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Old 05-11-2003, 11:24 AM
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EricSilver EricSilver is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Fairfax, VA
Posts: 1,209
The Brake Pad Debate -- the Ignored Angle

Prior to replacing my brake pads this weekend, I read all the threads discussing/debating OEM organic versus aftermarket metallic pads. The key issues seemed to revolve around dust, rotor wear and stopping ability.

My decision to go with Axxis Metal Masters was based on a more fundamental question:

How much is your time worth?

The soft Pagids I just replaced were very effective at stopping the car, and easy on the rotors, but the dust they produced was absolutely horrendous, and destroyed the finish on my front wheels.

I recall, with zero fondness, spending at least an hour per week (during the warm months) scrubbing brake dust from my 15-hole rims, and the dismay at nonetheless losing the battle with the stuff that baked on, and could not be removed. I am not looking forward to doing that again this year, especially after I refinish my front wheels.

When I look at the countless hours involved in "brake dust management" versus the value of using those those same hours for doing business or other income-generating work, or pursuing creative endeavors, or spending time with loved ones, it makes perfect sense to buy low dust, maintenance-free semi metallic pads, even if it means spending $100 on a set of new rotors with each pad change. The time spent fighting dust simply is not worth it especially since the Metal Masters (and I suppose similar pads) offer such phenomenal stopping power, which I observed this weekend.

Before replacing your next set of pads, think of all the enjoyable and/or profitable things you could be doing with your time, then think of how it would feel to have to defer many of those because you need to spend hours with a brush cleaning dust from your wheels, and decide what makes the most sense.


That being said, I should add that brake pad replacement is the easiest and fastest DIY job. However, the instructions in Shop Forum's DIY section to not apply to my car. I have the Girling 2-bolt calipers that flip up to expose the pads, so the process is a lot easier:

Remove brake fluid reservoir cap, stuff a rag at in the top, remove wheel, remove lower caliper bolt, loosen the top bolt, flip up the caliper, remove the used pads, insert the new pads, push back the piston within the caliper (use a large C-Clamp or similar), flip the caliper back down, replace the lower bolt, tighten the top bolt, replace the brake fluid reservoir cap, pump brake pedal until firm. That's it. Takes all of 10 minutes per wheel.

The only problem I had was with stuck lug bolts on one wheel -- all 5 of them would not budge with the stock lug wrench, even after drenching it with WD40 and Liquid Wrench. Once again, Home Depot plumbing dept. to the rescue I bought a
30 inch length of 3/4 inch diameter iron/steel pipe, placed it over the end of the wrench handle for added leverage, and the stuck bolts gave up with very little resistance.
2001 E430 4matic
122,xxx miles
Black/Charcoal Interior

Gone but not Forgotten:
1995 E320, 252,xxx miles, Black/Grey
1989 260E, 223,00 miles, Black/Black
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