Ceramic pads vs semi-metallic

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I'm about to put new brakes all around because mine are grinding. They are also a bit questionable when dropping out of warp speed.

My only hold-up right now is that I can't cut through the marketing hype to figure out the best pads. I definitely don't need track pads that have to warm up before they work. But I do drive "enthusiastically". So I'm leaning towards ceramics based on what I've read. Just don't know if that's the right choice or not.

Not planning any rotor upgrades yet. I'll eventually get bigger brakes. Right now I have too many other things needing fixed on our cars. Can't funnel money into a kit just yet.

Anyhow, is there any consensus on what pads to run? Not concerned about brands so much, mainly the material.
 

lwarrior1016

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Honestly, I always run the cheapest semi metallic pads I can get.

I had a situation where I put ceramic pads on my excursion. Went to make a hard stop, and the truck pushed right through the brakes. Put the semi metallic pads in it, and the truck stopped great.
 

07GtS197

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I had a similar experience with ceramic pads on my first 00 gt. I wanted to try them out and quickly regretted it. The stopping power wasn’t as good and they made a lot of noise. A nice set of hawk pads will do the trick for you.
 

Daryl

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But if you’re “grinding” there’s a pretty good chance you’ve damaged the rotors as well, no? If so, just replacing pads will only mess up your pads more quickly and then you’re looking at pads (again) + rotors= $$$
At least inspect or have your rotors inspected and have them turned (surfaced) before just popping in new pads.

My unsolicited $"02 !
 
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But if you’re “grinding” there’s a pretty good chance you’ve damaged the rotors as well, no? If so, just replacing pads will only mess up your pads more quickly and then you’re looking at pads (again) + rotors= $$$
At least inspect or have your rotors inspected and have them turned (surfaced) before just popping in new pads.

My unsolicited $"02 !
I plan to replace the rotors. Just not upgrading them.
 
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Honestly, I always run the cheapest semi metallic pads I can get.

I had a situation where I put ceramic pads on my excursion. Went to make a hard stop, and the truck pushed right through the brakes. Put the semi metallic pads in it, and the truck stopped great.
That's exactly the problem I'm having. But it looks like I have semi-metallic pads now.
 
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So... went to CJ Pony Parts and pulled the trigger on the Hawk kit that comes with four new "Talon" rotors and a complete set of their "Performance Ceramic" pads. I mean, c'mon-- "talon" and "performance" in the same package. It has to be awesome, right? Definitely can't be worse than what I have.
 
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On my way to pick up my GT after getting my wife at the train station. Turns out the problem was a frozen caliper. Shop had to replace the bracket and guide pins, but otherwise no issues. They installed my new Hawk goodies. The caliper must also have been the squealing I heard since they said the bearings were fine.

Definitely could have saved some money by having them diagnose it instead of rushing to order parts. Oops.
 

i86hotdogs

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a little note about ceramic pads. The break in process is essential for those. Also, ceramic takes longer to heat up than semi metallic. But once they're hot enough, they bite just as good as the alternative. Ceramics also last longer than semi-metallic, and have almost no brake dust. If that warm up period is a concern, I'd recommend going carbon ceramic. It combines the benefits of both semi-metallic and ceramic.
 
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a little note about ceramic pads. The break in process is essential for those. Also, ceramic takes longer to heat up than semi metallic. But once they're hot enough, they bite just as good as the alternative. Ceramics also last longer than semi-metallic, and have almost no brake dust. If that warm up period is a concern, I'd recommend going carbon ceramic. It combines the benefits of both semi-metallic and ceramic.
Two days of commuting with the new Hawk bits now. I have to say, they're "invisible". I mean, I hit the pedal and the car stops. No noise, no fuss. Whatever their particular formula is, I'm happy with it. Can't say I did a proper break-in.

One thing I learned in my research is that "ceramic" doesn't really mean much. There is no standard for how much ceramic, or what type, or what else can be included. Hawk has 3-4 different "ceramic" pads. So I can't say my experience with these specific pads tells me anything about another brand's "ceramic" pads. Marketing shenanigans.
 

i86hotdogs

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Two days of commuting with the new Hawk bits now. I have to say, they're "invisible". I mean, I hit the pedal and the car stops. No noise, no fuss. Whatever their particular formula is, I'm happy with it. Can't say I did a proper break-in.

