Braking Mods, Part 2: Pads
To be quite blunt, very few people like the OEM pads from Aston Martin. They squeal, they create a ton of dust, and they're expensive. These drawbacks were the result of needing to ensure an Aston could stop from the very high speeds it can reach. But most of us aren't doing 150+ mph and don't need that much braking capacity.
There are a lot of options for brake pads. I tend to only sell products that I’ve used and tested, so I’m going to go over each of them to help you decide which is best for your needs.
I recommend the Porterfield R4-S brake pad to almost everyone that asks for advice on pads. For most people, it has all the heat capacity needed but without the drawbacks. It produces very little dust and is completely silent. Plus, it costs far less than OEM pads. All this combined makes for a very popular pad that suits most people.
The R4-S pads I sell are chamfered, which prevents buildup on the friction material edges and thereby reduces the possibility of brake squeal. They also have brake pad wear sensor slots.
However, this pad should not be used on a track if you have 4-piston front brake calipers. Simply put, the compound and pad surface area cannot handle repetitive high speed heavy braking like you have on a race track. While the chamfering helps prevent brake squeal (good for the street), it also reduces the surface area (bad for the track).
This isn’t a problem if you have 6-piston front calipers, as the surface area of those pads is massive in comparison. Here’s a pic of the pads for the 6-piston (top) and 4-piston (bottom) front calipers.
Hawk HPS 5.0
I first tested the Hawk HPS 5.0 as a compromise pad for those of us that want to be able to use one pad for both street and track driving. I’ve been very happy with the HPS 5.0 for that purpose.
Yes, it has more brake dust than the R4-S, but not nearly as much as the R4. I find the dust to be reasonable given its ability to perform so well at both street and track.
While it doesn’t have the chest-hurting stopping power of the R4, it’s still able to handle repetitive high speed heavy braking far better than the R4-S.
I did experience occasional minor brake squeal for about a week or so after using the HPS 5.0 on track, but it eventually went away and returned to being silent. That brief annoyance was infinitely more tolerable than the ear-splitting screeching of the R4 pads when driven on the street.
I do offer the Hawk HPS 5.0 with chamfering and brake pad wear sensor slots.
The track-only counterpart to the R4-S, the Porterfield R4 pad has incredible stopping power that comes with a few drawbacks. While yes, technically, the pad can be driven on the street, I don’t recommend it being used that way aside from driving to and from a track. They don’t just squeal, they screech. The sound is unbearable and unrelenting when driving in normal street conditions. They also create a massive amount of dust, which is worse than even the OEM Pagid pads.
I did test these with street driving for a while to see if they’d be bearable, and they were not. At all.
Where these pads do earn my praise, however, is on the track. The R4 pads, paired with tires that can handle them, will make your eyes pop out when you jam on the brakes. I absolutely loved how deep I could go into a turn before braking, knowing that the R4 would drop my speed quicker than my courage would allow, and would be consistent lap after lap.
These pads are not chamfered, so the friction material surface area is larger than that of the R4-S. They also don’t have brake pad wear sensor slots. Here’s a pic comparing the R4 (new, left) and R4-S (used, right) pads so you can see the difference in surface area due to chamfering of the R4-S.
And here’s a pic showing the bevel angle of the chamfering on the R4-S (used, right) compared to the non-chamfered R4 (new, left).