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Discussion Starter #1
I've been doing a lot of digging lately to get answers to my questions regarding which brakes to get. My pads are wearing thin and braking performance is way down from acceptable. I'm finding billions of posts, especially from late last year, about selecting, buying, and installing new brake setups. But I'm still not finding much in the way of long-term reviews, sorta like our nice performance tire review thread in the information forum.

I'm seeing lots of posts ranging anywhere from great stopping power to low dust to lots of rust, to paint vs. cad plating. But after 20,000 miles, are you still satisfied that you didn't stick with the blacken-your-wheels OE rotors and pads? I'm hoping there are people out there who have gone though the life span (or a good chunk of it) of aftermarket brake setups and are facing/have faced the decision about where to go next: back to OE, stick with same aftermarket, or try a new aftermarket.

Personally, I hate the dust of OE, but I'd rather have that and be able to keep that sticks-like-glue feeling and break-neck stopping power. I'm a little leary about sacrificing stopping power for aesthetics and elbow grease. Have I answered my own questions, or are combos like Zimm/Mintex and ATE/EBC really the holy grail?

No offense, but if you've just installed or purchased your new setup for the first time from stock, please don't post. I'm looking for long-timers here with at least 5,000 miles on their aftermarket setups, but preferably those who have gone through the rotation several times. I'm not looking for race answers, just spirited street use. Although if a long-term review thread gets created in the Information section, all uses should get represented.

Flame me and lock me up if this is getting asked for the bazillionth time, but just haven't been finding the long-term stuff I'm looking for. TIA!
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Darter)

In fall of 2001, I knew that the brakes were thin all around and started looking for something with more "whoa" and less mess before getting the car inspected. The set-up I went with, before finding this
site, is EBC greenstuff pads on all corners, stock rotors on the back, and EBC slotted/spotted (not drilled) front rotors. The fronts also have cadmium plated centers.

I have to say that I have been satisfied with the choice. Dust is way down compared to stock, and the braking power is very pleasing. I have put about 16K miles on these brakes now. In looking them over when switching to snows at Thanksgiving, the rotors are in great shape, with plenty of pad left all around.

There are some hard spots on one rotor that are now causing some "vibration" under hard braking from highway speeds, but this is a recent development. I may try to figure out which end the problem is on and fix it when I put the summer shoes back on.

Hope this helps a little.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Darter)

You have posted some good questions that I seek answers myself. I am in a very similar situation as you, in which I'm researching on investing in an improved brakes setup, but I'm kind of hesitant to spend just because I am not recognizing the input/feedback from long-term users.

In addition, as an aide, I also wish to view other members' setups and opinions; prehaps the moderators can consider a "Brakes Performance Review" under Information forum.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Wags)

Thanks Wags, that does help. Your experience is precisely what I'm looking for. I'm not sure if I'm going to spring for cad plating if I go with aftermarket, but is it helping prevent rust after 16,000 miles? It sounds like a good way to keep things looking clean.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Darter)

Lets do it! I'll start searching around to look at some old threads and start asking around as well... so anyone who has experence with different brakes and pads, start posting!!! I will pull together the info and open a new thread as soon as we have enough info...
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (passatlover99)

What I can relate about brakes on a Passat is relatively long term, my 1999 B5 has 66,500 miles on the odometer. I endured the OEM brake pad black dust on my alloys for about 8K miles before switching to Mintex Red Box pads. I've driven 4 wheel disc brakes on European cars since 1970 and tried out a number of brake pad types. I used to swear by Repcos on my Volvos but the Mintex Red Box experience changed my allegiance. They have been essentially dustless, I have only been able to detect a very fine tan colored residue on my alloy wheels. The braking behavior of the Mintex pads is different from OEM, they are not fully effective until warmed up a bit. The first few brake stops out of the garage in the morning are longer than with OEM pads. But once warmed up, I feel they are superior to the OEMs. A few European Passat owners have made complaints about Mintex fading and stinking during very high speed stops but we in North America do not enjoy the luxury of Autobahn or Autostrada speeds. Mintex does make another brake pad designed for more rigorous stopping situations. Compared to the rotors of 20-30 years ago, I think that rotors wear down faster now. Ventilation of rotors also make them more prone to warping when worn thin. I had the same solid rotors on one of my Volvos for over 200K miles but not the benefits of ventilated discs. I replaced my front rotors on the Passat at 60K miles, a considerable outer edge lip of about 2 mm had been created by pad wear in that period to time. I installed new front Brembo slotted rotors along with my second set of Mintex Red Box pads and the enhanced stopping power was immediately evident, especially in the cold wet Seattle weather. My rear rotors have not worn as fast, I replaced the OEM rear pads with Mintex Red Box at about 40K miles and more than half of the pad life remains now at 66K miles. If I still own the car when the rears wear out, I'll replace the rotors.

