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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
After some discussion about brake pads on this site in another thread , Ned Kirkham of Autolusso gave some input with an unequivocal recommendation of Performance Friction pads saying that nothing else he had tried measured up to them, and offering to eat his hat if they weren’t the best pads people had tried..

I’m a reasonably keen track day aficionado and had previously tried various race and fast road pads in my supercharged 156 GTA so was intrigued at the claim that these pads could cover all bases.
I politely expressed some skepticism that a pad that could be suitable for day to day road use would be able to hold it own against more focused race oriented pads that make compromises to daily drivability.

After some friendly discussion, far from backing down - Ned offered to send me over a free set to review. I was interested and took up Neds offer, I used a Race Technology AX-22 data logger so would be able to get an objective assessment of the pads performance.

So here it is!

The pads concerned were “Performance Friction Carbon Metallic Z-rated” with a part number 1001.11.

Before talking about the Performance Friction (PF) pads - let’s first mention the standard pads fitted by Alfa to the GTA.
I’m specifically talking about the later model 3.2V6 cars with the excellent 330mm disc and large 4 piston Brembo calipers shared with the Mitsubishi Evo.
These standard pads are fine for normal road use and are gentle on discs and are inexpensive. However on several occasions they tended to only last a single track day in my experience at a track that is very hard on brakes and suffered some chunking at the sides due to heat stress, so they aren’t really inexpensive for extreme use – a better pad would last much longer.
For enthusiastic driving the standard pads just aren’t making full use of the GTAs impressive *potential* braking power. Those meaty calipers and large discs that dispel heat quickly are essentially underused with the standard pads.
However the GTA can stop a LOT quicker, especially from high speeds with more serious pads, they also can stop with a LOT more control and confidence. With that glorious engine you really want the brakes to match the acceleration and effortlessly shed speed..

Anyway back to the PF pads themselves.
They come with decent quality metal backing heat shields. They don’t take long to bed in, I gave them 30 progressively harder stops on an empty motorway with short cooling in between and the pads performed excellently at a trackday the next morning.

For road use these pads have extremely impressive cold performance, they really don’t need to be heated up to get decent braking.
Their cold performance is superb, better than Ferodo DS-Perf (a fast road/light trackday pad) and much better than the Ferodo DS-2500s (light race pad).

The PF pads are the quietest performance pads I have ever tried, possibly as quiet as OEM, I haven’t heard a squeak out of them in the 1000 miles of testing to date.
Ferodo DS-2500 pads have excellent performance when warm/hot but can occasionally squeak nastily at low speeds, and this can put many people off who don’t want to scare civilians. DS-3000 pads will make small children cry.

So it seems for all normal road use, the PF pads are completely uncompromised – so how do they fare when really being tested to the limit?

Firstly any performance pad of this quality would only make maximum use of the GTAs braking system if you upgrade the brake fluid – the extra stopping power over the OEM pads results in extra heat being transferred to the brake fluid so you need one with an increased boiling point to avoid brake fade due to the fluid getting boiled.
I would also recommend getting braided hoses front and rear.

At the trackday where I tested the PF pads my car was shod with hard-compound Kumho V700 road-legal trackday tyres - so the brakes could be worked very hard indeed.
The PF pads were able to pull in an impressive maximum of 1.14 negative g’s.

A clip from the day is at:

Alfa 156 GTA Vs Porsche 911 964 RS - Video

The pads performed better than the DS-Perf pads I had tried but impressively also outperformed the stronger DS-2500 pads.
My telemetry allowed me to overlay braking data for two laps of my local track. The black trace is with Ferodo DS-2500 pads, and the red trace is with the Performance friction pads. The two laps were recorded on different days but the same excellent track conditions prevailed. These laps were the fastest/cleanest laps of the days concerned.

Heres a detailed pic of the telemetry (you can click on it a second time to zoom in a little).

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c306/Trailbraker/PFVsDS2500.jpg

You can clearly see from the speed graph that I could brake later and from a higher speed with the PF pads as compared to the Ferodos.
Additionally from the longitudinal acceleration trace you can see the red line dips down further into the negative g’s, so they do perform very well.


Pad wear after the day seemed to be very low, lower than any other pad I had tried (DSPErf, DS2500, DS3000, Galfer, OEM).
Disc wear also seemed light, but one track day plus 1000 miles of road use isn’t enough to judge disc wear accurately.

How did the pads compare Vs extreme Ferodo DS3000 race pads?
Surprisingly well for an all round pad, but in the end the DS3000 pads had superior pedal feel and brutally efficient control over severe stops, far less pressure was required on the pedal in-extremis for the DS3000’s as compared to the PF’s.

..but could you use DS3000 pads everyday? No way, your neighbours would shoot you due to your brakes shrieking when you park your car late at night.
The DS3000’s are not streetable due to poor cold performance, and VERY high noise. They also wear quicker than the PF pads, and are fairly hard on discs.

This leaves me with the conclusion that Performance friction make the best all-round high performance pad that I have tried to date, no compromises for day to day use, and take extreme abuse in their stride.

Hope this was of interest to some, especially those who don't want squeeky pads..


Regards,
TB
 

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Discussion Starter #3
They seem to be reasonably priced, around £137 inc vat which is a fair bit cheaper than the standard price for DS2500 pads.
DS2500's can be up to £170 inc vat, although camskills have a special offer right now of £149 inc vat (plus extra £10 P&P to uk).

I think I paid £191 for DS3000's previously.
 

