn’t do it all at once, had changed my rotors, leaving my older pads (over 50% life on them, Carbotech XP10/XP8) on, without brake pad shims. The result was horrible brake noise when moderate braking under 20kmph.

yesterday I installed new pads (same composition as before) with titanium brake pad shims. I then went on a bed-in run and 20 minutes of driving through town. NOT. A. PEEP. OR. SQUEEL!!

I’m looking forward to Hot Lapping this weekend, new tires, new brakes, new clutch, all new fluids, some new suspension bushings, slightly less tension on the rear sway bar

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  • 7 months later...

Yes...This is an old post.  Since there was some questions about the Carbotech.  My cars over the years started out as a 85 RX7, and then moving to a couple of tube frame RX7's.  So my comments may not be very relevant as my car is likely a bit lighter (2250lb) than your civic.   I have successfully used the Carbotechs from XP8/10 and progressing through the years to XP12 on the rear of my track cars.  Fronts I have used the Carbotech XP12/20/24 and RP2, and Hawk DTC-60.

They all had pretty decent initial bite, but the lower numbered product line is likely along the line of better initial bite at cool temps.  The only pads that had noticeable squeal was the XP20 and XP24.

Currently I am using the Hawk DTC-60 front and Carbotech RP-2 on the rear.  I have only been out at Gimli once over the last few years, and have had no braking issues while running a best in the 1:03.

I am curious as to your feedback on your experience of the DTC-70?

Thanks.....Allen

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