Lately, there's been an insurgence of binders big enough to swipe the contact lenses from your eyeballs when you stomp on the brake pedal. Ten years ago, if you wanted serious brakes for your ride, it meant buying race pieces and having them custom fit to your car. You were in uncharted territory and you essentially had to be your own expert. Now there are more companies building brakes than you can shake a stick at, and they're all touting huge pizza-sized rotors and gargantuan calipers. You know the kind--the kits that need huge wheels to make them fit. But this time we wanted to tell you about some smaller brakes that stop like they're big ones. We're talking about Baer's new Serious Street Plus braking system that fits inside factory 15-inch wheels, yet can still haul down your ride like the big boys.
Stopping Is Hot
So what happens when you slam on the brake pedal and your car comes to a screeching halt? The kinetic energy of your car moving forward is instantly converted into heat, which is then dissipated into the atmosphere through the brake rotors and pads. Heat is the number one killer of brakes and Baer has addressed braking heat in their new system.
Until now, the only way to improve the stopping of your car has been by installing giant front discs. But that also requires bigger wheels for clearance and that makes the cost skyrocket. Baer has taken what it learned from their big brake systems and incorporated it into a smaller-diameter rotor. Now, if you swap out your factory 10-inch front rotors for a set of Baer's 11-inchers you'll feel a noticeable difference right away.
The Serious Street Plus kits were developed for customers who want good stopping but don't want big wheels. The kit is a combination of a few of Baer's pieces including EradiSpeed 11-rotors, two-piston aluminum Track calipers, a new master cylinder, and pre-bent stainless steel brake lines to fit the entire car (application dependent). The kit is designed to replace the factory front discs and/or front drums and comes with all the mounting hardware needed to complete the installation. Kits are currently available to fit early GM and Ford vehicles only, with new kits on the way this year.
BLEEDING CAN MAKE YOU STOP BETTER
Bleeding brakes is not done with pressure, it is purely a function of moving fluid through the system. The object is to displace air, not to see how far you can squirt fluid out of the caliper. Enlist someone to help you bleed your brakes. Make sure you carefully read these instructions with them and understand the goal.
Bleeding brakes first requires a properly-sized box wrench for the bleeder screws and a clear plastic hose running to the bottom of a clear plastic bottle (a clean 16-oz. soda bottle works well). Plenty of new brake fluid is also a must. Start by topping off the master cylinder with fresh fluid and pouring enough fluid into the soda bottle to cover the end of the clear tube. At the caliper farthest from the master cylinder, attach the other end of the clear plastic hose to the bleeder screw. Open the bleeder screw and have your helper very slowly push the brake pedal repeatedly until fluid comes out of the hose. Close the bleeder. Now have your partner slowly push the pedal again using modest pressure until resistance is encountered then hold and notify you by saying "holding." Open the bleeder while your partner has pressure on the pedal. Air will probably be visible in the clear fluid at the bottom of the bottle as it bleeds from the system. Close the bleeder and repeat the process. To avoid aerating the fluid, never stroke the pedal too quickly and don't let the master cylinder run dry. Finally, carefully tap on the caliper with a plastic hammer to dislodge any last air bubbles that may be trapped and repeat the bleeding sequence again. Move to the wheel that is the next furthest from the master cylinder and repeat the procedure. Also, it's advisable to repeat the bleeding process after driving the vehicle for a day or two, as that may dislodge some additional air bubbles.
Note: This method can also be used to effectively flush your brake fluid once a year, which is a good practice to get into. Moisture is the number-one killer of brake fluid, silicone fluids excepted (but the experts we spoke with all agree that you should avoid silicone fluids). Open your master cylinder and take a look at your fluid. If it's black and murky, it's way past the time for a flush.
BAER SERIOUS STREET PLUS KIT APPLICATIONS
Mustang 1964-66 (w/master cyl. & hard lines) $1445
Mustang 1967-73 (w/master cyl.) $1195
Camaro/Firebird 1967-69 (w/master cyl.) $1195
GM A-Body 1964-72 (w/master cyl.) $1195
Chevy Nova 1964-74 (w/master cyl.) $1195
Mopars - To Be Announced