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      03-10-2009, 06:44 AM   #1
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RTFM Brake Follow Up

The manual states that you should talk to "your BMW center" for "advice" on brake pads to use at the track (page 120). Well, I did that and without pressing the issue the answer I got was that stock pads should be fine for HPD type events. Since the center was voluntarily changing my rotors at the time because my stock pads melted to the rotors (new stock pads service center installed 3 weeks before the event) I wonder. Has anyone actually gotten information from BMW or a representative about a recommended non-stock brake pad for use at the track? There has been a lot of advice to RTFM on this topic on this board and yet when you do and follow that advice I wound up in a catch-22 (manual says stock brakes aren't good for the track talk to BMW and BMW says stock brakes are fine). Without me running around to every dealership in town and advertising what could be a warranty issue if I follow BMWs advice can anyone tell me if they've gotten different advice regarding track usage and "proper" brake pad selection? I don't mind buying brake pads for HPDEs but I would rather not buy rotors. My worry is that if I choose the pads, then BMW says I didn't follow their advice and I buy the rotors.

Thanks!
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      03-10-2009, 10:22 AM   #2
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yeah thats wierd. I read that too but have not asked. my guess is BMW printed that becuase in Europe they have BMW track pads available, but decided not to make them avaialble here.

Since your delaer gave you free reign to use stock pads ( I would document it), then go ahead and do that. or if you put on track pads, save the stock pads and put them back on if you go in for any future brake (rotor?) service.

what I have heard is dealers dont want you in for new pads every 5000 miles. every 15,000 to 20,000 seems ok tho.
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      03-11-2009, 01:12 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm1234 View Post
Has anyone actually gotten information from BMW or a representative about a recommended non-stock brake pad for use at the track?
Yes. I got a parts quote from BMW Canada for the factory track pads sourced from Europe. They were $1500 a set for both front and rear, so I got Pagid RS-19's instead for a bit more than half that price.
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      03-11-2009, 10:54 PM   #4
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ouch!

prolly not avail here in the USA ( united states of attorneys)
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      03-14-2009, 08:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayemthree View Post
yeah thats wierd. I read that too but have not asked. my guess is BMW printed that becuase in Europe they have BMW track pads available, but decided not to make them avaialble here.

Since your delaer gave you free reign to use stock pads ( I would document it), then go ahead and do that. or if you put on track pads, save the stock pads and put them back on if you go in for any future brake (rotor?) service.

what I have heard is dealers dont want you in for new pads every 5000 miles. every 15,000 to 20,000 seems ok tho.
Just a quick follow up to my first post. When I went to pick up the car the mechanic was very helpful. He didn't feel I did anything wrong with the car and he felt I was driving it "like it was supposed to" (he stressed this point, but I feel it was his perspective and not necessarily BMWs). Having said that, he pretty much said that I should consider using another brand (ie. non-BMW) of pads in the future when driving "spiritedly".

This was my second track event ever. The first track event I had no trouble with the brakes or pads and ran with full DSC on for two days in the D group of a BMW CCA event. The second event I noticed a very minor brake vibration after the first day and I ran with MDM on in the C group also of a BMW CCA event. The vibration disappeared on the drive home and was undetectable after arriving at the track on day two. On the third run of the second day that little vibration become a big vibration and I stopped for the day. My instructor feels that I was ready to move to B group. I think I'm driving the car properly, with a good line and braking when I'm supposed to and not randomly. I would slide the back out a little coming out of some turns but very rarely enough to engage the stability control.

The point is that even owners new to this sort of driving might consider getting another brand of brake pad if you intend to drive the car like it's advertised even with the protections on. You may be fine for a short while but that doesn't mean you'll always be fine and you may find a shop that will replace worn parts or you may not. I don't really know what BMW's official stand on this is?

I doubt that the people that will find this information useful will read it before it's too late but just in case...
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      03-15-2009, 12:36 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm1234 View Post
I would slide the back out a little coming out of some turns but very rarely enough to engage the stability control.
Even with MDM a "little" slide kicks in the stability control. The M3 system is very subtle - you don't feel it as much as on earlier models.

