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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > REVIEW: Cool Carbon pads / EBC rotors



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      04-11-2010, 05:57 PM   #1
Alpina_B3_Lux
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2009 335i  [4.39]
REVIEW: Cool Carbon pads / EBC rotors

This is an (updated) part of my extended review thread that you can find in its entirety here: http://www.e90post.com/forums/showthread.php?t=322185

12. Brake upgrade

Why?
If you increase the power of your engine, I believe it's always sensible to give some thought to a possible increase in stopping power as well. Now, the stock braking system the 335i is equipped with is not bad at all - the brake discs are big (348 mm), and the pads are good for spirited street driving. However, some of my German colleagues from another forum complained about insufficient braking power from very high speeds (>250 km/h) with the stock system, something I personally have not yet experienced. I did experience some fading after two laps on the track, though, as well as on at least one occasion a lag in braking response under wet conditions and a veering of the car to one direction that was probably caused by uneven braking power due to the water film on the brake discs.
I therefore decided to upgrade the brakes within short - and there are two basic options to do this: Either you go for a so-called "big brake kit" (BBK), meaning a complete new brake set from Brembo, AP Racing or StopTech for example with bigger discs, more heat-resistant pads, multi-piston calipers and steel flex lines; or you can just upgrade the stock system with other discs, more efficient pads and steel flex lines. The first solution will of course yield optimal results in stopping power but is also rather expensive, while the second one can come quite close to the same result as long as you don't track your car very regularly. As my funds were somewhat depleted (see other mods above…) and after having talked about this with my very knowledgeable friend E92fan, I decided on the second option for the time being.

How?
I therefore obtained (i) steel flex lines for improved pedal feel (from Goodridge for around 140 EUR), (ii) brake pads from Cool Carbon that I had read excellent feedback from in the forum here (thanks to Mr. 5), (iii) high boiling brake fluid (ATE Blue Racing) and (iv) slotted and dimpled discs from EBC that are called "Turbo Groove" and go for around 500 EUR (front and back). In order to slightly improve the looks, I also had my calipers painted in black. The install of the discs and pads was of course quite easy, but apparently the fixing of the steel flex lines needed a little improvisation pursuant to my garage (that may be particular to sedans, as other users with E92 have not had the same problem).
Here's a photo of the end result - sorry the weather was not great, therefore it's a bit dark:


Improvements?
Well, first of all there was no improvement but rather a worsening of the braking power - much more pedal travel was necessary, no bite at all. Was something wrong? No, not at all - finally it's the friction between the disc and the pad that determines the braking power of a car, and if both components are new they first have to be bedded in (see here). That procedure means a number of brakes from increasing speeds - I did 10 stops from 120 km/h to around 40, and that four times in a row. After that, the feel improved significantly but was not yet perfect; now after around 1500 additional kilometers it's as it should be - crisp bite (but a little less than with the stock system), very linear and consistent braking power and no fade at all under any conditions.
Update
I have now had the occasion to test it on the track extensively - on the famous "Nordschleife" of the Nürburgring, to be more precise. The pads surprised me positively: No fade at all even after two consecutive laps (40 km) of really hard driving, and very linear braking power which is particularly important on the track as otherwise it is really difficult to gauge when and how you need to brake at a given point. Also, I noticed that the brakes now bite harder after having warmed up, i.e. after having braked hard twice; I would assume that this is due to the brake pads reaching their optimal working temperature only when being warm.

There is, of course, some brake dust coming off the pads - but I would venture to say that it's considerably less than with the OEM brake pads.

Both the steel flex lines and the discs can also be TÜV approved, if some of our European friends read this review. The steel flex lines come with an ABE, meaning no further documentation is necessary; however, the discs were more difficult to approve as since about 2008 the TÜV in Germany has become stricter and does not allow any "comparative expertises" ("Vergleichsgutachten") any more. That means you need to provide them with detailed drawings of the rotors as well as a written statement of the manufacturer that they have quality control procedures in place. This cost me some time (writing back and forth with EBC) and also money, as the procedure with the TÜV cost in the end around 400 EUR. For anyone willing to do this, here are also the drawings of the rotors which I had to make available to the TÜV:

Front brake discs


Rear brake discs



Problems / disadvantages?
Now, the bedding in procedure is somewhat annoying, and I would strongly recommend (i) not to take any passenger during that procedure (except if you have a very big barf bag stashed in your car) and (ii) to do that late in the evening on some lonely roads. I think the cars passing me or driving behind me for some time must have thought me quite nuts - I could almost hear them thinking "who's this crazy guy that accelerates like the devil's on his tail and than brakes as if Penélope Cruz materialised on the road before him???"

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Last edited by Alpina_B3_Lux; 05-28-2010 at 03:50 AM.
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      04-11-2010, 08:33 PM   #2
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Nice review
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      04-12-2010, 03:48 AM   #3
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Nice review
Thank you!

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      08-22-2012, 11:03 AM   #4
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Superb and extremely informative review which I can't believe hasn't had more replies.

So would you still recommend the rotors mentioned in this post over anything else? I need to change my rear discs/pads although the fronts are fine for now. I've considered going for the same setup as you mentioned. Worthwhile to do just the rears?

Dave
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      08-22-2012, 01:31 PM   #5
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2009 335i  [4.39]
Quote:
Originally Posted by MEGA View Post
Superb and extremely informative review which I can't believe hasn't had more replies.

So would you still recommend the rotors mentioned in this post over anything else? I need to change my rear discs/pads although the fronts are fine for now. I've considered going for the same setup as you mentioned. Worthwhile to do just the rears?

Dave
Well, of course a real BBK as I have right now is much better than just replacing the rotors and pads. But that's another price level obviously.

From my experience the rotors are quite good - but I only chose to replace these because of the problems with braking in the wet, less for performance purposes under dry conditions. For the latter, the pads are more important and I think that the Cool Carbon pads were an excellent improvement over the stock pads.

The rear discs/pads don't do much, so if you want to improve braking consistency and fading resistance I would start with the fronts, not the rears. But in case you have to replace the rears anyway (i.e. if they're worn out), you could also replace them with the EBC rotors and CC pads instead of remaining stock.

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      08-23-2012, 12:28 PM   #6
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Excellent review, we've been very happy with the Cool Carbon product line.
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