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affordable brake upgrades


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Hi all, I have a 97 JDM spec accord EX, NON-ABS, front disc, rear drum. I was wondering what affordable upgrades I could do to the braking system to improve stopping power. I know the most practical solution would be to install a big brake kit, but I dont think I have the $$ required for such a job right now, especially when considering I would need to replace the rims..


I bought some good quality Wagner Edge pads, so I assume that should help a little bit on the braking, my tyres are in good condition as well..

Two of the upgrades I was considering was to move from DOT3 fluid to ATE super blue racing dot4 fluid.. not sure if it will help in the stopping but will definitely reduce the risk of brake fade..

Another upgrade I am considering but need advice on, is converting all my brake lines to braided alluminium. It will cost about $120 for the lines, and I was wondering if this will actually assist in stopping the car more quickly, or if it will simply just adjust the pedal feel..


In the back of my mind, I always wanted to convert the rear into disc, but I dont think it will be practical, how much will it really adust the stopping power? Wouldnt I be better off upgrading the front and leaving the drum setup on the back?



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i went with hawk hps street pads and super blue racing fluid. firmed up the pedal, stopping power has increased significantly, brake fade is greatly reduced, almost reversed on mountain roads (the hps pads bight a little harder when they are warmed up). i've heard that on civics, switching to rear discs is not really necessary, just make sure the drums you have are in good shape. i'm not sure how much heavier the accord might be but i doubt it would warrant needing rear discs, just make sure the ones you already have are cleaned up with new parts.


and good tires are a must, the best breaking system in the world wont do crap if your tires don't have any grip. and big break packages are not necessary on such a lightweight street car, they will go through pads very quickly, and overcome the grip of your tires very easily.

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My cousin's US-Spec 1990 Honda Accord EX non-ABS Sedan needed temporary replacement rear-wheel bearing, so we trekked out to the salvage yard and ended up spending $150 on a rear-disc conversion instead. We pulled it from a 1993 Accord EX coupe with ALB and rear-discs. We probably could have spent less, but we were in a rush and just pulled the entire rear-suspension (center peice too). It was super easy to remove, 16 minutes, and not that difficult to install, 3 hours.


Go with the rear discs.

Edited by James Matteu
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I will probably hold off on the upgraded lines until I know if I will be doing the rear conversion or not..


in the meantime though, I think I should change the original rotors on the car.. theyhave been machined about 3 times so far and are probably due for changing anyway... the question is what to go with..

ATE slotteds will run me about $115 a pair.... brembo sport either drilled or slotted will run me about $130 a pair as well and the brembo blanks will be about $75 a pair...


which of the above will offer the most benefits? I am leaning towards the slotteds for use with ceramic pads (probably Wagner edge until those are worn, then switch to akebono or possibly hawk) ..


also, are there any real upgrades that can be done on drum brakes short of conversion to disc?

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Ok everyone, so the final decisions have been made and I purchased all my products..


1. Brembo Sport Slotted Rotors (front) ~$110 (ebay)


2. Hawk HPS Street Pads $55 ebay + (a free bottle of motul 600 fluid which i'll probably sell for about $15).

Chose these over the brembo sport pads because I called both tirerack and buybrakes and both recommended it over the brembos for my purposes..


3. Goodridge G-Stop Lines - Buybrakes.com $103 after $10 discount and free shipping


4. ATE superblue fluid (2L exported to Trinidad where the car is).. $ 30 inc shipping


5. Just regular maintainance on the drums , Wagner Thermoquiet shoes.. not sure anything else I can do here $3 after MIR ($18-15)



As spares, I have two brand new Wagner Edge Ceramic pads for the fronts in case the hawks dont please me.. if not, the wagners are still brand new.. i'll sell em to break even at least (factor in the $15 rebate on that as well when I bought it)



Thanks for all the help and advice, really appreciated...

I strongly considered the upsizing front rotors but I wasnt sure it'll fit in my stock wheels, also considered the legend of NSX calipers but considering the car is in a different country that might be a bit if an issue if I see any problems..

Lastly, Just for the amusement of it, i'll look into a rear conversion but unlikely i'll actually do it..


what percentage of the car's braking force do you think actually ends up going thru the rears?



Thanks again for all the advice and help, would have been pretty hopeless without yourl....

When I get it all on in a month or so, i'll let you all know how it turned out.. I can try some not so scientific testing, measuring braking distance on the road or something haha

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haha you did just what i was going to suggest, so good job with that. a majority of your cars braking is on the front (i think its about 70/30) so by upgrading your front brakes i think you will be more than satisfied.