Its the simple truth that street pads are not adequate for track days once you get your driving up to a reasonable level. A track day is an exercise in converting gasoline into brake dust - the faster you burn gas the harder your brakes work. It's really that simple.
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      03-15-2009, 07:44 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
A track day is an exercise in converting gasoline into brake dust - the faster you burn gas the harder your brakes work. It's really that simple.
Well, in an ideal world, a track day would be an exercise in converting gasoline into heat transfer into the environment. The "better" pads and rotors should be able to create heat at the rotor pad interface with less wear on either component. No wear is impossible obviously, so I am speaking in relative terms. I have yet to see any useful data on this though.
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      03-15-2009, 12:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
Even with MDM a "little" slide kicks in the stability control. The M3 system is very subtle - you don't feel it as much as on earlier models.

Its the simple truth that street pads are not adequate for track days once you get your driving up to a reasonable level. A track day is an exercise in converting gasoline into brake dust - the faster you burn gas the harder your brakes work. It's really that simple.
Doesn't the light come on every time the system is active? I honestly do not usually "feel" it (it's one of the things I like about the car) but the light is pretty obvious.
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      03-15-2009, 01:02 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm1234 View Post
Doesn't the light come on every time the system is active? I honestly do not usually "feel" it (it's one of the things I like about the car) but the light is pretty obvious.
Although I don't have proof, I'm pretty sure that is not the case, and DSC is doing all sorts of minor interventions--especially with the brakes--in the background even when the light is off. The light does light up during major interventions such as a power cut/reduction though.
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      03-15-2009, 01:12 PM   #10
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Good question, how much of the work is done without the light even coming on.
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      03-15-2009, 03:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Although I don't have proof, I'm pretty sure that is not the case, and DSC is doing all sorts of minor interventions--especially with the brakes--in the background even when the light is off. The light does light up during major interventions such as a power cut/reduction though.
You know, that same weekend my instructor was driving an 08 M3 with the DSC off. Although he went right through a set of stock pads (and a set of another brand) he didn't overheat either set. I know he was on the brakes a lot harder than I so that was one mystery I couldn't figure out.

Here's a stupid question, why don't car companies (or at least those producing cars suitable for track use) put brake pad and fluid temperature sensors on their cars? That question is doubly appropriate when the company in question has a comment like in the BMW M3 manual that states that the brakes were not designed for track use. One would assume that the engine and suspension were but that just the brakes were not. Don't worry about ruining your engine at the track although you might not be able to stop before you hit that wall...engine first . Why would consumers pay a lot of money for a car with an engine and suspension designed for track use but want a car who:

1) Doesn't have a brake system designed for track use.
2) Doesn't have a safety system in place to warn you when you've exceeded the limits of the inadequate system.
3) Doesn't have a viable manufacturer option that is suitable for track use.

I'd guess it's because most consumers don't know that's the real deal and don't ever discover how they've been had. Interesting situation. The only solace I have is that as inadequate as the M3's situation is I believe the other cars in this class are equally or more so inadequate. I hope I don't eat those words because I'd rather get after market pads for the M3 than own any of those other cars. I hope that addresses the problem because the reality is you can't fully enjoy this car anyplace but on a track and what fun that is
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      03-15-2009, 03:57 PM   #12
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Well, as you are saying, the fact that an overwhelming majority of the owners will never take their cars to the track probably has something to do with the lack of a brake fluid sensor/reading. Pad temperature sensors might be a different deal though. Designing a sensing mechanism that will work realiably at high temps into a part that is meant to be changed often when used heavily might have some serious cost/benefit limitations. I guess they could have a non-contact temp sensor mounted on the calipers facing the rotor to pick up rotor surface temps, but I don't know how much such a system would cost. I guess there could also be liability issues when you introduce a safety feature that is not common place and expected. Why take the risk given most people won't need it. Does anyone know how exactly they measure brake temps in F1? I'm pretty sure they are doing that in real-time.