One thing I learned in my research is that "ceramic" doesn't really mean much. There is no standard for how much ceramic, or what type, or what else can be included. Hawk has 3-4 different "ceramic" pads. So I can't say my experience with these specific pads tells me anything about another brand's "ceramic" pads. Marketing shenanigans.
You're absolutely right on the ceramic point. I was generally speaking of the difference between the materials. A pair of cheap autozone cermaics won't hold a candle to a more premium brand's ceramic. I have a set of powerstop carbon ceramics on my van because I race it along with daily driving it. I do not know what's on my mustang because I bought the car a month ago, and the pads have plenty of material. Whenever I do brakes on it in the future, I'll likely get a set of high end Hawk pads because this will be my new track car
 
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I wish there was more clarity in what was what. I can't honestly say these high-dollar "performance ceramic" pads are any better than stock replacements. Had a seized caliper before the swap, so anything was an improvement.
 

i86hotdogs

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I wish there was more clarity in what was what. I can't honestly say these high-dollar "performance ceramic" pads are any better than stock replacements. Had a seized caliper before the swap, so anything was an improvement.
You won't see or feel a major difference driving around town. It's the heavy braking and track use where you'll notice a difference. Those high dollar ones you have will do much better on a track or AutoCrossing over a cheap set. Honestly, almost every brand and/or material is adequate enough for daily use. Especially in a standard car like the Mustang. Trucks and vans with huge curb weight or vehicles that tow will also put a test on the pads.
 
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You won't see or feel a major difference driving around town... Honestly, almost every brand and/or material is adequate enough for daily use. Especially in a standard car like the Mustang.
Unless you drive "enthusiastically". There have been a few times my brakes worried me. But definitely don't need track pads that have to be almost molten before they grab.
 
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Long-term update:

I'm quite happy with the Hawk bits. They squeal a bit every now and then, but it isn't awful. They drop me out of warp in a timely fashion. There was a span of time after I first installed them that I thought they weren't good. But that turned out to be a tire problem. Even though they looked fine, the tires were so bad that the ABS was being overzealous. Got new tires, suddenly the brakes were impressive. Go figure. Anyhow, I'd buy the Hawk stuff again.
 

r3dn3ck

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I had so many problems with "performance" brake pads that i finally went back to the drawing board and looked at the materials science end and looked at why some "perfomance" pads are actually nothing of the sort (I'm looking directly at you Hawk). Ceramic, in the end, really is a compromise for reduced dusting and long wear. They are totally not suited to use in a "performance" pad application by any definition I'd use. Ceramic truly suck at heat dissipation and they're not as good as organic as friction generators. Fine for a mommy mobile but maybe sub-optimal for a muscle car. Organic I just plain don't like on fast/powerful cars, full stop (pardon the pun). The onset of fade on organics is frequently like a light switch. Having your front end suddenly lift during a hard braking maneuver is something I can't recommend experiencing. Only organics have ever done that to me. Metallic are probably best left to racing due to the need to heat them up for optimal performance and the higher rotor wear. They're heat sucking monsters, dissipation is relatively poor and I've had my brake fluid boil a number of times with metallic pads which leads to more sudden front end lifting while trying to brake hard. Dusting from metallic is about like organics but the noise can be like fingernails on a bloody chalkboard. Pads made with stuff like Aramid, Kevlar, carbon fibres, etc... these give big improvements in heat/fade resistance and they're mellow on rotors but dust pretty aggressively.

The only pads that worked for street and track and didn't sacrifice any performance characteristics were the super-fiber variety. I've since settled on EBC Yellow Stuff as the best mix of cost/availability/performance. They're made of Aramid fiber (among other stuff that's in the matrix) which sits up there with other modern super-fibers that have insane tensile strength, high heat resistance, light weight, etc... I've done everything I can to get them to fade but without another 200hp that's not going to happen. They're pretty darned dusty, no two ways about it. They're super nice to rotors though and you don't lose the bite you want at cold temps for the fade resistance you want at high temps. They're not expensive either.

There are other pad compounds that are more specialized or just different but after I found EBC Yellow Stuff worked so well I stopped doing the academic research and haven't had need of anything more performant.
 

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