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i hope you have really good tires. i don't know what you will be doing with the car to justify the drilled rotors because they are going to chew up pads and i doubt you are going to be doing anything to need any of the cooling benefits. i personally would have just gone with some brembo blanks and the pads and fluid, as well as freshen up the rear drums.

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went with slotteds, not drilled... but I didnt see the point of spending $80 on blanks when i could get the slotteds for $30 more.. Also , back in Trinidad I do a decent amount of mountain and hill driving and there was a time I cooked the entire brake system and had to e-brake the car going downhill... (while in 1st for max engine braking mind you) and I really dont want that to happen again, hence aiming for extra rotor cooling and fluid temp tolerances.


The fact that it eats up pads would be relative to the friction created, hence more friction = more stopping power wont be a problem...


For the tyres, running some pretty good hankook optimo's right now, but when these are worn i'll probably upgrade those to either hankook ventus or maybe some yokohamas if the price is right...

Tyre prices are hugely inflated where the car is (no pun intended) and I stick with hankook cause I can get it at wholesale prices.. only other brand i get under normal price is Nexen, but i'm still kind of iffy about it... they sell AA traction tyres for less than other companies A's... makes me slightly skeptical.. my sister has a set though so i'll see how they hold up...


Anyway, was planning to do the drums anyway just for regular service... I expect some nice results from this, just may have to adjust my braking style accordingly... braking in the pads is gona be a bitch though, not sure where i can find empty road or space to do that... i'll have to figure that out when the time comes..

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sounds like you've got things pretty well worked out. i know my stock setup would cook itself after one hard stop, i haven't been able to get the setup i have to fade yet but i've only done a couple hard highway stops, nothing in the mountains, and my setup (not really a setup just pads and fluid) overwhelms my shotty tires pretty easily so i don't think i'll be able to over get to the pads potential.

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  • 1 month later...

well, I finally get home with all my parts hoping to start work on the car only to find out my uncle and cousin have MY car, so I have to work on getting that back before I can start any brake upgrades...

Still hope to have it done by next week, but that seems like wishful thinking at this point..

I hate just staring at parts in my room, would really prefer to get them on ASAP


I'll keep you all informed

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make sure you have access to an impact gun or even a good torch because the two bolts that hold the rotor on tend to be a big ol bitch and you dont want to strip those. when i took mine off, i tried everything, and then had to get the torch out and heat them up until they were glowing, then they screwed right off. so just a heads up

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nah, it isnt a problem, any work my mechanic will do.. labour is so cheap down here its not worth the trouble of doing it myself...


I do most of my own work on the volvo in Fl though


I actually looked into drum to disc conversion but not sure its faesible cause i'll have to buy all the parts locally because I would be unsure of fitment issues..

Plus I just bought a set of goodridge g-stop lines designed for the rear drum, so I dont think I will really bother much at this point.


That said, i'll still price out the rear discs from the foreign used JDM accord's and see...

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the total brake job will take about 2 or 3 hours according to my mech, and his labour rate for said work will be about 350tt dollars max (~50USD) not sure if its worth the trouble at that price.. plus im lacking tools to do such a job down here..

get my point about cheap but quality labour?


parts on the other hand, are cheaper in the US (online) so I bring the parts with me, then get them put on down here...


Its not always easy though because most of our cars are japanese models you dont get in the US, so it doesnt help me looking for parts on anything besides the accord.


anyway took the accord for a spin last night (an aggressive spin).. got home 15 mins later to see water running from under the car, busted radiator.. so gotta get that repaired.. i'll get it back by monday (cost, $70USD to change and reinstall the lower plastic section of the radiator, converting to metal)

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Trinidad and Tobago, Caribbean... Products and parts cost more than in the US, but labour is MUCH MUCH cheaper and you can get an excellent mechanic to do huge jobs for you for minimal cost..


eg. 2 months ago, he installed my AEM intake, oil change, fuel filter, spark plugs, spark plug seals, valve cover gasket, rear engine mount, magnefine inline trans filter


All of which I think cost me about $50 or $60 USD in labour... so if thats the case, why should I stress out doing things myself.. I normally go over to the mech and give a hand when he is doing work on the car, but thats just because I enjoy helping out..


Now, not everyone is this cheap, if you went to large auto place, i guess the local equivalents to meineke, pepboys etc it probably would be twice that price (just guessing) but its good to have someone personal to deal with


PS. I decided that at $12USD per litre i'm probably going to convert all the cars in the family to ATE superblue racing dot4.. Dont see why not at that price..

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