About the stock pads not performing well at the track. I think that is justified in the sense that they do need to make trade-offs between cold/hot performance, and noise expectations, not to mention cost, for determining the stock pad specs, and that obviously cannot be biased toward track use. I heard that the track pads BMW sells in Europe and Canada cost $1500. Your average owner would be outraged at that type of expense during brake service if that was the stock part despite the fact that they would cost less if they were indeed to become stock equipment. And they are supposed to be noisy as hell (remember the press reports from Spain when BMW called them over to a track there and all of the cars had track pads).
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      03-15-2009, 10:25 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
Yes. I got a parts quote from BMW Canada for the factory track pads sourced from Europe. They were $1500 a set for both front and rear, so I got Pagid RS-19's instead for a bit more than half that price.
+1, flushed with better fluid (gold stuff) and changed to pagid rs19s. we had a rainy weekend at VIR, so they didn't get as hot as normal, but performed much better than prior 2 weekends using stock pads.

If you're running stock pads, try to take a 5-10 minute cool down lap around the padock when you come off the track, the pads / rotors cool enough so they don't get the bad vibs next time out. Three of us with '08 M3s experimented with various pre/post session rituals, and that was the best. After a week of normal driving, the rough stuff goes away and brakes are back to normal.
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      03-15-2009, 10:41 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Well, as you are saying, the fact that an overwhelming majority of the owners will never take their cars to the track probably has something to do with the lack of a brake fluid sensor/reading. Pad temperature sensors might be a different deal though. Designing a sensing mechanism that will work realiably at high temps into a part that is meant to be changed often when used heavily might have some serious cost/benefit limitations. I guess they could have a non-contact temp sensor mounted on the calipers facing the rotor to pick up rotor surface temps, but I don't know how much such a system would cost. I guess there could also be liability issues when you introduce a safety feature that is not common place and expected. Why take the risk given most people won't need it. Does anyone know how exactly they measure brake temps in F1? I'm pretty sure they are doing that in real-time.

About the stock pads not performing well at the track. I think that is justified in the sense that they do need to make trade-offs between cold/hot performance, and noise expectations, not to mention cost, for determining the stock pad specs, and that obviously cannot be biased toward track use. I heard that the track pads BMW sells in Europe and Canada cost $1500. Your average owner would be outraged at that type of expense during brake service if that was the stock part despite the fact that they would cost less if they were indeed to become stock equipment. And they are supposed to be noisy as hell (remember the press reports from Spain when BMW called them over to a track there and all of the cars had track pads).
Your right I do wonder if all those owners really know just how much fun this car is if they never go to a track? Sure it's fun on the roads, more so on some roads than others but I've never had as much fun in a car as I do in this one at a track.

$1,500 is crazy expensive. I've heard it said by those wiser than me that M cars are the standards for BMW and that customers fully utilizing their M cars are the standard bearers. Thinking that some companies can offer satisfactory solutions (are they that) for 1/2 (Pagid) or 1/10 (Hawk) the price as BMW offers makes me wonder if BMW fully appreciates what it means for the BMW brand to have these cars driven on the track? When people hear about someone "tracking their M" it's viral marketing for "Ultimate Driving Machine" image. How can a BMW be the "Ultimate Driving Machine" if BMW doesn't do everything reasonably possible to enable non-professional drivers to drive the ultimate Ultimate Driving Machine aggressively in the only environment that such driving is safe (well, and legal, given the car's potential)?
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      03-15-2009, 10:49 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by man02195 View Post
If you're running stock pads, try to take a 5-10 minute cool down lap around the padock when you come off the track, the pads / rotors cool enough so they don't get the bad vibs next time out. Three of us with '08 M3s experimented with various pre/post session rituals, and that was the best. After a week of normal driving, the rough stuff goes away and brakes are back to normal.
Just out of curiosity, how rough was rough? Mine were noticeably shaking under moderate braking from speeds as low as 30-40 mph. The dealership took care of it (for which I'm happy) but I'm not sure if I didn't mess mine up worse than others had because I can't imagine driving like that for a week or three weeks like Lucid did (tip of the hat). I'm new to this stuff so not as aware of what sort of damage I can do (I believe the correct word is both ignorant and a little disbelieving that I'm driving the car as hard as others I hear talking about these problems).
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      03-16-2009, 12:00 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jm1234 View Post
$1,500 is crazy expensive.
I can't defend this opinion, but it's my opinion that the BMW factory track pads are just Pagid pads in a BMW box. It's just that when BMW sells them they have an EU approval for road safety that Pagid doesn't provide. Pagid says "racing only - don't use on the street". BMW certifies them for street use. The difference in liability insurance costs explains at least part of the price difference.
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      03-16-2009, 01:26 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lucid View Post
Well, in an ideal world, a track day would be an exercise in converting gasoline into heat transfer into the environment. The "better" pads and rotors should be able to create heat at the rotor pad interface with less wear on either component. No wear is impossible obviously, so I am speaking in relative terms. I have yet to see any useful data on this though.

