Best value for brake upgrades

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
The time has come for me to service my front brakes, mainly warped rotors. I'd like to take this opportunity to both service and upgrade my brakes, and I'm looking for input on the best bang for the buck option.

I was considering the Mazda 6 front brake upgrade, but for the driving I do, I'm beginning to think that my money might be better spent on a good set of aggressive pads, some standard replacement rotors, and possibly SS lines.

To expand, I've mentally laid out two viable courses as a starting point:
  1. Full MZ6 swap: (done my research here, generally know what's involved)
    • MZ6 new rotors, used junkyard calipers, new set of basic pads
    • (Hawk HPS pads for the MZ6 cost around $150 (HB549F.702))
    • Love the larger size of the rotor/caliper, but this is lower priority than brake feel
  2. Stock upgrade:
    • New rotors (thinking basic non-drilled/slotted, PowerStop? Centric?), Hawk pads (or comparable brand)
    • Hawk HPS pads for Protege5 cost around $60 (HB211F.606)
    • Potentially stainless steel lines up front, depending on cost of other parts
      • Are SS lines worth it for helping brake feel? Would I need to do rears if I did fronts?

To summarize: I don't track or race the car, it's just a fun daily. I can cook the brakes while bombing down a mountain road, which has prompted (scarred) me to consider the big-brake upgrade. Is an aggressive pad and stainless steel lines going to be better for a fun daily as compared to a big-brake upgrade with normal parts? Also, certainly open to other suggestions, and please fact-check my prices/SKUs for those Hawk pads too.
 
:
2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed
I would be wary of junkyard calipers.
I have had good experience with cryo slotted rotors and Hawk HPS pads. The cryos are less likely to warp and should last longer. Slotted rotors are often used by racers because they tend to eliminate uneven pad depositions on the rotors, they keep the pads fresh and parallel, and run a bit cooler than blank rotors..
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
I would be wary of junkyard calipers.
Definitely will keep in mind. To be fair though, there are a ton of vehicles (Mazdas/Fords/Lincolns) in my local yards with these same calipers. If I did the swap, I'd certainly have a huge selection to pick from, in order to find the best candidates. Wariness is certainly warranted, but there are exceptions.

I have had good experience with cryo slotted rotors and Hawk HPS pads.
From searching past threads, Hawk seems to be a household name for a good aggressive Protege pad.

I am unfamiliar with Cryo rotors though. Is that a brand, model, or a type/technology of rotor (pardon my ignorance)? Definitely not opposed to paying more for getting the best value, but wanting to be budget conscious, and I'd assume slotted generally costs more.

Thanks for the feedback
 
:
2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed
I believe this is the brand I bought for my 2001 Corvette:
This web page lists the benefits of cryo-treatment.
There are others out these but the benefits are essentially the same. I didn't want to have machined or replaced rotors every 20,000 miles so I spent more on this technology. I guess if you're not putting many miles on your car or plan to sell it within a few years, these may not be cost effective.

When I was designing stainless steel rotors in 2013-2014, I found that J-hook shaped slots were well-known among racers to be the most effective. AP Racing invented and I believe, patented this slot design. DBA also has some really nice rotors with curved slots but as you may have found, there isn't a huge selection for Proteges. Hawk also used to make curved slot rotors.
 
:
2x 2001 SP20 323's
For what it's worth, MZ6 stuff is exxxpeeeeensive, easily double the price for rotors over stock pro5 parts (here in NZ at least) not really worth it for another 20mm diameter over the later mazda6 parts IMHO.

My stock P5 with fresh pads and rotors has a sharper pedal feel than my mazda6 swapped car, but I've a feeling the bigger brakes will last longer under stress
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
For what it's worth, MZ6 stuff is exxxpeeeeensive, easily double the price for rotors over stock pro5 parts (here in NZ at least) not really worth it for another 20mm diameter over the later mazda6 parts IMHO.

My stock P5 with fresh pads and rotors has a sharper pedal feel than my mazda6 swapped car, but I've a feeling the bigger brakes will last longer under stress
Great thoughts here, thanks.
This is also sort of what I've found too. The actual junkyard calipers/brackets aren't spendy, but new parts definitely are.

Do you have experience with the benefits of SS lines and/or doing an entire brake fluid flush? Would definitely consider if there is a perceivable difference.

I don't track my car, so I'll take the small cosmetic and size penalty for a better price and sharper feel. I've ordered some Hawk HPS pads off eBay, and I'm trying to figure out what brand I should go with for rotors. Heard good things about Centric, otherwise clueless.
 
:
2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed
I had braided stainless steel brake lines in my 1968 Corvette. The pedal feel became firmer and stopping response under high pressure braking seemed to be quicker.

I'm a firm believer that brake fluid should be flushed at every pad change. I used to do this, myself but many newer vehicles require that the ABS module be cycled - something I cannot do without the right instrument.
 

BenjiHoggi

OEM+
:
Oregon, USA
:
22v Protege5
I had braided stainless steel brake lines in my 1968 Corvette. The pedal feel became firmer and stopping response under high pressure braking seemed to be quicker.

I'm a firm believer that brake fluid should be flushed at every pad change. I used to do this, myself but many newer vehicles require that the ABS module be cycled - something I cannot do without the right instrument.
HA! Pros of an old car with no ABS.

I'll see about changing my brake fluid when I change my pads and rotors. Likely has never been done, or it's been 10 years. Not sure if I should just grab the local AutoZone special or buy something fancy, but I'll do a little research on it.
 
:
2014 Mazda3 S GT auto, 2008 MX5 6-speed
Never get the least expensive rotors. Gravity bleeding is the easiest but takes the longest. And don't have someone press the brake pedal to the floor while you open and close the bleeder screw. If this is done, the master cylinder piston seal may tear as the piston travels past the cylinder's wear ring. If the master cylinder is new, this is not a problem. As you probably know, use the fluid type recommended by your owner's manual.
 

RPRP5

2002 Mazda Protege5
I had braided stainless steel brake lines in my 1968 Corvette. The pedal feel became firmer and stopping response under high pressure braking seemed to be quicker.

I'm a firm believer that brake fluid should be flushed at every pad change. I used to do this, myself but many newer vehicles require that the ABS module be cycled - something I cannot do without the right instrument.
Just do it the good ol' broke route! Find an empty stretch of road, get up to 60mph, and stomp on your breaks to activate the ABS pump.