Alfa Romeo 159 PB Brakes Big Brake Kit Review - Alfa Romeo Forum
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(Post Link) post #1 of 13 Old 4 Weeks Ago Thread Starter
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Alfa Romeo 159 PB Brakes Big Brake Kit Review

Dear all,

Brief Introduction
I own a 2010 Alfa Romeo 159 2.2 JTS Selespeed equipped with stock Brembo 305mm front brake system. I am not happy with the braking power and also stopping distance. Hence started my quest for Big Brake Kit upgrade.

This is not be a biased comparison as I am comparing with another 2010 Alfa Romeo 159 2.2 JTS Selespeed in the family. Yes, we have two Alfa Romeo 159 2.2 JTS Selespeed in the family. I have compared the brake system on my own car before and after the Big Brake Kit upgrade, and compared to my father's car with new brake parts as follow:
I have done 10,000KMs on my Big Brake Kit before sharing my experience with you all. The whole Big Brake Kit was purchased from https://pbbrakes.com/ for those who are interested in. Here are the upgrade parts:

Front Big 6 Pot 356x32mm Brake System (https://pbbrakes.com/brake-kits/alfa...brake-kit.html)
  • Drilled and Slotted Rotors.
  • Floating Rotors.
  • Anodized Color 4.
  • DOT compliant stainless steel braided brake lines.
  • Street Pads.
  • Fitment Brackets.

Rear 4 Pot 330x28mm Brake System (https://pbbrakes.com/brake-kits/alfa...brake-kit.html)
  • Drilled and Slotted Rotors.
  • Floating Rotors.
  • Anodized Color 4.
  • DOT compliant stainless steel braided brake lines.
  • Street Pads.
  • Fitment Brackets.
  • Line Lock (To retain the handbrake function)

PB Brakes BBK Review
The car is my daily driver and occasionally freeway high speed cruise (180KM/H ~ 210KM/H), and back road spirited driving.I will boil my review down to plain Pros and Cons.

Pros
  • Greatly increase in braking power.
  • Greatly reduce in stopping distance.
  • More linear braking.
  • Direct and responsive braking feedback.
  • Reasonable price (compared to premium brands).

Cons
  • Need vs Want (stock brake systems are perfectly fine for normal usage).
  • Hard to justify for many.
  • Brake noise (need to clean and lubricate when noisy).
  • May need bigger wheels (depending on your opted BBK size).

Enjoy the photos and thanks.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Distant-View-Car.jpg (135.0 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg Front-6-Pot-Wheel-Off.jpg (93.0 KB, 41 views)
File Type: jpg Front-6-Pot-Top-View.jpg (88.3 KB, 35 views)
File Type: jpg Rear-4-Pot-TopDown-View.jpg (96.2 KB, 32 views)
File Type: jpg Rear-EBrake-Kit-TopDown-View.jpg (66.4 KB, 39 views)
File Type: jpg Rear-4-Pot-Wheel-Off.jpg (92.7 KB, 33 views)
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(Post Link) post #2 of 13 Old 4 Weeks Ago
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I find that on modern cars there is not a lot of improvement to have in stopping distance....I have stock Brembos and if I push the pedal down the ABS will cut in....you cant brake any harder than that! The only way to improve the stopping distance is with better tyres or (to a certain extent) better suspension.....or of course less wait in the car to stop in the first place . If you can lock your wheels you really cant use any more braking force than that. What after market brakes will give you is a lot better feel and less pedal effort. So I would never talk anyone out of a brake upgrade....just don't expect miracles! Maintaining the stock brakes and using quality discs and pads will give a perfectly good result for all but the most demanding.
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Interesting, one of the things I like most about my TI is the confidence inspiring brakes. I can’t quite fathom what use cases you have that needs more than that but that’s not really the point!

How much bigger are these than the TI setup?
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Originally Posted by alfaitalia View Post
I find that on modern cars there is not a lot of improvement to have in stopping distance....I have stock Brembos and if I push the pedal down the ABS will cut in....you cant brake any harder than that! The only way to improve the stopping distance is with better tyres or (to a certain extent) better suspension.....or of course less wait in the car to stop in the first place . If you can lock your wheels you really cant use any more braking force than that. What after market brakes will give you is a lot better feel and less pedal effort. So I would never talk anyone out of a brake upgrade....just don't expect miracles! Maintaining the stock brakes and using quality discs and pads will give a perfectly good result for all but the most demanding.
I forgot to make it clear that this is not a paid review and I don't get anything out of it. Hence I am not trying to talk anyone out of brake upgrade.

