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Is the Grand AM brake upgrade worth it? by Threedog
Started on: 09-14-2015 07:14 PM
Replies: 45 (2509 views)
Last post by: olejoedad on 10-15-2015 10:21 AM
Threedog
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Report this Post09-14-2015 07:14 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ThreedogClick Here to Email ThreedogSend a Private Message to ThreedogEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
It looks like I am going to be needing new front Brakes pretty soon, and I am wondering if I should bite the bullet and spend around $300 on the brake upgrade, or just get new slotted/drilled discs and nice brakes for $100.

The car doesn't have to be the best stopping car in the world, but it will be doing autocross often, I already have 17inch rims, and it has a 3800 in it. Is it worth it?
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Report this Post09-14-2015 10:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for blackramsClick Here to Email blackramsSend a Private Message to blackramsEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Just my opinion but no when compared to the C4 Vette brake upgrade. You won't believe the difference. Not sure who's doing the kits any longer but, I'll bet Fieroguru can tell you. Pretty sure he was building the conversion brackets for a while and redrilling the rotors. The C4 Vette upgrade will put your car into the World Class braking category. I've put it on three different Fieros and love it on my 3800SC Formula.

That braking power is well worth it on the auto X course.

Edited: I see that you're running 17" wheels, that's good in this case. For the C4 upgrade, you will need at least 16" wheels.

------------------
Ron

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[This message has been edited by blackrams (edited 09-14-2015).]

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Threedog
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Report this Post09-14-2015 10:47 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ThreedogClick Here to Email ThreedogSend a Private Message to ThreedogEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
How much does that run?


 
quote
Originally posted by blackrams:

Just my opinion but no when compared to the C4 Vette brake upgrade. You won't believe the difference. Not sure who's doing the kits any longer but, I'll bet Fieroguru can tell you. Pretty sure he was building the conversion brackets for a while and redrilling the rotors. The C4 Vette upgrade will put your car into the World Class braking category. I've put it on three different Fieros and love it on my 3800SC Formula.

That braking power is well worth it on the auto X course.

Edited: I see that you're running 17" wheels, that's good in this case. For the C4 upgrade, you will need at least 16" wheels.


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Report this Post09-15-2015 07:52 PM Click Here to See the Profile for rogergarrisonClick Here to Email rogergarrisonSend a Private Message to rogergarrisonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I never had any trouble with OEM brakes even from high speed stops. Prob not good for competition driving though. I went completely thru my Ferrari kits brakes with new OEM parts, not even with vented rotors. I never even wore out the replacement pads in 8 years and 100,000 miles. For the street, I never knew why anyone had to upgrade to anything.
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Threedog
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Report this Post09-15-2015 08:23 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ThreedogClick Here to Email ThreedogSend a Private Message to ThreedogEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by rogergarrison:

I never had any trouble with OEM brakes even from high speed stops. Prob not good for competition driving though. I went completely thru my Ferrari kits brakes with new OEM parts, not even with vented rotors. I never even wore out the replacement pads in 8 years and 100,000 miles. For the street, I never knew why anyone had to upgrade to anything.


Yeah but I am worried that the harsh repeated stopping that I have to with Autocross will be too much for the already weak OEM brakes.
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Report this Post09-15-2015 08:40 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Gall757Send a Private Message to Gall757Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Where is Patrick? He should know the answer to this......having autorcossed a few Fiieros.
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Threedog
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Report this Post09-15-2015 10:10 PM Click Here to See the Profile for ThreedogClick Here to Email ThreedogSend a Private Message to ThreedogEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Gall757:

Where is Patrick? He should know the answer to this......having autorcossed a few Fiieros.


What is his Username? I could just PM him, doubtful he sees this.
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Report this Post09-15-2015 10:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for MonkeymanSend a Private Message to MonkeymanEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Threedog:

What is his Username? I could just PM him, doubtful he sees this.


Patrick.

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Report this Post09-15-2015 11:04 PM Click Here to See the Profile for TopNotchClick Here to visit TopNotch's HomePageSend a Private Message to TopNotchEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
In spirited driving, such as on our club's Run For The Hills events, OEM 84-87 brakes sometimes overheat, and give off that burning brake pad smell. I never had that problem with my 86 SE, with the Grand Am package on the front, and the Grand Am/Seville mod on the rear.
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Report this Post09-17-2015 04:07 PM Click Here to See the Profile for batousai666Send a Private Message to batousai666Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
\m/ YEEEEEEEEES!!!! \m/
I have a 3800 SC Mera and a '86 V8 GT and they are almost necessary period!!
i drive like an ape....so stopping is as important as HP for me
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Report this Post09-17-2015 05:57 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Threedog:

Yeah but I am worried that the harsh repeated stopping that I have to with Autocross will be too much for the already weak OEM brakes.


