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A round of RB brakes in the Heeltoe vehicles

  • Posted: 10-25-2012 12:28 PM
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When it rains it pours. Just when one vehicle of yours needs service, or registration, or new tires...they all do. Right now, we have three cars here that all coincidentally need brakes at the same time.

The Heeltoe pickup/delivery van is a 2002 Honda Odyssey; a vehicle that has served us very well over the last few years. It holds an amazing amount of parts while being comfortable and reliable. We've been fortunate not to have been plagued with any transmission issues, even after 160,000 miles. But as a work vehicle, it doesn't always get much "love." It doesn't get washed that often, it usually goes over miles a bit when service is needed, and it tends to get cheaper parts put on it.

At least until now...

The last time we put brakes on, we cheaped out. We put some inexpensive eBay pads and rotors on there that had the promise of being every bit as good as stock parts but glitterier and very very inexpensive. I should have known better than to buy into this hype, and not just because I have never been fully satisfied with anything I've gotten on eBay as a cheap replacement part.

I have been peddling RB Performance (formerly Racingbrake) products so long the taglines are burned into my brain. While other brake companies say all kinds of wonderful things about their brakes, when you boil it down they all say essentially the same thing; built to OEM specs "or better," "better" performance, no noise, no dust, etc. More often that not, "better" performance than OEM really means "these are marginally better than the shot, used up brake parts you are taking off" and no noise means "if you crank up the stereo you won't hear and groaning or grinding from our cheaply engineered compound." My favorite is the "lifetime guarantee." It harkens me back to the legendary Tommy Boy where Chris Farly uttered the phrase "guaranteed piece uh shit."

No…not this time. The shuddering, squealing, poor-performing eBay crap is coming off, and some spankin' new RB UP Rotors are going on. The Odyssey is getting the star treatment. We This is really a good choice because even at more than twice the price these rotors are proven and known to last 3-4 times longer than competing brands. This is mainly due to the highly efficient cooling ability they have, and the heat-treated steel alloy used to resist wear. Unfortunately we needed to source pads of another brand as RB does not make pads for this application. We are lucky to be able to get these rotors actually, since RB is a performance brand and the Odyssey is hardly a performance vehicle. The rotors just happen to be the same as a TSX or TL.

The second car in line for brakes is Elise's MDX. Earlier in the year we picked up this car for the occasional parts run and general family hauling. Of late we have been towing a light trailer with it though, and the added duty cycle has begun to show the weak side of the OEM brakes. Characteristic of many Honda and Acura vehicles, when faced with a little too much heat there is a juddering in the steering wheel and brake pedal that is nothing less than disconcerting. Many people mistake this phenomenon with "warped rotors."

We had discussed at length in forums and with customers how warping of rotors is really a mythical, or at best very rare, occurrence. The problem lies nearly 100% in the brake pads. Pads get too hot for their intended operating range, the material breaks down and slathers deposits all over the rotors, and you get an inconsistent friction area that causes that shaking in the steering wheel many people use fractured common-sense to call “warped rotors.” Whenever I hear someone say they have warped rotors I immediately think to myself what an uphill battle undoing this lie is. I used to try and fight it. Alas there is too much inexperience and hearsay online to make any ground there. I rather wait for people to call and I get them straightened out, one at a time.

The MDX is getting a top-shelf street/sport service. We are changing the rotors out for RB’s Open-Slot one-piece units, which have a patented design that evacuates dust away from the pad surface better than any other slot or drill we have seen. The convergent-vane design of the vented section will keep the rotors at a stable operating temperature even when bringing the mass-in-tow to a stop. Grabbing the rotors are RB ET500 brake pads which I have found to be top-notch all-around pads, standing up to cold temperature and spirited driving just this side of track-use. Rounding the package out is a full set of Fastline Performance Stainless Braided Brake Lines. This vehicle has a unique 6-piece kit that should benefit quite well in the form of a firmer, more confident brake pedal.

The brake-extravaganza continues and concludes with the HTSpec TSX. As some may recall we outfitted this car with an HTSpec Stage 5 brake kit about a year ago (or more?). This kit includes RBs forged 4-piston calipers, oversized RB rotors, FLP brake lines, and our car is outfitted with the optional rear disc up-size. Rounded out with Motul RBF600 brake fluid, this brake package has been nothing short of awesome. We did take the car to the track and literally torched a set of ET800 pads in one day though. When asked for an improved replacement we were given an experimental set of XT910 brake pads to try. We are happy to say that after quite a lot of abuse these pads have finally come due for replacement. We hammered canyons, drove around daily, and attended the Streets of Willow racetrack for a night driving event. The pads, while they still have some meat left, are tired and starting to get a little squeaky. I am happily installing a brand new set, along with some new ET500 for the rear.

So this weekend I am going to break my back and bust out these brake changes. The UP rotors on the Odyssey for miles of smiles, the Stage 1 brake kit for the MDX will help this beast that hauls ass halt just as well, and new XT910 pads for the beloved HTSpec TSX for another year of canyon and track bashing!

Accept nothing but the best!

Related Items

RB Performance (Racingbrake) Brake Pads Set, XT910, Replacement pad for RB 4-Piston Caliper, PD647
RB Performance (Racingbrake) Brake Pads Set, XT910, Replacement pad for RB 4-Piston Caliper, PD647

RB Performance (Racingbrake) Front UP Brake Rotor Pair (Open-Slot), Acura MDX 2007-13, 99131-181
RB Performance (Racingbrake) Front UP Brake Rotor Pair (Open-Slot), Acura MDX 2007-13, 99131-181


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