Thanks for your input and I whole heartedly agree that good tyres and better suspension setup do help in braking. I do have brand new Michelin Pilot Sport 4 tyres all round and all brand new suspension upgrade before the BBK upgrade as follow:
  • Bilstein B12 Pro-Kit.
  • BiscioneRacing Aluminium Front Strut Bar.
  • Meyle HD Reinforced Stabiliser Link Set Front + Rear.
  • Eibach Anti-Roll-Kit - Sports Stabiliser Bars.
  • Front Powerflex Black Series PU Bushes Set For The Upper Wishbones (Camber adjustable).
  • Front Powerflex PU Suspension Bushes Set For The Lower Wishbones.
  • Rear Powerfles PU Suspension Bushes Set For The Lower Trailing Arms.
  • OE Front and Rear Strut Top Mounts.
  • OE Front and Rear Dust Cover with Stopper.
  • OE Front Upper Wishbones.
  • OE Front Lower Wishbones.
  • Birth tie rod ends.
  • Ultra Racing Rear Lower Bar / Rear Member Brace (Alfa Romeo 159 Rear Lower Bar / Rear Member Brace - Ultra Racing Product Catalog).

Do take note that all those Powerflex bushes are fitted on new OE wishbones (have the new bushes pressed out).

Unless you have the Red 330mm brake system on your car (possible out of sport version of 159), the 305mm brake system does not inspire confidence on a heavy Alfa Romeo 159.

Many should have experienced the stock brake system losing effectiveness after a period of continuously hard braking (especially downhill). Better pads might help, but then you need to upgrade to high carbon rotors (which Brembo does not make anymore, at least I was told, tried to order for my father's 159). With BBK especially you have floating rotors, heat dissipate better and faster.

I travel quite frequent on freeway, with the BBK upgrade I can apply brake much later than the stock brake system and yet able to stop better.

Thanks.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr S View Post
Interesting, one of the things I like most about my TI is the confidence inspiring brakes. I can’t quite fathom what use cases you have that needs more than that but that’s not really the point!

How much bigger are these than the TI setup?
As I have replied someone's else. Unless you have the Red 330mm brake system on your car, the stock 305mm brake system on mine does not inspire confidence.

I have 4 pot 330mm brake system fitted at the rear and front is big 6 pot 356mm. The larger the BBK, the larger surface area for friction and hence braking performance. Some might think rear BBK is waste of money and not worth it, I am a little picky and I care about brake bias.

Why I upgrade BBK?
Replacing the stock rotors, pads, brake lines cost money as well. I want it done right and peace of mind for many years to come, hence BBK upgrade.

The BBK is overkill to be honest, but I know the braking power is there when I need it. I do some downhill runs with some friends, you cannot catch up with those GT 86 or Brz on hill runs, unless you can brake better at corners just to catch up.

Thanks.
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Interesting that you opted down this route in my opinion, seems like an expensive way of doing it.

I used brembo performance pads in my brera track car with the 330mm brembo's and these were terrible and just faded

I have since bought CLRC6 and PFC pads and had no such issue on track or road with a fraction of a cost of these big brake upgrade kits
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I bet that lot wasnt cheap, how does the rear behave under heavy breaking, I imagine it just wants to lock up all the time.

I fitted 166 v6 Brembo calipers to my 159 with the single pot 305mm brakes, they bolt straight on and together with braided lines and decent pads it was a big improvement.

Last edited by JON156VELOCE; 4 Weeks Ago at 16:09.
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Originally Posted by alfaromeo939s View Post
Interesting that you opted down this route in my opinion, seems like an expensive way of doing it.

I used brembo performance pads in my brera track car with the 330mm brembo's and these were terrible and just faded

I have since bought CLRC6 and PFC pads and had no such issue on track or road with a fraction of a cost of these big brake upgrade kits
Yes, indeed it is an expensive way. I might very well have used better pads and rotors if my car came with the 330mm brake system. I plan to own this car for many years to come and hence willing to spend a little extra on handling and braking.

