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  #41  
Old 07-08-2019, 12:56 PM
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My Brake Pad Blog

My Brake Pad Blog,
I write this minor blog as a 52 year old car hobbyist starting with an engine rebuild in high school. I have owned Ford, Toyota, Nissan, Chevrolet, and most recently BMW. I have done ALL of the brake jobs in my cars with some success, some failure, and some pleasant surprises.

Summary: BMW branded brake pads provide very good performance, no squeal, and are very tolerant with regard to installation.

The somewhat distant past:

More than 15 years ago, my most pleasant surprise was the Napa Green brake pads (with Asbestos) that ceased production about 15 years ago. The brake pads were dirt cheap, very kind to rotors, and had decent brake feel and performance.

My most unpleasant failure was Larry at Carbotech. I tried his pads on my 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R about 20 years ago. These would seem great, but for some bizarre reason were scary bad – as if my brake rotors had a layer of grease on them. Many others may have terrific experience with Larry’s pads. I didn’t. When I removed the Carbotech pads the performance returned to normal. I still don’t understand how this happened, but I don’t believe my methods were at fault.

About 18 years ago I had the opportunity to test drive an e36 BMW M3 with about 25,000 miles and most likely OE Brake pads. This car had incredible brakes. The only vehicle I have experienced with better brakes was my Aprilia RSVR track-bike with iron rotors, sintered pads and an enlarged master cylinder. Both of these vehicles performed vastly better than any other Toyota, Chevy, Ford etc..

The past:

About 5-15 years ago I used multiple sets of Akebono Ceramic brake pads. These were okay. There certainly wasn’t significant brake dust. I did experience low speed squeal with standard rotors, but high carbon Centric rotors resulted in no squeal. The initial part number for the better High Carbon Steel Centric Rotors from Rock Auto and other sources is 125. The ordinary rotors have a 120 (maybe 121) initial part number sequence.

Somewhere during this time I started experimenting with EBC brakes – Green Stuff Initially. I used several pair of them on my vehicles and family vehicles. In all circumstances, the brake feel was better than Akebono. I continue to enjoy EBC pads and am happy to clean my wheels periodically for the privilege of better brake feel.

The Recent Past:

About 5 years ago I purchased my first BMW e53 X5 3.0i . It is a 2004 6spd Manual. About 2 years ago I purchased my second BMW e53 X5 3.0i. It was (unfortunately wrecked), a 2006 Auto. I have experimented with and learned the following:

Summary: BMW Labeled pads are the safest and smartest purchase for those who want great brake feel and no squeaky problems. The initial bite for these pads is very good and there is no fade during normal street use. EBC Yellow pads are viable for the front, and these do provide superior bite and increasing bite during braking. I am not certain how to further articulate the difference in these pads. Perhaps, the BMW pad have a linear grip “feel”. The EBC yellow have a progressive grip “feel” under load.

Other attempts that didn’t work completely well.

Perhaps 3 years ago I purchased a rear brake OE kit from an online vendor for about $159. The kit had Meyle Rotors and Textar/Pagid pads. I apologize for not remembering specifically which brand. This setup worked nicely for about 2 years, then suffered low speed squeal.

Perhaps 2 years ago I tried some Jurid brake pads on the front with Centric 125 rotors. They squeaked. I checked my work, pasted some goo on the back of the pads. They still squeaked. I smoked the brakes a couple times for break-in. The squeak returned after about 1 week. After about 3 months and 1500 miles of domestic embarrassment I removed the pads.

About 1 year ago I tried some EBC Yellow pads on the back. The low speed squeak was sporadic & mild, but present. After about 9 months I removed them and replaced them with “OE” Pagid pads from an online vendor.

The “OE” PAGID pads squeaked too – worse than the EBC pads. After a couple smoking sessions, the squeak would gradually return. And, the PAGID squeak was quite annoying.

I then installed actual BMW pads on the back (Textar stamped in metal). I didn’t lube the back, ears, wings. I performed the laziest pad slap possible. The result was lovely. The brake feel is great. Performance is great. No smoking break-in session necessary.

I have tried some Rock Auto Centric brake pads on family vehicles with varied success. These pads are dirt-cheap, so it doesn’t bother me when they become squeaky. Raybestos Element 3 brake pads might be a darn-smart budget pad, but I haven’t tried them yet.

Now:

I will continue to use BMW packaged brake pads on my BMW X5, and probably EBC Yellow pads in front. I am comfortable with my failed attempts to save $20-$50 on a pair of cheaper aftermarket brake pads and don’t wish to repeat them. Maybe Textar or Mintex actually is the manufacturer for the BMW package brake pads, but the compound could be different. Also, I completely understand that there ARE nuances in every braking system and my result is certainly not gospel / law that must be applied to every scenario.

I believe brake dust and a high & even coefficient of friction across a wide temperature range are positively correlated. I believe that less brake dust will result in less brake performance in at least some aspect.

In almost all cases, I use Centric 125 series rotors, the Bentley Manual Lube recommendations, and I have fresh rubber guides for the caliper pins. I bleed my brakes every 2-3 years and really like the Motive positive pressure (not vacuum) brake bleeder.

Hopefully this is a cohesive summary of thoughts.

Sincerely,

Dave
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  #42  
Old 07-08-2019, 01:30 PM
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^Good info Dave. I agree on your assessment that low dust typically means less brake performance. And that BMW branded/packaged/supplied pads are the most linear and best "feeling" pads.

