Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Brake Upgrade Part 2 - DBA 4000 Series Rear Brake Disc

Well I finally got my DBAs. They originally landed in Bolehland Capital as far back as January but work and other commitments kept me from delivering them to Penang for installation till now. One of my favourite bands is an acoustic duo called the Kings of Convenience. How about Kings of Procrastination? Haha...

Anyway add RM60 for Pos Laju and this arrived @ my doorstep.

The DBA part number.

Opening the box revealed the following. Each disc gets its own box and part number. Non-swept areas on the disc are painted for corrosion resistance.

The following one pamphlet serves as documentation for the disc

So why DBA 4000 series apart from the price premium (~1.8K for a pair of one piece solid brake discs)? You can read up on the advantages here. To summarize:
  • Thermographic paint markings for heat monitoring - But then DBA states the following in the pamphlet "Warranty of DBA product void when use in any form of motorsport". I don't see any reason why one would want to monitor the heat range of their brake rotors on a daily driver street use car. For the hardcore anal retentive?
  • Innovative Kangaroo Paw ventilation design which runs cooler - A moot point as the rear rotors on a Slowtra are solid and non-ventilated.
  • Suitable for specific production car motorsport use - Main reason why I got the 4000 series instead of the regular DBA Street Series Slotted. And of course some subtle poisoning sorry advice from Bro Jacko helped me on the decision to go for the 4000 series.
  • The unique 6x6 Wiper Slot is designed to efficiently clear gases, dust and debris, resulting in a cleaner disc surface for better braking while maintaining maximum friction - Looks cool too!
Picture below shows 2 of the 3 (green, orange and red) thermographic paint markings

Installation was done at my regular TCEAS in Prai. I expected this to be a no-brainer direct bolt-on job but unfortunately then ran into issues. Picture of the disc/rotor installed

Picture of disc, caliper and brake pad without shims installed. As posted the pads are Stoptech 309 Compound which have been sitting in my study's cabinet for more than 4 months! When the mech tried to bolt on the caliper to the pads and disc the caliper body would not clear the disc and pads due to sufficient width/clearance. The new disc with new pads was proving too thick for the caliper to accomodate even though the caliper pistons where fully recessed. I tested with brand new stock Hitachi pads and same problem. The workaround was to install the pads minus the anti-squeal/rattle shims. With some pad wear I should be able to later reinstall back the shims. I guess this is the reason why 10mm rear brake disc thickness is specified for year 2000 USDM Sentra B15s and 9mm for 2001 onwards.

Upon bolting everything back another issue was discovered. The rear right hand (driver) side handbrake was not working. The toggle lever on the caliper was not engaging or releasing the parking brake when the handbrake was engaged/disengaged. This means I only have the handbrake on one side of the Slowtra. The TCEAs technician tells me my caliper and handbrake cable are probably screwed. Sigh... Anyway the decision was to go ahead and bolt everything back together pending replacements. I am deciding if I should just bring in a brand new caliper as the caliper that failed came from a half cut together with my rear beam and brakes. Ditto handbrake cable. These lasted me 6 months but like most half cut parts the actual service life is unknown.  I did not have any issues with my handbrake till the latest dismantle for the brake disc and pad install. Am still troubleshooting and will report out on the fix in upcoming post.

Picture of everything with my rims installed. Being the same size as stock the new disc still looks small though the slots add some fierceness :)

After a couple days of driving and bedding-in the increased in braking performance is glaringly obvious. Yes, even with just the rear disc and pads with the front brakes still bone stock! Pedal feel is surprisingly firmer probably due to less brake caliper piston travel as the previous pads were pretty worn. Brake dust is to be expected more than the stock Hitachi pads though not by much. I did not notice any major increase in brake noise without the brake pad shims installed though will expect more noise once the pads begin to wear and increasing clearance. I now need to fix my handbrake before moving on to the fronts.


Firdaus Asri said...

I'm waiting for your front brake upgrade bro :)

Andrew Saw said...

Patience Bro :)