Brake upgrade

The brakes took a bit of a beating at the last trackday at Brands but were quite poor even before that. So I started looking at brake upgrades to see what was feasible. Since I wanted to retain the standard 14″ wheels, the largest caliper I could fit was the 266mm setup from the 306 Xsi, 206 GTi, Berlingo and a few other models. Now there are several combinations of caliper, pad, and disc and some require modifications. The best resource I could find after hours of reading was this comprehensive thread. It lays out alll the combinations available to you, and what works well.

So I found a set of calipers on ebay, and I sent them off to be refurbished with fresh seals and painted in silver. These came back painted up and so I needed to set about locating the rest of the rebuild parts, pads and discs.

I found that the spring clips needed to retain the brake pads from Peugeot were only sold with a set of pads. So I ordered these in with a view to selling the pads on. I also needed two fitting kits consisting of two sliders, rubber boots, bolts and 13mm bolts. Finally I ordered 4 206 gti torx bolts from Peugeot to fit the yokes.

Pad-wise, I decided on Ferrodo DS2500 pads (part no FCP1399H) which I’d used before on the 306 and are an excellent compromise for road and track. These were quite pricey at £110 from Demon Tweeks/Camskill but you realise they really are worth it when you try them.

The upgrade started badly, with me snapping a rear caliper bleed nipple leaving me searching for new new calipers. This was despite soaking the bleed nipples for 2 weeks in WD40, and being extra careful to remove them. They’re just rubbish! So I spend a good hour swapping over a new rear caliper. Now the rear was bleedable I set about test fitting the new front brakes.

Trial fitting showed the yokes of the new calipers fouled on the hub, which wasnt unexpected, but this meant you couldn’t fit both hub bolts and I had to break out the angle grinder. (Check out my protective Aviators!!) To correct the problem, I ground down some of the yoke until it fitted, painted and relaquered the ground area. I fitted the new brake discs and yokes, then broke out the new Ferodo DS2500 race pads and fitted them to the yokes with a bit of copper grease in the appropriate place. With the pads fitted, I built up the caliper using new sliders and bolted the calipers on. I then bled the brakes, removing a lot of air, and the brake pedal firmed up nicely. I was wondering whether I needed to use a GTi-6 or 406 master cylinder, but the pedal currently feels so good that I may not bother.

The bedding in procedure varies depending on who you talk to. Ferrodo recommend 25-30 stops at 50% of pedal pressure for 4-5 seconds. So I took the car for a spirited drive down my favourite local country roads. With the bedding in completed and the lovely whiff of brakes inside the cabin, I let them cool off and tried using them in earnest. The pedal has a little dead travel at the top but the stopping power is infintely much better than the OE setup. The progressive stopping power really inspires confidence, it really is worth all the effort and expense to carry out this upgrade and I recommend it to any GTi owners still on the OE calipers. It has transformed the performance, offering you the ability to press on and pull up smartly. I hope to write back on how they perform at Angelsey next week.

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