To add to the collective information set. I have used 10+ sets of Brake Motive branded brake "kits" from Ebay now after hearing about them from the Corvette forums. You can do all 4 corners with drilled rotors and ceramic pads ranging from ~$150 on the 530xi E61 I just did to ~$240 for the 4.8is. I've used them on Nissan, Infiniti, and primarily BMW's. The BMW kits seem to use StopTech ceramic pads as many of the kits arrive with branded pads. Anyway, the results in performance confirm your theory. The initial bite compared to OE pads is lower, takes some getting used to, but neither my mother or father complained after switching from OE. Never measured stopping distances but when I lay out the anchor in panic stops I've never worried about it or felt unsafe. VERY little dust and I've never experienced squealing when using an anti squeal "paint" on the back of the pads. For a street driven daily vehicle they can't be beaten price wise. The Vette guys track them but I have no experience with how they perform there.
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Nav, DSP, Pano, Running Boards, OEM Tow Hitch, Cold Weather Pckg (Purchased 08/15 w/ 90,500 miles)

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  #43  
Old 07-08-2019, 01:58 PM
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Dave,

Thanks for posting. It is always GREAT to read real world owner's feedback without a lot of histrionics and SWAG work tossed in.
Like you, I have use the High Carbon 125 rotors from Centric as they are parallel and show no failures after many years of use.
I also use the StopTech pads as they are as close to OE performance when cold and perform better when hot.

I cannot agree more on your observation regarding dust from OE pads. If an owner wants great brakes when cold, ZERO noise, and a good all around braking performance then OE is the way to go.
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2005 X5 4.8IS
The Blue ones are always FASTER....

Current Garage:
2005 X5 4.8is
2002 M5 TiSilver
2003 525iT
1998 528i
Former Garage Stable Highlights
2004 325XiT Sport
1973 De Tomaso Pantera, L Model
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp Alpine White
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp GoManGo Green
1971 Dart Sport, “Dart Light” package
1969 Road Runner 383
1968 Ply Barracuda 340S FB Sea-foam Green
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  #44  
Old 07-08-2019, 02:05 PM
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Brake Motive

Finding a tolerable inexpensive brake pad on ebay is easily understandable from a manufacturing perspective. Over time, I think the migration of sourcing and manufacturing kinda' happens using roughly these stages.

Stage 1: Some Chemist / Engineer in the USA or Europe manages to design a dandy product - a brake pade for this discussion. The engineer and organization build a positive reputation rooted the quality AND quality control in the product .

Stage 2: Some executive hires a sales team and accountants to expand the production and distribution for the excellent product.

Stage 3: The organization is eventually subject to a board of directors not necessarily connected to the original entrepreneurs and... outsourced manufacturing happens to increase profits necessary for the investors and/or shareholders.

Stage 4: Some quality control problems happen during outsourcing. Some of these problems are noticed by the general public, but some problems are only noticed by a few people.

Stage 5: The quality control problems mitigate or the product dies.

Stage 6: Assuming the quality control problems are fixed, after a few years the manufacturer or parent company wants to renegotiate the original contract or some previously agreed upon discontent happens.

Stage 7: The manufacturer starts to sell the product directly, sells the design of the product, or now possesses the knowledge to make a decent product similar to the original and is comfortable selling their product instead.

Variations of the above evolution HAVE happened in the loudspeaker industry and certainly happened with brake pads too. Congratulations for finding a decent brake pad for not much $$ !

I did purchase a pair of Raybestos Element 3 brake pads recently from Rock Auto for about $25. These will be placed on the rear of a family Toyota. Maybe they will be okay. I will try to remember to post results in a few months.

One of the reasons I decided to purchase a BMW was the very large and supportive community of online information via ordinary guys willing to contribute excellent information and wisdom. Thanks for being one of those guys crystalworks !

Thanks
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  #45  
Old 07-08-2019, 02:13 PM
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Thanks

Quote:
histrionics
Great word choice ! Funny !

This word is new to me and shares companionship with another of my favorite words - "Strategery" from Will Farrell

I do like the Blue color of your X5 - very nice !

// 1 day later

Oh, , please accept my apology. I thought you "created" histrionics, but histrionics is a genuine word !

Thanks for the education.

Last edited by ellisaudio; 07-09-2019 at 07:52 AM. Reason: Apology
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  #46  
Old 07-09-2019, 08:51 AM
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That is what we are here for...Education and knowledge transfer. Thanks for contributing. We do get way too down in the weeds on some topics (oil brands wars comes to mind). Brake performance and owner experiences is a wide as the actual X5 usage the posters have with their cars. Some auto cross them, some off road them, while others push them as if someone else will be owning them next!
I personally think mine hardly ever get enough heat in them to burn off the rust from sitting under a cover daily.
__________________

2005 X5 4.8IS
The Blue ones are always FASTER....

Current Garage:
2005 X5 4.8is
2002 M5 TiSilver
2003 525iT
1998 528i
Former Garage Stable Highlights
2004 325XiT Sport
1973 De Tomaso Pantera, L Model
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp Alpine White
1970 Dodge Challenger T/A 4 sp GoManGo Green
1971 Dart Sport, “Dart Light” package
1969 Road Runner 383
1968 Ply Barracuda 340S FB Sea-foam Green
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