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My DS2500s were £100 inc VAT - good price then!

Or are they more expensive on the larger 305 or 330mm disks?
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Yup the larger pads are much more expensive , I'm guessing that was the price for the 2.4JTD pads?

I think the pads are about twice the size on the 330mm V6, so its fair enough.

It seems like the smaller DS2500 pads don't squeek quite as much as the larger ones, but the majority of people I know who have tried DS2500's with the 3.2v6's 330mm calipers have varying levels of noise irritation, a few with none, but city driving seems to cause it mostly.
It is tolerable if you are prepared to compensate your slow speed stops. DS2500 are good pads though too.
 

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Yup the larger pads are much more expensive , I'm guessing that was the price for the 2.4JTD pads?

I think the pads are about twice the size on the 330mm V6, so its fair enough.

It seems like the smaller DS2500 pads don't squeek quite as much as the larger ones, but the majority of people I know who have tried DS2500's with the 3.2v6's 330mm calipers have varying levels of noise irritation, a few with none, but city driving seems to cause it mostly.
It is tolerable if you are prepared to compensate your slow speed stops. DS2500 are good pads though too.
Yeah, that was for the JTD's disks, 284mm disks I think? Same one's as fitted on my 3 litre if I'm not wrong, as it was a 2.5 V6 to begin with not a GTA, so should have the 284mm disks. Currently fitted with tarox sport Japan disks and pads, so much better than stock disks with DS2500s IMO.
 

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That PF pads sounds pretty good.

I got a good deal of DS2500 on Ebay for my 330mm. It cost me A$260/108 pounds shipped. and I got rear from GTAowner. I haven't fitted it yet and a bit worry about the noise. I had DS2500 before on my twin sparks. There was some squeak noise in low speed.

TB, Does PF make our GTA rear brake pad?

I'm getting quote of the PF over here in OZ. I might change it over if I can sell my DS2500. Both my front and rear are getting low so I like to replace them all with same brand.
 

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thanks for the review TB. you're the perfect person for the job, given your experience and resources. :)

That PF pads sounds pretty good.

I'm getting quote of the PF over here in OZ.
@ Abyss: who have you contacted about this? locally in Australia, or overseas? would be interested to hear any details.

:)
 
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Thanks very much for posting this review TB, excellent stuff. Makes me think that a set of these pads along with braided hoses and upgraded fluid will probably be enough upgrade to my 305 system for the use I will give the GTA.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

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Awesome review :thumbs:
 

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Sc, Here you go mate

Competition Friction + AP Racing

I'm waiting for reply and I can send the email if you like since our brakes are the same.
ah, yes. i knew those guys could supply the Ferodo pads, but didn't realise they also import the PF. cool.

i'm not ready for new pads yet (ie: will wait until the originals are worn), but am interested to know of the cost of these ones as replacements.

:)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
I don't know if PF do rears.

I can confirm though that DS2500's on the rears work fine with the PFs up front which is what I was using at the track day.

I don't find that the rear DS2500's squeek at all, have had them on for 1 1/2 years now.
(Probably related to the fact that the rear GTA pads are pretty small compared to the fronts)


TB, Does PF make our GTA rear brake pad?

I'm getting quote of the PF over here in OZ. I might change it over if I can sell my DS2500. Both my front and rear are getting low so I like to replace them all with same brand.
 

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Thank you for your review and I am very glad you agree with me and I don’t have to eat my hat

We are retailing the pads for £145 including VAT and UK delivery, world wide delivery is also possible.

We are offering a fitting service: Performance Friction Pads and high temperature brake fluid for £250 including VAT.

We have them in stock, they can not only be used in the GTA but you get really good result with any of the Alfa’s fitted with the Brembo callipers. We tried them in a 159 2.4 JTD which as you all know is quite a heavy car and the result was fantastic.

If you want your Alfa to stop this is a must have purchase.

Ned
 

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Discussion Starter #16
They certainly will improve it for road use.

The only issue I can think of is whether your discs would warp for very heavy use. For fast road use I would suspect the discs would cope just fine and your emergency stopping power would be much improved.

Would worry about some warpage for track use, given I warped two sets of oem discs with the standard 305mm pads on track before I upgraded.
It all depends on whether it was the poor oem pads fault or the discs fault :)

Autodelta do sell heat treated cross drilled 305mm discs should the worst happen, I'm sure there are lots of others to chose from too.

Cheers,
TB

Thanks very much for posting this review TB, excellent stuff. Makes me think that a set of these pads along with braided hoses and upgraded fluid will probably be enough upgrade to my 305 system for the use I will give the GTA.

Cheers,

Nigel
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Ned, do you know about the rear fitment?

I think most Alfa 147/156's share the same rear brakes.
 

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Hope this was of interest to some, especially those who don't want squeeky pads..


Regards,
TB
Many thanks to both you and Ned for taking the time and expense to perform this test. I'm certain most people will find it very interesting :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:
 
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They certainly will improve it for road use.

The only issue I can think of is whether your discs would warp for very heavy use. For fast road use I would suspect the discs would cope just fine and your emergency stopping power would be much improved.
Thanks TB, good advice. However, I don't plan on track use. If I did, it would definitely be the 330 upgrade (which I can't afford as I plan to get a Q2, new exhaust and coilovers.....). I haven't had any problems at all so far but I think knowing I have better stopping power with a relatively minor upgrade would be a good move.

I do plan to start doing some track days in 08, but with other people's cars!

Cheers,

Nigel
 
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