Braking Points

Car Craft


HIGH-PERFORMANCE VEHICLES need high-performance brakes, but for fuel economy reasons many of today’s cars and trucks were originally designed with lightweight downsized brakes that have not been upgraded even though power production is once again on the increase. A perfect example is the 280hp turbo V6 GMC Syclone. Although four-wheel-anti-lock capability was added, the basic brake design still features the smallish Struck 10-inch rotors in front and drums out back. Couple the power increase with the asbestos phaseout, and these trucks have been known to go through a set of pads in as little as 10,000 miles.

One streetable solution is racing-derived carbon-metallic brake compounds that improve stopping and pad longevity without seriously degrading “cold stop” performance, a problem traditionally associated with using full-metallic compounds on the street. A leading purveyor of carbon metallic compound pads for both street and racing use is Performance Friction. We decided to try a set on a ’91 Syclone and see how they compared against a set of new service replacement GM pads in terms of overall stopping distance.

Modern front pad replacement is so simple, just about anyone can do it with just a few basic hand tools. But like any other automotive operation, there’s the “shadetree” method, and there’s the “correct method.” After all, when it comes to pulling out all the stops, you can’t afford any bad brakes. Here, Mike Doyle shows us some finer braking points as he refreshes the Syclone’s brakes.