Last month we reached the end of the drivetrain renewal for our '83 Camaro known as Project Crossfire Z, as we completed the installation of a Moser 12-bolt rearend. The bolt-in Moser package can be ordered to work with any stock Camaro brake configuration, yet we opted to upgrade to a housing that incorporated the beefier Ford bearing ends instead of standard GM C-clip retainers. This made upgrading to disc brakes easier, and necessary. Before we decided on what brake system to use, the folks at Baer Brakes had gotten wind of our latest project and suggested we give one of their Pro-PLUS systems a try.
These kits come complete with everything you'll need to outfit your Camaro with a set of their super trick Baer 6P six-piston calipers and two-piece slotted rotors. While valued way over and above the budget for our project (street priced at around $3,700), the Baer guys reminded us that there are plenty of third-gen owners willing to spend the money on their rides for the ultimate in performance. And the Baer jewels are simply the best money can buy. With that said, and shouldered with the responsibility of providing our readers with test and installation data on everything from low buck to big dollar, we put down the calculator, ignored our feelings of over indulgence, and forged ahead with the installation. And we're glad we did ...
What's next? •So, you just fit your toy with a set of the nastiest looking accessories this side of an 871, and you can't wait to throw your buddy into the shoulder belt as you rip down from 100 mph. But if you go from tightening the last lug nut, straight to the track, you and your wallet are going to be sorry. Before you test the performance of your new brakes with a heavy foot, your fresh rotors need to go through a "seasoning process." This is where heat is gradually induced into them over dozens of stopping and cooling down periods.
Standing on the brakes before they are properly seasoned will cause premature failure and warping and/or cracking of the rotors. Even the good guys at Baer won't be able to warranty that mistake. In addition to the rotor seasoning process, brake pads must go through a break in process of their own called "bedding." This procedure causes the organic binding compound in the pad to burn from the surface of the pad. It then allows the friction material to make proper contact with the rotor. So, it's a good idea to protect your investment by checking out www.baer.com for their complete seasoning and bedding procedures.
How did they work? So for the bucks we just poured into the brake system to get our disco dog to stop, we had high hopes that something good would happen. After a couple weeks of seasoning the rotors and bedding the pads, we packed up the radar gun and timing lights and headed out to our test facility. Besides the '83 Camaro project, we also brought along our '10 Camaro to put it through the paces as well.
After a dozen or so 60-0 mph stops, and an almost equal number of adjustments on the proportioning valve, we reduced our stopping distance down to 130 feet. The really cool aspect with the Baer's is that the braking distance kept getting shorter with each stop, defying the typical notion that with heavy and prolonged use, brakes will fade and lose their effectiveness.
Our distance was also admirable given that our Camaro is running Nitto 555's-a great street tire, but one that sports a rigid 300 treadwear rating. A more performance oriented tire (180-200 treadwear rating) would have brought our stopping distance down even further. This level of performance is on par with the some of the best Pro Touring cars we've ever tested, and will certainly provide our Z28 with enough stopping power to be competitive at an open track day or autocross.