After having autocrossed an '84 for three years and an '88 for two years, it's my experience that properly maintained and functioning OEM brakes are just fine. I've had no problem locking up all four wheels (not that I want to) on either Fiero. And you're only on the course for about a minute at a time... not nearly long enough for brake fade to become an issue.

Track days would be a different matter completely, and that's because you're on the track accelerating and braking for a much longer period.

[This message has been edited by Patrick (edited 09-17-2015).]

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Report this Post09-17-2015 08:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by batousai666:

\m/ YEEEEEEEEES!!!! \m/
I have a 3800 SC Mera and a '86 V8 GT and they are almost necessary period!!
i drive like an ape....so stopping is as important as HP for me


I feel the same. The 3800 needs better braking when installed in a Fiero.
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Report this Post09-17-2015 08:56 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by solotwo:

The 3800 needs better braking when installed in a Fiero.


Due to greater speeds or greater weight?
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Report this Post09-17-2015 09:20 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Patrick:

Due to greater speeds or greater weight?


I dont think the 3800 is that much heavier than the 2.8. Mind you that it does not take much pressing of the accelerator pedal and you are up to highway speeds. I have an automatic and I think it still sends power to the wheels even when your foot is off the pedal. It could be that the auto has less drag and the car does not have the engine to drag it down. I may be wrong but it seems like when installing the 3800 or more you should up grade the system. Which means getting the correct calipers to work with the stock master cylinder or increasing the master cylinder capacity when increasing the caliper size.

I should probably sit down with my son some time and figure out a balanced system for the Fiero. He is a engineer for a Tier 1 supplier and works in braking. He also was in charge of braking on the Michigan State University Formula team.

[This message has been edited by solotwo (edited 09-17-2015).]

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Report this Post09-17-2015 09:29 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
My question is; does the Grand Am system increase the swept area? Are the Calipers bigger, if so would not that imply that you have to use a different master cylinder to match the increase in volume? If that is the case then why not just do a whole system, like one engineered from Wildwood, Baer etc.

[This message has been edited by solotwo (edited 09-17-2015).]

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Report this Post09-17-2015 09:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by solotwo:

I have an automatic and I think it still sends power to the wheels even when your foot is off the pedal. It could be that the auto has less drag and the car does not have the engine to drag it down.


Actually, you bring up a very good point! One reason why I prefer driving a manual is that there's a more direct connection between the engine and the drive wheels, both when pressing and releasing the gas pedal. During an autocross, it's very seldom that anyone's car ever gets out of 2nd gear. So when I release the gas pedal in my 5-spd Formula, it probably slows down considerably faster than your Fiero does with its automatic. I wanted to install an aluminum flywheel when I changed my clutch to make this engine "braking" even more noticeable, but I eventually decided against it due to the common issue of aluminum flywheels getting loose.

Anyway, to re-cap... yeah, I believe it's possible that having an automatic might make a brake upgrade more desirable, but I still maintain that OEM brakes are more than sufficient for autocross.
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Report this Post09-18-2015 09:02 AM Click Here to See the Profile for SteelSend a Private Message to SteelEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I did not like my GA brake swap. I had a literally 100% completely refurbed Fiero brake system installed and then upgraded.. was not happy and saw almost no improvement. I was trying to match my braking with my heavily increased power output/trap times.

After turbocharging two of my 3800 swapped Fiero's i've now begin upgrading them both to 13" Brembo brakes, what the cars deserve in my opinion. Of course it's extremely expensive and not for every owner. I'd recommend upgrading to the 88' style Fiero brakes before the GA's.

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Report this Post09-19-2015 12:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for batousai666Send a Private Message to batousai666Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
guilty of all three....have Automatics, usually High MPH, and feel in the least the GA upgrade is as good as the '88 Fiero update on my 86 and 87 respectively vented rotors are a must!!! for me anyway.....I was heat fading in the og 3800 car.
I had drilled/slotted but solid steelies before.....scary.

[This message has been edited by batousai666 (edited 09-19-2015).]

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Report this Post09-19-2015 08:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by solotwo:

My question is; does the Grand Am system increase the swept area? Are the Calipers bigger, if so would not that imply that you have to use a different master cylinder to match the increase in volume? If that is the case then why not just do a whole system, like one engineered from Wildwood, Baer etc.



Because you can do a GA swap with a new master cylinder and a bigger brake booster for that matter, for a fraction of what a set from Wilwood would cost you. I'm doing the GA upgrade on my Indy because I want to keep the 14" wheels but have some improvement over the solid rotors.
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Report this Post09-19-2015 08:27 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SilvertownClick Here to Email SilvertownSend a Private Message to SilvertownEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Threedog:

It looks like I am going to be needing new front Brakes pretty soon, and I am wondering if I should bite the bullet and spend around $300 on the brake upgrade, or just get new slotted/drilled discs and nice brakes for $100.

