The Three-Piston Halt

Tri-Power Stopping For Fourth-Gen Camaros

Andrew Schear Sep 20, 2004 0 Comment(s)

While late-model Camaros may not posses the raw power of a big-block Chevelle or the high-revving twist of the 302-inch '69 Camaro they are well known for their awesome stopping power. Our Road Rage testing provided us with 60-0 mph numbers consistently at 132 feet, a very impressive number for a stock vehicle. After all, four-wheel discs, ABS and a set of 275mm tires make all the difference in the world.

After looking at the import market and a few of our competitors' vehicles we determined that squeezing a few more feet out of our '02 Z28 was a must, but not at the cost of pedal comfort or extreme financial cost. Stainless Steel Brakes Corporation offers a "quick change" caliper and rotor upgrade for the C5 and Gen IV Camaro. The Tri-Power (we love the name) kit provides new calipers, rotors; flex lines, pads and all the hardware necessary to make the switch. The beauty of the kit is the use of the OE cradles, master cylinder and power booster. It was our observation that the kit really was a quick change over, taking all of 90 minutes wheel to wheel.

On the track, we noticed improved pedal feel and the ability to modulate braking well before ABS lockup. For those of you interested in the aesthetics, you know who you are; the Tri-Power is as cool as they come with a price tag well below much of their competition.

PERFORMANCE BRAKING DATA
StockTri-Power
60-0 mph132 ft118 ft

3

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After pulling off our Weld Evo Mecham 18-inch rollers we determined that one side should be disassembled at a time. While making the process slightly slower, it gives us a visual to work from.

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With the wheel off, loosen the caliper mounting bolts and remove the caliper.

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As the instructions detailed, we reused the OE cradle. The cradle can and must be removed before the new rotor is installed.

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The OE rotor should slide right off.

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Included in the kit is a powder coated adapter plate for the new rotor/caliper combo. Due to the design of the SSBC rotor, an adapter place spaces the caliper back to a new location. Have no fear, the plate has indentations where it fits to the spindle.

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The new caliper and OE cradle are slid into place and bolted to the SSBC mounting plate with the provided hardware.

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It's a wise idea to slide the pads into the cradle and secure the rotor with a single lug nut to insure nothing shifts about.

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Right now is a good time to disconnect the flex line from the chassis before actually loosening the fitting. Be sure to have a rubber cap or the new caliper handy to keep brake fluid in the lines. If the master cylinder runs dry your day just got a little worse. This is perhaps the only tough part of the install, as time is a factor.

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The new Tri-Power caliper can be installed with the provided hardware and the flex line tightened. Provided with the kit are copper washers to be used at each end of the flex line. Make absolutely sure these washers are in place as they insure a tight leak-proof seal.

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With someone inside the car bleed the brakes in the usual manner till no air bubbles are visible. We found that a second bleeding after 100 miles was helpful.

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With everything in place it's time to bleed the front calipers. Before beginning, make sure that you've got the reservoir full of DOT 3 fluid as the calipers displace a large amount of space.

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Before the installation we noticed that while the caliper only looked a little larger, the rotor was sufficiently bigger.

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Note that the new calipers are designed as a three-piston system versus the OE two-piston system. The use of an extra piston creates a more efficient load spreading and better overall braking.

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