<![CDATA[What I can relate about brakes on a Passat is relatively long term, my 1999 B5 has 66,500 miles on the odometer. I endured the OEM brake pad black dust on my alloys for about 8K miles before switching to Mintex Red Box pads. I've driven 4 wheel disc brakes on European cars since 1970 and tried out a number of brake pad types. I used to swear by Repcos on my Volvos but the Mintex Red Box experience changed my allegiance. They have been essentially dustless, I have only been able to detect a very fine tan colored residue on my alloy wheels. The braking behavior of the Mintex pads is different from OEM, they are not fully effective until warmed up a bit. The first few brake stops out of the garage in the morning are longer than with OEM pads. But once warmed up, I feel they are superior to the OEMs. A few European Passat owners have made complaints about Mintex fading and stinking during very high speed stops but we in North America do not enjoy the luxury of Autobahn or Autostrada speeds. Mintex does make another brake pad designed for more rigorous stopping situations. Compared to the rotors of 20-30 years ago, I think that rotors wear down faster now. Ventilation of rotors also make them more prone to warping when worn thin. I had the same solid rotors on one of my Volvos for over 200K miles but not the benefits of ventilated discs. I replaced my front rotors on the Passat at 60K miles, a considerable outer edge lip of about 2 mm had been created by pad wear in that period to time. I installed new front Brembo slotted rotors along with my second set of Mintex Red Box pads and the enhanced stopping power was immediately evident, especially in the cold wet Seattle weather. My rear rotors have not worn as fast, I replaced the OEM rear pads with Mintex Red Box at about 40K miles and more than half of the pad life remains now at 66K miles. If I still own the car when the rears wear out, I'll replace the rotors.

[Modified by BobV, 7:43 PM 2/3/2003]
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (passatlover99)

Excellent!
Thanks for hearing out the members. I'm sure everyone will find this new thread to be very informative and helpful just like the rest.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (TR8WND)

This is something that I have also not found answers to. I have been using Mintex Red on stock rotors since my factory front pads wore out (somewhere around 35-40,000 miles). Definately less dust and good performance. But of course, I want MORE!!!! (But I don't want to go to a 'Big-Brake' upgrade.)

I now have only about 50,000 miles but I will be switching to Mintex C-Tech (Blue) - on OEM rotors - when the warm weather returns. I'll be sure to update the 'Club' by the end of the summer.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (TweakedB5)

I ran OEM everything up to 35K miles... a month ago I went cross-drilled Zimmerman on the front and OEM rotors on the rear, Minter Red-Box all around.

I must say, the stink was there after the first hard stops (my tech recommended about 100 miles of light braking to define the "wear pattern" and avoid bending the rotors, I blindly followed his advice), and the brakes don't seem as good as I thought they would. Everyone I talk to says the same thing: "they don't really bite like OEM when cold, but really shine after warming up), I surely hope so.

I did feel a great difference breaking while driving in the rain, the cross-drilled rotors seem to be working their magic, that "first moment" scare is virtually gone.