The car doesn't have to be the best stopping car in the world, but it will be doing autocross often, I already have 17inch rims, and it has a 3800 in it. Is it worth it?



Someone may have already said this but get custom rotors and the cross drilled upgrade. Dont know if you can get ceramic brakes for a Fiero but if you can get those too. This will keep them cool and there will be almost no brake fade. I didn't ever think I would hear that a grand am is a performance upgrade. Or is that the calipers?

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Report this Post09-19-2015 08:48 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Silvertown:
Someone may have already said this but get custom rotors and the cross drilled upgrade. Dont know if you can get ceramic brakes for a Fiero but if you can get those too. This will keep them cool and there will be almost no brake fade. I didn't ever think I would hear that a grand am is a performance upgrade. Or is that the calipers?


In my opinion the vented rotors on the GA will fade far less than drilled and slotted solid rotors.
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Report this Post09-19-2015 11:28 PM Click Here to See the Profile for SilvertownClick Here to Email SilvertownSend a Private Message to SilvertownEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:


In my opinion the vented rotors on the GA will fade far less than drilled and slotted solid rotors.


Are you saying you can't put vented rotors on a fiero with its factory calipers? Can you get ceramic pads for the factory calipers? Auto zone is showing the 88 gt rotor as vented. Are the previous years not?

[This message has been edited by Silvertown (edited 09-19-2015).]

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Report this Post09-20-2015 12:45 AM Click Here to See the Profile for PatrickClick Here to Email PatrickSend a Private Message to PatrickEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Silvertown:

Auto zone is showing the 88 gt rotor as vented. Are the previous years not?


Correct. The '84-'87 rotors are solid.
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Report this Post09-20-2015 03:57 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jb1Click Here to Email jb1Send a Private Message to jb1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
i liked the GA set-up on my 3800 car, I went with 13" on N* just for full wheel look, GA was plenty for me.

------------------


87GTseries 1 3800sc (7.597 @88.53 1.579 60ft)
(series II swap in progress)
85GT Northstar/ 4t80e
Northstar Rebuild

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Report this Post09-20-2015 07:01 AM Click Here to See the Profile for olejoedadClick Here to Email olejoedadSend a Private Message to olejoedadEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Properly done, the GA system makes a very noticeable difference.
My 86 SE had fresh OEM brakes before I put the GA brakes on.
No fade under hard repeated use, good F/R balance, good modulation at the limits of traction, and feel like they will put you through the windshield.
You must use an early 90's S-10 Blazer M/C to supply adequate fluid volume for the larger pistons.

[This message has been edited by olejoedad (edited 09-20-2015).]

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Report this Post09-20-2015 11:20 AM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:


Because you can do a GA swap with a new master cylinder and a bigger brake booster for that matter, for a fraction of what a set from Wilwood would cost you. I'm doing the GA upgrade on my Indy because I want to keep the 14" wheels but have some improvement over the solid rotors.


Ok so to properly do a GA up grade, one must also do the master cylinder. Now about the issue of what year of GA calipers to use and availability. Someone on the forum mentioned GA calipers are no longer available. I don't recall the year.

Now my question to you, is the GA single piston? I bet the Wilwood is multiple piston.

[This message has been edited by solotwo (edited 09-20-2015).]

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Report this Post09-20-2015 11:21 AM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post

solotwo

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Member since Jun 2002
 
quote
Originally posted by olejoedad:

Properly done, the GA system makes a very noticeable difference.
My 86 SE had fresh OEM brakes before I put the GA brakes on.
No fade under hard repeated use, good F/R balance, good modulation at the limits of traction, and feel like they will put you through the windshield.
You must use an early 90's S-10 Blazer M/C to supply adequate fluid volume for the larger pistons.



What year calipers are you using?
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Report this Post09-21-2015 12:54 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
If you want to do the GA on the front without thinking about it you can buy the kit from the Fiero Store with everything you need in the box. It costs more than sourcing the parts individually, but it is convenient and you don't have to search all over the place.

For the rear I don't recommend the GA because you will lose your parking brake. If you have state inspections, like we do in Texas, it would never pass. I'm going with Seville calipers in the back.
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Report this Post09-21-2015 08:19 AM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:

If you want to do the GA on the front without thinking about it you can buy the kit from the Fiero Store with everything you need in the box. It costs more than sourcing the parts individually, but it is convenient and you don't have to search all over the place.

For the rear I don't recommend the GA because you will lose your parking brake. If you have state inspections, like we do in Texas, it would never pass. I'm going with Seville calipers in the back.


