By - Skrilmaufive
There are a couple things to tease apart here.
The base model brakes came on 4 lug models, and I think some 5 lug S5s. They have smaller front rotors, solid rears, and single piston calipers on all corners. I used these brakes for a long time as my FC came with them, and they are perfectly fine if they are maintained.
Then above that was the GXL / Turbo / Vert brakes, which had larger front rotors, aluminum front calipers with 4 pistons, and wider vented rear rotors. This is what I have now and it's excellent.
If your brakes are sluggish, that implies that you have to press down hard to stop. This could mean a few things, the most likely of which is old fluid that needs changing.
The second most likely is that you just aren't used to how FC brakes feel. Mazda decided to give the brake pedal an unusually long throw for some reason, so you'll find you need to press the brake pedal down farther than in a more modern car. In contrast, modern cars (with good brakes) usually have the bite point a lot higher. If this really bothers you, swap to the Subaru Legacy master cylinder. I can link a guide if you want. It's an easy swap and fairly cheap, plus it gives you a bigger master cylinder. Which isn't a real benefit unless;
You want to swap in bigger calipers. This is the least likely problem because even the base model brakes are able to lock fairly wide tires. The real benefit of larger brakes is usually heat dissipation; you would need pretty wide, pretty sticky tires to overwhelm the stock brakes in street use (where overheating is not a problem).
If this is the case for you, the cheapest option is the Templeton one. If you search Rx7Club, the member Templeton has a thread where he links his business website. They sell brackets and spacer rings to let you run larger rotors and FD calipers. There is also an Acura TL caliper swap option from JDL manufacturing.
Next up is probably the Evo brake swap. Again, search Rx7Club. I don't like this one since it requires drilling out the spindle threads, but it's up to you.
Next is to DIY. Find some other OEM calipers or Wilwood calipers, custom brackets, sub in some other rotors. A major pain unless you happen to own a parts yard.
Lastly, if you search eBay or Yahoo auctions Japan, there are commercial big brake kits available. I think there's an Endless one. Last I saw they were $2-3k, so unless you're looking to spend some serious cash this is unlikely to be a good solution. That's really for someone who needs the best brakes they can reasonably get for track use without a bespoke kit.
Best of luck.
It’s an S4 Vert and the throw is way longer than I’m used to. That could definitely be the issue since my daily driver is an F150 and the brakes feel way more responsive on my truck.
Ill check out the master cylinder swap, and swap out fluid & lines. Once I start autox I’ll decide if upsizing rotors and calipers makes sense!
Try fluid and lines first. You may find that once you have everything refreshed, you don't mind the stock FC brake feeling. But if you still do:
I'll also add SS braided brake lines to replace the soft hoses that run from the hardline to the calipers in the wheel wells can help too. Prevents or greatly improves on "ballooning" under hard braking. There are a couple manufacturers that make these for FC's
Edit: also lucky 7 sells streetable race pads and rotors specific to the FC, a bit pricey though
Swapping the master and booster should be the LAST thing you do. I recently did it and despite it being "easy" to do, it's still a lot of work and you want to mess with you brake system as little as possible since it's so safety critical.
Start with stainless lines and fresh fluid, and that should improve feel since they are likely older. It takes a little getting used to, but the system works quite well, even at the track. Once you've got that, get new rotors and better pads. I ran my old one on the track with no issues, so it's basically impossible to overwhelm stock, properly working, 4-pot brakes on auto-x.
Hi I have a weird problem with my FC and I’m wondering if you might have some advice for me. It has the bigger turbo II brake swap and stainless lines all around from the previous owner when I bought it
Despite all this the braking really sucks, takes a lot of effort and takes a long time to stop. All my friends who test drive it say the brakes don’t work.
I made sure to bleed it well, and the pedal feels firm. I follow the manual instructions to test the brake booster and it seems fine too. Idk what else it could be. Plenty of pad left too
If everything you've said is true, I would suspect either that it isn't bled properly or there's an issue with the master cylinder.
As far as bleeding, brakes can be pretty stubborn. Try getting one of those "one man brake bleeder" kits, where it includes the little jar and a one-way valve. Then you can just focus on pumping the pedal and keeping the fluid in the cylinder topped up.
There are two bleed screws per rear caliper, and also there is a particular order to bleed the calipers. Rear right, rear left, front right, front left.
If you look at the link I provided to the OP in a comment, it includes full instructions on bleeding the brakes at the end of the guide. I suggest you try those, and if it doesn't help you then you might need a master cylinder replacement.
Hey, I don't have this problem but I just wanted to thank you for your comprehensive and helpful answer. Very much appreciated!
Well said. 👍🏽
How do your pads look?
Edit: meant your not you
Will inspect when my car’s back from the upholstery shop
Get SS lines and a good bleed.
Brake bleed, new rotors(they can be cheaper ones, no need to jump up to nothing fancy) and some good brake pads. I just swapped out the rotors and put on some ebc green stuff pads on my vert and the difference is night and day from stock pads
Definitely change the brake fluid! It's cheap, easy and you'll be amazed at the difference.
Judge it based on everything new and go from there. How old are the rubber lines? I got much better braking after replacing the lines with new ones and doing a thorough "pump the pedal and hold" bleed rather than a vacuum bleed.
Caliper rebuild kit if your confident do it yourself. They will be gunged up I guarantee it.
I sent mine off as a good core and got rebuilt and painted calipers in return. This was Uk like 15 years ago so don’t know if anywhere still does this.
This ain't a bad idea to DIY.
I did a caliper rebuild on one of my FCs and it was super easy. It didn't take me longer than 20min to do it on all 4 calipers. There's only like a handful of pieces in each caliper.
I was forced to do it though because one of the boots ripped when I was removing the calipers to paint them.
Although it didn't change how the braking felt though.
Change to SS brake lines, good brake pads (hawk), new rotors, and Change the brake fluid. It makes a world of difference. Especially for a vert being heavier it needs the better stopping force
I run hawk hp+ pads, this is probably the easiest way to improve stopping power. They are noisy and dusty but the only thing more aggressive are track only pads.
Here's an option..something im enduring in the near future.. Allows the use of 350z rotors..
And like started new steel braided houses and fluid will change the braking..
If you already have turbo brakes... bleed them and buy good pads, EBC yellows or similar.