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Improved Braking

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With the better weather I seem to be peddling my Lawn Dart (Vaux HPC) that much faster than I was before. Frankly the brakes don't seem to be up to it. They are the standard Ford? calipers and non-vent discs. The upgrade over the winter to 200bhpish has added to the problem. They don't catch fire or anything but they are not confidence inducing.


As a short term measure I have upgraded the friction material but what are my real long term upgrade options?


More to the point what are peoples opinions of those options vis-a-vis value for money, performance & ease of fitting?

Caterham upgrade?

James Whitings set-up?

HiSpec Motorsport?

Any others?




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Steve Mell and myself both fitted the HiSpec Motorsport kit over the winter. We had problems with the kit not fitting under the wheels but this was solved by switching to their racing calipers and going to a 254mm disc. This is vented and grooved and the calipers are 4-pot and we went for piston sizes that match the AP set-up.

I have been very happy with mine, but I think Steve has had more chances to test his (I have had starting problems on my car) and his feedback to me from track use has been very good. All up I paid about £510 which included the discs, calipers, Green stuff pads and new hoses.

I think the only niggle I have had is that I have to keep bleeding them to get rid of the assmebly gloop which turns the fluid deep red. Each time gives me a very nice pedal feel back again and I am putting off te master cylinder while I decide if I really need it!


If you are near to Bracknell you are welcome to pop around and have a look.


Phil Waters

Zetec is in and running *wink*

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Caterham offering seems to be very good. I have noticed a major improvement over the standard Triumph Spitfire calipers. However, there is a big issue of clearance if you have 13" wheels. Most will just fit if you don't have the wheels balanced with weights inside the wheels.


James Whiting's Alcons claim that this is less of an issue as they retain the standard disks.


I don't know about the other variants.


Low tech luddite - xflow and proud!

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I've just fitted the latest Caterham AP 4 pot fronts having had the standard ford calipers with red stuff pads before.


I'm not sure that ultimate braking power is improved as I think the limiting factor there is the tyre, but longevity is definetly better. It looks like the Mintex 1155 pads are going to last for 6-8 track days vs the 2 or so I'd get out of a set of red stuff on the old calipers.


Also with an uprated master cylinder they seem to require less pedal pressure than the old calipers, not quite sure why that should be the case though.


If you do fit them you may also want to investigate a brake bias adjuster, I've got one on mine and I've had to wind it almost completly to the rear to balance the brakes up where. Otherwise the rears were hardly being used at all before the fronts locked. Pre-upgrade it was set much further forwards.




Rob G


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I upgraded my HPC's brakes to James Whiting's setup last year.


While being OK, it doesn't set the World alight. The Alcon calipers were better with the Greenstuff pads. There was certainly more bite, but the pads were crap for track days, so I now use Mintex 1155.


I still don't get shoulder-breaking stopping performance, even when the pads are warm. Not sure if I need bigger disks or a better master cylinder. Or maybe the Pagid pads would give this, but they're a bit pricey.


If I were doing it all again, I think I'd research this whole area a lot better.


cheers, Matt.

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I have the James Whiting kit on the front with Red Stuff pads.

Previoius to fitting these I never had any confidence in the brakes, There was no feel to the pedal and the car always felt as if it was braking from the rear ie over braked at the rear.

WIth the James Whiting kit this was fixed, brakes are more progressive and the car brakes are more balanced as the car now defintelky brakes more from the front. Orogonally I had Green Stuff pads but never really liked them. Now have Red Stuff on the front - much better.

Have also fitted an uprated master cylinder.

Now have a rock hard brake pedal courtesy of the new master cylinder.


I am going to upgrade the pads on the rear as currently have the standard Caterham ones. Hope that makes the final difference and does not then start giving me too much brake at the rear again.

One of the benefits of the James Whiting kit is that you keep the standard discs so is a doddle to fit and spares are cheaper.

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After changing the master cylinder and pad type several times on standard brakes I went for the Caterham option. I was looking at the others too but then noticed the Caterham offer of 650 all in (incl. fitting).


This meant they were only slightly more expensive than the other options but were fitted to the car. And as a known entity it seemed like a good bet.


And indeed it was. The stopping urgency that I'd been looking for was there immediately. Pedal feel with the uprated m/c (another couple of hundred but I bet you'd get a good deal buying it at the same time) is good and they scrub off speed nicely.


I can also lock the fronts at will rather than the rears.


I was going to think about uprating the rears too but I don't think it's not necessary just yet. Le Sept will tell with three hard track days I guess.


A bias adjuster might prove necessary too but I'm not keen on these (it seems a better idea to get the whole system working properly without needing one).


I have noticed what I think are my pads rattling recently though. Wondered what it was for the last few weeks (a gentle clicking noise at low speed) and I'm sure this is what it is. Iprobably ought to check my pads tonight!

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Guys, I support the Caterham solution and have just fitted a set. It was very straight forward.


Suggest you get an 8 mm allen socket which will help and do not refit the washer that goes with Spitfire calipers


Great improvement, on ACB10s and SLR wheels


Best upgrade of the year !



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Rob, I use 32R's/ I know what you're getting at, but I still feel there should be more initial bite from the setup I have. I think the tyre option would be more noticable if comparing stopping distances.


I know pads have been flogged to death here over the past year or two, and I'm now looking at other reasons.


Is an uprated master cylinder going to improve bite? (Matthew, sorry to hijack your thread)


cheers, Matt

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That's as good as they're going to get, they get worse with hard use. If you want bite on standard brakes you need Hawke pads. Nothing I've tried comes close. The only advantages with Greenstuff is low prices and even that's questionable in view of their limited life.
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