Thank you for the information. I have a 87 with 87 front brakes and 88 rear cradle. This is a great topic with lots of great information.
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Report this Post09-21-2015 07:58 PM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by solotwo:


Thank you for the information. I have a 87 with 87 front brakes and 88 rear cradle. This is a great topic with lots of great information.


If you have the 88 rear cradle you can upgrade to the 12" Corvette rotors and use the same 88 rear calipers you already have. All you need are brackets and the Corvette redrilled rotors.
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Report this Post09-22-2015 08:31 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
But first I must purchase wheels and tires for winter that would work with vette brakes. I like the idea of keeping the stock calipers while using the stock Master Cylinder
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Report this Post09-23-2015 12:12 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by solotwo:

But first I must purchase wheels and tires for winter that would work with vette brakes. I like the idea of keeping the stock calipers while using the stock Master Cylinder


What size wheels do you have? I've heard the 12" rotors might be able to fit under the 15" wheels, but 16" are more comfortable.
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Report this Post09-23-2015 07:56 AM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by jscott1:


What size wheels do you have? I've heard the 12" rotors might be able to fit under the 15" wheels, but 16" are more comfortable.


Summer 17" front 18" rear
Winter 14"

I am a typical Fiero owner.... capital resources are limited or not available.... lets just say the wife will not let me spend $ on the car. LOL Unless I present a good case, but some times that doesn't work. LOL

[This message has been edited by solotwo (edited 09-23-2015).]

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Report this Post09-23-2015 02:01 PM Click Here to See the Profile for 1MohrFieroSend a Private Message to 1MohrFieroEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
Thanks for all the info and opinions. I have been collecting parts to do this for a few months and am almost ready but I have to admit that I waffle occasionally.

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Report this Post09-23-2015 07:46 PM Click Here to See the Profile for Jake_DragonSend a Private Message to Jake_DragonEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
I have an 86, V8 conversion and the GA update on just the back. Been driving that way for years with no issues. Front is still stock brakes.
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Report this Post09-24-2015 09:11 PM Click Here to See the Profile for solotwoSend a Private Message to solotwoEdit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by 1MohrFiero:

Thanks for all the info and opinions. I have been collecting parts to do this for a few months and am almost ready but I have to admit that I waffle occasionally.



I agree. Thanks to all for the great information!
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Report this Post09-25-2015 12:44 AM Click Here to See the Profile for jscott1Send a Private Message to jscott1Edit/Delete MessageReply w/QuoteDirect Link to This Post
 
quote
Originally posted by Jake_Dragon:

I have an 86, V8 conversion and the GA update on just the back. Been driving that way for years with no issues. Front is still stock brakes.


If you lived in a state with vehicle inspections you would have a big issue with no emergency brake.
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Jake_Dragon
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quote
Originally posted by jscott1:


If you lived in a state with vehicle inspections you would have a big issue with no emergency brake.


I dont, havent had inspections for years in Florida.
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quote
Originally posted by Jake_Dragon:


I dont, havent had inspections for years in Florida.


Just because you can doesn't mean you should.
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MulletproofMonk
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quote
Originally posted by Threedog:

It looks like I am going to be needing new front Brakes pretty soon, and I am wondering if I should bite the bullet and spend around $300 on the brake upgrade, or just get new slotted/drilled discs and nice brakes for $100.

The car doesn't have to be the best stopping car in the world, but it will be doing autocross often, I already have 17inch rims, and it has a 3800 in it. Is it worth it?


I did the Grand Am brake upgrade in the front and back on my 87 GT with a 3800NA. I loved it. Brakes harder and no fade. I should probably replace the MC and booster, but I haven't got to it yet.
There is a larger up front cost (mostly for the lathed hubs), but after that, Grand Am rotors and pads are dirt cheap compared to Fiero rotors... and I don't have to mess with that bearing. Then the question is how often do you have to replace all of that?

 
quote
Originally posted by solotwo:
I dont think the 3800 is that much heavier than the 2.8.


Depends on how much weight you consider heavier.
362 lb - GM 60 Degreee V6 OHV N/A Gen 1 (L44)
448 lb - Buick V6 S/C (L67, L32)

80 lbs doesn't sound like much, but it is all added to the back of the car. When you brake, that weight gets transferred forward since it is in motion. Don't forget that the 4T65E and 4T65E-HD weigh more then the TH125C too...

------------------
-Brian

My 87 GT Poly Suspension Upgrade (all pics) thread
Removing the roof panel
My HUD install thread
Modified stock air canister and base to 3.5 inch for 3800na

Isn't it strange that after a bombing, everyone blames the bomber, his upbringing, his environment, his culture, his mental state but … after a shooting, the problem is the gun?

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