Evolution IX – Brake Upgrade

P1040319sSo why am I taking a car with barely 5000 miles on it and upgrading the brakes?

The car has nearly three years on the brake fluid and has been driven very little, but was originally from Brooklin, New York.  Certainly the brake fluid needed to be replaced and my experience with my previous Evolution showed the benefits of better rotors and brake pads.

I really liked the results from when I switched over to Brembo cadmium plated and slotted rotors that I had purchased via Tire Rack.  The rotors that came on the Evo were excellent quality but the plated versions are so nice in terms of keeping their good looks on top of the high Brembo quality.  The slots come with the rotors.  I don’t know that they are beneficial or necessary, but they certainly don’t hurt anything.  I do stay away from drilled rotors.  When subjected to the heat stresses of track use they are known to fail by cracking at the holes.  This is true even with drilled rotors with radiused holes.  Drilled rotors can look very sexy, and are generally fine for use on the street.  Not on this Evolution though.

The brake pads from the factory are adequate, but can certainly be improved upon.  On my previous Evo 8 I used Project Mu Blue pads for the street and like them very much.  This time I have converted to Satisfied GS pads for the street.  We have used them on a lot of customer cars and like the results.  They are not a track pad, but excellent for street use with good modulation, low dust, and almost no squealing issues.

Brake lines are another area that can be improved.  The factory flexible brake lines that come on the Mitsubishi Evolutions are of excellent quality and were never replaced on my previous car.  This time I decided to put on a set of braided stainless steel brake lines.  They should have greater durability and enhance pedal feel.

Brake fluid should be flushed and replaced at least once a year, particularly if you are going to use your car on track days (HPDE).  The fluid in this car definitely needed to be replaced.  The brake fluid of choice is Ate Blue.  This same fluid also comes in a clear yellow.  If you use Ate on a regular basis you can swap between the two colors so that you know when the new fluid has reached the bleeder as you flush the system.

I pulled all the wheels and tires that came with the car so I could get to the brakes.  Next I tapped out the pins that held in the brake pads.  Using a screw driver I leveraged between the pads and rotors in order to press the caliper pistons back. 

Ideally you should open the bleeder screw as you press back the pistons so that the fluid is not pushed back to the master cylinder.  At this point I was more concerned with keeping brake fluid off the Brembo calipers.  Brake fluid can take the clear coat off the calipers so it must be cleaned off quickly. 

With all the pins and pads out I could unbolt the calipers from the hubs and that freed up the rotors.  The original rotors were not in bad shape, but they showed a lot of wear for a car with less than 5000 miles on the odometer.  I knew the car had originally been owned by a woman that lived in Brooklin, New York so they were put through some tough times with a lot of stop and go traffic.  The environment also included salted winter roads so there was concern on my part that rust would make a mess of things.

Fortunately, while there was some corrosion , it was very little and not deep, like it would have been if the car had spent a couple of years in that environment.  When I removed the rotors from the hubs there was just a little rust on the hubs and what there was I could take care of with a wire brush on a drill.  I followed the cleaning with a very light coat of synthetic grease on the hub surface to keep future corrosion to a minimum. 

Then it was the time to swap out the factory flexible brake lines for a set of braided stainless steel lines.  The new lines came with new banjo bolts and copper crush washers.  The fitment was excellent, which is not always the case with some of these replacement brake lines.

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With the new lines installed it was time to bolt the calipers back in place.  It was also a good time to clean off the calipers.  I recommend Simple Green and water rather than brake clean spray.  The Simple Green does a great job removing brake dust and all the kinds of dirt that a wheel well sees.  Rinse with plain water and dry with some paper towels.  The calipers will look like new.

Bolting the calipers on take a certain amount of care as the threads are fine and can be cross threaded.  Sometimes it helps to turn the bolt backwards until you feel a click, then turn it clockwise. 

The bolts were tightened to the proper torque and it was time to slide in the new pads.  I had a fresh set of pins and anti-rattle clips to install, as well.  The Satisfied pads slipped right in.  Now it was time for the fresh brake fluid.

The method I use to flush the brake system is using the Mityvac vacuum tool.  I vacuum out the reservoir first.  Then I fill it up with fresh Ate fluid.  Taking the vacuum bleeder to the passenger rear caliper, I bled that caliper.  I made certain that the reservoir stayed full as I went to all the bleed screws.  Since each of the Brembo calipers have two bleed screws you start with the outside bleeder and then do the inner one.  The bleeding order on the Mitsubishi Evolution is to start with the passenger rear, go to the driver front, then the driver rear, and end up with the passenger front.  That may seem strange, but it is the way it is done on the Lancer.

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With the brakes completed it was time to put wheels and tires on.  The tires that came with the car had been changed from the original Yokahama Advans to some basic Khumo tires.  The car deserved better than that.  Fortunately I had a set of factory BBS wheels with a set of Bridgestone R01 tires mounted, balanced, and filled with nitrogen, that I could replace them with.  Later I would dismount the Khumo tires and discover that two of the wheels were garbage.  One had been bent and sloppily repaired while the other was still bent. 

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The lug nuts were torqued to the proper amount and the car was ready to back off the lift and see how the brakes were.

Between the upgrade in tires and the upgrade in brake components it was fantastic.  I really like this car.  More improvements will be in its future, and it is growing on me.

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One Response to Evolution IX – Brake Upgrade

  1. scott says:

    Hi – just stumbled across your write-up! Nice one,good post! I have same car in Aus. Have done similar break mods and have too felt a huge difference. Love the Carbon fibre brake coolers, mine are only plastic,

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