We love six-piston calipers and rotors the diameter of a large pizza as much as anyone, but sometimes you don't have the need (or the cash) for a complete big-brake replacement system. Instead, you can get a big boost in performance and looks from just swapping out a few of the OEM parts for higher-performance aftermarket widgets.
Tim Lee's '98 Z28 stopped well enough, but after repeated hard stops he was experiencing a bit of brake fade, plus the front rotors were fairly warped. Given these issues, we decided to try a few simple upgrades that wouldn't break the bank. For this, we hit up EBC Brakes for some of their wares. They suggested their 3GD Sport rotors. These parts don't come from Asia but from their foundry in either the UK or Italy, with the finish machining being done in either the UK or the USA. In fact, these Sport rotors were slotted at their Los Angeles facility. EBC also offers a wide array of pad compounds suited to your driving habits. And to make life easier, the various compounds are color coded. For full-race, they have orange pads; blue is their intermediate track-day pad, yellow is suited for high-performance street and track-day use, while red is their low-dust ceramic performance street pad. We also replaced the worn and prone-to-bulging rubber brake lines with some Teflon-lined straws from Goodridge.
Lastly, the battered brake parts were freshened up with some high-temp caliper paint sourced from Eastwood. It's a simple brake upgrade that will imbue your Camaro with added stopping prowess and make it look better, as well.
The stock Z28 brakes consisted of twin-piston PBR floating calipers and GM rotors. Not a bad combo, but the GM rotors have a tendency to warp easily. Plus, they are a bit aesthetically challenged.
Since we were here, we decided to make the Camaro's brake system look a little better as well. The first step was wire-wheeling the rust off the stock bearing hubs.
These 3GD Series Sport Rotors (PN 7005, $230) from EBC are direct replacements for the stockers (11.920-inch diameter and 1.271-inch thickness). The dimpled and slotted rotors draw in cooler air and reduce temperatures to lessen the chance of brake fade under hard use. The slots help expel dirt, dust, and gases, while the black zinc coating keep them looking great over time.
After cleaning up the rust, we shot the hubs with some high-temp black caliper paint from Eastwood (PN 13808 Z, $10.99). We then slid on the rotors. Keep in mind there is a right and left (left side shown). The wide-aperture slots in the rotors were designed to draw air under the brake pads to help cool the temperatures of the pad contact area.
The other major components of our upgrade were these EBC Yellow Stuff Kevlar brake pads (PN DP41323R, $104). The ceramic compound has a high-friction number from cold and only gets better as they heat up. This large heat range makes them perfect for the street as well as moderate track duty. For more serious track use, you would want to move to their Blue pads, but for our weekend-warrior Camaro, the Yellow is perfect. They are not considered “low dust” but are slightly better or comparable to OEM pads, and they came pre-bedded.
As rubber OEM brake lines age they tend to bulge a bit under hard use. This results in a spongy feel to the brake pedal and an increase in stopping distance. The best fix is to swap to stainless steel braided and Teflon-lined brake lines like these from Goodridge (PN 12218, $135), which are specifically designed for our fourth-gen Camaro. The kit included all five replacement lines, new hardware, and seals.
After cleaning up and shooting the caliper bracket with more of the Eastwood high-temp paint, we installed the new EBC pads. We also started installing the new Goodridge stainless brake lines.
Here’s the new front brake system all assembled with the freshly painted caliper installed.
The rear system is much like the front but with a single-piston PBR caliper. The rotors weren’t as warped as the front, but we figured it was a good idea to upgrade them as well.
Like the fronts, the rear rotors were direct replacements for the stockers. The black zinc-coated 3GD rotors (PN 7006, $214) had an outside diameter of 12 inches, and a thickness of 1.023 inches. According to EBC, the dimpling helps to avoid stress cracks.
To keep the front and rear brakes working in harmony we installed EBC Yellow Stuff Kevlar pads on the rear as well (PN DP41239R, $115), and hit the hubs, caliper brackets, and calipers with more of the Eastwood high-temp paint.
After installing the rear calipers, we installed the new Goodridge brake lines using the supplied hardware.
To finish off our brake upgrade, we flushed out all of the old brake fluid and replaced it with Wilwood Hi-Temp 570-degree racing brake fluid. Total time for the whole project was just over two hours, and we think that’s time well spent.