I got everything from germanautoparts.com and loved their service and prices.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Darter)

Like all other choices one makes on performance parts/upgrades I first set my priorities on the attributes I was looking for.
1) Reduce or eliminate the pause when the pad/rotor combo was wet
2) Equal or Improve upon cold bite on initial bite
3) Pads that provide a lineal feel (as much as they can contribute to this)
4) Equal to or improved fade resistance
5) Reduced Dust
6) Looks
Since looks and dust were low on my list I didn’t worry too much about these factors when considering parts.
Item 1 realistically mandated slotted rotors for wiping action. I did not want to consider cross drilled as this has little effect in street use other than looks along with a reduction in overall rotor integrity.
Item 2 had me looking at Pagid, EBC, Red Box and Ferodo. Managed to try the Red Box (less initial cold bite but slightly better when warmed up. Reduced cold bite eliminated it from the running though). Also got to drive a EBC pad rotor combo and liked it a lot, but didn’t note any real improvement on cold bite but they did do a good job of backing the car down 4 consecutive times from 110+mph to 65 in short sequence. They impressed me, but seemed a bit expensive.
I read good things on the Pagid pads but was unable to drive them.
I finally tried a Set of Ferodo’s on ATE power discs. The narrower gas slotting on these rotors had a reduced noise level on heavy braking when compared to the other gas slotted rotors I have owned on previous cars or tried this time (i.e. EBC rotors)
This setup has now been running on my vehicle for 25K+ miles. It addressed Items 1-3 perfectly, they do not seem quite as good on fad resistance as the EBC’s but then again in street applications they are more than adequate. Cold bite is improved over OEM and they have a more lineal feel as brake force is increased. They seem to make a little (if any) less dust than the original OEM pads, so no significant improvement in that area. Bottom line is I managed to nail items 1-3, get a nominal improvement with item 4, barely get item 5 and looks (item 6) just didn’t matter to me.
Others in the forum will have to relate their own experiences as it relates to their setup but don’t forget to weigh in with your driving habits as well.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (wchp)

I'll chime in even though I'm not completely stock. My first upgrade was drilled A8 rotors and drilled Zimmerman rears with Textar pads. They're an OE-equivilent replacement pad. Lots of dust,ocassional squeal but nice bite. When I did the Boxter caliper upgrade I had to change front pads so I went with Kerr Friction Street pads. Very nice bite but squealed all the time. Back in August I replaced all 4 rotors again this time with Pagids front & rear. Very nice bite,liveable dust and nary a squeal.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (VWGUY4EVER)

I went with ATE PowerDisc up front and stock rotor on the back. I went with Mintex Red box Pads. I also went with Valvoline Synthetic brake fluid @ 28K miles.

I am currently @ 45K miles. I am happy I did them. Less dust than stock (comparison using my weekly washing).

Better grab and slightly less fade. I would highly recommend them to anyone wanting cheaper parts (for me compared to OEM), and slightly better quality.

BTW, I should have painted the hubs because they are rusting... nice
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Darter)

I 2nd the recommendation of ATE PowerDiscs up front and OEM rotors in the rear using a better performing pad such as the Mintex Redbox or EBC Greenstuff pads.<p>Needless to say I was pissed when my front stock pads and rotors went out at around 13K miles on my 2001.5 GLX 4 Motion. (I miss that car!!). The dealership was willing to replace them for free, but I wanted to use a better rotor and pad setup. I've been running ATE's on all my racers, so I got a frozen set from Diversified Cryogenics, a set of Mintex Redbox pads, some stainless steel brakelines, and some ATE SuperBlue fluid.<p>The job took about 2 hours and I noticed the difference right after I bedded the pads later that night! I had an old post with stopping distances between her 1.8T and my 4 Motion posted after I ran the set for another 10K before trading the car in for the W8. My car stopped an average of 5 feet shorter than her Passat from 60MPH. <p>I honestly can't wait to get the specs on my W8's brakes so I can make the switch. :thumbup:
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (The Swami)

I bought my '98 used with 39K miles. The OEM pads had already been replaced with Ferodo - don't know which style. I did not like these pads - they were horribly black, sooty, abrasively dusty. And although they stopped the car effectively on the street (never took them to the track) the pedal was like mush - forget about pedal modulation. This was Ferodo + OEM rotors for 17,000 miles. The abrasive quality of their dust was what really stunned me - it was incredibly gritty - I think it's what took the silver paint off my plastic hubcaps.

The last 6,000 or so miles have been Mintex Reds w/OEM rotors. Dust level is accpetable, and it's not at all gritty like Ferodo. Stopping power is very good, and I was not disappointed the one time I have had them on the track. The mush is gone, although I, too, have noticed they don't have the greatest cold bite.

I have the ECS slotted Brembo rotors (fronts) waiting in my garage to be installed, along with a fresh set of Mintex Reds. Looking forward to how this feels.

