01 MayUprated Brakes – long pedal travel mystery solved

spitfire solid brake discsI recently refurbished my brakes as the fronts were starting to get in a bad way. Despite being equipped with new dilled/grooved discs, EBC pads, Big Red refurb calipers and silicone brake fluid when new, the pistons were sticking with rust, stopping the pads retracting and thus glazing the discs and pads. The pads were nearly worn down, and after 11 years since the resto it needed sorting.

I thoroughly cleaned the calipers and put new seals and stainless steel pistons in (after polishing them to a mirror finish), and my Dad was kind enough to get me some Mintex 1144 pads for Christmas. After a lot of deliberation I decided to go with solid discs (only £10 each!), given that I don’t feel the drilled/grooved ones are worth it and kept the silicone fluid.

After putting everything back together and replacing the O/S front wheel bearing (someone had previously nipped it up far too tight, causing excessive wear), I still had a really long pedal travel despite bedding the pads in and bleeding the brakes several times. You had to pump all the way down, then press again to get brakes, but once that’d been done, the bite was excellent.

spitfire refurbished brake calipersHaving left the car for some time, I had a thought. As I recently found with the clutch, small milimetres of excess movement at the piston can cause huge differences in pedal feel, and I wasn’t 100% on the anti squeal measures I’d put on. Before changing the pads, the EBC Greenstuff pads only had the metal anti squeal shims, but I’d used both these AND the Mintex supplied sticky anti squeal pads. I took the brake pads out with some difficulty, to find that the sticky pads looked a bit scrunched. After peeling them off and just putting the pads back in with the metal anti squeal pads, I’ve now not only got no squeal but fantastic brakes with a firm pedal!

I can’t emphasise enough how amazing the brakes are on the car now. It will literally put you through the windscreen if you slammed on, and I have to be careful now not to apply them too hard because the 20psi early oil pressure warning light easily comes on under braking. Clearly the huge braking force is throwing the oil to the front of the sump, so it’s created a new problem now – I need a baffled sump!

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