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Better Binders

Vette Brakes takes C5 stopping one step further

Andrew Bolig Jul 1, 2000

Step By Step

Once you’ve loosened the lug nuts about a turn each, you can jack up the car. Loosening the lug nuts is much simpler while the tires are making firm contact with the ground. Lifting the Corvette is easier if you have access to a hoist, but can be done with a jack at home. Notice that the hoist has a rubber block so as not to harm the body panels under the vehicle. If nothing else is available, hockey pucks do a fine job of protecting the panels from the metal jack pad. Once again, we emphasize that you should never work on a car supported only by a jack. Put the car on jackstands for your own safety.

With the wheels off, you can easily get to the caliper retaining bolts. There are two per caliper. You’ll need a 15mm socket and a 16mm wrench.

Hold the caliper slide with the 16mm wrench and loosen the caliper retaining bolt with the 15mm socket. We used an air ratchet, but a hand ratchet with a 15mm socket works fine.

Now remove the caliper mounts. They’re held in place with two 21mm bolts for each mount.

A good-size breaker bar will aid in loosening the bolts.

Make sure to take some brake fluid out of the master cylinder first so you don’t overflow the reservoir, and then push the cylinders back into the calipers to make room for the new brake pads. This can be done with a big pair of pliers, or you could use a C-clamp. Vern uses an old brake pad to keep the pliers from making contact with the piston and scoring it. This also helps keep the piston moving in without binding in the bore of the caliper.

The most noticeable difference from the stock rotors is that the Vette Brakes’ rotors have grooves cut into the surface of the rotor. This serves two purposes. The first objective is to allow the gasses that are generated when braking a means to escape from between the rotor and the pads. Also, the trailing edge of the groove is cut smooth to prevent the rotor from gouging into the pads when heat expansion takes place. This means that each rotor is designed and marked for a specific corner of the car, and you need to be careful that you install each rotor in the appropriate hub.

There’s light oil on the rotors to keep the machined surfaces fresh. You’ll need to clean them with brake cleaner to remove this oil. Don’t forget to get the inside of the rear rotors for the parking brake. This is also a good time to clean up the caliper mounts and bolts.

Install the caliper mounts and tighten the bolts slightly. After both bolts are snug, tighten them to 160 lb-ft with a torque wrench.

Make sure that when you removed and cleaned the caliper mount the small spring clips are still in place.

Do not remove the clips because they will lose their grip over time.

Install the new brake pads over the rotors. There should be enough friction to hold the pads in place, but they should still be able to move without binding.

Take note that the front and rear pads are different and they will not interchange.

Install the front and rear calipers over the brake pads. Tighten the two caliper bolts holding each caliper to 30 lb-ft. With the calipers installed, it’s easier to remove the hoses and install the new Goodridge braided hoses.

Vern suggests pumping the brakes and seating the pads before you disconnect the hoses. This fills the calipers with fluid and helps keep air out.

Remove the small clip that holds the hose onto the bracket. This can be pried off with a screwdriver. You’ll replace it with an old-style clip that’s supplied with the kit.

The kit comes with hoses, all the fittings, and the brass washers necessary to ensure that there are no leaks.

Once all of the hoses are installed, you’ll need to bleed the braking system to remove the air from the system.

Vern likes to loosen all of the bleeders and let the system gravity-bleed for a few minutes. Keep a sufficient brake-fluid level in the reservoir, or you’ll have a lot more air in the system.

After a few minutes of gravity bleeding, tighten all of the bleeders and pressure-bleed the system to remove any remaining air. Remember to close the bleeder before your helper lets up on the brake pedal, or you’ll just suck more air into the system.

After bleeding the system, clean off all of the excess brake fluid and push on the brakes a couple of times.

Then check all of the fittings to make sure there are no leaks.

The final check is to make sure that the hoses are positioned so they won’t rub against the wheels. This is particularly important on the front because of the added movement of the wheels as you turn. Installing the wheels and turning the steering is the best way to ensure that they will not rub.

After installing the wheels, you can lower the car and torque the lug nuts to 100 lb-ft. A torque wrench is the best way to ensure even pressure on the lugs. Don’t forget to tighten the lugs in a star pattern.

These new rotors will improve your C5’s stopping, and you gotta admit that they look great, too!

It's common knowledge in racing circles that you should make a car that stops fast before you make a car that runs fast. GM has known this for years, and the General has put a lot of effort into the stopping ability of the latest Corvettes. That doesn’t mean that the brakes on the C5 Corvette are the best that can be had, though. Vette Brakes & Products created a kit for the latest-style Corvette that will take the brake system in your Corvette to the next level in reliability and longevity.

While the calipers on C5s are very well designed, Vette Brakes put the emphasis on the rotors and brake pads for better performance when the anchor pedal is pushed hard. These brake upgrades are available in kit form, or you can buy them separately.

The rotors have been treated to a thermal process, which consists of heating and cooling them in a controlled procedure. This provides the rotors with better resistance to warping, and extends their life considerably. The kit comes complete with front and rear rotors, brake pads, hoses, and brake fluid. Installing the kit takes only a few more steps than a brake-pad replacement but the benefits, both short and long term, will make it worth the extra effort.

We asked Vern Carmack of the Chevy Service Center in Largo, Florida, to show us the proper way to install this brake upgrade kit. Follow along and see how easy it is to improve the braking of a C5 using this kit.


Vette Brakes & Products
St. Petersburg, FL
(800) 237-9991
Chevy Service Center
Largo, FL 33770

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