LSD will be installed along with the next clutch change in few weeks time.

Cheers.
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I've said this before many times.

Big brake kits - bigger rotors, 4 pot / multi piston callipers do NOT improve stopping distances. The standard brakes on a modern car such as a 147 /156 or 159/brera are perfectly capable of locking the wheels.

The only real benefit the big brake kits offer is increased thermal capacity and perhaps, in this instance, a small improvement in stopping distances from silly speeds (120mph+) as a consequence.

If you anyone feels that their brakes are inadequate, I would suggest that there is an issue with your brakes - brake fluid, flexi hoses, calliper condition etc all contribute to a lack of braking performance.
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Originally Posted by Chris155 View Post
I've said this before many times.

Big brake kits - bigger rotors, 4 pot / multi piston callipers do NOT improve stopping distances. The standard brakes on a modern car such as a 147 /156 or 159/brera are perfectly capable of locking the wheels.

The only real benefit the big brake kits offer is increased thermal capacity and perhaps, in this instance, a small improvement in stopping distances from silly speeds (120mph+) as a consequence.

If you anyone feels that their brakes are inadequate, I would suggest that there is an issue with your brakes - brake fluid, flexi hoses, calliper condition etc all contribute to a lack of braking performance.
Hi there,

Before this review, I spent over 10,000 KMs with the car after the BBK upgrade to make sure it is not any sort of placebo effect. Like I have stated on previous replies, down hill runs and high speed (180KM/h ~ 200KM/h) expressway cruise are kind of my things. Allow me to share my experience in more details.

P/S: I am from Malaysia and hence my scenarios could be very different than yours.

High speed expressway
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North%...sway_(Malaysia)

We do have speed cameras or patrol police cars (Evo X) on expressway. However, we may get a speeding ticket but we don't enforce traffic violation point systems yet. We have trucks and motorcycles sharing the same expressway, things can get messy sometimes. From my experience, after the BBK upgrade, I could slow down my car from 180KM/h down to 90KM/h in much shorter distance should the truck/motorcycle decided to change lane (overtaking or just sleepy).

Down hill
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genting_Highlands

The 2.2 JTS does not do well up hill on my heavy 159. We have many speed bumps down hill. Guess you could imagine the amount of abuse we put on the brakes. Before the BBK upgrade, my brakes will just fade away after a single run. My BBK holds up multiple runs without issue now.

Attached google map of the down hill route.

My thoughts
YES! Should have gone to race track instead of pulling those stupid stunts on public roads. I know it, but it is just too much fun.

I agreed that it might be a very expensive way of doing. But I want to make sure the car can stop as and when I needed it to.

Cheers and comments are always welcome.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JON156VELOCE View Post
I bet that lot wasnt cheap, how does the rear behave under heavy breaking, I imagine it just wants to lock up all the time.

I fitted 166 v6 Brembo calipers to my 159 with the single pot 305mm brakes, they bolt straight on and together with braided lines and decent pads it was a big improvement.
Hi there,

Believed most of the braking power and done by the front brake system. I upgraded the rear as well to avoid brake bias. The car slows down as it should under heavy braking without pulling aside.

We do have a 1999 Alfa Romeo 166 3.0 V6 in the family. Did not know the front brake system (330mm) can bolt straight on to Alfa Romeo 159. Sounds like a wonderful upgrade.

Thanks.
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Its just the Calipers, you use the standard 305mm 159 discs, the pads do run right on the edge of the discs as the 166 discs are 310mm and use a different stud patern to the 159. You also need to get slightly longer brake hoses, about 50mm longer than standard which wasnt an issue as I got braided hoses made up but apparently the 166 hoses arw long enough.
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Originally Posted by JON156VELOCE View Post
Its just the Calipers, you use the standard 305mm 159 discs, the pads do run right on the edge of the discs as the 166 discs are 310mm and use a different stud patern to the 159. You also need to get slightly longer brake hoses, about 50mm longer than standard which wasnt an issue as I got braided hoses made up but apparently the 166 hoses arw long enough.
Thanks for the information.
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