Summary:
17,000 miles - just say NO to Ferodo + OEM rotors: good stopping power but WAY too dusty and mushy
6,000 miles - Mintex Red + OEM rotors: For street pad, very good stopping power, modulation, fade; good dust; acceptable cold bite.

<![CDATA[I bought my '98 used with 39K miles. The OEM pads had already been replaced with Ferodo - don't know which style. I did not like these pads - they were horribly black, sooty, abrasively dusty. And although they stopped the car effectively on the street (never took them to the track) the pedal was like mush - forget about pedal modulation. This was Ferodo + OEM rotors for 17,000 miles. The abrasive quality of their dust was what really stunned me - it was incredibly gritty - I think it's what took the silver paint off my plastic hubcaps.

The last 6,000 or so miles have been Mintex Reds w/OEM rotors. Dust level is accpetable, and it's not at all gritty like Ferodo. Stopping power is very good, and I was not disappointed the one time I have had them on the track. The mush is gone, although I, too, have noticed they don't have the greatest cold bite.

I have the ECS slotted Brembo rotors (fronts) waiting in my garage to be installed, along with a fresh set of Mintex Reds. Looking forward to how this feels.

Summary:
17,000 miles - just say NO to Ferodo + OEM rotors: good stopping power but WAY too dusty and mushy
6,000 miles - Mintex Red + OEM rotors: For street pad, very good stopping power, modulation, fade; good dust; acceptable cold bite.

[Modified by Rusty, 5:32 PM 2/4/2003]
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Rusty)

Food for thought:

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>Think of it this way: All brake systems, stock and aftermarket, are able to activate the ABS, so how could a stronger brake shorten a stop? Eric Dahl, a brake engineer from Brembo, put it this way: "Don't expect the brake kits to stop you sooner, but expect the 20th lap to feel like the first."

September 2002 Car & Driver Feature article<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

<BLOCKQUOTE>quote:<HR>...if your ultimate goal is to decrease your stopping distance, look no further than the four palm-sized patches of rubber connecting your ride to the ground.

Grassroots Motorsports Article, Dec 2000<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

So if you're not concerned about dust, cooking your brakes (which is extremely hard to do on the street unless you live atop a mountain), and if you think that your stock pedal feel is decent, there's no need to touch your brakes. Of course brake feel is a entirely based on opinion, so if you feel the need to get a better feel, do it. But if you really want to improve stopping "power", look to sticky tires, not wildly expensive brake setups.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (stealthx32)

I'm still needing better opinions.

99 variant with 53k.
anybody want to give ideas?
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (MAFailure)

First time I changed the brakes I went with OEM Zimmermanns from Germanautoparts and Mintex. Rotors got warped pretty quickly (in about 2-3k)and Mintex weren't as good on fade as I originally thought they would be, but theres no way of going around that. As far as performance, it was as good as OEM, not much difference there.

Personally I would recommend Bremo rotors. Had them for very little time but so far they've been great.


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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (passaturbonium)

1998 Passat... My experience with brakes and the curvey mountains

41 miles Stock/Stock
stopping power: *****
bite: *****
Comments: Dusty. Felt mushy after brakes got hot. Did I trust it?

30,000 miles switched to Mintex Red all around with Stock OEM rotors
stopping power: ******
bite: ******
Comments: I only gave it one more star cuz it had less dust. Performance to me was the same. Could I trust it?
(slightly more than stock)
60,000 miles switched to ECS brembo rotors, Mintex Red all around
stopping power: ********
bite: **********
Comments: Bite has improved dramatically. Squatting the car before turning a sharp corner at high speeds has improved dramatically. Fade has also improved, though if you drive normally, you shouldn't have fading issues to begin with. Stopping power I gave just one more star cuz frankly, I've never had an "oh crap I gotta stop" moment yet.
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (MAFailure)

What information do you need? Honestly, you will have to try a setup and draw your own opinions.

Don't forget, you can always buy OEM rotors and semi-organics from the dealership!
 

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Re: Long-term reviews on various OE size brake setups? (Darter)

Ive got 15k on my cross-drilled zimmermans and Mintex Red boxes.

Ive noticed some fade recently- but overall I would rate the combo as above average compared to the OE.
 
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