oh no - not global warming!!!!!!!
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      03-16-2009, 06:48 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
I can't defend this opinion, but it's my opinion that the BMW factory track pads are just Pagid pads in a BMW box. It's just that when BMW sells them they have an EU approval for road safety that Pagid doesn't provide. Pagid says "racing only - don't use on the street". BMW certifies them for street use. The difference in liability insurance costs explains at least part of the price difference.
Oh, I didn't realize that the BMW track pads were designed for street and track use. That might make them a little more appealing from a noise and dust perspective.

Wow, if EU approval for road safety accounts for even 10% of the price difference (about $70) then I'm sure glad I don't have to buy pads in Europe. Pads for any car must cost significantly more over there.
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      03-16-2009, 03:13 PM   #19
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Quote:
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Oh, I didn't realize that the BMW track pads were designed for street and track use. That might make them a little more appealing from a noise and dust perspective.

Wow, if EU approval for road safety accounts for even 10% of the price difference (about $70) then I'm sure glad I don't have to buy pads in Europe. Pads for any car must cost significantly more over there.

all the test mags said they BMW pads squeel like a stuck pig.
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      03-16-2009, 04:10 PM   #20
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Yeah, they said the BMW pads were noisy. I think what JAJ meant is that they were certified for street use, and not necessarily optimized for it.
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      03-17-2009, 12:11 AM   #21
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Quote:
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Yeah, they said the BMW pads were noisy. I think what JAJ meant is that they were certified for street use, and not necessarily optimized for it.
You're right - I wasn't as clear as I wanted to be. The pads BMW sells have to meet EU environmental regs and safety standards to be sold over the counter in Europe. Pagid declines to get involved with any of that - they say "not for street use".

My point was that BMW has to test and certify the pads for environmental compliance and include them in their liability insurance policy, neither of which is going to be cheap. The reason the pads are noisy and grabby is that they're Pagid racing pads in a BMW box (again, I can't prove it, but I believe it) and so they have the same noisy and grabby habits as Pagid racing pads that come in a Pagid box.

The BMW box doesn't make them quieter, smoother or easier to modulate. It just testifies to the testing and certifications BMW did on the pads before they went in the box.
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      03-17-2009, 09:58 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JAJ View Post
Its the simple truth that street pads are not adequate for track days once you get your driving up to a reasonable level. A track day is an exercise in converting gasoline into brake dust - the faster you burn gas the harder your brakes work. It's really that simple.
Yeah man, if you are going to track the car in anything beyond a total newb level, swap out your pads to something decent. I used Pagid RS19's on my GT3 and they are fricken BOAT ANCHORS. They are an "endurance racing" pad and are made for the track. They work on the street but squeal like little piggies. In the GT3 I did not mind. In the M, I intend to swap them out the night before tracking, and then swap back to stock shortly after I get back from the track.

I would also recommend you go to at least a Super Blue brake fluid. Castrol SRF is kick ass, but is overkill for MOST HPDE participants.

EDIT: I just read your above post. You are not going to get a decent track pad that is quiet on the street. You have a few choices. Use stock pads and melt them, and hope you do not eat a tire wall or kill yourself, or, buy a set of dedicated track pads and swap them out for events, or run track pads all the time.

When I was a total newb to tracking many years ago, I did the first and nearly ate a wall at Laguna Seca because of brake fade. That ended my thinking that a stock pad was up to the task of track duty! I then went to the second scenario for many years and swapped pads out for events, and it worked great. Then, my lazy ass just ran track pads all the time on my GT3. They are not grabby, etc., just noisey as all hell when cold (street driving). Of all the pads I tried over the years, the Pagid RS19's are my favorites. The Cobalt pads I used on my 97 M3 are a close second.

My advice: Invest in a dedicated set of track pads. Use them only at the track. Swap before and after events. This is the best of both worlds as you have the best pad for the track, and the best pad for the street. Yeah, you may get your hands dirty.....wear latex gloves.
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