An observation about stock brake pads - LotusTalk - The Lotus Cars Community
 
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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-01-2009, 04:34 AM Thread Starter
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An observation about stock brake pads

07 Elise, all stock. With the incredible feedback this car gives I find the brakes very effective and very controllable.... That is when they're dry. In moderate rain though, I feel a period (maybe 1/4 second) while they dry out and grip actually starts. First application is all but useless. I have never felt this in another car. Is this Elise road-to-driver communication or a quirk in the pads used by Lotus? Oh yeah, stock rotors are drilled.

Do people here change to a different pad? The ones that came on the car are horrible dustwise, trashing the wheels in 1 hour of driving but I love them in the dry.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 06:31 AM
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Is this your daily driver?

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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 08:21 AM Thread Starter
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Yes it is. Wat u think brake guru? Can't believe no one here has commented. The feeling is so obvious that there must be millions of ppl with these pads that feel the lag.
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by wdonovan View Post
Yes it is. Wat u think brake guru? Can't believe no one here has commented. The feeling is so obvious that there must be millions of ppl with these pads that feel the lag.
We have not heard of this exact issue.

How many miles are on the car? Which tires?

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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 06:09 PM
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Interestingly enough, my wife drove my car today in the rain. She had the same observation that it takes a moment or 2 for the brakes to grab. I have noticed it too, but just got used to it.

I would have thought the cross drilled rotors would have prevented this.

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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 06:25 PM
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Originally Posted by wdonovan View Post
... there must be millions of ppl ...
Just wanted to comment that there probably aren't millions of people that have felt any one symptom on an Elise, especially one concerning rain. There's probably not more than several thousand in the US, and many of those are not driven in the rain. So, if you feel like you're one of the only ones going through this, there's a good chance you are
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 07:08 PM
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The pads as delivered on the car need heat. The coefficient of friction is increasing with temperature. When it rains, the brake temp has tendency to be lower. The brake needs to be apply for a longer period before the temp reach the good value. The brake pads have probably a DOT spec like FG or something like. It is normal for high performance brake pads.

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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-02-2009, 09:30 PM
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I have noticed this exact same moment of nothing with the brakes in the rain. You are not alone on this one.
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 12:40 AM
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I have noticed this exact same moment of nothing with the brakes in the rain. You are not alone on this one.
I have not noticed it on the non-ABS'ed version.
I guess if it doesn't do it in the dry, then it is not the ABS or the booster, and can only be the pads.
Grooving might be better than drilled for water??
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 03:36 AM
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My '05 is also my daily driver, and I have recently started having the same feeling you are describing. I am not the original owner, but since the car only had 8K miles on it when i bought it in 08 I assume they are. I never noticed the sensation until the last week or so. Pads look okay, but plan to replace them while I have the car laid up for the winter.

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post #11 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by elise/europa View Post
The pads as delivered on the car need heat. ... It is normal for high performance brake pads.
Correct. This is the bane of most OE brake engineers - create a pad that works when it is cold AND when it is hot. Not an easy thing to achieve. The stock pads are very good overall. Remember they are stilted towards hot performance more so than cold.

In colder or wet conditions, it is a good idea to touch your brake pedal lightly to add a bit of heat in them BEFORE you really need to use them. But the old adage of leaving a reasonable gap in slippery conditions also applies.

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post #12 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 05:29 AM
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Originally Posted by wdonovan View Post
07 Elise, all stock. With the incredible feedback this car gives I find the brakes very effective and very controllable.... That is when they're dry. In moderate rain though, I feel a period (maybe 1/4 second) while they dry out and grip actually starts. First application is all but useless. I have never felt this in another car. Is this Elise road-to-driver communication or a quirk in the pads used by Lotus? Oh yeah, stock rotors are drilled.

Do people here change to a different pad? The ones that came on the car are horrible dustwise, trashing the wheels in 1 hour of driving but I love them in the dry.
Yea, as all others have commented, it's a heat thing, as in too cold, most folks here are trying to get more friction at higher temps, not the other way around. If all you do is poke around town what you need are crapier pads, not better ones. The stock pads for me started to go away at the track, so I have gone the opposite route.

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post #13 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 05:37 AM
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I have the same issue, rather frighteningly demonstrated for me last week when a very slow-moving truck pulled into my lane right in front of me, I hit the brakes, and...nothing happened. I was able to dodge him but for the rest of the drive I gently applied the brakes occasionally to dry them out/warm them up.

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post #14 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-03-2009, 06:27 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the replies (and the support). On the "millions" comment.... It was a joke. So there actually are a number of ppl that feel the same thing. At first I thought that the cure was to drill the rotors. You see this problem only manifests itself in moderate or heavy water conditions, not light rain. I thought the water was being directed right onto the caliper. But to my dismay I looked and alas the calipers were already drilled. So I suspected heat (it was the only thing left). The situation is in fact livable. If you need brakes quickly in the wet you must apply them very heavy then back off in a fraction of a second. A little bit squirrelly but doable. The pads are nicely aggressive in dry and I really don't want a wimpier pad. I will just have to brake a little earlier in a turn so as to not have the transition point right at the highest negative g's. Tires BTW R1R front 205/45ZR16 Rear RA1 255/40ZR17. Love the combination on this car, wet or dry. It really balances the car quite well.
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post #15 of 15 (permalink) Old 12-05-2009, 03:00 AM
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*All* cars do this to some extent.

Heck, some manufacturers (eg. MB, BMW, etc.) are even programming their ABS systems to gently apply the brakes every so often to when you drive to 'dry off' the pads and discs.

The problem is that a water film develops on the brake discs, especially on 'open' wheels like on the Elise. The pads also get soaked and when you initially apply the brake then it sort of aquaplanes on the disc before cutting though the water film and starting friction.

If you drive another car (esp. one which isn't too recent) in very wet conditions, try braking gently. You'll notice it also takes a few seconds to start decellerating.

Most other cars have brae boosters which are so over-agressive (ev. VW brakes tend to send you head through the window when you just look at the brake pedal) that they drown out this feeling or simply overpower the brakes to start with so it's not as obvious.

To the OP.. The problem is more obvious with the OEM pads as they seem to soak up more water and have problems cutting through the film on the disc. Most aftermarket pads I have use usually worked better in this area...

Bye, Arno.

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